Monday, February 27, 2012

Safari #50: What the Pho?

Pho, pronounced "Fa", is a Vietnamese soup known for its savory broth and rice noodles.  Better than your Mom's chicken soup, Pho is a wonderful gateway into Vietnamese cuisine and culture.  If you haven't tried it yet, let this post inspire you to get out and try some.

If you're wondering where to go, look no further than Boston's own "Little Saigon" located in the heart of Dorchester's Fields Corner neighborhood where Vietnamese restaurants, shops, and businesses abound.

My safari took me to Pho 2000 (198 Adams Street) where, according to rumor, the best Pho in town is served. You can garnish your Pho with bean sprouts, freshly squeezed lime juice, thai basil, and cilantro.  Other accompaniments include fish or Sriracha sauce.  Pho 2000 is easily accessible via the Fields Corner T station (only a few blocks away).  A 2-hour public parking lot is also located directly across the street.

While you're sampling Pho, try some of these other activities in Dorchester:

  • My DOT Tour - visit historical spots around Dorchester including Fields Corner and the Municipal Building.
  • Franklin Park - if you're really up for an adventure, head to Franklin Park for a stroll and picnic.  If you're really feeling adventurous, get Vietnamese to go and eat in the park!
  • The James Blake House - Visit the oldest house in the state of Massachusetts.  I had no idea!  It's a few T stops before Field's Corner.
Have you tried Pho?  Which is your favorite place?  Share in the comments below - I'd love to try your place!

Special thanks to the @EvolvingCritic and @Jenlightenment for joining me!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In Search of Potica

I'm an Ohio-bred, Boston transplant who's been living in the area for nearly four years.  Periodically, I make trips home to visit my family.  Every trip is good, but this one was extra special.  Why?  Because of something called Potica.

Pronounced 'po-teetz-sa', it's a Slovenian nut roll.   Layer after layer of pastry dough is brushed with butter and spread with a nutty mixture.  It's then rolled up and baked till golden brown.  It's delicious, and a treat that always reminds my mother of her childhood.

My mother, who is of Slovenian decent, wanted to take a trip to far east side of Cleveland to visit an old Slovenian neighborhood to buy sausages and of course, potica.  Our trip eventually led us to Joe Zuzak - owner of R & D Sausage.  Joe welcomed us with open arms and couldn't have been happier to provide my mother with her favorite treat.

Sometimes it's the reminders of home and childhood that bring us comfort when times are difficult.  My mother, who is now in remission from a 2 year battle with cancer, was thrilled to be able to leave the house and head out in search of potica.  And I was happy to be with her.

What foods remind you of home or your cultural heritage?

*Special thanks to Joe Zuzak, owner of R & D Sausage located on 15714 Waterloo Road in Cleveland, Ohio.  For hours and other information, call (216) 692-1832.

*Image kindly borrowed from 30 Days of Decadence

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Different Kind of Safari

Class Photo
Very recently, I had a different kind of safari. It was more than a trip. It was a safari of self-actualization.

When I first moved here four years ago, I didn't know a anyone, and I'll be the first to admit that I was a little frightened. I was unable to anticipate much of anything, and this uncertainty left me feeling uncomfortable. I decided that taking a self-defense class - to help me deal with expecting the unexpected - would help.

I'm happy to report that it has.

Thanks to the many wonderful connections I've made on Twitter, I met Jake Steinmann, a mixed martial arts and self-defense instructor. When I explained my interest in learning more about self-defense, Jake invited me to participate in one of his courses based on the Personal Defense Readiness System, which is a holistic self-defense program focused on finding realistic solutions to hostile confrontations in real-world scenarios. The class, held at a local gym in Central Square, was a combination of lecture, group discussion, and hand-to-hand exercises.

I was nervous at first, but Jake's easygoing style and sense of humor calmed me immediately. Most of all, I welcomed his perspective of self-defense. Using logic and reasoning, he encouraged us to determine the tools we have available to defend ourselves - right now. This realization was amazing given that my impressions of self-defense involved needing to know how to fight.

The class was a mixture of curious individuals, like myself, and trained fighters. I was surprised to see fighters present, but soon realized that they, just like the rest of us, cannot always be prepared for the unexpected. This gave me even more assurance that I was in the right space to learn and grow.

Before You Go
  • Check out Jake's Blog. Visit to learn more up his upcoming classes and his teaching ideology. To learn more about the Personal Defense Readiness System, visit
  • Interested in attending a session? Check out Jake's next class scheduled for Feb 26, 2012. 
  • Don't be afraid. While the subject is serious, the environment is open and honest. You have nothing to be afraid of! 
*Special thanks to Matthew Gaskill and Jake Steinmann for making this safari in self-actualization possible!