I think there's a perfectly good reason for this (and it's only partly due to the fact that Le's quality has gone downhill in recent months.) It was at Pho Vietnam on July 31st, halfway through my usual weekly bowl, when my nerves just failed and I was hit so hard with an episode of anxiety and panic that I thought I was en route to a heart attack. Went to the emergency room and spent six or seven hours hanging out in a hospital with EKG electrodes stuck to my body and an assault victim named Frank in the bed next to me whose story kept changing depending on who was asking the questions (and who decided, once the nurses had left him alone for a while, that it'd be a perfect time to light up a smoke.)
Several prescriptions and visits to a pill doctor later, we're working on reducing the anxiety and stress levels, and trying to keep the blood pressure down so as to not beat the daily high score on the testing machine at CVS. It's slow going, but things do seem to be getting better. It's just that, well, I don't want to eat pho anymore.
I don't blame the soup itself (though a beef soup with a bit of salt in probably doesn't help the ol' BP) and I don't blame the restaurant for cooking the soup, but every time recently when I've found myself in the Big City with a coupla bucks to spare for a sit-down meal, I ask myself "Hey, wanna go for pho?" and the response, instead of a "Yeah! It's been too long!" has been "...no, I don't feel like it. There's gotta be something else to eat."
I think it's the memories of the anxiety attack experience -- the sudden feeling of dizziness, the left arm pain, the shortness of breath, the surreal rising paranoia and the odd thoughts that This Could Very Well Be It -- now mingled with the aspects of the pho experience (the noodles, the eye round, the taste, the chopsticks, the big plastic spoon) that have turned me off the soup. I don't have any extreme "HOT WATER BURN BABY" moments when I think about possibly returning to Pho Vietnam any time soon, but it's more like a feeling of no, I just don't feel like pho any more. Perhaps it's also the philosophy that too much of a good thing can be too much sometimes.
I'm sure I'll have it again someday. But not right now. There's more stuff to focus on.