Sunday, February 25, 2007

Passing Bites: #1 Pho / Banana-Pear-Pecan Crumble

#1 Pho
3120 Superior Ave.

A post-audition snack was attained in the form of Number One Pho, a synthesized-pop-music-playing wood-polished-pretending-to-be-upscale Vietnamese eatery on Superior Avenue, a block crowded with Just Like Mom's ( a Soul Food and Seafood restaurant) and Superior Pho, whose entrance is reached only by entering Just Like Mom's. Number One Pho seems like a promising place, and though I wish we could have tried the whole menu, since there were just two of us we decided on some Charbroiled Pork Rolls, a bowl of Pho with beef, brisket, and tendon, and a bowl of Beef Stew served with French Bread.

Deliciously spiced food! The highlight of the meals were the sauces, from the fish sauce-accented dipping liquid that elevated the char-broiled rolls, to the glorious Pho broth that beckoned to the tongue with waves of cinnamon, anise, ginger, and cloves! I always am a bit uncomfortable when they bring over the plate of sprouts, basil, jalapenos, and sauces, because as the meal progresses it becomes harder and harder not to just dump everything in, which , except for a smidgen of hot sauce, was my end result. In this liquid there is such a diversity of flavors and textures, a rich smoothness that sat on my tongue for the rest of the night, leaving me in a state of wonder and melancholy (there is no Pho in Oberlin, you know....)

Then yesterday night I was bemoaning once again the monetary necessities for cooking! Spices, meat, cooking pots! Its just close to impossible for a student to have a well-stocked kitchen on their own, and yet I am trying to be committed to learning and experimenting and fucking up lots of dishes in private so that I can get a handle on this cooking business. So I went for basic and took a recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini for a pear-banana-pecan crumble, which, lets face it, sounds pretty hard to screw up. And true enough, when I looked at the preparations, it hit me. Butter, sugar, fruit, and nuts heated for a long time - basic and delicious. Add some bran flakes and a little flour and you've got a little more crunch, et puis voila! Although I plan on making future crumbles with whatever assortment of fruits I can swipe from the dining halls, the combo of pear and banana is notable for the way the textures of the two meld together, the soft yet present flavor of each combining. I used very ripe pears, extra-soft, and so they had a near-banana-y mushiness. yum!

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