June 10, 2008
A Flight of Pho

In case of turbulence, I'm not sure I'd want a bowl of the hot Vietnamese noodle soup pho in my lap while flying out of Sacramento International Airport, but a week from today travelers are to have that option.

That's when Mai Pham is scheduled to open a branch of her Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar in Terminal A. Easier to handle than the pho will be several other items on the takeout menu, including shrimp salad rolls, Thai beef salad, grilled Bangkok chicken, and jungle curry with tofu and vegetables.

The airport cafe marks the first time that Pham has agreed to a licensing partnership with a national company (HMSHost), and she sees the move as a possible step toward introducing the Lemon Grass concept to a much broader audience.

Pham, who has owned the Vietnamese and Thai restaurant Lemon Grass along Munroe Street for nearly 20 years, introduced Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar along Howe Avenue in 2006 as an outlet for more casual dishes representing Southeast Asian street food and market kitchens. Pho is her signature dish, but the Terminal A menu, an abbreviated version of her other menus, also includes the spicy Thai noodle soup kao soi, grilled lemon grass chicken and assorted curries and salads.

In addition, the menu includes breakfast paninis, oatmeal and pastries from La Bou Bakery and Cafe, the chain of croissant shops in which Pham also is a principal.

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