4745 Spring Mountain Road

Las Vegas


The more I travel, the more I realize just how conditioned I am to live in NY. It’s strange, most cities are not pedestrian friendly.  Sitting in my hotel tonight, I google mapped one of my favorite restaurants in LV. It’s called Pho So #1.  It’s this Vietnamese Spot that stays open really late.   I have gone at all hours and it is always busy.  Families, friends, large groups, couples, it’s a spot for sure.  So, I see on google maps that it’s three miles from my hotel.  It’s a hike but, what else am going to do.  I am a married man, in Las Vegas, by myself.  I don’t gamble, I am not going to go see a show by myself and wax museums are not my thing.  What’s a guy to do with two good legs on a beautiful night.

I leave my hotel with camera in hand and start to take a walk.

I hit the strip and immediately start walking to where I think I should be heading.  20 minutes later, after not being able to cross the street without some ridiculous raised bridge filled with people who stand still, on a moving side walk.   You walk down stairs, you walk on a sidewalk? Just because it’s motorized, it does not absolve you from movement.    Lots of slow moving people, confusing and indirect routes and two different people offering my coke later, I decide to jump into a taxi by the Palazzo.  A short cab ride later, I arrive at the restaurant.

The place is fairly packed.  I am seated right away. I am met by a waiter I remember. He is a real character.  He jokes, he is pushy,  he will impose himself until you kind of tell him to shut up a little. It’s pure schtick.

When going with friends or larger groups there are many more options. I feel Asian Dining is not as good when you are alone.  Have you ever gone to a Chinese Restaurant and everyone just ordered their own dishes. This happened to me a few times in my life and it was always so strange to me. Like one person orders their Beef and Broccoli, another person orders like a lo mein and then everyone just eats their own food?  So weird.  It was mixed company so I couldn’t scream, HAVE YOU ALL GONE MAD? Even the wait staff gets confused.. I digress ( can you tell I have been spending time alone? )

I order the obligatory shrimp rolls.  I discussed these on the Paris Sandwich Thread. Rice noodles, herbs, greens, shrimp, these had a little tofu. A really delicious peanut sauce.  I could have gotten the ground shrimp wrapped around a sugar cane stick and then fried, or the raw beef salad with lime, or a few other things but, the Beefy Pho I was about to get is super filling. Plus, I am not trying to be piggish. I had a 3 mile walk ahead of me and well to be honest, at this point I was still contemplating going to another restaurant after dinner.  My favorite restaurant on Spring Mountain Road is called Hot and Spicy Crawfish. I was perhaps planning on popping in there for some crawfish and a couple of beers.

Here is the Pho. It had rare steak, tripe, and flank steak. For those of you that don’t know Pho, it’s pronounced like Fuh. It’s this beautiful soup that has a beef base with all sorts of spices in it. There is cinnamon, coriander, clove, sugar, and what I love about it is the star anise. You are served a side of Thai Basil, Sprouts, Jalapeños, Limes, Fish Sauce, a Hoison and Hot Sauce mixture to dip your beef in.  It’s interactive, it has lots of moving parts, I love it.  Plus, it’s inexpensive.  I think my bowl was 6.5 bucks.

Here is a better close up. You can see raw onion, cilantro, chives floating in there as well.

Once you hit the soup with a little squeezed lime and a little fish sauce, something special happens.  It brings out ever so slightly the anise.  It’s got that sour, salt, sweet thing going.  Oh baby.  The balance when it’s done right it’s magical.  What’s that saying about the sum of the parts.  It comes together like Voltron.

So, after I ate that entire bowl of broth and noodles and beef and tripe and a few beers, I had to walk it off.  Getting back to my initial thing about Pedestrian Friendly Cities. Vegas is not. They want you on the Strip and any other activity that gets you away from the Casinos is frowned upon.. There were some pregnant moments along the highway my friends.

I have included the map my run route to show you what it was like. You see that double line highway.That was down right frightening. Then there is a another orange guy.  Yah, it’s like the Beetle Juice Desert outside of the Las Vegas Casinos.

I was going to go more in depth about Spring Mountain Road and the other places I like but, this was a really long post. Sorry if lost you guys. I will keep it more concise and clear next time.