Have Some Pho to Chase Away that Cold
We’ve just survived Snowzilla, which dumped up to three feet of snow on the DMV, and you’re bound to get a cold. We’ve been digging out our cars, clearing the sidewalks and walking anywhere we had to go, because the District and other municipalities did such a poor job of clearing the roads and Metro was closed.
I was in Orlando, Fla., when Winter Storm Jonas hit, but drove back Sunday just in time to have to navigate my way from the Beltway through closed streets. By Monday, I was starting to feel a burn in my sinuses and by Tuesday, I couldn’t breathe through my nose.
It was time to put on my boots, gloves and hat and head out to my nearest pho restaurant, since the nearby Giant didn’t have a single loaf of bread, juice or produce. Luckily, Pho 14 is just two blocks away. There are three locations in the District: 1436 Park Road NW in Columbia Heights, 1769 Columbia Road NW in Adams Morgan and 4201 Connecticut Ave. NW in Van Ness. I like this Vietnamese soup restaurant because you can design your own. The regular bowl is $8.99 and the large bowl is only $9.99. Then you can choose beef, chicken or vegetarian broth made with Fuji apples. You also get to choose up to four base toppings including well-done brisket, well-done flank, fat brisket, bible tripe, white or dark meat chicken, fried or steamed tofu, dried tofu, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms for free. You can add premium toppings of rare beef, skirt flank, soft tendon or meatballs for 99 cents each or calamari, scallops or shrimp for $5.49 extra.
My standard is beef broth with mushrooms and well-done brisket. They all come with fresh Thai basil, limes, jalapenos and bean sprouts on the side that you can add to your liking. Since I was feeling congested, I added the lime juice, jalapenos and beansprouts along with a few generous squirts of hoisin sauce and Sriacha, until the broth had turned a dark brown and was spicy enough to clean my sinuses.
It was just what I needed…my nose started running, the sinus pressure was relieve and I could breathe again!
Pho 14 also has excellent vermicelli bowls made with rice noodles served with lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, crushed peanuts, green onions and fried onions. I like mine with grilled pork and an egg roll, but they have many combinations including one with vegetables and fried, marinated tofu or a vegan version with vegan strips. They also have banh mi sandwiches.
If you are feeling cooped up and have time on your hands, try this pho recipe from allrecipes.com, but be warned. It takes more than nine hours.
- 4 pounds beef soup bones
- 1 onion, unpeels and cut in half
- 5 slices fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 pods star anise
- 2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 quarts water
- 1 8-ounce package dried rice noodles
- 1 ½ pounds beef top sirloin, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
- 1 bunch Thai basil
- 1 lime, cut into four wedges
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce (optional)
- 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place beef bones on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven until browned, about 1 hour.
- Place onion on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven until blackened and soft, about 45 minutes.
- Place bones, onion, ginger, salt, star anise and fish sauce in a large stockpot and cover with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for 6 to 10 hours. Strain the broth into a saucepan and set aside.
- Place rice noodles in a large bowl filled with room temperature water and allow to soak for 1 hour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and after the noodles have soaked, place them in the boiling water for 1 minute. Bring stock to a summer.
- Divide noodles among four serving bowls; top with sirloin, cilantro and green onion. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce and Sriacha sauce.
If you don’t have the time or are hungry now, there are many “quick” recipes that use store-bought beef broth that can be ready in 40 minutes or you can be seated and have a steaming bowl of pho in front of you in less than that at one of the many pho restaurants in the DMV.