Follow the Cheap Bastard as she scours the city, looking for a good -- or at least non-lethal -- lunch for less than 10 bucks.
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SHOW ME HOW
I (Heart Shape) Pho is in the same shopping center as the Used To Be Kinko's at Forest Lane and Central Expressway (7927 Forest Lane). If you'd like to look this restaurant up on The Yelp, its name appears to be "I Luv Pho" and "I Love Pho." (I would be annoyed by the fact that this place has a not-letter in its name, but I'm already too pissed that in naming their restaurant, they completely skipped the opportunity to make a "pho" can sound like "fuck" joke. Everyone knows the first rule of opening a phostaurant: If you're gonna use the word "pho" in your restaurant name, it's your job to make a fuck joke. Name it Pho Me Running. Or, Who Gives a Pho? Or, Zero Phos Given. Or, Pho the Police. Or, Pho You, Pho You, Pho You, You're Cool, Pho You, I'm Out! Or, Let's Get Pho Ktup. Or,,There's A Hole In This Bucket, Well Pho It. Or, You Pho My Wife? You Pho My Wife? Or, Yippee-Kay-Yay, Mother Pho. Or, Down to Pho (DTP). Whatever you do, make the fuck joke. You've got one job.)
Semi-interestingly, The One Star Review On Yelp People seem to specifically hate the pho here. They say it's one-star-too-greasy-and-bland. One Star Review On Yelp People are not always right, but they're also not always wrong. They're like toddlers. Sometimes, a toddler spits out broccoli you were trying to pass off as delicious, and you're like, "Yeah, you're absolutely right about that. I maybe wouldn't have spat it directly into someone else's eyeball -- maybe a little dramatic there -- but essentially, you're right." But other times, they're screaming bloody murder when you're trying to feed them birthday cake, or when you're letting touch a unicorn, or whenever anything else awesome is happening. At least with a toddler, you can put them in time-out. Yelp needs a better time-out feature. Not a forever-banned moment, but just an "I'M COUNTING TO THREE AND IF I GET TO THREE YOU HAVE TO SIT ON THE STEP," kind of deal.
I digress: I didn't feel like eating pho on the day I went to I (Heart Shape) Pho, so I took a risk and I did what I usually do not advise doing on the first visit to a specialty restaurant: I ordered something that was not in the specialty restaurant name. This rule doesn't apply everywhere: If the place names itself Chankie's Hut or Bermutha's Café, you order whatever you want. But, after years of searching for cheap meals, I've found that the safe bet at any place that claims it has a specialty is: order the gaddamned specialty, you douchebasket. You're in a place called "I'm The Best At Cooking Up Burgers," it's not safe to order their pasta Alfredo. Sure, it could end fine. But it could also end worse than getting pinkeye in your butt.
Long story long, I had a vermicelli bowl. The charbroiled pork one that comes with an egg roll for $7.95. I also had a Thai iced tea. One Star Yelp People seemed to complain about service here, but I found it to be just great. Nobody talking to me about specials, or staring at me as I take the first bites of my food so they can perfectly time the moment to ask if I like it or not. I had chopsticks, I had my own bottle of Sriracha, I had my cilantro + mint leaves combo going on -- it was standard vermicelli bowl heaven. If you're in the neighborhood, looking for a straightforward vermicelli bowl experience to opt into instead of going to that Dickey's over there, this is your safe bet.