Monday, January 19, 2009

Fast Food - Sunflower Vietnamese

In spite of the fact that I should feel refreshed after the Winter Break, I've been feeling even more burnt out than ever since returning from the East Coast. Getting myself back into the swing of work, work, work has been next to impossible. The solution? Procrastination station. So I took one night off this week, and Daniel and I hit the Radio Habana Social Club for drinks and then grabbed dinner at Sunflower Vietnamese.

This restaurant has two locations around the corner from each other. We hit the "fancier" of the two - a perfectly comfortable nondescript little place, the packed tables a testament to its loyal following. Daniel, who is usually strangely opposed to sharing, agreed to split an appetizer and two entrees. It turned out to be far, far too much food. We started with burrito-sized fresh veggie spring rolls, which were perfectly rolled in slippery rice paper, stuffed with lettuce, tofu, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and cabbage. They were a delicious combination of crunchy and chewy and would in the future be a satisfying meal for a person seeking a light meal. We were not such people.

We were people who also had a bowl of chicken pho - rich flavorful yellowish broth, with loads of rice noodles and perfectly poached chicken. With the addition of some bean sprouts, a squeeze of lemon, and a shot of Sriacha, it was an incredibly satiating, slurpable soup (I liked it so much that when I had a bad sinus headache Saturday night, I went by and got another bowl of it to go).
Our final dish of the evening was Vietnamese vermicelli with beef and crispy imperial rolls. It was such a dish that served as my introduction to Vietnamese cuisine at the place my family frequented when I was a kid, and it's the standard by which I judge Vietnamese restaurants to this day. Although I was pretty stuffed by the time I gave this a taste, I was not disappointed. The beef was tender and had the appropriate barbecue like tang. The noodles and cucumbers were cool and light, providing lovely contrast to the beef. With the accompanying sweet clear sauce it was a wholly unnecessary, but deeply delicious end to a much needed night of hooky playing.

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