Persistence pays. I have been advocating for duck pho on the menu at Soy House for a long time, and my persistence has come to fruition, sort of. After weeks of tinkering with the recipe, they finally introduced it to the menu. As their unique and delicious pizza was in the beginning, this item is an 'experiment', for now. You need to ask for it, and it isn't available every day--yet. I suggested they make a Facebook post on days it is on the menu, and trust me, you will want to try this. This pho, like all of their soup offerings begins with it's own broth. Most restaurants (including a lot of very pricey haute cuisine joints that should know better) use a 'base' as a short-cut for broth or stock. Imagine that little bullion cube from the red or green can on steroids and you get the idea. Not so at Soy House. I have actually seen roasted bones heading for the stock pot for the beef pho, and each broth is carefully constructed for fabulous flavor to enhance the principal ingredient in a given dish. This duck is delish, full of rich but nuanced flavor. Served on the side is fresh lime, jalapeno slices, mung bean sprouts and leaf lettuce (instead of Thai basil, which isn't really suited to this soup). Made with your choice of rice or egg noodles (get the egg noodles, they work with the flavor profiles better) this is a must-try for lovers of pho.
Their innovative Vietnamese influenced pizza made it to the regular menu (read my review in an earlier post Mason Jar Madness ) after a long introduction period, and I remain hopeful the same will be true for the duck pho. Asian cusine without duck somewhere on the menu is like BBQ without ribs. You can do it, but something important is missing.
Fatalities (ok, I couldn't come up with a decent alliterative for the last book I read, so sue me.)
Damage Control by Robert Dugoni. Bob is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary authors. Mostly writing legal thrillers, his characters and situations--while sensational and intense, as a thriller should be--also have a ring of truth to them. Dialogue is natural, plot lines flow evenly, leading to a crescendo of action with a finely crafted resolution leaving the reader fulfilled. This is not an easy task, so as a writer myself, when I encounter it, I particularly enjoy quality .
Damage Control is Dugoni's second book of fiction and yes, yours truly, ever behind the curve, is commenting on a book published four years ago. There are two reasons for this: One, I opted to start at the beginning of his series when I gave a brief thumbs up to Jury Master in an earlier post, Reading to write right, right? I met Bob at a book signing and writer's discussion sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, to which we both belong. He was signing his latest, Wrongful Death, (a shiny new copy of which awaits my attention) and I was a boy on a budget, so it was paperback for me.
Two, I wanted to try reading a thriller on my new Nook e-reader, and again, being on a budget it was the perfect choice. $7.99 for the download, forever available to me, and not an inch of already groaning bookshelf space occupied. I finished the last hundred pages of the book during a two-hour back up at the Canadian border waiting to get back into the U.S. I won't spend any time recounting plot details or characters, that was done by the NY Times years ago, I'll just say I was fully engaged by the book, enjoyed it for what it was--a diverting drama full of the requisite protagonists in peril, dead bodies piling up and mischief and malfeasance in high places. It was a great read and, after all, isn't that what most writers hope for when they put their babies out for the world? Thanks, Bob. Keep 'em coming.