I hate the cold. As this winter has reaffirmed the “North” in Northeastern University, I can’t help thinking that I could have gotten into a perfectly good school in Florida.
But since I can’t fly south or hibernate, I cope as best I can. My strategy is to zip my winter jacket all the way up to my nose, double the hood with a hat underneath, pull the hat down below my eyebrows to expose as little skin as possible, and hide what’s left of my face behind paparazzi-camouflaging sunglasses. When it’s all done I look like a bank robber executing a heist in the Arctic Circle.
So if you spot a puffy black object with a bright red nose walking down Huntington Avenue, it’s probably me. Heads-up: I’m probably grumpy because, winter.
…That is, unless you’ve caught me on the way to or from Pho Basil, a small Vietnamese and Thai restaurant located on Mass Ave in Berklee territory. Nothing cures winter like a bowl of steaming-hot pho.
I first tried Pho Basil a couple years ago when I arrived as a transfer student at Northeastern, after seeing it on the Boston Globe’s list of cheap eats. The location is a quick fifteen-minute walk from Northeastern’s campus.
Pho, pronounced “fuh,” is a Vietnamese noodle soup. Pho Basil offers nineteen (19!) varieties of pho. I haven’t worked my way through them all yet, but this winter is accelerating my pace.
My favorite option at Pho Basil is the tom yum noodle soup, a Thai-style hot-and-sour soup, and according to a waitress, one of the most popular pho options at the restaurant. I order it mildly spicy—I am curious but not adventurous—and this strikes a nice balance of heat for me.
Sometimes I switch it up from pho and order some other Thai noodle staples: pad Thai, and the spicy basil “drunken noodles.”
Usually I stick with ice water at restaurants to keep my dining costs low. Occasionally I splurge. I have a soft spot even in my winter-frozen heart for cool and creamy Thai bubble tea.
For the most part during this cold winter, I have opted to stay on Northeastern’s campus for my weekday lunches to avoid walking anywhere in the cold. But I have made regular exceptions for the walk to Pho Basil, which should tell you something about my commitment to the food and student-friendly prices.
Address & Phone
177A Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115