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1. absolutely pho-bulous

i've been cooking all sorts of typical "fanny" foods since i've been back. you know--the usuals. 

but a few nights ago i decided to try something different. something i've been very excited to taste. something spicy. something salty. something that i knew would make me feel very warm and cozy inside.
that i can't pronounce.

yes. i lost my pho virginity.

i know some of you may be looking at this thinking "how hard is it to say the word pho?" but it's not that simple. this traditional vietnamese dish--which is very popular in california--is actually pronounced like "fuh" not "fo." all i know is that when i parked my car in this little run down strip mall in koreatown, and walked into pho2000, every single person in there was vietnamese, and looking at me like i was an alien. i didn't know where to stand. i wasn't even sure where to order. i desperately wanted to be in a mcdonalds. 

i heard that the oxtail soup was "off the chains" (thanks yelp), but it was my first time and i wasn't feeling that adventurous. i went with the rare beef pho--or rookie pho as i liked to call it, or "the #3 to-go" as i said to the woman, who stared at me like i was wearing a clown costume in broad daylight.

for those of you who aren't familiar with pho, it's basically a much more traditional, much more delicious version of ramen. as you can see from the picture above, it's kind of a "make your own" dish. it came with all sorts of fun accesories--bean sprouts, onions, jalapenos, lemons, and three sauces which all burned my tongue.

you drop the beef into the hot soup and it essentially poaches itself right before your very eyes. i felt like i should have looked away. the broth was rich and the beef was salty and yummy. the only problem was that i got about 1/5 through my pho...

and had to call it quits.
turns out it was a lot more PHO-illing than i expected.

2. cookie monster

although i actually did see the cookie monster on hollywood boulevard a few weeks ago...

THIS part of the blog is actually about a cookie fairy!
stella--previously known as santa claus after she furnished my entire apartment--will now be known as cookie fairy.
many thanks for these...

and these...

and don't forget about these!

3. it's no bojangles, but it'll do...

when i was home, there was really only a handful of things i missed about california. i'm sure in time i'll develop more of an attachment to here, but there was one thing i couldn't get off of my mind in raleigh.

although i prefer starbucks to the coffee bean for the simple reason that starbucks uses liquid mixers and the coffee bean uses powdered mixers, there is something about the coffee bean's no sugar added vanilla coffee that i'm beginning to get addicted to. the vanilla powder gets so creamy and rich when it's mixed with the smooth, hot coffee--it's almost as if you're drinking a vanilla hot chocolate. although i have my coffee bean, there's still no california match-up for a bojangles biscuit.
but i might as well try out my options...

highlight of the day:

mom, this one is for you:

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