…I forgot to take pictures.

Ok, so that was a lie. I didn’t forget to take pictures entirely. And my weekend didn’t involve work in any way, shape or form. But I did do a terrible job documenting my 4-day blog hiatus. I’m considering this a testament to how much fun I had reuniting with mis chicas!

I haven’t seen my two best friends from college since leaving D.C. in May, so I’ve been looking forward to celebrating this long weekend in the same fashion we spent our last four years together: laying (the act of laying, as we use it, refers to vegging out on any couch, bed or comfortable area in each other’s company while talking, laughing uncontrollably, YouTube-ing, movie-watching or simply doing nothing, usually for hours on end), drinking and—a defining aspect of our bonds with one another—eating!

Lay, drink and eat, we did. And a constant rotation between these three activities left me with only a few pictures. Luckily, the best eats of the weekend were captured.

Hilary and I took the birthday girl, Rocky Road—otherwise known as Rachael, to a restaurant we’ve all been dying to try. TenPenh! It’s a Pan-Asian restaurant in downtown D.C. that pretty much everyone in D.C. has fallen in love with. Needless to say, I’ve been impatiently awaiting an opportunity to let this revered heartthrob woo me.

TenPenh brought its A-game for Rocky’s birthday.

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That’d be the aforementioned birthday girl, clearly excited by her menu’s personal birthday wish!

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Well, not entirely personal. I was tempted to scribble “Rocky”—or any of her other fun nicknames—after the HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! But las amigas didn’t think it was a good idea.

Before we ordered, our waiter brought us the most delicious spicy gazpacho soup shooters I’ve ever had! Ok, so I’ve never had a gazpacho shooter before. (Has anyone?) But I’m going out on a limb here and banking that whatever was in that little glass below rivals any other shot of cold soup in existence…

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Then came los dumplings! Bamboo basket steamed shrimp-chive dumplings, to be exact.

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(That pout was induced by chopstick difficulties—I ended up just stabbing it—not the definitively delectable dumpling!)

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We were all very pleased that there were six dumplings—i.e. an easily divisible portion—since Hilary and I realized that, had there been an odd number, she and I would’ve had to forfeit the extra dumpling to Rachael, by way of birthday-foodie etiquette.

My battery was almost dead, so I didn’t get pics of dinner. But it was AHHHMAZING. Rachael and I split the Red Pepper Sambal Halibut (with cold peanut soba noodles and cilantro sauce) and the Peanut-Shallot Crusted Ahi Tuna (with scallion lo mein, oven cured tomato and a beurre blanc). Hilary got the Pan Seared Scallops. All of our dishes were so flavorful and cooked perfectly.

However, I’m glad I saved the last of my battery for dessert because ‘twas magical.

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Rachael got the Saigon Cinnamon Sugar Dusted Donuts with Dark Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding.

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Hilary got the White Peach & Lemon Verbena Creme Brulee with
White Wine Poached Peaches, Peach Jam and Coconut Malt Cookies.

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And I went for the Cinnamon & Ginger Carrot Cake with Pineapple Lychee Salad and Vanilla Chantilly Cream—plus those funnel cake-esque fries that they left out of the description!

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We all shared, of course, and each dessert was incredible. But the winner was….

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Rachael’s donuts! Best enjoyed dipped in Hilary’s creme brulee! Yes, we went there… And our waiter definitely judged.

Moral of the story: TenPenh stole my heart, and, if you ever find yourself in D.C., you should give into temptation and let it work its Pan-Asian persuasion magic on you.

In an attempt to keep this post a reasonable length, here is a quick look at some other foodie-friendly D.C. eats:

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From Pho 75 in Rosslyn, Virginia. Have you ever had pho? It’s a Vietnamese soup—basically made up of a lemongrass broth and rice noodles. And, once you add Sriracha and Hoisin sauce to your big bowl o’ goodness, your life will be forever changed. I promise.

Sushi! From Sushi Sushi, one of my D.C. favorites, and a restaurant that kept me well-fed through college with its amazing lunch special:

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Miso soup and a side salad, plus…

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Two rolls (I always go with Spicy Tuna and Cali), for $7.

And lastly, the best jam I have ever tasted.

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Courtesy of Hilary. Well, actually, courtesy of some amazing gourmet cheese shop in Princeton, NJ—Hilary’s hometown. But I’ve got to say gracias to my girl for sharing ze goods. Roasted garlic onion jam with brie cheese=the best sweet/savory infusion of flavor. Ever.

Now that I’ve succeeded in making my own mouth water, I must leave you to whip up yet another late dinner!

Normal posting resumes mañana—Foodie’s honor!

G.T.B.B. (Glad To Be Back, of course!),

Sarah