Monday, February 22, 2010

Catch up time!

It's been awhile since I last was a busy, unproductive weekend full of good food, good times and good friends ;p

Hm...let's start on Friday, shall we?

Um yeah, so I planned on getting a morning run/walk session in Friday morning, but woke up with some tenderness in my achilles and hobbled out of bed. :( I think I either a) didn't stretch enough post Thursday morning workout b) didn't stick enough post workout c) walked too much too fast throughout the day or d) all of the above. Not cool. Perhaps it's telling me I need to chill out a bit. What? It's really hard to not run :( :(

Between the office and running store I got a crazy craving for some banh mi.
I did some research and realized the only good banh mi place was all the way out in Falls Church! Dug around some more and found out that Pho 14 in Columbia Heights actually had a pretty decent selection and thought I'd give it a chance.

Met up with Sparky around 8:30 and we ended up waiting about 30 minutes for a table in the teeny restaurant. I was pretty shocked at the wait, especially since it's tucked away on a side street that doesn't get too much foot traffic. By the time we sat down I was STARVING. I could have easily eaten like 2 banh mi! Luckily Pho 14 offers a Banh Mi Platter where you can get a banh mi of your choice, an appetizer (choice of 6), and a cup of their beef broth...for $8.95. Hello, deal!

I started off with some Spring Rolls (two rolls wrapped in rice paper filled with tofu, lettuce, bean sprouts, and vermicelli noodles served with peanut hoisin sauce). These were perfect, tightly wrapped little rolls. My only complaint was the tofu. It wasn't what I was fact, Sparky and I both thought it was chicken!

Next up was the actual banh mi and a cup of the beef broth. I went with the Banh Mi Pate Cha (pate & cured pork), which was good, but no Saigon Sandwich. It definitely satisfied my craving, but I wished it packed more flavor. My jalapenos were cut a little too thick so my mouth was on fire after chomping on the first one.

The broth was very aromatic...very star anise-y. In fact, star anise was pretty much all I could taste in my first couple of sips. I kept sipping, trying to decide whether or not I liked this very in your face taste and I remained pretty indifferent. Bottom line - I prefer my pho broth to be beefy. This didn't quite cut it.

After dinner I discovered the wonder that is Rock Band
and learned that large glasses of mimosas are not a good idea after 10pm.
I met up with an elementary school friend on Saturday night that made the trek from the Bmore area for dinner, drinks and catching up. We decided on sushi at Sakana in Dupont Circle for dinner.
An old coworker introduced me to Sakana a few years ago and I've been hooked ever since. It's a small place with a pretty basic menu and delicious sushi. Even better, it's not ridiculously expensive!

We split a variety of rolls and some vino before meeting up with a high school friend of hers that happened to be at Buffalo Billiards. Small world! This was when I realized I am no longer in my early 20s and I can no longer do 3 days in a row of staying out late and drinking. I could barely keep my eyes open past 10:30!!

We called it a night and I spent Sunday night INDOORS cooking and crashing early. On the menu: Noodle Salad with Tahini Ginger Dressing and Garlicky Shrimp
Noodle Salad
1 c cucumber, sliced
1 1/2 c bean sprouts
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 c cilantro, chopped
2 bunches glass noodles, soaked and cooled
Tahini Ginger Dressing (see recipe below)
Garlicky Shrimp (see recipe below)

Toss ingredients together in a bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes to let flavors soak in.
Garlicky Shrimp
10-12 large shrimp, shelled
1 tbsp lemongrass, chopped
1 tsp chili garlic paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp greek yogurt
pinch salt
juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for 5-10 minutes. Heat a pan over medium high heat and cook shrimp for about 2 minutes on each side.

Tahini Ginger Dressing
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp ginger, finely grated
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated onion
1/2 tsp sesame oil
juice of one lime

Whisk ingredients together.
Pretty easy recipes, no? I ended up eating leftovers for dinner tonight since my run/walk ran late and my salmon didn't defrost enough. The bits at the bottom of the bowl that had soaked up the flavors from the shrimp and dressing - YUUUUM. I wanted to toss some carrots in too, but forgot I lost my bag of carrots last week hehe. It's such a light dish that reminds me of summertime. Exactly what I needed on this gloomy, rainy Monday :)

How do you beat the winter dinnertime blues?

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