Bún Mắm in Eden

For the more adventurous taste buds, bún mắm, is now offered in various restaurants in Eden Center. Hải Dương was the first that got me hooked. The bowl had been savory and consistent for a long time. I was satisfied every time I went there for it. Now Hải Dương’s bún mắm is still good, but not as good as the good old days. The broth is sweeter and less savory.

A friend recommended bún mắm at Thanh Tòng and I had it once. I can’t recall exactly how it tasted, but was I was not impressed. I also tried once at Cơm Tắm Sài Gòn. While the broth was decent, the fish had that old, freezer-like smell. The whole bowl was ruined.

A month or so ago, I checked out the new joint Viet Gardens and it was the worse so far. The broth was watered down and the pork was chunky and chewy. The owner used to run Làng Nướng Tây Đô a few years ago only for a few months.

Where Làng Nướng Tây Đô used to be is now a brand new Eden Kitchen, which is a division of Phở Factory in Alexandria. It also offers bún mắm so I gave it a try today and it turned out be a disappointment. It lacked all the varieties of ingredients and the broth was not piping hot.

At this time, the best place to have bún mắm in Eden Center has to be at Rice Paper. With various ingredients including eggplant, bún mắm at Rice Paper has a rich flavor. The broth is probably a bit salty for most people; therefore, just add more lime juice to balance it out. Rice Paper is still one of the most crowded place in Eden for some of its delicious dishes. The only thing that Rice Paper needs to work on is its customer service. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.

Kim Phung’s Delicious Mooncake

As Tết Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival) is approaching, mooncakes are on displayed everywhere in Asian stores. As always, Kim Phung’s fresh mooncake is still the best. My wife and I shared its specialty (egg yoke, ham, mixed nuts and melon) and sipped some tea. As I am getting older and older, this is the only reason to love Tết Trung Thu. If you have a chance to visit Eden Center in the next few weeks, check out Kim Phung Bakery. It’s kind of pricey ($8 a pop), but definitely worth it.

Green Smoothie Recipes

I have been adding green smoothie as part of my breakfast and dinner on a regular basis. I only drink green smoothie instead of coffee in the morning and eat less dinner to save room for smoothie. My wife is also on board with the diet. In fact, she’s much more knowledgable about nutrition than me. The posted the two recipes I like in the eatery section: My Green Smoothie and Ultimate Green Smoothie. If you have come up with great recipes, hook me up. If not, here are a few sites I pulled together with plenty of green smoothie recipes:

Pho Capital

The correct name should probably called Pho Capitol since the logo, which looks quite decent, has an illustration of the U.S. Capitol building. In any rate, I noticed this place a while ago since it is locating on Little River Turnpike, but never tried it out. I also read some negative reviews on Yelp, but decided to give it a try anyway since the location is convenience from my house.

I ordered a large pho togo yesterday for the kids to eat at home since Dan really loves Pho. Unfortunately, both Dao and Dan took one spoon and didn’t want it anymore. Dana said it was not good. I also took one spoon and it tasted really bad. The broth was not only watered down, it also had a sour taste to it as if it had started to spoil. I ended up throwing the entire thing out.

I went back to Yelp to read some more reviews and came across one patron who found a cockroach in his pho. If I read it before, I would had skipped this place. Nowadays, our regular spot is Pho 50 since Dan really loves this place.

Ultimate Green Smoothie

I have been into green smoothie lately. Each morning, I made two glasses. I share one with Dan on the way to daycare. The other one for Dana. I do the same at dinner time. Here’s the recipe:
1 apple
1 banana
1 orange
1 cup pineapple
2 celery sticks
2 spoons of chia seeds
2 cups of baby spinach
4 large kale leaves

Pour one cup of water into the blender. Add chia seeds, stir and let them absolve for a few minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and six ice cubes. Once blended, you’ll get a beautiful, fresh green color.

My Green Smoothie

After several weeks of experimentation, I came up with a wicked green smoothie. Even my little Dan is loving it. Here’s the recipe:
1 Fuji apple
1 banana
1 cup of carrot juice (Bolthouse Farms)
1 bottle of Lala Cult (probiotic dairy drink)
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 celery sticks
2 cups of baby spinach
10 cherry tomatoes

Put all ingredients in and blend with ice. I am using a Blendtec and loving it.

Cafe Crema

Saxby’s cafe crema is one of my favorite drinks this summer. The first time I had it (early in the summer), I fell in love with it right away. Although it was way too sweet and way too creamy, I loved the boldness of the coffee. After watching the barista making it, I made a few tweaks to the original recipe for my own taste. Here’s the instructions:

  1. Fill the large up (20oz) with ice even over the top
  2. Add 2 (instead of 5 in the original recipe) pumps of vanilla syrup
  3. Add 5 fresh-brew shots of expresso (the extra ice helps cool down the expresso)
  4. Add a bit of Half and Half cream on top

Voila! Delicious.

Lobster, Beer and Trinh Cong Son

For the past two months, I have to have my Sautéed Lobster in Shell with Salt & Pepper once a week. The owner and servers now recognized me. The waitress knew exactly what I was going to order as soon as I stepped into the place.

Last week, she said, “Anh order tom rang muoi voi chai Tsingtao phai khong? (You want lobster and a Tsingtao, right?)” I replied, “Lobster thoi khong co Tsingtao. (Lobster yes, but not Tsingtao.)” She mocked, “Wow, hom nay sao hien vay? (Wow, why being so good today?)” I smiled, “Con phai di lam nua chu. (I have to get back to work after lunch.)”

The lobster came out and it was delicious as always, but something was missing. I called her over and said, “Ok give me the Tsingtao.” She brought it out and said, “Da quen vay roi. Thieu sao ma duoc. (You’re already used to it. Can’t just miss it.)” She was right and deserved a big tip.

Today I went back and tried something different: Lobster with tamarind sauce and a bottle of Bia 33. The tamarind sauce is decent, but not as savory as the salt and pepper. Still I had a very nice lunch. Love the Trinh Cong Son’s music playing in the background. The arrangement was simple and peaceful, which was perfect for the lazy afternoon. The singer sounded like Thuy Tien, but I was not sure. I asked both the waitress and the owner, but neither of them knew who the singer was.

Avocado Sandwich

Found this recipe in Reader’s Digest:

Author of Comfort Food Fix, [Ellie] Krieger tweeted that she spreads avocado on toast or with a slice of tomato and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Here’s another good tip from RD:

By the time produce travels from its source to store shelves, it has lost many of its disease-fighting compounds. Buy fresh veggies locally or when in season. If not stick to to frozen, which is prepared at peak ripeness to lock in nutrients.

More Eating Out

With last week’s three-day conference, I started eating out again. Check out the stack of Hoban’s Burger at James Hoban’s in Dupont Circle I had last week. The burger was pretty wicked.

On Monday I drove to Eden and had a plate of rice filled with roast duck, roast pig and BBQ pork at Cho Cu Sai Gon. Yesterday went back to Viet Royal for Sautéed Lobster in Shell with Salt & Pepper. I am now addicted to that dish. I think I can have it once week until I get tired of eating it.

Dana came over today to try out the burger at Wiinkys. We shared a double bacon burger and eight wings. Pretty good lunch, indeed. Now I need to get back to jogging as well, but that hasn’t happened. I had to take off my wedding ring because my finger is getting way too fat.

A friend’s wedding is coming up this weekend and then I’ll be heading to the Red Hat training all next week. It’s going to be more food and less jogging.