Sunday, November 16, 2014

#302 Pickled Carrot and Cucumber Salad, By: V

This was quite a week for my belly!  I checked out three new restaurants, went to my first Washington Wizards game and went on my first excursion to a golf driving range.  Friday was S's birthday so I had a weekend planned which included hitting some balls at Hilltop Golf Club in Alexandria, dinner at Filomena's, and homemade NY Giants cupcakes.

It all started on Tuesday.  I had the day off from work, so I checked out two happy hour spots with my roommate and two of our friends.  Del Campo and MXDC both have delicious Mexican food and margaritas.  Here are a few pictures of our food from Del Campo.  My favorite was the Hanger Steak Crostini with Burnt Onion Jam and Blue Cheese (bottom picture).  We also tried out the delicious Peruvian Chicken Salad Sliders with Aji Amarillo Aioli, the Grilled Tomato, Anchovy and Goat Cheese Crostini, and the Wagyu Skirt Steak Empanadas.  I think both restaurants will be seeing me more often :) 

On Wednesday night I went to my first ever Wizards game with S.  He managed to get great tickets.  It's a shock that I've grown up in this area and it took me THIS long to make it out to a Wizards game. Before the game we grabbed a drink at Rocket Bar, but since the bar only provides beverages and no food, we quickly went over to Bar Louie to down some buffalo chicken flatbread and chicken quesadillas before the game started.  And maybe a martini or two to wash it all down.  

The game was great!  The Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons in a final score of 103-107 with all the Wizards fans up on their feet.  Two of my friends, who are from Michigan, joined us, so there was definitely smack talking going on, most of which got heavier toward the final minutes of the game.  

Then, Saturday I took S to a birthday dinner at Filomena Ristorante, one of my mom's favorite D.C. restaurants.  I had never been before and since S loves Italian food so much and insists he can't get the same type of Italian down here as he can back home in New Jersey, I thought I would try this one out on him.  Unfortunately I didn't get good shots of the food we ate, but we both agreed that we have never had Italian food this good outside of Italy.  S had a dish that is heralded on the dinner menu as Bono's (yes, of U2) favorite at Filomena, and he apparently asked for seconds when he first had this dish.  And, trust me, after having a bite I fully understood why.  The Penne Con Salisicce is penne pasta with a hearty Abruzzi (Abruzzo is a region of southern Italy) style tomato sauce made of roasted & ground Italian sweet sausage, sautéed mushrooms, onions, herbs and Chianti wine.  The dish is topped with three large sausage links made by the Chef himself. I had the Gnocchi Della Mama which is a dish of potato based dumplings tossed in a tomato based Bolognese meat sauce with ground beef, veal, Italian pork sausage, vegetables, Chianti wine.  Both were phenomenal and we decided this may be our go-to spot for all special occasions.  

In continuing the birthday celebrations I prepared these birthday cupcakes for him.  Let's be clear, these don't make me any less of a Washington fan! 

Definitely a busy week, and I also made Pickled Carrot and Cucumber Salad!

The Vietnamese sandwich, or Banh Mi, are absolutely delicious, and in the northern Virginia area the best place to get them are at the various Vietnamese bakeries in Eden Center. These sandwiches are most commonly made with pork placed atop a French baguette. They are then topped with cilantro and a pickled carrot and daikon salad.  This week I had a taste for those crunchy pickled vegetables, and decided to make a pickled carrot and cucumber salad.  This is likely not a traditional brine recipe, and generally when brining, you have to boil the liquid solution first, but, this was my quick and easy version.  The tartness offsets the sweet and earthy flavors of the "five-spice" chicken I prepared with it, which will be featured on next week's post.

Pickled Carrot and Cucumber Salad

1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsps honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Tamari/Soy Sauce
1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
3 medium sized carrots, julienned or sliced
1 large cucmber, julienned or sliced


1.  In a bowl pour in fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and chili flakes.  Whisk together.  

2.  Pell and julienne or thinly slice the carrots and cucumbers.  

3.  In microwave safe dish place honey and microwave for 20 seconds on high. While whisking pour the melted honey into the liquids. 

4.  Add the vegetables and toss throughly to coat veggies with liquid.  

Chill in refrigerator and serve when you're ready to eat.  The longer this stays in the fridge, the better the taste.  Ovenright is best.  Next week I'll show you a goat cheese stuffed chicken breast recipe with a "five-spice" dry rub that paired perfectly with the sweet, tart and briny flavors of this dish.  


  1. That's a great birthday meal, V.
    Love your fresh, crunchy and refreshing salad!
    Have a beautiful weekend!


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