I just had to weigh in on the recent controversy regarding Pho. Of course these articles would come out the week we opened. The first is the controversial chef talking about his take on Pho and the second, which I really loved, is about why Pho is so important to the Vietnamese culture. I’m going to try and not put my foot in my mouth for fear that my favorite food magazine or news source decided to make me their poster boy in a negative way. Here’s why Pho is so important to me. I am a foreign service kid. My father was stationed is Southeast Asia for a good part of his career. The Asian culture was part of my life. My father’s identity as the first Secretary and Labor Attaché for the State Department in the Philippines, was in part shaped by the people in that region. He spoke the language, he and my mother adorned our home with everything from dragons to Buddha’s to beautiful artwork depicting the countryside. I went to schools there, my friends were there and I can became a man there. Fast forward to my days in San Francisco. As most of you may know, I lived a good part of my adult life in the bay area while being a part of the band, Jefferson Airplane. More stories for another time. I can tell you that the food that I ate while I lived there was mostly Asian Food. I know that Vietnamese cuisine did not really come to America until the 70’s after the fall of Saigon. That said, the regional specialties of southeast Asia have always been my delight when I could find them. Yes, I ate other things but my love of the “noodle” never wandered. I still eat at the same restaurant in Japan town that I ate at over 35 years ago. Mifuni (http://japancentersf.com/shopping/mifune-restaurant/) in the heart of japan town is where it’s at. I would never tell anyone how to eat their Pho. You don’t have to. The soup speaks for itself and that’s all I can say other than the choice to open up our own very small and very unique Pho restaurant in the heart of Appalachia is about that love. My chef, Justin Berry nailed it in my opinion. We live surrounded by farmers who care about their animals and care about their crops and we are so lucky to be able to offer most of our ingredients as local. Last but not least (I hope I have made some sort of point here) remember, it’s OK to slurp your noodles. I saw that on a sign in the Mifuni in the 70’s but I intuitively always knew that to be the case. Go check out a Pho restaurant in your own neck of the words. Hopefully, you won’t have far to go to get Pho to go.