I have been dealing with a serious case of wanderlust, you know it, don’t you? The feeling that you want to board a plane and go just about anywhere the looks, smells and is different than home and that requires the use of a passport? With no real plans just a desire to see and experience something different? Well – given the spike in oil prices and the new smartness of airlines in cutting flights and calibrating routes, tickets have been out-of-bounds expensive and I’ve been stuck stateside.
In the mean time, through a journey out to Michaels and through my favorite food blogger Tyler Cowen, I’ve been introduced to the joy that is the Eden Center. Located in Falls Church, the Eden Center and surrounding environs are an international mash up of Vietnam (Eden Center), pan-Asian vegetarian (Sunflower Café) and the Grand International Mart (everything you need for Asian cooking). The signs of the Eden Center, even those that demarcate the parking lot (the lanes have street names), are in Vietnamese. You can sample all kinds of Pho, Vermicelli Dishes, Tofu (there is one store front that only does tofu), Boba Tea and glassware.
We ate at Houng Viet, which seemed pretty Western friendly. The menu was in both languages and the décor was inviting and blingy with metallic decorations. The prices are super reasonable at about $10 per item and the menu included a long list of Vietnamese style favorites ranging from Pho, to Vermicelli (yum, light noodles covered in raw vegetables, fresh herbs including cilantro and mint and some protein of your choice), exquisite soups (like duck leg and rice noodles) to caramelized stir fries.
Near to the Eden Center is the vegetarian and vegan friendly Sunflower Café. As the name implies, the spot is tricked out in sunflower memorabilia and has a cozy atmosphere. The entrees are a mix of Western, Asian and fusion and include all veggie/seitan/tempeh stir fries, pastas, udon noodles and raw mixes. We had a kung pao faux-chicken dish, spring rolls and a gingery lo mein stir fry mix. Lately, I’ve been especially into vegetarian restaurants for health benefits and Sunflower rose to the top of my list.
I can’t wait to check out the rest of the area… Any suggestions?