Category: Thai (page 1 of 2)

A Post About One Of My Favorite Restaurants: On’s Kitchen, St. Paul

I’ve been ordering take-out from On’s Kitchen nearly once a week.

For years, we primarily visited Bangkok Thai Deli since back when the location operated out of the little grocery store with the This is still a place we still love.

It’s just that On’s is closer.

Once we tried both Bangkok Thai Deli and On’s, we’ve never branched out to other Thai restaurants in the Twin Cities. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t branch out too. We just found that when we branched out we missed these two places.

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There’s A Monthly Thai Food Fair At The Buddhist Temple

There’s a Buddhist temple in St. Louis.

Wat Phrasriratanaram Buddhist Temple & Meditation Center is located in a quiet Florissant neighborhood. The temple also serves as a meditation center. According to its website, the temple offers free meditation classes, Thai culture and language classes, and occasional fruit and vegetable carving classes.

Each food fair is held once a month on a Sunday.

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This Is How You Celebrate 100

We returned home to the Twin Cities to celebrate birthdays.

This is how we celebrated Burrell’s 100 years.

Burrell Birthday #2

We call her our grandmother even though she’s technically my step-grandmother.

Her children went all out. The theme was yellow. There were lots of candles on her cakes of course, though not quite 100. People wore funny hats and we wandered among bouquets of yellow flowers. Friends and family came from all over and she delighted in her grandchildren.

The meal did her 100 years justice. One of Burrell’s daughters and her husband flew up from Florida and helped my godmother prepare the feast, since they love to cook. Chef Jeff, our family’s Most Interesting Man in the World made roast beef with horseradish, homemade marinara sauce, figs stuffed with goat cheese, marinated shrimp, and carrot-apple slaw to name a few.

Others contributed perfectly Midwestern sides like crock pot calico beans and that sweet, mayonnaisey broccoli salad I love that’s dotted with raisins, bacon, and red onion.

Before Burrell blew out the birthday candles, someone asked her to share her secret to life. She responded, “loving,” without a pause. I know Burrell also likes her morning coffee, a glass of wine in the evening, and eating some amount of real butter every day, so I hope those also have something to do with her long, happy life. I’m counting on it.

She used to swim laps in a quarry near her Iron Range home and she still swims laps at the pool, putting us all to shame.

Today, we gathered for my brother-in-laws birthday over steak, asparagus and popovers. Doggies love birthday steak, too.

Steak Dog CollageJeni loves popovers the best.

DSC_0150My mother-in-law recreated a recipe for chocolate bread pudding she found in her 1896 Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Bread Pudding Collage

Living a part from our family and old friends can feel tough, but also makes our gatherings all the more special. We no longer take our time together from granted.

After this weekend of party food, I think it’s time to join the Mason City YMCA so I can try my hand at swimming laps and keep up with Burrell.

Update 1/5/15: Nearly a year has passed since I wrote this post. Burrell’s children are gearing-up for her 101st birthday party next month and we’re thrilled to attend. And we did end up joining our local YMCA. I tried my hand at swimming laps. It’s hard. Really hard. I think Burrell’s got me beat on this one.

swim

I took this photo before my first swim.

Thai Curry Paste Saved My Week

The combination of five-day workweeks and a steady supply of CSA vegetables make me scream out for easy dinner ideas.  This week, a tiny jar of Thai curry paste came to my rescue.  Twice.

On a post-work grocery run, I impulsively bought a jar of red Thai curry paste from the grocery store nearest to our residence.  I was looking for an escuse to use the year-old can of coconut milk I had found in my cupboard.  I’m sure you can purchase more potent and flavorful varieties of curry pastes from Asian markets. This Thai Kitchen version was good enough for a quick fix, if a little tame.
I incorporated my CSA vegetables with whatever meat I had on hand.  On the first occasion, I added meat from our freezer, and on the second, leftover rotisserie chicken.  If you don’t have rice to steam, try serving the soupy curry over lightly buttered noodles.  The turnips, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, and onions from our CSA box all went into the curry pot.
Thai curry screams, “everyone in the pool!”  Use whatever you have in your kitchen and make as much or little as you’d like.
Ingredients

Vegetable oil
Meat, cut into bite sized pieces
Chopped vegetables
Optional: Hot chili (I used one red jalapeño, seeds and all)
Meat, cut into bite sized pieces
Thai curry paste
Coconut milk (Add the whole can. The thicker substance will melt when cooked)
Water
Fish sauce
Brown sugar
Steamed rice or lightly buttered noodles
Directions

Sauté meat (if using raw).  Sauté vegetables until tender.  Add the curry paste and briefly cook.  Then, add the coconut milk, some water, and incorporate.  I added about 1/3-1/2 cup of water for one 12 oz. can of coconut milk.  Add fish sauce and brown sugar to taste.  Simmer until the flavors meld together and the coconut milk begins to look and taste less “raw.”  It will begin to shimmer. 
Serve over rice or noodles and garnish with fresh cilantro and sliced cucumber.
*I ended up using more brown sugar than I expected, a lot more curry paste than suggested, and only a few dashes of fish sauce.

Memorial Weekend Jaunt Home: Cafe 116, Wise Acre Eatery, Clearwater Truck Stop

One of my goals is to compile some sort of food guide for those who travel between the Twin Cities and Fargo.

The drive is notoriously dull, but I refuse to believe it’s devoid of any gems.  Every time I make the drive, I want to stop in a different, small town and try a new truck stop or cafe.  The ride is dotted with intriguing towns, many marked by majestic church steeples.

On this particular drive back to the Twin Cities, I stopped at Cafe 116 in Fergus Falls, MN for a light lunch.  Cafe 116 notes that it makes its food from scratch and utilizes local foods and suppliers.  At least three individuals have recommended this cafe and I remembered reading positive reviews in The High Plains Reader and Jihye Chang’s blog.

I rolled into Fergus Falls around lunchtime on Saturday afternoon and was immediately taken by the town’s cozy homes and plush, green trees.  I easily located Cafe 116, about seven minutes from I-94.   I had to pause to my breath after nearly being T-boned by an elderly couple who ran a red light, and forget to grab my camera.

The cafe is spacious and I sat at the window bar.  At first glance, I was confused if I should order at the counter or wait for a table but was quickly assisted.  I ordered a small pot of loose leaf green tea, $3, and browsed the lunch menu that offers cold and grilled panini sandwiches by the whole or half, soup of the day, a vegan burrito, and selection of salads.

I ordered half of a Cleveland panini, $5.25, made with prosciutto, red onion, apple, and mozzarella.  For an additional $1, I substituted vegetables and homemade ranch dressing for chips.  The half sandwich was petite but tasted of high quality.  Nothing fancy, but the prosciutto and apple slices provided a pleasing salty-sweet sensation.  The bread was crispy and scented with toasty Parmesan cheese.

Despite the up-charge, I was glad I substituted fresh vegetables for potato chips.  The half sandwich and large serving of carrot sticks and pea pods made a lovely light lunch.  I wouldn’t hesitate to return and also try their homemade ice cream or creme brulee.

I spent the rest of the day with my folks and we made spicy tacos.

On Sunday afternoon, my friend suggested a few of us meet at Wise Acre Eatery in South Minneapolis.  C’s friend works there and she wanted to check out the restaurant for the first time.  Last summer, I visited Wise Acre Eatery and didn’t have many positive things to say about the service.  However, I have since visited Wise Acre twice for lunch, and have had positive experiences with food and service.

C’s friend stopped by often to check in, though we were served by a couple of individuals we did not know.

I kept it simple and ordered a cold press coffee, bowl of the daily chowder, and a side of bread with butter.  

I genuinely enjoyed the flavorful chowder.  It wasn’t too rich or too salty and I enjoyed the tender chunks of carrot and occasional piece of thick bacon.  The chowder was covered in croutons, made from both flaky croissants and bread.

C’s friend brought us a trio of house made hot sauces.

I’m not sure if they are typically offered to customers but I kept dipping the croutons into the thicker sauce to the left.

Wise Acres was celebrating its birthday and surprised its customers with jars of custard.

We shared a trio of chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon custard accompanied by caramel sauce, rhubarb caramel sauce, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, nut brittle.  I suspect the toppings were an extra gift and I loved the rhubarb caramel sauce the most.

On the way back to the Twin Cities, I picked up some spicy, grilled beef salad from Bangkok Thai Deli for Jake and made one more stop at the Clearwater Travel Plaza.  A couple of readers recommended stopping at Nelson Bros. Restaurant and Bakery for sandwiches made with freshly-baked bread.  I was too full to try a sandwich so I grabbed a giant caramel roll.  The employee confirmed the breads are baked in-house.

Since it was late afternoon, the outside of the roll tasted a little stale but the inside was still moist.  The roll was covered in a thick layer of caramel and nuts but I did not taste any buttery richness.  The caramel seemed to taste more like store-bought pecan pie filling.  Sweet and corn-syrupy.  Oh well.  I used to work next to Isles Bun & Coffee which has become my gold standard for sticky buns.  Isles Bun & Coffee emanates the sweet scent of butter and it’s better for that.

I plan to stop by again for one of the sandwiches but will pass on the baked sweets.

If you have any suggestions for food stops along I-94 between the Twin Cities and Fargo, I’d love to hear them.

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