Pho Sho’

Pho is my favorite. I’m a pho fan. Pho sho’. Even if the name didn’t feel funny and sound delightful to my decidedly American tongue and ears, I’d still love it.

I swear.

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I’ve been on the Pho bandwagon for quite a while now, but the Norsk just recently hopped on this past December when we traveled to Vietnam with my family.

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During our week-long stay in Vietnam, we must have had pho almost every day–and sometimes twice! It’s hard to imagine how a piping hot bowl of soup can be refreshing in 90 degree weather, but it truly is. Go to Vietnam and try it…but until then, you can just take our word for it.

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Nothing can beat the pho at Pho 2000 in Saigon, but since it takes a good 24+ hours of travel from Atlanta just to get there, I’ll settle for Vn Pho, which is only about a 20 minutes drive from my front door. But today it took longer. Much longer (thank you traffic). And we were hungry. And impatient.

And perhaps a little delirious.

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Vn Pho doesn’t look like much from the parking lot, but on the inside… it’s actually pretty nice.

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But on to the food…

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For starters, we had fresh spring rolls. I don’t think the Norsk was a fan. He was expecting something deep fried.

Me? I personally prefer these. I love being able to taste each of the flavors individually–the basil is distinct from the rice noodles and the shrimp and it’s all wrapped tightly together in a cool rice papper wrapper. Like a little, colorful present. Bliss, I tell you.

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But we didn’t come here for the spring rolls.  We came here for this:

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Big, steaming bowls of hearty goodness.

The secret to pho is in the broth. Good pho broth is made by boiling nuckle or leg bones with spices in water for a LOOOOONG time.  Like 12 or 14 hours long.  Talk about a commitment. And this is my favorite part: Can you see how clear the broth is? Rather than just throwing ground up spices into the pot, they place them whole into a small cloth bag and drop the bag into the pot.  This allows all the flavor to seep into the broth, leaving it clear, not cloudy with “spice dust.”

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But moving on.

I stick to chicken pho out of habit, but you can order it with beef, pork, or tofu, as well. Whatever you do though, make sure you toss in plenty of basil leaves, a slice of pepper (just be careful not to accidentally eat it!), lemongrass, and a few sprouts.

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You really can’t go wrong.

Oh, and make sure you slurp it up…this is no time for good table manners.

Work Days at Land of a Thousand Hills

Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee

It’s safe to say that Land of a Thousand Hills is one of our favorite places. . .and for good reason.

Back in August, this is the place where we had our first date. I picked the Norsk up from the airport (after he had traveled for about 15 hours), and we drove straight here.  The hours past like minutes, and before we knew it, we had talked until almost midnight.

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Six months later, this was the place where the Norsk proposed.

We come here almost weekly. We work. We drink coffee. We listen to music. We stare out its massive windows that overlook the Chattahoochee River. We bring our lunch. We buy almond milk lattes or a french press of coffee. And we just enjoy life. It’s our tradition.

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It’s an unusual place, this favorite little spot of ours. It’s full name is Land of a Thousand Hills – Walton Coffee House, but that’s kind of a mouthful. We just call it “The Coffee Shop.” But even stranger than its name is its location. The coffee shop is actually inside a gated apartment complex.

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There’s something so warm and cozy about this place. It has couches and tables and comfy chairs, inviting you to sit down and stay a while. People have Bible studies here, they study, have business meetings, read novels, and hold interviews. It’s a place where you can just linger and escape the frantic scurrying of life, never feeling any pressure to hurry along or leave.

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So if you’re ever here and bump into us, say hello! We’ll pull out one of the games sitting on the shelf in the corner. We’ll nibble on an oatmeal cookie, giggle at the awkward first date in the corner, and pretend like there’s nowhere else to be.

The Beginning

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The Norsk and the American are two 20-something year olds trying to figure out how to juggle grad school, work, and a trans-atlantic relationship. We’ve been talking about starting a blog since the summer of 2012, and we finally took the plunge.

We’re not really sure what will end up on here. But we promise not to make you gag with lovey-dovey stuff–although there will probably be a few posts about our upcoming wedding. We promise not to overwhelm you with strict dietary rules–although there will be lots of gluten free and paleo recipes that make your mouth water. We promise not to make this a diary of our lives–but we’ll definitely be posting about the stuff we’re doing around Atlanta…and the world. We promise not to be too geeky–but inevitably there will be the occasional infographic, how-to video, theoretical rambling, or commentary on Lord of the Rings.

Our lives are eclectic, and so is this blog.