Daughter #1 and I met for lunch today...she came into downtown on the bus, and I picked her up after a morning of appointments. We stopped at New Saigon, billed at one of the best places in Denver... http://www.newsaigon.com/
And they're right!
Husband and I have been going there since Daughter #1 was a baby. Chicken with lemongrass; crunchy spring rolls wrapped in lettuce with a sprig each of cilantro and mint; strong coffee with a layer of sweetened condensed milk, poured over ice; crab and asparagus soup. YUM.
Vietnamese cooking incorporates Chinese, Japanese and French elements...but has a light, bright hit of flavor all its own. Try some here:
Then Daughter and I hit one of the local Oriental grocery stores. A 25-pound bag of Rose rice went in the cart, along with curry paste, bok choy and other fresh greens, including cilantro and mint (mixed with coconut milk and garlic for Daughter's famous sauce). A bottle of cooking wine and bag of tangerines added to the mix. Daughter, fascinated by all the staring, glassy-eyed fish, nabbed one for grilling; I got a pound of octopi (wonderful in stirfry tonight with tofu and a handful of shrimp). Some (Vietnamese) lady in the checkout line gushed over the rice -- said she'd never seen Americans buy that brand before. (It was the sticky type.) She made a big fuss, asking Daughter if she had a rice cooker. (She does.)
Daughter's Fan club meeting over, she headed for home -- and work. I headed for home -- and work. I miss her already.
I do wonder how she got that fish home on the bus, without someone asking her about it!