Tag Archives: Thai

Sacramento – Bangkok@12

I had another amazing meal in Sacramento worth writing home about. This time was Thai food downtown, or maybe it was midtown I’m not 100% sure on the neighborhoods. We walked around the Capitol building first and, I would imagine, that would be the center of downtown. It’s a beautiful Capitol park with trees from all over the state. Some are bursting with oranges, and there are stately redwoods, and silvery olive trees, and towering palm trees.

Bangkok@12 was recommended to me on the PPK several trips ago but this was the first time we tried it. I was amazed by the vegetarian section of the menu and just when I decided what I wanted I saw something else I wanted more. They had all the standard apps but I had to try the potato curry puffs because they sounded so unusual “Thai style mashed potato and onion wrapped with tortilla, then fried to golden brown, served with cucumber salad.” They looked like quesadillas but they tasted very Thai. The cucumber salad served alongside was excellent too.

I ultimately decided on the Thai Orange Tofu which came out and looked incredible. The tofu appeared battered and fried, the vegetables were crunchy and fresh, and their were mandarin oranges and cilantro served up as well. Sadly, the menu didn’t say that the batter contained mustard which I don’t like but they were still quite, just not to my taste.

My mom absolutely loved her mango curry too. I think next time I will try the Bangkok noodles or the avocado curry. Or the pumpkin curry. It all sounded so good. Today we are headed through Napa on our way to the coast so I probably won’t blog again for a few days. But, rest assured, I will be doing all my favorite things, eating, drinking, hiking in the trees, and reading books by the pool.

 

Going back to Houston town

Even though people pour into Austin in ever growing numbers, to me, it still feels like a small town. Whenever I go to Houston it feels like such a thriving metropolis. It’s just a couple of hours away but everything is different. It’s flat and sprawling with more tropical trees and you can’t even find breakfast tacos on every corner. My mission was to see a bunch of old friends, snuggle with my favorite cat, eat a ton of Asian food, and kick it old school (aka watch Star Trek with my bff).

Our first stop after the Menli Collection art museum (which had everything from Andy Warhol soup cans to Congo Jesus sculptures and is free!) was for eating at Nidda Thai where I tried the deep fried eggplant in yellow curry.

It was delicious but hot as a soldering iron plunged onto your tongue  I really liked the rice flour crust on the eggplant although when I asked if there was egg in it the waiter looked at me like I was crazy, maybe he thought I didn’t know what eggplants were? We later went to a bar called the Hay Merchant to meet up with an old friend and we also got stuck at a table with the most annoying people I’ve maybe ever met at a bar. Here’s a Lazy Smurf Tip™ if some girl starts telling you that she is running for governor of Texas and then meowing get the hell out of there stat.

The next day, after stopping at Dirk’s for coffee, we went to the planetarium to watch “Cosmic Collisions” and then got a free pass to the butterfly conservatory from checking in on foursquare! Finally one of my 1276 check-ins paid off! The exhibit starts with a lot of terrifying cockroaches and scorpions but then you get to walk into, what seemed like a giant jungle terrarium, to see thousands of butterfly’s

.

It was the best thing ever to do on a cold and rainy winter day. After that we headed over to Quan Yin for lunch but it was temporarily closed for Lunar New Years.

We enjoyed the show and I got a mung bean pastry in a little Chinese bakery that had tons of vegan options.

At Quan Yin I was overwhelmed with choices since everything was vegan and decided I want to have a birthday party there so we can try everything. They have those fun tables with the lazy susan at the center like on My Three Sons and I wished that I had a bunch of people to use it with. We started with fried dumplings.

Amanda got the vermicelli bowl and it looked so good.

I panicked and got the orange peel chicken which was was good but I didn’t like the celery and carrots in the dish, I would have preferred broccoli.

After watching a ton of videos about pygmy goats and sloths we went out with my other friend at the Grand Prize bar and then came home to cuddle with the world’s most adorable cats.

The next morning I tried to hunt down vegan kolaches at Inversion coffeehouse but they only had cookies from Sinful Bakery. It sounds like you can only get them at the farmer’s market and maybe at central market. Next time I go I imagine they will be everywhere. Because that’s how I like to imagine Houston of the future, a vegan paradise. Amanda and I generally spend a lot of time oooing and ahhing over plants and this trip was no different. She took me to Another Place in Time where I bought some ferns and a succulent and saw a ton of neat plants.

We intended to overeat and go out in a blaze of glory by checking out the Pepper Tree Vegetarian Buffet that Vegan Houston always raves about but alas it was closed on Monday! We settled for Cafe TH where I was super stoked to see this sign.

But the pho was just good rather than grrreat. I don’t think I can ever truly enjoy any pho that isn’t made in the long process of Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World. It has spoiled me forever!

We went home and I pretended like I was going to feed the cats so they would say good-bye to me which kind of turned into a nightmare because then they were desperate for food. Sorry cats! I love you!

It was a great weekend! I can’t wait to go back.

Tom Kha Soup at South First’s Little Thai Food

Ever since it turned to autumn I have wanted three things, a movie to watch, a beagle to cuddle with, and a wonderful bowl of soup to eat. The first two are easy but finding delicious vegan soup in Austin can be a challenge. Maybe it’s because it’s so hot most of the year people never honed in on their soup making skills. Maybe the problem is a certain group of dieters trying to remove salt and oil from all things vegan. Maybe people can’t imagine a creamy soup without the dairy crutch. Whatever the reason it means that a lazy smurf like myself has to suffer SUFFER through either poor soup or, of course, just making my own delicious soup. My suffering has come to an end thanks to a little trailer right next to my beloved Wasota on South First called Little Thai Food.

I first tried it on a dark and chilly night after a stop at Vulcan Video. I ordered both the Curry Fried Rice and the Tom Kha soup because soup is not a meal. The ladies working there were super nice and answered all my vegan questions seeming to know exactly what I was talking about. When I got my takeout order I thought I might have gotten someone else’s order because the portions were humongous, it looked like I had enough to feed a family. The Tom Kha comes in one of those large plastic containers that would be, like, 46 dollars at Whole Foods and there is also a carton of rice that comes with the soup. My fried rice on the side was definitely overkill for that one meal. Delicious, fabulous overkill. Since then I’ve been back quite a bit. They know me there. I always get the same thing: that glorious Tom Kha soup. It has enough lime juice and lemongrass that you couldn’t possibly add any more, and I always add more. It also has, what I would consider, a gentle spice from the chiles. There is plenty of tofu, mushrooms, varied appropriate vegetables, and cilantro. Enough to easily spread to two servings (pictured above is half). And then there is the broth coconut and galangal. That’s all you need man. It hits all the Thai flavorings just perfectly it’s hot, sour, salty, and sweet. Basically it’s bursting with flavor and totally forking delicious.

 

Coat and Thai on the South Side

It seems like suddenly there are a lot of Thai trailers around. Maybe I just finally noticed them? Over the last few weeks I have tried a couple in South Austin and I have to say Coat and Thai on South Congress is my favorite.

The first thing to like about them is that they have a flashing “vegan friendly” gif on the very front page of their site, also they have a site with such wonderful features as showing when they are open, what the menu is, and even has their phone number, which seems increasingly rare for trailers. So far they have even been open when they said they’d be open so I am pretty excited about that. The menu has all the regular Thai dishes like pad see-ew and green curry but I am excited that they also have some dishes that are a little more rare like Pad Ka-Pao (below) and even Pad Peanut sauce. So far they have been able to veganize everything I have asked for too.The tofu is seasoned nicely, toothsome, and delicious and the vegetables were fresh and crisp which is pretty important in my opinion. I enjoyed the peanut sauce dish a lot, I was so hungry that I even neglected to take a photo, it was very curry tasting and not too fatty and probably the dish I will get most often. I also tried a couple of the noodle dishes that seemed standard but certainly good enough. I really want to get the pineapple fried rice or the green curry fried rice next. My only complaint is the Styrofoam containers, I don’t know why that is the standard for Asian takeout in Austin but it drives me nuts. They should be banned. It seems strange that Coat and Thai has a big “we recycle” button on their site but still uses these containers. Next time, I will try and remember to bring my own. But, there will be a next time.

Portland: Mee Sen Thai

One thing I love about Portland is that everything is really cute. In the places I have lived my favorite Thai restaurants are usually hole-in-the-wall shacky-type places with sometimes questionable service. In Portland they certainly have that style of restaurant but then they also have super adorable Thai places like Mee Sen which is, what, shabby chic? Do people even say that anymore? There must be a better descriptor! The point is, I couldn’t get over how cute everything was.  I loved the reused whisky bottle with tin cups they brought for water .Really, the whole reason we picked this place was because they have delightful tamarind sours and after a girly day of hanging out at the community spa it seemed like the perfect finish. We decided to order several courses to share because Portland is all about communal experiences. We started with the fried tofu, which was just like your favorite hippy: crunchy on the outside and a little soft in the middle.

Before we knew what was happening our Tofu Larb came out just as our dry soup was put on the table. It was an onslaught of tofu!The Tom Yum (dry) was my favorite part of the meal since I am a sucker for peanuts, noodles, and fried things in general. We also got the Pad See Eww, which is always a favorite of mine and was perfectly acceptable here. I love a wide noodle. Actually I learned Mee Sen means “Have Noodle” but it also means “have a connection/good friends” so we were happy to mee sen at Mee Sen, a delightful meal shared with two of my favorite ladies.

 

 

 

Thai Fresh- Look Who’s In the Freezer

I think ice cream is one of my most favorite things about life. Certainly it makes the top 10. I am probably not alone in this. My mom loves ice cream too, one of her favorite things in the world is to ride around in a car on a hot day with the windows open and enjoying her favorite cone. She says ice cream is better when it is hot. I don’t know if that is true but I have certainly been craving ice cream since it started being >90 degrees. Sometimes I wish I still had access to a big walk in freezer to relax in, or maybe I would like to live inside the freezer at Thai Fresh. It would be really cold and I probably wouldn’t last long but I would eat so much ice cream that I would die happy and refreshed. Well,  if you can be dead and refreshed simultaneously.

Thai Fresh is an amalgam of restaurant, grocery store, Thai cooking school, ice cream parlor, and tea shop on Mary and South 5th in South Austin. They are set up like a deli and almost always have a vegan option ready and waiting. You can eat there or take whatever you like to go and you pay by the size rather than a set cost. It is a good idea to call ahead if you are in a hurry because in case they don’t have anything vegan they will make you something in the meantime. The available dishes are always changing but a list of everything can be found on their site. The menu is rounded out right now with freshly made Agua Fresca’s, the owner Jam has a recipe for a Thai Basil Lime one that looks AMAZING!

Besides the deli they also have a tea counter and groceries including my favorite soy sauce Healthy Boyand all sorts of noodles, sauces, specialty ingredients, and local produce. When I went on July 13 they even had Kaffir Lime tree starts which I highly recommend if you want to make Thai food, it makes all the difference and growing the plant is super easy. Just don’t leave it out in the freezing cold.

I think, for me, the Ice Cream is the most exciting part. Many, if not most, of the varieties are vegan and there are all sorts of original concocotions that they make in the shop like Thai Basil and Tamarind. Today I had to have the coconut peach because it is July and Texas peaches are where it’s at. The ice cream was so delicious. Sweet and creamy and just exactly what I wanted on this hot summer day.

Thai Taco

Sometimes I wish I could force people to make a recipe. This is one of those times. But then, who knows, everyone’s tastes are different and you might not even like this fabulous taco that I made the other day. I think you would, though,  if you are anything like me! I’ll never know unless you try it and tell me. I thought it was totally amazing. Unreal. I made sausage a couple days earlier and the beagles opened the refrigerator and got two of them out! Still, the remaining sausages with the fixins was enough for the both of us humans and we have pretty big appetites so if you make this for two, you will probably have extra sausages. I used lentils in the sausages because I thought they would go the best with Thai food and I am really glad I tried it, although cooking them was an extra step I think it was well worth it because the texture of these sausages was just perfect. One thing I would change in the future is to add some hot peppers to sausages to make them spicy. I had some dried chili peppers but they didn’t make enough of a difference, I think a tiny jalapeno would work well, just remember to put gloves on before you knead the dough! Also, I have been using this healthy boy mushroom soy sauce and it is really amazing and added a lot to the vegan fish sauce.

Thai Sausages
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1 cup broth
1 Tablespoon peanut oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup red onions, chopped fine
5 Thai lime leaves, chopped fine
1/4 cup cilantro, roots and stems work
2 Tablespoons lemongrass, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon dried hot peppers (i think fresh would work better)

Knead the ingredients together and roll up tootsie roll style and steam for 40 minutes. Follow these directions if you haven’t done it before. Chop the sausages into bite size pieces and fry them in peanut oil while you steam the tortillas.

Toppings

1 cucumber, sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, sliced into thin strips
sprouts (mung bean or radish)
cilantro
Thai basil or mint
green onions
1 recipe vegan fish sauce
peanuts
lime

Enjoy!

In other news Spring has finally sprung here in Austin TX.

I spent the weekend getting organized for our move and doing some garage sale-ing.

I did not buy this troll

These people in South Austin take garage sailing to the next level.

Dinger found a place in the sunAnd we went to the dog parkIt was a good weekend.