A much needed return to Eden Center

I’ve been craving some good Vietnamese food lately. Maybe it is because my parents have been traveling back and forth to Paris to help take care of my grandmother, and I’ve gotten a little lonely without them around. Maybe it’s because Vietnamese cuisine is the best form of comfort food to me. Either way, it has been a while since I made a trip to Eden Center in Falls Church, VA and I needed to make a glorious return.

I made plans to head there with AC on a Saturday afternoon, after a planned long run. What was supposed to be a 9 mile run up 13th street turned into a much shorter run due to my ovaries, who are currently channeling the devil. After popping several tablets of Advil, and having a one sided angry confrontation with my Fallopian tubes, AC and I headed across the river as she gave me the latest updates on the “I love you” game. Her relationship has hit that point where they both know they are in it for real, and ready to say those three words. However, neither of them has pulled the trigger. Her boyfriend has dropped several hints, including trying to trick her into saying it, so I have decided that we must be strong and not give into him (#teamabby).

We were both starving by the time we got to Eden Center, so we headed to Rice Paper straight away. After getting two orders of delicious iced coffees, I put in an order of Chim Cut Quay (roasted quail) to start. AC had never tried quail before, but approved once she chomped away. The crispy quail here is slightly sweet from the glaze, and incredibly flavorful. I like dipping the meat into the simple pepper, salt and lemon juice sauce and munching away on the little bones.

For my main dish, I went with my usual order of Bánh Hỏi Bò Nướng Lá Nho, which is grilled beef wrapped in grape leaves, served with rice paper wraps. The dry rice paper is dipped into water so that it softens up, and spread out over a clean plate. I then place the noodles (Banh Hoi), meat, and plenty of veggies into the center and wrapped everything up tightly. The smokey and tender beef, along with the crunchy vegetables, tasted like the perfect post-run treat. I like my wraps dipped into the sweet and pungent fish sauce, so I definitely was not sodium deficient after polishing off my dish. AC went with Bún Bò Xào Xã (stir fried beef with noodles and vegetables). We agreed that both of these dishes hit the spot, especially for the price (total of $21 per person for iced coffee, quail appetizer and 2 entrees). The two of us left Rice Paper satisfied and ready to wander around the shopping center. After picking up a few pork buns, we headed over to the new grocery store where I stocked up on supplies and picked up fruits I can’t find at Giant (hellooooo dragonfruit!).

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Since we were still in a snacking mood after all of this, we hit up a few bakeries for more treats and lychee bubble tea. Of course, when I got home, after repopping a couple more Advil (chill out, Fallopian tubes), I immediately inhaled a pork bun (I got hungry during the 25 minute drive home!!) and snuggled back into my bed for a few episodes of Friday Night Lights. A fantastic return to Eden Center indeed.

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