Our Vietnamese friend was on a mission during our trip to DC, and she would not be dissuaded. She loaded ice packs into the trunk in preparation for her haul, something I probably would have done if I believed a one-stop shop of Filipino goodies was in close proximity to a place we were visiting.
Eden Center is that kind of savior for the Vietnamese in Virginia. Housed in the rows of a beige and red strip mall were stores upon stores of freshly made delicacies and snacks, restaurants, salons and jewelry stores. We had lunch at Pho Xe Lua after which our friend went into a zone, raiding one store after the other for some treats you simply cannot find in New York.
Here are some photos of Eden Center’s treasures. Continue reading
Everyone needs to see the elderly person running a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It’s as if their presence is an assurance of an establishment’s authenticity, or the continuance of its tradition. It is evidence that things have been done there in the same way for a very long time.
For Pho Xe Lua in Eden Center, the old man’s name is Toan Nguyen, who owns the place and serves diners daily. The walls are adorned with paintings of his image, awards and graduation photos of his daughter, much like many family-operated restaurants serve as the owner’s second home. Continue reading
Cava Mezze is an example of vision coming to life. You know when you look at a neighborhood and say, “Why doesn’t anyone put up a (insert cuisine) restaurant here? There is nothing like that in this area!”
Greek restaurants are a dime a dozen but Greek tapas places, especially modern and stylized such as Cava, seem to please a particular restaurant crowd looking for a twist on regular Greek fare. Built by three friends who asked the same question and actually took matters into their own hands, the food in this restaurant does taste like it was part of a dream.
On the way to Washington DC is a small town that would be difficult to discover, even by accident. Havre de Grace (French for Harbor of Grace) is a historic area that always prompts the newcomers we take there to ask, “How the hell did you find this place?” By accident in fact, and afterwards again and again for just one thing: Price’s Seafood Maryland Crabs, an old fashioned crab house that’s been sitting by the water for almost seventy years, watching the neighborhood structures sprout up one by one.