My request as I greet my parents at the airport: pho, please!
Pho is a Vietnamese soup which is sent by the gods to make all of our hearts jump up in glee and delight in blissful comfort. I had a major craving for the stuff, but not just any pho. I wanted Pho 75 pho. Pho 75 is a chain of restaurants in the metropolitan DC area that has won the Washingtonian Best Bargain Restaurant Award every year since 1987. It only offers pho (20 varieties of it)and Vietnamese drinks and desserts, and is cash-only. The owners run a brilliant business and have succeeded in making most Washingtonians addicted to their soup. If you've lived in DC for any significant period of time, you are most likely addicted to pho.
Pho is served with a choice of bean sprouts, purple basil, green chillies, and lemon. You can also add plum sauce or a red chili sauce called Sriracha, which is also an excellent addition to many dishes.
My father, who travels often to Vietnam for work, told me that he's not tasted such a delicious pho in Vietnam as the one served at Pho 75. The epitome of comfort foods, the pho beef broth has a unique taste, perfumed by the aroma of purple basil. The beef brisket strips are thin and tender, and the noodles are simply delicious. Some opt for the more intense tendon or tripe variety, but I like my brisket.
So, next time you're in DC...the Smithsonian can wait until you have a nice bowl of pho.