LYNNWOOD — The stretch of Highway 99 from south Everett into Lynnwood is a mecca of pot and pho shops.
With so many choices, how’s a person supposed to know where to stop for weed and soup?
I was in the mood for pho, not pot. Besides, I had my two little granddaughters with me.
We rolled into Pho Han Vietnamese Restaurant on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the lull between lunch and dinner. There was one couple at a back table in the small yet spacious eatery. Tranquility prevailed, until our party of six spilled in and started making noise at a table in front.
Even when toddlers are quiet they aren’t very quiet. The two jabbering grandgals sat next to each other in highchairs and used chopsticks as drumsticks on the table.
The menu had multiple options in addition to pho. The pages had color pictures and everything looked good.
So did the prices: only $7 for a basic meal that included meat, rice and salad.
I studied the menu for so long that my son, Ian, remarked, “Paralysis by analysis.”
That means over-thinking a decision. It’s why I love buffets.
I couldn’t decide what to get in my pho.
I pronounced it “foe.” Then came the usual ribbing from my family for butchering the word for the Vietnamese rice noodle soup.
Turns out, pho is on the list of commonly mispronounced words, mainly because nitwits like me like to say it pho-netically. Forget how it is spelled: The way to say it is “fuh.” It’s the real thing, not fake, like faux, which is pronounced “foe.”
The friendly server brought glasses of iced water and made several trips to inquire if we were ready to order. She wasn’t pushy; she was attentive.
I was holding up the show. Finally, I chose a chicken and shrimp skewers plate ($7) and a bowl of “fuh.”
The food arrived within minutes.
Instead of the standard white round plates, the meals arrived on large, oval scalloped-edged plastic plates with the fare displayed in a pretty fashion.
Portions were generous and delicious.
The chicken was tender and tangy. The pho was laden with noodles, meat, onions and spices in a slurp-pendous flavorful broth.
“My pork chop was thin and marinated just right, just like my mom could never make,” my funny son Ian said.
His wife, Ayako, had steak pho ($6.50) and ate the whole thing. “It makes you full without feeling fat,” she said. “It was so good.”
Ayako liked the selection of sauce bottles at the table, especially the brown sauce. “I was happy that I can use as much as I want without having to ask because I always need extra,” she said.
She also had a banh mi chicken sandwich ($3.25), and praised the soft, crispy baguette that surrounded the pile of seasoned meat and crunchy vegetables. It served two, so my husband, Max, took half of it off her hands.
Max loved the vinegar dressing on the salad. In fact he wouldn’t shut up about how good it was. The fried egg that was an option with his chicken dish ($8) was cooked perfectly.
The entire meal came to about $42. My son even offered to pay.
We got a mango bubble tea to-go, to take to the park, our next destination.
Pho Han is a good place to bring little kids. My two hellion granddaughters were entertained the entire time, especially by their saucers of pho noodles.
It has a book corner, with diverse titles including kids tales, a Cosmopolitan magazine, the Bible and Gen. Tommy Frank’s autobiography.
On the wall was a poster of presidents that could use some updating. It started with George Washington and ended with the first George Bush.
Maybe it’s fitting: I think the prices at Pho Han are stuck in 1993.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
Pho Han Vietnamese Restaurant, 14608 Highway 99, Lynnwood; 425-743-9370.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Alcohol: Beer and wine.
Vegetarian options: Tofu pho and rice dishes.