Sometimes you find the pot o’ gold without chasing the rainbow. Sometimes you stumble upon the “X” without possessing the treasure map.
My wife and I recently returned from a visit with my in-laws near Ft. Myers, Florida. I took this photo of an upstairs apartment in old Fort Myers Beach. I like the colors and the feel of days gone by in an old beach town. This however was not the discovery.
My discovery occurred when I stumbled out of the back seat of my in-laws car in a dazed stupor after a less-than relaxing ride over to Matlacha, Florida. We pulled into another island trinket shop and all of a sudden, the clouds opened up and there was this heavenly aura around a small restaurant called “Island Pho and Grill”.
At this point, I had two choices. I could go into a store that caters to adolescents, tweens, teens, and middle-aged women with a condition that can’t be explained by anyone with a certain level of testosterone coursing through their body, or I could eat something completely foreign to me.
I made a mad dash across the traffic, my wife made a mad dash into Ye Olde Shoppe of Island Minutiae. Of course, I can’t explain why she would.
Every culture seems to have their own version of comfort food. That statement alone seems to sum up my new love for food…it gives me comfort.
The Jews gave us chicken soup. The Germans, who gave me my lovely wife, gave us sausage and sauerkraut. In eastern Kentucky we seem to gravitate to soup beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes. The Vietnamese have given us pho. As best as I can figure it is pronounced “fuh”…rhymes with “duh”.
Now bear in mind there is some sort of squiggly accent mark that accompanies the spelling that, one, I can’t find on my English keyboard and two, I can’t find anyone who knows what that squiggly line does to the pronunciation of the word.
I ordered a bowl of vegetarian pho, since we were going to eat supper in a few minutes and my mother taught me,”Don’t spoil your appetite.” I have disregarded this advice since I was about 16, for it seems I always have an appetite now.
The taste of this Vietnamese delicacy led me into a state of palatable bliss that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Maybe since my first potato chip or first bite of a chocolate doughnut.
I called for my brother-in-law to come and share in my savory fortune. He looked at me as if I had gone daft. Then he informed me of my daftness for Vietnamese cuisine wasn’t too high on his bucket list. But once he imbibed in this dish, he was taken in by the wonderful flavors.
My wife came out of the Island shop and much to her surprise, she saw my brother-in-law and me up to our wrists in pho, looking like piranha feeding on an unsuspecting water buffalo who happened into the Amazon for a leisurely soak.
I don’t know who was happier at that moment, me or the store owner counting his fistful of cash as my wife and her sister were walking out of the store.
I will be pho-ever be grateful for discovering this new-found delicacy.
If you like this photo, you can see more of my photography here.