On a kiln-hot Denver day, hot enough to make the idea of soup seem more like a form of torture than sustenance, I realized that Pho 79 House of Vietnam stood before me as the next steamy stop on my Federal crawl. Even the restaurant's normally welcoming logo looked more like a raised middle finger topping a clenched fist than a wisp of steam rising from a bowl of pho. I've never understood the idea of consuming sweat-inducing foods -- whether packed with spice or just served piping hot -- to combat the withering effects of summer weather. I grew up in Texas, where summer camp counselors spiked the Kool-Aid with salt tablets and vinyl car seats presented a real threat of third-degree thigh burns. Air conditioning and Braum's milkshakes were modern solutions to replace the folk wisdom of perspiring to stay cool. With all this in mind, the call was easy: absolutely no pho would cross these lips, regardless of the primary culinary mission of the restaurant in question.
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