Cold weather hit hard and fast this week — just in time to freeze out the Dodgers and warm up with soup.
If you're looking for a bowl of soup to be a meal, the thing to eat is pho, Vietnamese noodle soup. I headed to Pho Dang Vietnamese Café
in Winooski, which moved in July from its home of 11 years to new quarters a few blocks north.
The restaurant at 348 Main Street, roughly double the size of the original, is a cheerful and buzzy space currently decorated with goblins and pumpkins. All 14 tables were full the night I dined there, with a steady flow of people arriving. I found a seat at a shiny wooden bar by the front door and within a couple of minutes was served a pot of tea.
My food followed fast: a first course of four deep-fried egg rolls ($3.95) and then a spectacular bowl of pho rau. The steaming bowl of chicken and beef broth held a treasure trove of crunchy vegetables, like a salad dunked in stock: scallions, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots and celery. The mushrooms came in chunks, the peppers in big pieces, and the celery slices were long and cut on the bias.
Cubes of tofu floated in the rich broth and noodles settled at the bottom; I unearthed them with each bite. I dressed the pho with a squeeze of lime, cilantro leaves and bean sprouts. My “small” bowl was $7.25 and needed a double set of utensils — soup spoon and chop sticks — to eat it.
At the original Pho Dang, it was fun to peer into the little kitchen and see big pots of broth simmering on the stove and cooks doing great things with it. The view is gone, but the great food remains.
Dining on a Dime is a weekly series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line: email@example.com.