The Friday after Thanksgiving was grey, rainy and cold. Roommate Lynn and I had already planned to get pedicures, but decided to add on a trip to get Pho as well. The weather practically insisted on it for us.
Our regular nail place couldn't take us, and that solidified our plan to hit Buford Highway for Vietnamese nails and eats. It was harder then we thought to find a nail salon-every place we stopped was either closed, had no nail people or was a "spa". The kind of spa that has blacked out windows and specializes in massage.
We were lucky to find Nail and Spa, on Chamblee Tucker in the same shopping center as the Wal-Mart. Big and clean, with a wonderful staff and awesome Vietnamese/French versions of 1980s pop songs. The guy who did my toes sang along to a female, French version of "Last Christmas" and mentioned what a handsome man George Michael is. A pedicure was only $18.50 and worth every penny.
I had never been to Quan Ba 9, but Roommate Lynn had, and reported that it had the best pork noodles with egg roll that she has ever had (her favorite).
Then for Pho! We have a tradition of going for pho when it is cold and rainy. We try to rotate the spots. I am a particular fan of Pho Dai Loi. I do draw a line between pho joints and Vietnamese restaurants. For a more extensive menu, we both prefer the awesome Chateau Saigon.
I wanted to order spring rolls, but the waiter pointed out that they were wrapped in pork skin. I was all ready to jam them down the old salted pork hole, but RL (who has never eaten cracklin'!), demurred. Instead the waiter offered to make us non-shrimp summer rolls (she don't eat shrimp neither!). Next time I'll make her get her own egg rolls and I'll nosh on some Babe flesh.
But, oh, the pho! I got Pho Tom (shrimp), and RL stuck with the basic beef (round, flank). The broth was some of the best I've ever tasted! Rich and meaty, I could have eaten it with no additions. In fact, I ate half of it before adding in a little Sirancha and hoison, which I just do because I like the taste of both. The greens, sprouts, and herbs for adding were all fresh, and I was especially pleased that I got a large portion of shrimp; some places do skimp. (On shrimp. It rhymes so it's true).
When we went to Quan Ba 9, I was both getting over a cold and a little hungover from the eating and drinking of Thanksgiving Day. Their pho was exactly what the doctor ordered. It cleared my head and my nose. My only complaint was with the service. After being quite attentive at first, our waiter disappeared and never refilled my water! That's a requirement for me when it comes to spicy, delicious pho.
For a review with photos, check out Creative Loafing's.