Saturday, October 11, 2008

Com tam thit nuong & a garden gate

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Every weekend we drive to Garland for Vietnamese food. We usually eat at Bistro B and also frequently at Pho Bang. We went today to Bistro B, but it was closed because of a fire eight days ago or there was a fire and the damage will be repaired in 8 days – language issues. The young women working the cash registers were there, giving away baguettes and café sua da to anyone who wandered in. They’re part of the Bistro B experience, easy on the eye, snatching your money (but still glad to see you), multitasking with speed and intensity. So I had my 2nd café sua da of the day and we fired on up the road to Pho Bang for com tam thit nuong (broken rice plate with charcoaled pork chop) with fried egg on top of the rice and some brilliant nuoc cham – and it comes with a little bowl of pho broth. We started out sharing a table (tables in the center of the room seat 8) with a family of five and when they left a woman with three children came to the table. We talked a little and the woman said, “When you want pho, you come here.” It’s true.

Pho Bang is exactly like a basic restaurant in Saigon. The only differences are that Pho Bang has aircon with fans instead of just fans and padded chairs instead of blue or pink plastic. Everything else is the same – the food is great, there are many employees keeping everything moving, everyone there for the food, everyone chock-a-block – it’s a scene.

A nice email to get

From: Carrie
Subject: The Gate In Your Garden (A Cottage Garden)

Good morning!

My husband and I recently bought a house that we are renovating. Part of the project is to grow a fantastic garden. First, however, we are replacing the fence. Months ago I came across a photograph of the gate to your fence (pictured below). I instantly fell in love with the tree (carved?) on the gate and knew I must have something just like it :) It would mean a lot to me and be much appreciated if you could please pass along any information you have regarding that gorgeous gate! Thanks so much!

Sincerely, Carrie

Hi Carrie,

Thank you. I made the gate from cedar boards, framed vertically into a kind of picture frame box, except the back pieces to hold it steady & join the boards (I used 3 vertical pieces 1½ “ wide to join the vertical boards that make up most of the gate surface), I left off until the last. There is a top, horizontal board (on which is written & carved, “Memories” in my son’s hand). Then I drew a picture on 8.5x11 paper, then drew the same thing, but larger on the gate. Drilled holes where leaves, etc. were to gain access with my hand scroll saw. Cut out leaves and branches. Put in the vertical joining pieces. Used a rasp, then sandpaper to soften the edges of the cuts. Didn’t use preservative – I expect to give out before the gate does.

I know you can grow some great things over there in PA. It’s cold at times, but no searing summer months on end like here. If you decide to grow roses (specifically, old garden roses), I recommend you read about them – that’s what winters are for, reading and dreaming, catalog reading, list-making … find a good nursery that has a good selection of OGRs – most get a new shipment in early spring (well, not that early for you). There are three such places in Dallas – all are independent – you may have to look a little.

Enjoy your home and garden.


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