When life gets me down and my joints are squeaking lots and lots, I always turn to comfort food, and I recommend others do the same – in moderation of course. While homemade mac and cheese and food of that sort are beyond amazing, my escape – no – sanctuary has become a local vietnamese dive in Dupont Circle. I always get #48 – a large bowl of pho with a combination of rare beef and stringy brisket. Then I pile on sriracha and hoisin sauce and, quite literally, dive in. I learned the hard way that it’s a terrible date food, but I don’t care. If he is put off by the messy slurp-inducing soup and fails to see how exciting and delicious pho can be, he’s not someone I want to date.

The moment I walk in is the one moment in my life right now where I feel I can be pompous and pretentious and get away with it. I’m a regular, dammit! The staff and I aren’t on a first name basis yet, but they recognize me and some of them know my order before I order it. I feel cool when that happens. Then occasionally they don’t recognize me at all. As my luck would have it, this normally happens when I bring some friends along who are new to the place. The entire walk over, I rave about how I’m part of the ‘in’ crowd (“It’s OK if it’s too crowded. I’m a regular, they’ll let us in!”). And then I get laughed at when I say hello and the staff doesn’t even acknowledge me.

The sheer color of the soup never fails to intrigue me. The complexity is not something I care to understand, but I do care to eat. And I swear to God, pho tastes better if you eat it with chopsticks and not a dinky spoon. In fact, if it weren’t for the added MSG, I’d eat there everyday! Then they’d know my name for sure.