Sunday, October 22, 2006

What the Pho?

What the Pho Pacific Coast Highway Huntington BeachI thought I'd share a little more of our "exciting" beach lifestyle with you today. To be honest, I'm probably one of the most boring people I know, and my main comforts in life are the daily routines. One of our favorite routines is our weekly dinner down by the beach. Almost every Friday night you can find us at "What the Pho", our favorite restaurant.

What the Pho Pacific Coast Highway Huntington BeachWhat the Pho (pronounced "fuh") is a tiny cafe located right on Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. It's across from the Main Street Pier, nestled underneath the movie theatre.

We come in and almost always have "the usual" which consists of 2 spring rolls and 2 bowls of pho. Matt gets chicken (PHO GÀ) and I get shrimp (PHO TÔM) . I drink water and Matt will drink fresh squeezed lemonade. For dessert he will have a Thai iced tea.

If you've never had pho before, don't be afraid; it's just a simple clear broth soup with rice noodles, and this restaurant makes some of the best we've had. It has a sublime flavor and if you ate it without anything else, you would be completely satisfied with it's aroma and comforting properties. But much to your delight, your bowl of pho will always come with a side plate. Feel free to add a bright squeeze of lime, a couple of jalapeno slices, some bean sprouts and some fresh basil leaves. The basil is so fragrant that it will make you smile as you pinch off the leaves to put into your soup. I swear, just the scent of this soup has healing properties! If that's not enough, feel free to add some hoisin sauce (similar to a thick teriyaki sauce) like Matt does, or some red sauce (spicy rooster sauce) like I do.

What the Pho Pacific Coast Highway Huntington Beach If you're not much of a soup person, rest assured; all their menu items are wonderful. Once in awhile, I will get "crazy" and order something different and it's usually going to be a vermacelli dish. This is a cold noodle dish served with fresh cilantro and lettuce, crushed peanuts, and my favorite version comes with three toppings; BBQ pork, shrimp, and egg-rolls.

Everyone at What the Pho is helpful and friendly. In the photo you can see Hong and Tom, the owners, along with Hong's sister and father—the head chef. Tom, who doubles as a high-school math teacher during the day, will gladly help you pick exactly what you want to eat if you are undecided.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lake Arrowhead

We went to Lake Arrowhead for the day on Sunday to celebrate mine and my mom's BD. We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake and then walked around and looked in some of the shops. Matt got something special for his mom's BD in November--he is so sweet!

After shopping, Matt got a cup of coffee and an apple turnover (we tried in vain to get an Octoberfest Strudel!) Then we got tickets for the tour boat. It was such a nice day--a little cloudy and a little crisp, but very pretty out. The leaves were starting to turn colors and the sky was bue in patches. I've never taken that boat before, but it was really interesting. Captain Bill told us the history of different parts of the community and pointed out all the fancy houses. He knew every movie star who ever lived there and showed us their lake houses. Some of the houses are selling for 14 million or more!

While we were on the lake, we saw the most amazing thing. A bald eagle was soaring and diving; trying to catch a small black bird called a coot. The eagle would circle and then dive into the water and every time that coot would dive underneath just in time. It was fascinating to watch the eagle soar and turn in the air; it was simply a beautiful creature. Watching that magnificent bird was the high point of the tour. None of us had ever seen an eagle in the wild before, so it was a real treat.

At the end of the day, we drove home, but we had to stop at a couple of places to take pictures. The mountatins were so gorgeous. A mist had settled in the valley, with just the peaks sticking out—it looked like a fairy tale city or maybe Brigadoon hiding in the hills! It was nearing twilight so the colors were all purple and blue. I'm so glad mom's camera worked long enough to take a couple of shots before we had to leave.