By STACEY PATTON WALLACE
As I have mentioned before in this column, I am a 20th-century woman trapped in the 21st century. In fact, I was the least tech-savvy teacher when I taught at Long Cane Middle School in LaGrange, Georgia.
However, even I must admit that some technology is pretty amazing. For instance, there is Google Translate, an app on cellphones which can translate English into other languages.
Thankfully, Katie Newman, our outstanding media specialist (We called them librarians in the 20th century.) at LCMS, was adept at using Google Translate from 2019 to 2020, our retirement year. That year, two brothers from Vietnam moved to LaGrange and enrolled in our school. Neither of the boys spoke English, so they often were in the media center using computers.
Katie would speak English into Google Translate, and her message would be translated into Vietnamese for them. Also, sometimes the boys were sent to my husband Mike, the computer teacher at LCMS. Mike used the app to write instructions on his Promethean board so that they could understand what to do.
Recently, I phoned Katie to ask about those sweet brothers. She said that although they weren’t quite fluent in English, they were speaking it pretty well. Also, she said that Google Translate has come a long way since three years ago when she had to either speak into her phone or type messages. Now, you can take a picture of a sheet written in English, and the app automatically translates it into the student’s own language. The teacher can then print a copy for the student. “What will they think of next?” is a cliché, but it certainly fits.
Recently, Mike and I were reminiscing about those sweet brothers when we decided to try Vietnamese food for the first time. A few weeks ago, we went to Pho Lee Vietnamese Restaurant at 756 E. Glenn Ave. in Auburn.
When we entered the restaurant, we noticed that there was a really good crowd for a Monday night; that’s always a good sign. Mike and I were also impressed by the number of takeout orders we witnessed.
I admired the attractive interior of the building; I particularly liked the Tiki hut-like entrance. Libby, our server, was an absolute delight. Since we had never eaten Vietnamese food, we had several questions, and she kindly and patiently answered each one.
As I’ve mentioned before, Mike and I are always kind to our servers. After all, they showed up for work when many businesses are short-staffed. As “Pooh-sized” people, we really appreciate those who feed us.
For an appetizer, Libby recommended the Vietnamese fried egg rolls, which are made with pork. Libby told us that the owner’s mother makes them.
Boy, Libby was right about those egg rolls. They were outstanding. I could have made a meal out of three or four of them.
For his entrée, Mike chose the grilled, marinated beef and shrimp with fried rice. I selected the deluxe fried rice with pork, chicken and shrimp. We both chose non-spicy entrees because acid reflux is not our friend.
Everything was really delicious. Mike particularly loved the taste of the marinade. Mine was just as tasty. However, we managed to stop eating before Libby had to roll us to our car. Pho Lee is a definite do-over for the Wallaces.
In addition, Mike and I chatted with the restaurant’s owner, Pham Lee, who was so gracious and kind. Lee said that the restaurant had been in Auburn for 10 years. Also, he sent us some Thai tea; it was really great, too.
Besides our tasty appetizers, Pho Lee Vietnamese Restaurant also offers diners a variety of spring rolls, as well as fried wontons. The restaurant also serves a large selection of fried rice dishes, house specials, soups, Vermicelli rice noodles and Vietnamese sandwiches.
Pho Lee Vietnamese Restaurant is closed on Sunday. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner (supper) from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Pho Lee Vietnamese Restaurant makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!
Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the grade,” will appear each week in The Observer. Wallace may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org