Years ago, I told a coworker that The Astronomer and I had made reservations a solid month in advance to dine at Osteria Mozza. “What if you’re not in the mood for Italian on that day?” she responded. Her question was logical enough, but it caught me by surprise nevertheless. In all my years of calling for reservations and eating when the date arrived, I’d never once considered the possibility that I wouldn’t be in the mood to enjoy whatever fare I had planned on.
In fact, I’ve always been hungry and ready for just about everything until a recent sushi date with my girl Lien. We had made plans to dine at her favorite spot Kiriko weeks in advance. However, when the day rolled around, I found myself not the least bit in the omakase mood. On this particular evening, I craved something filling, unfussy, cheap, and very spicy.
So, rather than meet for fresh and delicate fishes on the Westside, we jammed it to Thaitown instead. After all, it is the epicenter of all that is filling, unfussy, cheap, and very spicy.
Lien arrived at Ruen Pair first and snagged a comfy booth fit for four toward the back of the restaurant. The extra-large table proved to be quite useful as the evening progressed because we ordered a whole lot of food.
The first dish to arrive was the green papaya salad ($6.95). The heap of shredded papaya was pleasantly snappy and dressed in a well-balanced lime juice and fish sauce vinaigrette. Tomatoes, peanuts, and dried shrimps mingled harmoniously amongst the greenery.
Continue reading ‘Ruen Pair – Los Angeles (Hollywood)’
Chef Kris Yenbamroong opened Night + Market after spending years behind the stove at his parents’ decade-old Thai restaurant Talésai. Serving the same menu day in and day out, he grew a little antsy and desired an outlet to showcase a different side of Thai cuisine. When the space next door to Talésai became vacant, Chef Yenbamroong quickly snatched it up and transformed it into a dining room where the gritty street foods of Thailand’s night markets reigned supreme.
Now that he doesn’t have to worry about alienating Talésai’s longtime patrons, Chef Yenbamroong is finally able to serve food that personally inspires him in a space fitting of his style. Although, being the good son that he is, he still runs the kitchen at Talésai as well.
My friends Will and Brian, who have been dining here since it opened last November, recently coordinated a small dinner to introduce a couple of newbies to Chef Yenbamroong’s exciting concept. In order for us to fully experience Night + Market, the chef curated a tasting of his favorite dishes for us this evening. Everything was served family style, which properly captured the communal spirit of the place.
Continue reading ‘Night + Market – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)’
The Astronomer and I made an impromptu trip to Sin City this past October in search of food and fun to satisfy my wander-lusty ways and insatiable appetite. Vegas makes a great getaway because it is only four short hours away and hotel rooms are practically free! Since I am as risk adverse as they come in all manners of gambling, The Astronomer and I spent our days exploring food destinations on and off the strip and wandering the casinos people watching. We even fit in a Cirque du Soleil show at The Mirage—LOVE.
We arrived in town late Thursday night, but didn’t eat our first meal until Friday afternoon. The number one restaurant on my list of places to try was Lotus of Siam.
I can’t recall when I first heard about this off-the-strip gem, but the buzz surrounding the place continues to be immense and intense. Upon walking into the restaurant, we were greeted by a wall of press clippings, including the August 2000 issue of Gourmet where Jonathan Gold proclaimed Lotus of Siam the “single best Thai restaurant in North America.” Pretty impressive for a joint located in a desolate and dusty Vegas strip mall, wouldn’t you say?
Lotus of Siam serves Northern Thai cuisine, which according to its website is “generally milder than those of Central and Northeastern Thailand.” It is influenced by neighboring countries including Myanmar, Laos, and China.
A Thai meal isn’t complete without a tall glass of sweet and milky iced tea to sip on.
Continue reading ‘Lotus of Siam – Las Vegas’
While it’s unlikely that Top Restaurant will ever join the ranks of my favorite Pasadena eateries, Daisy Mint, another recent neighborhood discovery, is battling it out with Cham Korean Bistro for the top spot. Since it took me nearly two years to try this well liked restaurant [J. Gold approved, Pat Sapp approved, too!], I dined here twice in one week to make up for lost time.
Located on a dingy block of Colorado Boulevard, Daisy Mint serves Thai fare in an airy and modern room. I appreciate how the space feels legitimately cool without trying too hard or seeming out of place, which is quite an accomplishment for this part of town. On my first visit to Daisy Mint, I met up with fellow Pasadena worker bee Kung Food Panda to celebrate his birthday.
While waiting for my lunch date to arrive, I sipped a Thai iced tea that was two notches too sweet. I didn’t mind though, really.
Continue reading ‘Daisy Mint – Pasadena’