Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Second-best Cocker Spaniel I ever had.

The story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (from lawsuits).

The other day, my partner told me he wanted to eat at a restaurant that at the time he only saw fit to describe as, "this Vietnamese joint I know." He told me the place was located just outside China Town, deep in the heart of Downtown LA. He was driving the black and white that day, and before I knew it, we were parked in front of a building that at first glance could have easily passed for an abandoned veterinary clinic. There was a strange and eerie chain-mesh security door at the front entrance, which became only more troubling as the not-so-distant sounds of multiple dogs barking grew increasingly louder from behind the building.

I am not making this up.



Then my partner said the three words that have haunted me since; "Here we are." I quickly looked around, scanning the street for any possible signs of alternative destinations, but there were no other restaurants in sight. I looked back at the building in question while my partner approached it. Almost all of the establishment's signage was in Vietnamese except for a small, hand made sign that read "Pho 11's" (I later confirmed that it's pronounced "Foh eleven's" kind of like an urban way of saying "four eleven's" but with a PH to give it that extra touch of Vietnamese).

I was still not convinced that we were entering an actual restaurant until I noticed the all-too-telling "B" rating posted on the door by the California Department of Environmental Health. Ordinarily, a "B" rating isn't necessarily enough to dissuade me from eating at a restaurant, however, things change when you're in a police uniform. This may come as a shock to some of my more sheltered or home-schooled readers but there are a lot of people out there that hate the police, and wouldn't think twice about adding any number of cleaning products or bodily fluids to give a cop's food that extra zing. You can never tell if your cook or waiter recently received a traffic citation or possibly had a relative arrested. We literally take a substantial risk anytime we go out to eat in uniform. Off duty, I have no problem eating at "B" rated restaurants, after all, one of the biggest and most heavily-trafficked restaurants in Valencia boasted a B for years.

When I'm in uniform, however, I'm a little more reluctant to eat at a B-rated restaurant especially when said B rating is the only thing that identifies the establishment as a restaurant. But on this day, I decided to back my partner up and bravely follow him into almost certain peril.



Just inside the front door, Pho 11's lucky customers are greeted by a defective koi pond with a filthy, above-water filter, proudly displaying all the fun and exciting substances that one finds in a broken koi pond. Hmmm, my mouth was watering already. As my partner found us a table, I looked around in silence while still attempting to remain polite. The walls of the restaurant were white, or at least they had been at one time. The tables of the restaurant were all centered around a single, 18-inch TV screen that sat on the edge of the aforementioned koi pond. After all, what better place to put an electrical appliance than on the cusp of a 300-gallon container of water. The TV had seen better days, evident by the multiple wires running from it's ancient and ineffective ariel antenna system. Apparently Pho 11's is a popular place to go eat mystery beef and watch scrambled Dodger games, America's pastime indeed. I felt dirty just sitting there.

My partner must have noticed my uneasy demeanor because he looked up at me and said with the utmost sincerity "Don't worry dude, this place is way cleaner than it looks." I sat quietly and pondered the flaws in his statement. I mean really, that's like saying, "That girl over there is way prettier than she looks." Still, my partner continued his attempts at winning me over by giving me the rundown on Pho 11 procedure. "Okay partner" he said, "they're going to bring us a couple glasses of water. Don't drink it. Just order a soda. It'll come in a bottle so you'll be good to go."

Now I wanted to punch him in the face. If a restaurant can't be trusted to get water right, why would you want to eat a full meal there?



My partner then handed me a greasy menu which was written entirely in Vietnamese. "Okay, lemme see" he said while rubbing his chin, "we want... um... this one. Yeah, this one." He pointed to a picture of a beef bowl that looked identical to every other picture on the grease stained menu. I was suddenly reminded that my partner is about as Vietnamese as I am. Needless to say, I had a sneaky suspicion that we were not going to be served what we wanted, although at that moment, all I really wanted was any kind of emergency that would require us to leave the building immediately. Just as I was devising a plan to activate the emergency help button on my radio without my partner seeing, our waiter came by and took our order.

I sat quietly and did my best to ignore the unmistakable and alarmingly nearby sound of dogs barking which had intensified since we sat down and then became frighteningly quiet seconds after we placed our order. "There must be a dog kennel near here" my idiot partner said. I sat quietly and reflected deeply on my life and the various paths it had taken that ultimately lead me to Pho 11's.



For the record, I'm not saying that I think the nearby pack of dogs were in any way connected to the restaurant or it's owners. And I certainly hope our ordering food was in no way connected to their sudden and unexplained silence. After all, this is America, and I really don't think that anyone could get away with something like that. And if Pho 11's is guilty of what I believe to be the most horrid of crimes, I think they'd surely make some kind of attempt to cover it up. They certainly wouldn't keep live dogs locked up out back, just an ear shot away from their customers. Also, if my initial suspicions were correct, the California Department of Environmental Health would not have issued Pho 11's a "B". They would have gotten at least a "C-" and the owners would have been prosecuted to the fullest degree. I quietly reassured myself with this logic as our beef bowls arrived. Upon seeing my dinner, I immediately broke out into a cold sweat and sat motionless while my entire life flashed before my eyes. My partner didn't hesitate for a second; he dove right in and was immediately singing the praises of Pho 11's and their questionable beef.



I was now faced with a moral dilemma: Do I eat the mystery beef, and possibly risk violating the unspoken promise that all dog owners subconsciously make with their pets about never turning to them for nourishment even if stranded on the most deserted of islands? Or do I refuse the food, and insult my partner, Pho 11's and their customers and (worst of all) disgrace my fathers legacy?

I made the decision and I stand by it to this day; I ate the beef.

It didn't taste like beef. I think the less said about this the better. Do yourself and your conscience a favor; don't go to Pho 11's, ever.

Labels: , ,

34 Comments:

Blogger Even So... said...

This is the greatest piece of journalism in the history of reporting...

Monday, July 02, 2007 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

This is what they had cooking down the street from Phos

Fred

Monday, July 02, 2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger BugBlaster said...

It sounds like nice ambiance. I told your poppa that I'd pay next time. Thanks for the recommendation.

Monday, July 02, 2007 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Marcian said...

Actually, the Pho' is probably the safest thing to eat in such a restaurant... it's been boiled for hours.

Monday, July 02, 2007 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

This should definitely not be read prior to eating breakfast.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 3:27:00 AM  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Hey,
By the way, my wife was wondering how the food tasted. Was it as good as your partner carried on?

Fred

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 6:09:00 AM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...

Freddy, I'm gonna cover my bases and decline to comment. If the restaurant in question ever gets outed in a massive Dateline NBC investigation and the world discovers that they do indeed cook dog meat, I'd hate to have gone on the record saying that dog tastes any better than death itself.

I don't think you understand how much shame I feel right now as I type this sitting next to Wrigley.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

I'm just glad you're not dead.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 9:18:00 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Now I know why everyone wants to work "plain clothes".

Thursday, July 05, 2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gilbert said...

Watch it, pec, or you'll have to change the name of your blog from

I drank WHAT?

To:

I ate WHERE?

Saturday, July 07, 2007 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger LeeC said...

"centuri0n said...
I'm just glad you're not dead. "

How do you say "Soilant Green" in Vietnamese?

Dude,if any of Pho 11s progeny happen to by some freak chance catch this post your partner is in even more danger next lunchtime....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 7:55:00 AM  
Blogger The Advocate said...

Exactly how did your partner manage to find this place?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 8:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jon Nunley said...

Even considering what it is like to be married to a doctor with a father and siblings that are also doctors that sit around the dinner table talking about some of the nastiest things I have ever heard as though they were having a normal conversation, I seriously feel like vomiting and laughing at the same time. Never quite felt this way before. :-/

Lisa @ Deo Volente (Jon's wife)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jon Nunley said...

:-D
:-/
:-D
:-O
:-D
:-O*bleh*/

make sense?

Lisa... again. (Yeah, just wanting to torture myself. Especially with Fred's link and the Marcian "boiled for hours" contribution)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 5:58:00 PM  
Blogger SolaMeanie said...

My sister actually saw the dog thing for real in Kansas about 20 years ago. She actually saw the carcasses hanging in the apartment windows. I can't remember if she called the Humane Society or not, but she was pretty rattled by it.

Personally, I would have headed for In-N-Out Burger as soon as I saw the place.

Thursday, July 12, 2007 6:52:00 PM  
Blogger cat said...

ewww. Your Dad likes... Marmite?! I'm apalled. Anyways, I'm just glad they don't have places like that in good 'ol North Carolina.

Catherine

Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Steadman said...

Great... I lived in Korea for 4 years... I bet you can imagine my stories...

P.S. I am cop in Michigan...great blog

Saturday, July 21, 2007 2:35:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Steadman said...

Dog tastes like the dark turkey meat that has been sitting on the bottom of the roaster under all the juices all day... not to bad really, minus the think skin and huge veins.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 2:37:00 AM  
Blogger bloggernaut said...

OK I've decided to give you a chance after that anti-cat rant on Team Pyro's blog. And what do I find? Pro-life dog site, lol.

Dog tastes like the dark turkey meat that has been sitting on the bottom of the roaster under all the juices all day... not to bad really, minus the think skin and huge veins.

Oh g-d....

Pec, where did you get those dog photos?! Yikes. Congratulations, though. You have a truly disturbing site, worthy of my compliments.

*Letitia*

Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger rizzo said...

I don't usually read blogs. And I hate MySpace. I just waste time looking up bizarre and disgusting photographs/articles to share with my loved ones. However I stumbled upon this site when I found the "Spam-O-Lantern" in Google images. Perhaps it's just the painkillers talking, but being trapped in bed with a back injury and isolated in the creepy woods of New England (as a result, bored out of my skull), I feel like I ought to extend some sort of a thank you for keeping me fairly entertained at 3am. You get the stamp of approval from a typical anti-blogger. It's always the screwiest stuff that restores my faith in humanity.
-Bettie

Tuesday, August 07, 2007 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Oh MyLanta...which is what I need after reading that post. Very entertaining, but left me just a tad bit queasy. :X

Thursday, August 09, 2007 7:35:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

you're a genius.

Sunday, August 12, 2007 8:19:00 PM  
Blogger barb said...

I read this post when it first came out (good grief, has it really been over a month...oops!sorry!) Life's trials have been heavy right now and re-reading your post, Pec, has given me a laugh i really needed! This time, as i read, i realized what a good writer you are - it flows just like a book - i can picture the whole situation as you talk, er, write. it's like watching a movie in my mind. i could actually hear the dogs barking--oh, my mistake, that's our jrt wanting to go after a squirrel. thanks anyway, for the laugh.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger BugBlaster said...

When you going to post again?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007 6:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gilbert said...

Bugblaster,

You have to be kidding me, right? He's leaning over a toilet right now after the last 30 days. And I'm not talking about Pho 11's sullied attempts to bring their beef up to McDonald's standards, either. Or even White Castle. Gives new meaning to the term, "Slider".

I can see through all of this as to what is really happening here. The Pyromaniacs have generated immense buzz over their "Emergent-See" posters, but it was all a front for cat-loving. Yes, our blogging police hero is 6'4", 275 lbs, and has handily defeated Goldberg, Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Manny the Arabian Cicada, and thrown out of the WWE as "overqualified". But no man can withstand the onslaught of cat-man-doo doo over at Pyro. It's man-Kryptonite at it's worst. Spurgeon would have been horrified at this attack on all mankind.

It's enough to make a man want to down a can of Alpo. Which is probably the main ingredient of the beef over at Pho 11's.

Friday, August 17, 2007 2:14:00 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Pec - it's time for an update.

Friday, August 24, 2007 1:56:00 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Seriously...you do need to...a few posts up...you are getting to much praise again, maybe it's all going to your head and you can't think straight enough to write another post. I don't know, but it's been too long.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 2:02:00 PM  
Blogger chessum said...

I was tricked into eating there...I ate duck feet. I must go throw up now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 5:30:00 PM  
Blogger Emily Taylor said...

Hahaha! Ok ok, so you aren't unoriginal, but it is true that tons of people have been calling me hopalong. I like "circles" much better, I almost feel like rewriting my post to add that to the collection. But you have to give me some grace in that I have the right to get back a little bit at those who have taken such delight in mocking my pain and frustration. I am not deserving of being called princess in such a snide manner.

Saturday, September 01, 2007 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Baby Love said...

I live in Valencia, CA; which restaurant are you referring to that is B rated and popular? Where did you go for your Pho in LA?

Friday, October 05, 2007 8:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Advocate said...

Hey Pec. You need to update. Right now.

Why did you delete your Myspace? Besides the fact it was a Myspace?

Friday, October 26, 2007 9:25:00 AM  
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Saturday, October 27, 2007 9:54:00 AM  
Blogger barb said...

Dearest Pec,
The Lord bless and keep you and may He protect you in your daily job as a cop. Keeping you in mind and prayer. barb

Wednesday, December 05, 2007 8:25:00 AM  
Blogger Tony Myles said...

Man... I envy you being able to say things like "my partner." That's so CHiPs, dude.

Thursday, January 31, 2008 9:42:00 PM  

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