An Early V-Day Celebration: Vietnamese Style

Hi Guys! Soooo glad today is Friday, finally.

Last night we took Charkey and Nora out for dinner for an early Valentine’s Day celebration because they going to their grandma’s for the weekend so we are doing our own thang.

We took them out to this awesome Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church, VA called Present. I’d been there twice before and was always blown away by the presentation of the food, plus the taste of course. Vietnamese ranks in my top 2-3 cuisines of all time.

While waiting for our food, we goofed around a bit.

Bunny ears! Haven’t had those in a photo in a while. That’s Nora for you.

Plus Charkey and her dad.

So cute. On the way to the restaurant, he told her that the reason it was called Present was because all the food was gift wrapped when it arrived at your table. ha.

Luckily, the food didn’t take too long because we were all huuuuungry. oTo start off, we ordered the Green Paradise Spring Roll and fried calamari – the special.

These were so fresh and delicious, and something I have to make at home again soon!

I thought the calamari was just OK, but Wil absolutely loved it, which was fine by me. I only had 2-3 pieces.

For the main course, I got this amazing dish called Treasure from the Sea.

This photo makes it look really busy, but the plate itself was actually stunning. The bowl was a half of a pineapple, scooped out, and then inside there was a salad of calamari, pineapple, sweet onion, lemongrass, carrot, fried garlic, roasted peanuts, all topped with tiger shrimp. It also came with those rice cracker chip things (that’s the official name) that melt in your mouth. This dish I’ve ordered once before because the flavor is just out of this world. Somehow, they have it as an appetizer on the menu, but its actually huge, but don’t worry – I managed to eat the entire thing.

One other thing I love about the restaurant is they decorate all the plates with radishes cut into flowers – so old school, but so beautiful.


I asked the waiter about them, and he said that there is one guy who cuts these all day long, and each one takes 10 minutes! We thought they would have a machine for them given the number that we saw during just our meal, but nope, hand made.

Before leaving the restaurant, we all made a wish in the fountain, per instructions from the little ones.

You have to take orders from munchkins in matching outfits.

What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine? Do you like Asian food? What’s your favorite? I think Asian wins out very slightly over Mexican for me, but my two favorite kinds of Asian cuisine are Vietnamese and Japanese, hands down. I could eat them every day and die happy.

48 Comments on An Early V-Day Celebration: Vietnamese Style

  1. Katie
    February 11, 2011 at 8:47 am (10 years ago)

    I’ve never tried Vietnamese food, but your dishes definitely looked tasty! While I looove Thai and Chinese, as well as good Italian food, my Texan heart is now and always been devoted to Mexican food. Give me chips, homemade salsa and a burrito and I am on Cloud 9, for sure. Living in Boston, missing good Mexican food is one of my biggest homesick factors!

    Have a fab Valentine’s weekend with Will! 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm (10 years ago)

      Mmmm homemade salsa and homemade guac and I’m in double heaven. Loooove.

      Reply
  2. Katie Photiadis
    February 11, 2011 at 8:49 am (10 years ago)

    Beth, I’ve been to Present before and it is awesome! It’s like 3 minutes from my parent’s house! I’m glad you reminded me of the restaurant because now I want to go again next time I’m in the area =)

    Haha, I like Wil’s joke about getting food served as a “present.” Although, if I was one of the girls, I would have been a little disappointed to get food served the “normal” way, lol.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm (10 years ago)

      Oh yeah it is close to your parents house!! I made sure to straighten out expectations before we got to the restaurant. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Happy When Not Hungry
    February 11, 2011 at 8:54 am (10 years ago)

    Charlotte and Nora look so cute in their matching outfits! I love that photo of Charlotte and Wil too! I really love Japanese, Italian, and Mexican food. It’s hard to say which one I like the best (guess it just depends what mood I’m in)! 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm (10 years ago)

      Yeah I guess that’s a good point – depends what I’m craving!

      Reply
  4. Jennifer
    February 11, 2011 at 9:00 am (10 years ago)

    They are too cute! I don’t think I’ve ever had Vietnamese food. I think my favorite is Indian. I am OBSESSED with this restaurant in town. I would eat there once a week if I could. Their mulligatawny soup is amazing.

    Happy weekend!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 2:14 pm (10 years ago)

      Oh man get to a Vietnamese restaurant asap!! It is so good!

      Reply
  5. Liz
    February 11, 2011 at 9:05 am (10 years ago)

    The girls are adorable! My fave is Indian food, but I love all Asian food except Chinese.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 2:21 pm (10 years ago)

      I like all Asian food including Chinese! love it.

      Reply
  6. Gretchen @ Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
    February 11, 2011 at 9:07 am (10 years ago)

    Falls Church! You were right in my neighborhood, Beth! I’ve actually been meaning to try Present for a while now, and this post has convinced me to go (those summer rolls look amaaaazing!)

    Being half-Chinese, I think I’m probably supposed to say that Chinese is my favorite Asian cuisine, but actually it’s Thai food that will forever hold a special and delicious place in my heart. That’s not taking sushi into account though, which is hands-down my absolute favorite food of all time (ethnic or no.)

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm (10 years ago)

      Ohh I didn’t know you were from around there! You NEED to go. It’s so good!

      Reply
  7. Stacy @ Every Little Thing
    February 11, 2011 at 9:13 am (10 years ago)

    Def make those spring rolls at home! I made them over Christmas (and blogged about them, obviously haha) and they were actually pretty easy! The hardest part is keeping the wrapper wet and not stuck to everything, but it wasn’t bad at all!

    Reply
  8. Jessica
    February 11, 2011 at 9:42 am (10 years ago)

    I can’t get over how precious your boyfriends girls are! Charkey is the cutest name ever… and it appears as though they have a great daddy!

    We had thai last night… thai has to be my favorite 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm (10 years ago)

      I love thai too. I am a big sucker for all Asian food.

      Reply
  9. thekitchenbitch
    February 11, 2011 at 9:43 am (10 years ago)

    Aww, the girls look so cute! And what beautiful food presentation. We had to make some cut-outs like that in culinary school, but we did made apples into swans instead of radishes into flowers. I think I like the radishes better 🙂 At least you don’t have to worry about them browning!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm (10 years ago)

      Wow. I could NEVER do that. I’d fail culinary school!

      Reply
  10. Gwen
    February 11, 2011 at 10:00 am (10 years ago)

    Haha we were at Guapos last night TALKING about Present! I’ve never been but my MIL2 was telling me about it. It is owned by the same folks that own Four Sisters, which I’ve ALSO heard is AH-mazing. We have to get out there! It looks great.

    PS those two girls are so stinkin cute in the matching outfits. It warms my heart that you guys always take the two of them out and that you seem to have a great relationship with them.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 10:01 am (10 years ago)

      Four sisters is another favorite of mine – Present and that one were the two we were debating between for last night. Both are amazing!

      Reply
  11. Holly
    February 11, 2011 at 10:11 am (10 years ago)

    I just love food 🙂 Asian, Mexican, Italian, etc. I love it all for many different reasons.

    That pineapple “bowl” is hilarious!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 10:14 am (10 years ago)

      It was so cute! The only problem was I wanted to try to eat some of the flesh from it but we were in public…

      Reply
  12. Cosmic
    February 11, 2011 at 10:29 am (10 years ago)

    You can’t beat naturally-vegetarian authentic Indian(lovely girls:)!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 10:31 am (10 years ago)

      I actually loooove Indian food too. I haven’t found a great restaurant in the DC area though, but I do have an awesome delivery place thats one of my go-tos.

      Reply
      • Danielle
        February 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm (10 years ago)

        Have you tried Rasika?

        Reply
  13. Jacqueline Lewis-Lyons
    February 11, 2011 at 10:31 am (10 years ago)

    The girls are adorable. I hope you make the spring rolls soon and post the recipe – they are something I want to try. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 10:34 am (10 years ago)

      I have one recipe for Summer Rolls up in the Top Recipes section, but that was from SO long ago. I say hold off on that one because I will definitely try to do them soon and take better pictures!

      Reply
  14. definediana
    February 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm (10 years ago)

    I have only had Vietmanese once, but I really liked it. I loved Asian food, Thai and Japanese in particular.

    I have already been fighting the urge to go get sushi tonight, but your post is now making me think about Vietmanese tonight instead.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm (10 years ago)

      I love sushi and Vietnamese equally so I’m sure you’ll be thrilled with either one!

      Reply
  15. One Is The Magic Number
    February 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm (10 years ago)

    I NEVER get tired of Asian cuisine. I could eat Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai iced tea every day, all day, with absolutely no problem 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm (10 years ago)

      Same here!

      Reply
  16. Jamie
    February 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm (10 years ago)

    I love Asian food last night. There is a great Thai place right by my house. My son and I had a “date” and shared eggrolls and pad thai. I know it isn’t the healthiest dinner ever, but it sure was good!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 3:42 pm (10 years ago)

      Soo cute! I can’t wait to have date nights with my future kids. Love the idea.

      Reply
      • Jamie
        February 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm (10 years ago)

        I was/am a single mom but we moved in with my boyfriend a few months ago. I think it makes him feel special to still get some alone time with me. It would be nice even if you were married though.

        Reply
  17. Julie
    February 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm (10 years ago)

    your daughters’ are adorable. I just started reading your blog and its really well done.

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm (10 years ago)

      Aww thanks Julie! And to clarify – those are not my daughters. Charlotte (the taller one) is my boyfriend’s daughter, and the other one is her sister (not his kid).

      Reply
      • Ang
        February 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm (10 years ago)

        I think it’s so awesome that you include Charlotte’s little sister in your outings! 🙂

        Reply
        • Beth
          February 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm (10 years ago)

          we’re nice people!! they’re more fun together so it works well for everyone. 🙂

          Reply
  18. Ang
    February 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm (10 years ago)

    I have never had Vietnamese or Thai food. I guess WV isn’t ready for that! lol! Thank God we have sushi! Couldn’t live without it! Maybe this Spring when I’m in the D.C. area I’ll see what I can find gluten free.

    I love almost all kinds food. Especially Middle Eastern. The Lebanese Taverna is my #1 favorite restaurant. Too bad it’s 6 hours away from me! 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm (10 years ago)

      Oh man you gotta get on that!! Come to DC and call me and I promise I’ll steer you in the right direction for Asian cuisine!

      Reply
  19. Danielle
    February 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm (10 years ago)

    I love mexican and italian. unfortunately, i’m not a huge fan of asian cuisine… it’s probably the healthiest!

    Reply
    • Beth
      February 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm (10 years ago)

      it’s better to have more discretion.. i like it all! 🙂

      Reply
  20. Jen
    February 12, 2011 at 6:55 am (10 years ago)

    I’ve actually never had vietnamese food, we don’t get out much 😉
    My favorites are mexican and thai.

    Reply
  21. Jennifer @ shesafitchick
    February 12, 2011 at 9:03 am (10 years ago)

    Wow, they really don’t hold back with presentation do they? That looks amazing!!

    Reply
  22. Monica
    February 12, 2011 at 9:05 am (10 years ago)

    That is crazy that that one guy has to cut all those flowers! And I thought staring at a computer got old. 😉

    My favorite ethnic cuisine is Japanese.

    Fun date night out with the girls!

    Reply
  23. rachel
    February 12, 2011 at 10:24 am (10 years ago)

    i have a weakness for all asian food. at least once a day i think “mmm sushi” or “mmm curry”…

    i have recently fallen in love with – what i’ll describe as – “big bowls of soup”, such as pho, ramen and udon noodle soup. my biggest issue has been adequately counting the points for them. i know they’re slightly “splurgy”, so i generally just make it ~15 pts and call it a day. it must be a winter warmth craving…

    Reply
  24. fitandfortysomething
    February 12, 2011 at 10:28 am (10 years ago)

    oh beth what a great night out. the girls are so cute! i like chinese and thai but have never tried vietamese food. would love to though 🙂 have a great weekend!

    Reply

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