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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014

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In Dining Blogs

The cure for the fall/winter blues? A steaming bowl of B1.

Bowled over

Mother Nature may toss a sunny and warm-feeling day or two our way in the next couple of weeks, but I think we're pretty close to exhausting our annual allotment.

I'm OK with that.

Would I rather have the weather be 75 and sunny every day? Absolutely. But, I can deal with fall and have conditioned myself not to complain too much when the icy finger of winter delivers its five-month prostate exam.

At this time of year, I can enjoy the fall colors, put on a sweater or a lighter jacket and enjoy one of my favorite culinary treats -- a good bowl of soup.

I enjoy soup year-round, but fall and winter kicks my fascination up a few notches. I'm always looking for a better bowl. Yesterday, I was hanging out with my cousin, Chris, an amateur gourmet and soup artisan, and he had a craving.

We had to go to Phan's Garden for some Pho Dac Biet (B1). If you've never had this dish, get to National Avenue as quickly as you can. It's full of rice noodles, sliced beef, seafood and other goodies and comes with a heaping side of condiments like bean sprouts, basil, cilantro and jalapeno chilies.

Unless you've been stranded at sea for a week, you'll probably have a hard time finishing the entire bowl. But the stuff is so good -- and the stock so savory with onion, garlic and star anise and the dollops of Sriracha sauce -- that you'll have trouble putting down the spoon and/or chopsticks.

I don't know the nutritional content of this soup. It might not be great in terms of calories, sodium, etc. But it tastes great and, as Chris said, "It clears the sinuses and I feel healthier after eating it."

A great bowl of chicken dumpling can have the same effect, but every time the weather takes a turn toward "damn cold," I feel the need for a B1 shot.

Where do you get your favorite bowl of soup?


Victor Golf | Nov. 17, 2010 at 2:27 p.m. (report)

Dales on 61st or 62nd and Capital. If you've never been there, do yourself a favor.

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chef jovan | Nov. 15, 2010 at 10:22 a.m. (report)

Whenever I am feeling a cold come on, I head out to Phan's garden for B1, it just tastes healthy, with the hot broth and fresh veggies, and adding just enough hot sauce to kill whatever is trying to bring me down. Great food, you just feel better after eating there!!

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