March 5, 2010

Chanthana and I love pho.

Now, I know that many people love pho.  @lovingpho has a whole site dedicated to it and while I’m ticked that I didn’t think of it first, I’m happy to see that so many follow him.   My point is, apparently we were really known for pho-love in our respective circles.  And then we found each other.

I know that we didn’t coin the term “phonatic” because there is a restaurant called Phonatic in Providence, RI that would beg to differ, but I can tell you when we first used it.

December 17th 2009.

A little background.  Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess named Hooshna who promised to award a (then) coveted Google Wave invite to the first joker to make her laugh.  The winning joker sent her this:

“How many ADD tweeters does it take to screw in a lightb…Check out my blog!!!”

The joker was me.

Soon after, Hooshna saw one of my many pho tweets and informed me that she’d always wanted to try it but opted for more familiar menu items every time she went for Vietnamese food.  We planned a pho adventure and Chanthana joined us.

You know the mechanics of striking a match, yes?

I think that’s what happened when the three of us came together over this remarkable dish.  The idea just exploded.  How many times had we heard a friend say that pho looked interesting, but complicated.  And since they didn’t know how to eat it, they opted for something else.  We decided then and there to start scouring the universe (or, our friends) for pho-neophytes and bring them together with pho-lovers.

I think we called it a VietTweetup or something else in the beginning but on December 17th, the Phonatics were born.

(I know the date only because I was playing with Tweetake at the time and saved a data-dump of about 3,000 tweets.)

In terms of Chicago and Twitter, I think it’s safe to say we had a hand in the phonatic movement.  Chanthana maintains a Twitter list dedicated to lovers of pho and we’re each constantly heading to Uptown for impromptu or planned lunch and dinner outings.  Hooshna’s an expert now and regularly introduces people to pho.  Her favorite, I believe, is Tank Noodle and Chanthana likes Pho 777.

We’ve each introduced so many people to the intricacies of pho:

  • Choose your variety of lean or fatty meats
  • Prepare your side dish with hoisin and sriracha (or squeeze right into broth)
  • Tear herbs by hand and add
  • Drop in a handful of bean sprouts, unless you are Chanthana.  She hates ’em!
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Jalapeno slice or two or zero.
  • SlurpSlurpSweatSniffSlurp
  • Swell up
  • Sleep

I’d say our major accomplishment in this arena is that we have managed to entice someone to cross state lines just to dine with us.  Gabe is flying in from Detroit as a result of our constant tweets and pics of food and fun.  (And perhaps because we told him that we didn’t think he would?)

What other foods have you always wanted to try but needed a nudge?  If you’re looking for company, I’m always game for adventurous eats, especially the dirty bits that most people avoid.  And if you’re looking to try a steaming, fragrant cultural staple, I know three lovely ladies who will happily show you the ropes.

34 Responses to “Phonatics”

  1. Gabe Says:

    What a great post on Pho. I was first introduced to Pho by my coworkers in Detroit. Like the phonatics we also had a group that would go pho, but I will say it is definitely not as great of a social experience as it seems to be in Chi. I am extremely excited to meet all of the phonatics!

    – Gabe (@antigabe)

  2. Jen Says:

    Thanks for introducing me to pho! I always like trying new foods, and pho is delicious! I haven’t tried fried green tomatoes yet…you in?

    • feliciacago Says:

      Always in for fried green tomatoes and any kind of southern/soul food goodness. When? Where? I’m thinking we need another road trip to Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. It has to be small or the wait time will be a killer. (Took 45 minutes to seat 3 of us!) You in?

  3. feliciacago Says:

    Thanks Gabe! I think we’ve successfully created a Pho-nomenon (sorry, had to be said) with our tweetups. People come to learn and get to make new friends. Can’t wait to meet you IRL! By the way, @dorothyn21 is worried that you might murder me on the way back from the airport, so be warned. Don’t.

    • sharkorama Says:

      I must second the request to not murder @feliciacago. she is one of my very best tweeps and i’ll not be in Chi to ensure her well-being. But believe you me, @antigabe, if you do murder her, i will totally unfollow you. TAKE THAT.

  4. Dorothy Says:

    Sorry Gabe. Just looking out for my girl @FeliciaCago. I’m sure you are not an axe-murderer and a very nice person but just in case you are could you please hold off until you leave the Chi?

    Looking forward to the next pho-outing!!

  5. Gabe Says:

    Hahaha…no murdering will be taking place. Befriend me on Facebook if you like and you can get to know more about me and minimize the feeling of risk. 😉

    I like to consider myself a good guy. I would take any unfollowing from twitter a huge blow to my psyche. So I could not risk that.

  6. Dorothy Says:

    We all know an “unfollow” is the ultimate slap in the face! So not worth the risk @antigabe!

  7. feliciacago Says:

    I think there would be less murdering going on if we attached the social stigma of the dreaded “unfollow” – Bravo Sharkorama for introducing the concept. I look forward to the white paper.

  8. Dorothy Says:

    I think we are on to something. Thanks to sharko we may just save the world!

  9. chanthana Says:

    Before –> “Let’s meet for coffee and chat.”
    After –> “Let’s meet for a bowl of pho!”

    Growing up, my family and I would go out to pho as our Sunday brunch (probably Saturday, too). I’m so happy to see so many people enthusiastic for pho! PhoTW!

  10. Adrienne Says:

    and it’s not just from the pho…..

    EH OH!

  11. Excited to meet you guys over pho on the 20th!

  12. Hooshna Says:

    All this talk of murdering and unfollowing is making me hungry for pho.


    Beautiful Princess Hooshna

  13. Hooshna Says:

    In all seriousness, thanks to you dear Felicia for enthusiastically showing me the light. You too, Chanthana! Without you, I would have never pho-und love 🙂

  14. antigabe Says:

    You all are awesome.

  15. aspireprez Says:

    Liked this post and your writing style felicia….cheers, jim k (aspireprez)

  16. […] during his visit from Detroit to come to our amazing city for a pho tweetup. I’ll let Felicia explains to you all about it. Be on the lookout for her post and pictures of the tweetup! Back to calling […]

  17. […] 21, 2010 We’ve all read about Gabe’s impending visit to meet the Phonatics – The GabeUp, if you will.  As it were.  (That one’s for you, […]

  18. […] together under a steamy delicious bowl of Pho. Here’s her entry talking about how it all started. At the last Phonatics tweetup we started at Pho Viet in Uptown Chicago and worked our way through […]

  19. […] four Phonatics events in April and managed to achieve the impossible.  […]

  20. […] close to my beloved Vietnamese food.  Yes, anyone who knows me knows of my devotion to all things Phonatical, so it comes as no surprise that proximity to edibles would factor heavily into my decision.  […]

  21. […] has generously offered her home for the next Phonatics […]

  22. […] have blogged about the Phonatics timeline, which marks the beginning of my “Addiction” phase. As I approach the end of […]

  23. […] have blogged about the Phonatics timeline, which marks the beginning of my “Addiction” phase. As I approach the end of 2010, I […]

  24. […] have blogged about the Phonatics timeline, which marks the beginning of my “Addiction” phase. As I approach the end of 2010, I […]

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