Chef-owner Liu Dang, a veteran of a few sushi bars, told me he targeted the spot simply because you can't get pho in the neighborhood. Well, Nhu Lan makes it, but only for takeout, and there was no place for a sit-down with the proper accoutrement—herbs, lime wedges, bean sprouts, fish sauce, chile sauce, and hoisin—arrayed before you to doctor your own brew. The bowls at L.D. Pho are oceanic; the large size is only $1 more than a $7 small. That's excepting the house special, or dac biet, featuring the full range of beef bits—brisket, flank, tendon, tripe, and meatballs—for $1 more. Dang's broth is plenty fragrant with five spice, concealing a tangled forest of rice noodles under the floating greenery. This is the reason take-out pho is usually a losing proposition—and why every neighborhood deserves a sit-down spot. Those noodles quickly absorb the broth, leaving you with a plastic tub of starch bordering on porridge. L.D. Pho will package orders, but you might as well just get a plate of bun kho, noodles sans soup with grilled pork, shrimp, chicken, or fried egg rolls.
Tonight Todd Rundgren performs at SPACE. Tomorrow night Iron Chic headlines the late show at Township and . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead plays 2002's Source Tags & Codes in its entirety at Empty Bottle. On Wednesday there's Trentemoller at Concord Music Hall.
There are plenty more concerts to see this week—head to Soundboard or read on for a couple Reader picks.
Hey, did you read:
You make beer. From grain. You think, what to do with the grain after it's been boiled for a while? Hey, don't pigs eat grain? Yes, they do, as do other farm animals. And so brewers have been giving brewery waste products, nice and mushy like Irish oatmeal, to farmers since, oh, Russell Crowe was building an ark or something. And so far as anyone can seem to figure out, the number of health problems this has caused (as opposed to decades of perfectly legal antibiotics abuse, say) is basically zero.
So to combat this scourge of sensible sustainability with no downside, the FDA is about to ban recycling spent grains into animal feed unless the grains have been purified in some expensively technological way. (True, the grains don't strictly boil in the brewing process, where temperatures are in the range of 160 degrees, but again, there's no apparent case of this being a problem ever.) Of course, big farms and big brewers can afford to put in the equipment to dry, test, and package this stuff, so as often happens, regulation has the purely coincidental side effect of favoring big, well-connected business and harassing little guys. Reason and Boing Boing have more on this, but the reason I bring it up today is that you have exactly today to go to the FDA site and politely suggest that fighting forms of sustainability that have existed since the dawn of drinking is kind of a poor choice of priorities. It's virtually impossible to find where you can actually leave a comment, citizens, so here's the link. Protest before midnight tonight!
And in other food news . . .
Some of the world’s funniest people gather to make stuff up at the Chicago Improv Festival. Groups from as far as New Zealand (not to mention the exotic cities of Athens, Ohio, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin) perform. But tonight’s all about local flair. The Best of Chicago Improv showcase features Baby Wants Candy and the Improvised Shakespeare Company at Stage 773.
The Extinct Entities Festival, which re-creates defunct and legendary artistic venues and performance spaces, releases its eponymous book tonight at Links Hall. The launch features readings from contributors Jason Foumberg and Thea Liberty Nichols, with music by Colin Blantonn.
Philadelphia indie-pop duo Pattern is Movement perform tonight at Schubas. Leor Galil writes in Soundboard that they've "beefed up their sound with more strings and horns, taking cues from contemporary soul and R&B; over the past few years, Pattern Is Movement have taken to covering D'Angelo's 'Untitled (How Does It Feel)' at shows, at least once backed by the Roots."
For more on these events and others, check out the Reader's daily Agenda page.
The show features a dazzling array of materials, from the 1700s to the present, that surround the stories and pageantry of the widely popular form. This includes production artifacts, such as costumes and instruments, as well as a series of jaw-dropping paintings, some of which served as reference for stage makeup, in which snakes, crabs, scorpions, and birds dramatically drawn on an actor's face obliterate the person's features.