Soup with Friends

Soba Noodles in Shiitake-Shoyu Broth with Asparagus and Egg

The post on Serious Eats that got my attention

Herbivoracious cookbook by Micahel Natkin on Amazon

I wanted to really love this soup.  There were a lot of things that were very attractive about the recipe, including the soba noodles (yum), the inclusion of hard boiled eggs (my favorite soup ingredient), the pan-fried asparagus (a delicous and in-season veggie) . . . On top of all that, I was planning on feeding a pair of meat-adverse women, so the inclusion of tofu instead of meat and the fact that the broth was described as “unami-rich” despite being vegetarian pushed the recipe right to the top of the priority list.

The Occasion

My oldest and dearest friend, and one of my favorite cooking buddies, has just arrived back home in Alaska, so my lady and I invited her over for dinner and to watch the U.S. soccer friendly against Brazil.

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Lovin’ Lena

A Damn Good Bowl of Soup at Pho Lena

My first experience at Pho Lena was in 2008, shortly after the space was vacated by the Hen (if you’ve been in Anchorage for a while you know what I’m talking about).  I ordered some sort of Thai chicken curry because I didn’t know any better and hadn’t realized yet how wonderful Vietnamese and Lao food are.  The best and worst things I can say about that curry was that I remember little else about it.

The next meal I had at Pho Lena was a bowl of a classic pho combo with tripe, thinly-sliced beef, and meatballs.  This was in the course of a personal quest to identify the best bowl of pho in Anchorage.  Unfortunately, the bowl I had at Pho Lena was not even in my top three in town (number one for me is currently Pho Vietnam on Denali Street).  As a result, I didn’t visit this restaurant again for another couple years

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