Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sabieng Thai

this is round 7 of the GREAT thai-o-rama and this time we went to sabieng!  located on forest ave. just off congress, it is in a nice space with a huge front window, very high ceilings, and exposed duct work.  i did appreciate that the required thai kitsch was quite pared down.  it seemed like someone had put a little thought into the decor versus just putting the most tacky things possible on the walls.  but i know you don't really care that much about the decor.  you want to know how the food was.
appetizer = chive pancakes.  yummy.  a little gummy in that way that rice pancake-type-things can be but it  filled with fresh chives and garlic and complemented nicely with a ginger dipping sauce.
mains = panaeng tofu curry and lemon grass chicken, both served with brown rice and both ordered medium spicy.  yum to both.
the tofu was like little pillows of soft goodness soaking up the richness of the perfectly spicy, not too sweet, curry.  it was full of fresh crisp green beans and basil and sprinkled with kefir lime zest.
the lemon grass chicken was unfortunately not so lemon grassy but still really good.  a nice rich brown sauce with lots of chicken and green beans and bamboo shoots and basil.  again it was spicy enough to give you a nice burn without detracting from the overall flavor.
we were the only table in the restaurant so we got pretty great service.  the cook himself came out of the kitchen and asked us how everything was.  he seemed very pleased that we were so pleased.  we thought we were really gonna see some action when a fire truck pulled up right outside the restaurant but the owner told us that the fire truck comes almost daily as the building across the street houses a lot of older folks.
on our way out, we saw blueberry files coming in with m.  i hope there take out was as good as our dine in.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

images of spring

eat fiddle heads!  these were prepared with shallots, olive oil, salt, and pepper and sauteed.  last night we had them tossed in garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper and cooked in the grill wok. both so simple but so delicious. they are only around for a short time so eat them up!
lilacs!  i love lilacs so much, but because i don't have any bushes of my own, i have to try to find bushes around town that aren't obviously in some one's yard so i can cut some to fill my whole house with their amazing aroma.  these i cut from over a brick wall while no one was watching.
pansies!  i went a little overboard and bought way too many pansies.  but i found pots for them all and now it looks like someone threw-up pansies on my deck.  not such a bad thing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

a very thai experience

round 6 (i'm losing track) of thai-o-rama and we went to boda!
the inside of boda is really interesting with concrete walls and rough wood tables and chairs.  the windows in the front are amazing for people watching.  a couple delicious cocktails got us going.  seth had a basil tom collins and i had a mildly fruity alcoholic arnold palmer.
started with the larp het, at northeastern-style spicy mushroom salad of grilled assorted mushroom mixed with chili, shallots, soy sauce, lime juice, mint, long-leaf coriander, and roasted rice powder.  this was a little disappointing because it was overwhelmingly salty from way too much fish sauce.  there were a couple of bites where the grilled mushroom and herb flavors shone through and they were really great.  but the majority was difficult to enjoy.  and while i like a little crunchy, i didn't like the texture of the roasted rice powder.
for appetizers we got the northern-style sausages and a grilled squid special.  the sausages themselves were very gingery, which i loved, and were served with pickled ginger and relish.  i can't really remember the relish but seth and i both LOVED these sausages.  to be honest, i don't meet many sausages i don't like.
the squid was just okay.  it, like everything else that landed on our table, was presented beautifully.  the small squid bodies sliced horizontally and served with spicy chili, garlic lime dipping sauce.  by itself, the squid had hint of smoke, but was otherwise flavorless.  the dipping sauce was really good, but it was all you tasted with each bite of squid.  i love sauces, but i think they should complement the flavors of the main dish, not overpower it.
we shared one entree of braised pork hocks, simmered in a rich dark stock made with chinese five spice, served with jasmine steamed rice, hardboiled egg, tofu, asian mustard green pickles, and spicy & sour chili sauce.   the menu said it is one of the most popular street foods in thailand.  it was pretty amazing.  it was kind of deconstructed and both together and standing alone, each component was great.  the asian mustard green pickles were ridiculously good and my only complaint was that there wasn't more of them on the plate.
we usually don't get dessert but i was feeling decadent so i got a decaf espresso and we shared an amazing dessert of sticky rice, coconut milk and mango.  again it was deconstructed and we had to unwrap the sticky rice from the banana leaf and pour the coconut milk over the rice.  the mango was perfectly ripe and buttery.  its the thing i would be most excited to go back to boda to eat.
all in all, this was a pretty good meal.  first off, i have never seen any of these things on a menu at any other thai restaurant, so they get points for showing me something different.  second, even though there were a couple of items that i didn't really care for, the things i did like were really great.
i would go back just for the cocktails, dessert, and people watching.