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Cristina and I spent our 13th anniversary at one of 2018's hot-spots. We arrived a touch early for our reservations, planning on a drink at the bar, but beware that there is really not much room for standing and drinking. Cocktails were great though. The Nancy Cakes (Johnny cakes with whipped butter and trout roe) have gotten a lot of press (and they're definitely good), but the lamb dumplings with crispy garlic were the star of the night for me.
I was down at the GRB Convention Center this afternoon to pick up my bib for the marathon tomorrow, and stopped into Huynh for what was meant to be a quick lunch. I never thought about it until today, but Vietnamese food is an excellent choice for "carb-loading" before a race. Lots of rice/rice noodle dishes, and limited amounts of fat. Clearly many of my running compatriots had thought about such things before, as the restaurant was packed, with a 30 minute wait. The 4-year old and I shared orders of banh uot thit nuong and banh uot tom chay, rice paper wraps filled with grilled pork and crushed dried shrimp respectively. The pork wrap is served as a wrap with herbs and lettuce along for the ride, while the crushed shrimp is more of a loosely folded affair, topped with crisp fried onions. Light and carby. I wanted rice, but the boy demanded noodles, so we settled on bun tom nuong (rice vermicelli with grilled shrimp). As long as the protein is well-grilled, bun is pretty hard to screw up, but the well-seasoned, snappy-but-moist shrimp served atop our tangle of noodles kicks up Huynh's version a couple notches above the standard. Of course, while preparing for a marathon in the hot and humid Houston weather, one shouldn't neglect electrolyte replenishment, and the chanh muoi (salty lemonade) made with pickled lemons (or limes?) hit the spot. Let the rest of the country gorge themselves on plates of pasta. In Houston, we'll stick with Huynh.