Foodie Finds

Taste of the Town

Craving snail soup? Monsoon’s Eric Bahn knows where to get the best.

By Kristin Cordova October 14, 2009

For Eric Bahn, autumn brings matsutake dreams.

Eric Bahn, the Saigon-born chef and co-owner of Monsoon (and Monsoon East) says he never cooks his native cuisine at home, except maybe a little tamarind soup. With two high-end Vietnamese restaurants to run, can you blame the guy?

Favorite Restaurant
I always love late night at Palace Kitchen. Tom Douglas’s crew does a fantastic job there. I always order the roasted chicken; it’s really fabulous. For casual food, I definitely love to go for snail soup at this place right in the ID, called Vietnam House.

Ingredient of the Moment
I think about what to do for the coming season. That’s why we do this for a living, because we’re in tune with our environment and the weather. I look forward to matsutake mushrooms in November. As I was driving here, I was thinking of making braised short ribs already because I can feel the cold last through the day.

Market Stall/Specialty Shop
When you make a basic spaghetti with marinara sauce, the tomatoes are everything. Whole Foods has probably the best peeled tomato you can buy.

Coffee Venue and Drink
I always go to Fuel, across the street from my Capitol Hill place on 19th. See, people don’t understand that coffee is one thing, but the barista is half of the equation, if not more. And of course, I go to Victrola on 15th. I just drink very simple, double short lattes. No low fat, soy, vanilla. No sugar. Simple.

We’ve got more tasty recs from local food geeks here.

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