Meant for this to get posted on Valentine’s day, but Walking Dead was recapping for the premier and I had to get his lasagna in the oven! But since we haven’t been out in a while we had to eat somewhere together over the weekend…
Valentine’s Day… the weekend of the year that singles hate their life and couples oogle over each other more than usual. They hit up fine dining establishments and buy each other gifts (mostly for her), typically flowers.. that eventually die and chocolate or watch cheesy love stories and eat chocolate. I’d be lying if I said i didn’t like those things, but why can’t we express our appreciation all the time…
Our Valentine’s weekend is just like any other. He is working and I am dogsitting, but we still found time for each other. Our romantic dinner date Friday was not an overpriced meal with too many forks or a starched white table cloth. In Crofton, MD, you can find a casual Vietnamese restaurant. VN Noodle House, the corner plaza of route 3 and John Hopkins, serves quality dishes in a low key, clean environment. Eat in or pick it up and have dinner and a movie at home.
We started with grilled pork on skewers. This was served over a bed of vermicelli and sprinkled with salty roasted peanuts. Fish sauce was served on the side. The pork was tender and seasoned well. The fatty spots were a little crispy. It was the perfect combo of sweet and grilled flavor. ($5)
He was enticed by many of the options on the menu, but went with the trusty beef and broccoli. It had a bit of red pepper paste mixed in with the brown sauce to give it extra heat and light up your taste buds. The sauce was slightly different than that of Chinese beef broccoli. This was lighter and in my opinion better. It was the thick sweetness of a Chinese sauce. The beef was tender and cut into thin strips taking in the flavors of the sauce. Also hiding among the steamed broccoli were onions and green peppers. He obviously picked around those, but munched on some florets.($10)
I was introduced to Vietnamese only a few years ago when I made my plunge into MD living. A coworker said I couldn’t go wrong with the pork vermicelli. Since then, if not getting pho, that is my go to. It is just so good, I haven’t been able to step away. And this dish at VN Noodle House was probably one of the better ones. The flavors were outstanding and the fish sauce was more expressive, maybe heavier on the vinegar. The pork was done well and similar to our skewers. The herbs and vegetables were fresh served over a bed of warm vermicelli. If you are unfamiliar with this dish, it is like a noodle salad. Rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumbers, usually pork and peanuts. A side of nước chấm (combination of fish sauce, vinegar and a few other ingredients) is served to add flavor. Some people pour it over as a “dressing”, others dip. I use as a dressing. The chopped thai basil added a lot to the dish that hasn’t been as expressed in past experiences. ($10)
Being not far from Bowie and close to Wegmans, it is likely I will be back and give up on my old favorite Edgewater, MD Veitnamese location (Saigon Palace) which has lost a bit in flavor over the past few years.