As for Parris, while he admits it was hard to end his three-year tenure at the Fulton, he's using this sabbatical to ponder plans for his own restaurant, where he could pursue his passion for freshness. "It would be great to have a place that was spacious enough for me to do a little gardening," he says, "and to get kids involved with planting and growing stuff, too." Meantime, he's trying to launch a regional chapter of Chefs Collaborative (a national network of culinary professionals who support local, artisanal, and sustainable food systems). Fans can also catch him in Hudson on October 21, when he leads a class on local food sources and healthy preparations at the Western Reserve School of Cooking (330-650-1665).
Hot pho in the summertime . . .
It's not exactly the season for soup, but we still can't wait to get back to Pho Hoa for its authentic Vietnamese soup. The little dining room in the middle of Golden Plaza (3030 Superior Avenue, 216-781-7462) is undecorated, save for a few framed paintings and big bouquets of chopsticks. But the room makes a functional backdrop for the small menu, featuring nothing much besides a dozen types of pho, a noodle-and-broth-based meal in a bowl. Flecked with scallions and fresh cilantro, the soup tastes both virtuous and delicious, but much of the fun with pho comes from customizing a bowl to suit your tastes. Diners first choose the type of thinly sliced meats they want the kitchen to add to the broth (items like flank steak, brisket, or tripe), then stir in tabletop condiments ranging from thick hoisin sauce to freshly squeezed lime, from hot chili sauce to bean sprouts and basil. Then smile and slurp it up. Pho Hoa is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Monday.