Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bring on the Pho

One of the perils of my new job is that it's located in the heart of an area full of good places to eat.  Many of them, like the restaurants in San Francisco's Gourmet Ghetto, are small, converted historic homes serving fabulous food. I may need to start letting out my clothes.

Our book club ate at one of the local places this week.  Rice Paper, on 7th Street between Central and McDowell, is Vietnamese, specializing (as the name implies) in a variety of exotic spring rolls.  Our group had the spicy firecracker shrimp and the crispy calamari as appetizers.  The calamari, served with aioli and puffy rice cakes about a thousand times better than anything from Quaker, was particularly good.  Three of our party ordered bowls of pho, Vietnamese noodle soup; the portions looked more like vats than mere bowls and they all took some home, raving about the taste.  For the main course I had the Spider roll, a fresh (non-fried) spring roll which contained tempura soft-shell crab, mango, and avocado - yum.  Because our group was so large, we ate outside at a picnic bench in the courtyard, but the inside looked serene and beautifully decorated.  The women who visited the restroom assured the rest of us that it was a very Zen experience.  The prices were extremely reasonable for the high quality of the food and the friendly, attentive service.

I think Rice Paper is just a little too far from my office to fit into my half-hour lunch break, but it's conveniently situated for swinging by after work.  The only drawback to eating dinner there is the limited parking, but surely the early birds get the parking spaces - wouldn't you think?

"Pho bo is a Vietnamese beef and noodle soup which is often eaten for breakfast, but also makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner. The boiling stock, fragrant with spices and sauces, is poured over the noodles, bean sprouts and scallions, and it poaches the paper-thin slices of raw beef just before serving." ~

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