Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the best of the thai-o-rama best

so if you have been following my blog or this thai-o-rama project than you know there was a lot of not great thai food eaten in the last year.  all a long you may have been thinking, "i don't care about hearing about bad thai food, just tell me where the good stuff is."  so this is where the pay off of eating all that not great thai food happens.  i can, with authority, tell you where you should spend your money on thai eats, and where you should not.
all of the bloggers are all using the same categories below to rate the restaurants:
Best pad thai: i actually don't order pad thai that frequently.  i thinks its kind of a wimpy thai dish, like ordering california rolls at sushi.  but sometimes i do crave it and reading back over my reviews it seems that vientiane had a great rendition.
Best curry: curry is the opposite of pad thai for me, i like to order it every time i go for thai, and i especially love to get it with duck.  the green tofu curry at chiang-mai two was excellent, though one needs to be aware of their heat rating. sabieng thai also had a good panaeng tofu curry.  with these two endorsements i think it may actually be tofu i like to order in my curry
Best spring rolls:  i think that spring rolls across the board are pretty mediocre so i can't recommend any places rolls over another.  but since seth's go-to thai appetizer is crab rangoon i will tell you that hands down the best version of this is at chiang-mai two.  you can actually taste crab in this version.
Best soup: we only ordered soup at 2 or 3 spots so i am gonna decline to comment here.
Best atmosphere: boda is the only interesting restaurant space of any of the restaurants we dined at.  but remember, if you like bus stations, vientiane is the place for you.
Best overall: i'm gonna do a top 3, in no special order -- pom's thai taste, chiang-mai two, and boda.  i'm not totally on the boda band wagon, and i didn't like everything we ordered.  but with some much of exactly the same thai food, its fun and exciting to dine on something different.  honestly i would put it in the top category alone for the dessert of sticky rice, coconut milk and mango.  it was a total surprise that chiang-mai two was so good.  it has a very traditional menu but everything we ordered was the best version we had in 13 restaurants.  pom's thai taste is a great stand by with a huge menu and is super approachable for those new to thai food.  i also think that veranda thai and sabieng thai do a good job.
Best prices: i think this really should be best value for the money.  again i think chiang-mai two had excellent food and reasonable prices.  vientiane also had very good food at pretty much dirt cheap prices.
Best "I never expected to like it" dish:  i have mixed feelings about crab rangoon and i usually just allow seth to order it.  so i guess my 'never expected to like it dish' was the crab rangoon at chiang-mai two.
Place I would never go back to (my own catagory): so while there was a lot of mediorce thai, most places were not horrible, just nothing special.  i think that if they are your neighborhood thai restaurant than you can get a decent americanized-thai meal there.  the one restaurant that i would never recommend anyone is viet bangkok cuisine.  i actually gave this place a okay review when we dined there but it was only our second restaurant and i was not yet jaded by just okay food.  and, in fact, this place's food is not okay.  i can still taste that weird plasticy taste that flavored our curry.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

last thai supper

so last night for our last thai supper (round 13 of thai-o-rama) we all met up at sengchai thai (803 forest ave).  we were the only table in the restaurant (really glad i made reservations) so we got a lot of attention from our server.  at first she was endearing and quirky but by the end of the dinner it was a little much for me.  i was out to dine and conversate with friends and our server frankly dominated the conversation at times (i will be interested to hear how everyone else felt about her).  with all this said she was quite attentive, she gave us all separate checks which i always think is above and beyond what a server really needs to do, and she gave us a free appetizer of curry puffs, which were tasty.
seth and i ordered crab rangoon (surprise) which the server said was great but was only your average crab rangoon that don't taste like crab but are somehow satisfying in their fried creaminess.  we also got the tom kha gai which was quite flavorful with a strong scent of lemongrass and, of course, coconut milk, but was a little watery in texture.
for our entrees we got the spicy basil with tofu and the pineapple curry with duck, both ordered 2 out of 5 spiciness.  the spicy basil was spicy w/ lots of nice fluffy pillows of fried tofu and a nice basil flavor.  the pineapple curry was a red curry w/ loads of pineapple, red and green bell peppers, carrots and duck.  i thought the flavor was fine, not the worst curry i have ever had but far from the best and it wasn't spicy at all. there also wasn't really that much duck in it, but i liked the duck that was there.
finally, my thai iced tea, which i sucked down in about 5 minutes flat, so it clearly wasn't that bad, was not as strong as i typically like them.
so as you can tell, this was yet another mediocre thai meal.  if you are in the area and you are really craving thai, by all means stop into sangchai thai and you will get a predictable meal of thai standards.  but by no means go out of your way to dine at this restaurant. 
coming soon, find out which thai restaurants you should go out of your way to dine at when i do my wrap up of all things thai in portland.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

no name thai restaurant

guest blog post by seth eli goldstein:
Well, this is embarrassing.  Jenner asked me if I would guest blog for this round of Pad Thai-o-rama.  Sure I would, and so I headed down to the Thai food restaurant located in the food court at Monument Square.   The embarrassing thing is I can't remember this place's name.
                The food court is a nice clean space and there is excellent people watching when all the suits downtown are released for their one hour recess.   The restaurant, whose name I cannot remember, is really a counter place.  The cool thing is that you can watch your food cooked to order before your eyes.  My Pad Thai went straight from the wok to my Styrofoam container and was piping hot.   It was a large portion and I felt like I got a pretty good value for the price.  I would have tried a couple of appetizers as well but I was all by my lonesome and although I am in the Guinness Book of World Records for most crab Rangoon eaten in a single meal I just went with the Pad Thai. 
                I thought that the spice was pretty mild, particularly as I requested a spice factor 2 out of 3.  Perhaps a tad bland as well, but still passable Pad Thai with wide noodles served with scallions and mung beans.  Sometimes pad Thai can be a bit on the sweet side.  The Pad Thai, from the restaurant whose name shall remain a mystery, was not too sweet, and that was nice.  If you need a quick and affordable Thai fix for lunch (I'm pretty sure this is a lunch only joint) that will leave you with leftovers for dinner, hit this place up.  It won't knock your proverbial socks off but it does the trick.

this was a guest posting brought to you by seth for the 12th round of thai-o-rama. the unknown name of this restaurnt is siam orchid and it is located at the one city center food court.