Archive for the ‘Orlando Restaurants’ Category

Howlin’ good times.

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Alright, that title was cheesy, but once you read what I ate here, you’ll understand.

We happened upon White Wolf Cafe when looking for a place to eat around Florida Hospital. Man Biscuit and I were visiting family and wanted to find a place nearby. White Wolf Cafe popped up on Google Maps, and we just had to check it out. Not just because of the nerdy connotations of the name, but also because it had a ton of reviews. If people were buzzing this much about it, we needed to see what it was all about.

The business next to WWC was an exterior decorative statue company. It gave the whole place a Disney’s Haunted Mansion feel to it…with eerie eyeless statues staring at us on the way in. We opened the door into a huge bar area and very detailed antique shop/cafe. The host stand was placed awkwardly in the center of the room, which invited your eyes to a sweep of the whole restaurant. They seated us immediately, and we spent a few moments ogling the various paintings, antique signs, wrought iron and chandeliers that consumed the walls and ceiling. It was a fun collection and certainly kept us entertained.

Everything was antique. Chairs, tables, walls, rugs…even elements of the bathrooms belonged in an antique store, which the cafe also was. The only thing that wasn’t old and tired was the menu. We were intrigued by the idea of french fries with red beans and cheese. We were not disappointed. They piled on the fries. The plate was enormous. It was covered in delicately spiced red beans and melted cheese. We dug into the fries with vigor. They were satisfying and very, very filling.

At the server’s suggestion, I selected the “mac and two cheeses.” The dish boasted crab meat, brie and caramelized pasta. They didn’t mention what the other cheese was. When it arrived, my jaw dropped in awe. It looked phenomenal. Huge, gooey, cheesy delight with strips of fresh brie on the north, south, east and west poles. The center housed the crabmeat, which was surrounded by thickly coated bowtie pasta.

I dug in with gusto. The brie was bright and creamy, and just the right temperature after being placed on the piping-hot pasta. The crab was good quality and lightly seasoned. I was still pretty full from the fry-appetizer, so I was only able to enjoy half of the dish. I wrapped it up to take home.

The White Wolf cafe had much to offer on the menu and on the walls. I highly recommend this cafe if you’ve A. got to visit someone in the hospital and are very hungry, B. enjoy looking at/purchasing antiques, C. Love rich cheeses and upscale menu items at comparable prices, or D. are bored and looking for something to do. Or, all of the above. Definitely check it out, it’s pretty dang cool.

I See, a White Wolf Rising.

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

In the middle of super hip row, in downtown Orlando, sits a delightful little restaurant called White Wolf Cafe. Applecheecks and I were visiting my mum in the hospital up there and got a might bit peckish. A few questions around the staff and we were pointed toward the white wolf cafe. ***PARALLEL PARKING WARNING*** Not a problem for me but I thought you’d like to know before going.

So we get inside and the place is full of antiques and neat signs and whatnot. There is a large impressive bar, stocked to the gills with bottles. The tables and chairs all have a classic appeal with heavy iron chairs. and stone tabletop Across the walls they had hung art work, some of which was for sale.

The server was pretty attentive and pleasant. Also she was serving for two. Not sure how I feel about having a pregnant server, kinda makes me feel like a heel for making her wait on me.

The appetizer selection looked great but one thing caught our eye because its something you don’t see often. French fries and red beans. I didn’t know what to expect. As it turns out, what you see is what you get. Some flavorful red beans and cheddar cheese, topping crisp, shoestring fries. It was a very generous portion and served hot.

For the main course, it was a really tough choice but thanks to our server I was able to nail down the choice. Fried Lobster Sandwich. Yes. Fried lobster. The bread was super soft and chewy. The lobster was cut into chunks, breaded and fried. Served with a spicy mayo (which might have been for the chips but I used it on the sammich) and ensemble of garlic aioli, tomato and springmix. The whole combo was delicious.

Sadly we didn’t have any room for dessert. However the menu featured some tasty sounding options. Next time we go there it will definitely be a dessert first kinda time.

Make like a grouper and get stuffed.

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Under the reverberating hum of low-flying planes, you will spot a big gaudy sign. This sign sports the name “High Tide Harry’s.” Personally, I love a big gaudy sign, especially when it’s posted in front of a fish restaurant. We scuttled into the entrance and put in our names. The seat attendants seemed a little lost, but they eventually found a place for us to sit and we slid into the booth.

The decor settled somewhere between cheeseball fish fry joint and the movie Jaws. The lamps were pretty interesting, though.

Is that a happy crab, or is it just me?

Our waitress arrived out of breath and had a seat. We waited patiently as she described to us all the hours she’d worked throughout the week. We agreed all around that it’s tough all over, and dived into the giant menu. There were cascades of fried delights, a thousand seafaring puns and wonderful pirate-like banter peppered throughout the menu. I do love a good menu theme. We decided on an order of frog’s legs and gator bites. To drink, I spotted something that I was curious about and decided I must try. A “fish bowl” of Blue Moon. When it arrived, I was not disappointed. It was literally, a fish bowl. 32oz of cold, beautiful Blue Moon. I’m drooling now, just thinking about it.

For dinner, Man Biscuit ordered a plethora of seafood. I ordered the crab stuffed grouper with a side of New England clam chowder and hushpuppies. The appetizer arrived, bringing gleefully golden frog’s legs. They looked like little chicken wings. If you’ve ever had frog’s legs, you’d know that they’re kind of watery and gamey. These were not much different, however the fry was delightflly crisp and seasoned well. The gator bites were also typical gator meat, like a chewy, fishy chicken and coated in a flour and cornmeal fry. The dips were flavorful and complemented both items well. So, given a pile of odd game – reptiles and amphibians, they managed to pull out a tasty and unusual appetizer.

My chowder arrived. It looked thick and smelled amazing. It was a great chowder- just the right ratio of clams, potatoes, onions and other stuff. It was warm and soothing – the perfect comfort food.

Dinner arrived in it’s golden crusted glory. Plump grouper, stuffed to the gills with crabmeat stuffing. It was delightful. If anything ill could be said of it, it was slightly oily, but that may have been the fish oil. Very tasty, savory fish with a light crisp on the exterior and delicate flavors. It was a nice surprise, amongst all the fried fare. To go along with my grouper, I had some classic fish-house food – hush puppies. They were classically delicous, perfectly fried and moist on the inside. Delicous!

I was feeling like my grouper when it was time to go. Stuffed.

We left with a boatload of leftovers and happy taste buds. If you want to experience a classically styled casual cuisine with a fishy flair, don’t go to the Krusty Krab, go to High Tide Harry’s.

Green Grass and High Tide Harry’s (and rain)

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Let me tell you about how we got to High Tide Harry’s. This place was chosen almost at random my me during a dark and stormy night. I’ll start at the beginning. My brother called us up and asked if we’d like to join him and his wife for dinner. “Great!” I thought, “This will give us an excuse to write another review.” His only stipulation was that it be some local Orlando seafood. They were thinking about some kind of chain restaurant. Not that I have a problem with chains but Applecheeks and I like to check out local joints that maybe, people haven’t heard of. So I began my search for a seafood place. Thanks to Googlemaps it wasn’t hard to find. I informed Bro and Wife that danger is go, and to head on over. By the time they showed up however the sky had opened a portal to the lightening ocean and cats and dogs were falling from the sky in droves that would have made an ASPCA commercial jealous. It was a torrential downpour or Ark proportions.

Wouldn’t ya know it, the moment we roll up to lights signaling Harry’s, the rain stopped. At least we didn’t get wet on the way in. On the way in, it’s apparent the place is popular. We get on the waiting list and enjoy the scenery for a bit. There’s plenty of interesting things to look at, High Tide Harry’s is definitely a ‘fun’ place.

As it turns out we were among the last groups on the wait list. After we sat down the crowds seemed to have thinned out entierly. The hostess brought us through the resturant, which was quite large. We passed the bar which looked like good times as well. Lots of TV’s playing sports and whatnot. Finally arriving at aour destination of a huuuge booth. I had time to take in the surrounding nautical oddities.  I felt very close to the seafood I would soon be eating in that moment.

Our server showed up to tell us about the specials. There were FISHBOWLS! Fishbowls full of alcohol! What a great idea, sadly I was driving so I couldn’t partake. That didn’t stop everyone else from enjoying their decently priced drink specials. They had quite a large selection of drinks which is always a nice addition.

The menu’s were pretty huge, both in price and in physical size. Hefty menu’s. We decided to get some seafood entree’s and settled on Gator Tail and Frogs Legs. These we shared among the four of us and the portion seemed like plenty to go around. The gator tail was of course deep fried, and my favorite of the two. The meat texture was somewhere between tough chicken and meaty fish. The flavor was somewhere between chicken and fish. When i say somewhere between I mean of course that it tasted like gator, I’m just trying to relate the ‘idea’ of gator flavor. The dipping sauce complimented the crispy bites well. The frog legs were an interesting sort. I’ve never had these before and didn’t know what to expect. They came lightly battered and fried. The make up of these reminded me a lot of chicken wings. Specifically the wing part, there were two fine bones you had to wriggle the meat off. Having been my first experience with them, I can’t say if they were specifically good or not compared to others. I felt like they were overly fishy (again could be how frog legs roll) and greasy. Definitely paled next to the meaty gatorbites.

For dinner I had a special not on the menu. A pound of snow crab legs for 18 bucks. This came with two sides and some such. Basically I don’t remember because for the next 25 minutes I was in Crab-topia. This crab was tasty! I know it’s not hard to get crab right as far as cooking, it requires no seasoning. Just that you don’t overcook it. Regardless it was amazing, love me some crizab. The sides I think there were fries which i remember were thin and tasty but they were only getting in the way of more crab.

The only problem I remember was only a small issue, was our waitress. She was fairly attentive, could have come around a bit more. But she was the kind that liked to share her problems with you either in the hopes of playing the pity card for tizips or because she just likes to get sympathy.

All in all, the whole place was totally worth the drive through gale-force winds and pelting rains. We had a great time and left with cleaned plates.

Mex I Can

Monday, July 4th, 2011

If you’re looking for a place to eat, don’t look around the Florida mall. The majority of restaurants in this direction are your typical chains- syndicated food with typical decor and little deviation. Garibaldi’s was indeed a chain restaurant, but it didn’t seem so when we walked in. The staff was friendly but not fake-big-toothed-smile friendly. It was genuine warmth.

We were quickly lead across a small bridge-like walkway to a dining area and stepped up to a comfy booth. The decorations were somewhere between cheesy mexican (queso?) and cinco de mayo pool party. There were colorful plastic squares hung everywhere, corona signs and various Mexican culture posters and items blended with some random things I didn’t quite understand.

The waiter came by and brought us chips and salsa right away. I love that! The chips weren’t salted, but tasted fresh made. They were thin and light so as not to spoil our appetites, and the salsa also seemed fresh made. It wasn’t spicy but was flavorful.  So we munched on chips while looking at the drinks specials.

They had a 2 for 1 deal on margaritas, so we inwardly shouted “ole!” and ordered them up. Man Biscuit and I silently sighed together when the waiter plopped down four tumblers instead of two. We were of the impression that 2 for 1 implied that there were two of us, and we’d each get one while only paying for one…that was not the case. We should have asked. The cups weren’t large, however, so drinking two wasn’t going to get us plastered, just buzzed.

We began sipping margaritas while perusing the large menu. The margaritas tasted authentic. This was a nice change from the typical super-sweet margarita-like drinks that are really nothing more than a glass of sugar and liquor. These were salty and tangy with the tequila lime twist. Pretty good, and chilled mugs, too.

We decided to order a Sope to share. This was described as a hand-made corn dough, covered with chorizo, lettuce, salsa, sour cream and cheese. For my meal I had to order my favorite Mexican fair – the chimichanga. There’s nothing in this world that can stand up to a fried burrito.

The food arrived more quickly than I expected. It was only a few minutes of quiet chat, margarita sipping and chip-crunching before the food was presented to us. The plates were an explosion of color. The sope was a grand pile of chorizo, lettuce and fixings, so much that we couldn’t see the corn cake. Digging a fork in found it quickly. The cake was moist, warm and delicious. The flavor was balanced well with the chorizo, which after a few bites became tastier still. The mess on top brought it all together and cooled everything down. All in all, a tasty side dish.

After a few bites of sope, I focused on my chimichanga. It was a big burrito, slathered in queso blanco which overtook half the plate. There was bowl-shaped rice on the side, some pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce and sour cream in little piles. I cut into the chimichanga, and was surprised to find the flavor of the cheese was very bright and tasty. It layered across the top and killed some of the crispness of the fry, but it was tasty enough to be forgiven. Probably one of the best queso experiences I’ve had. I was disappointed with the lack of a crispy shell. I think I may have taken too long with the sope and gave the chimi time to sog. The chimichanga filling was simple and good. Ground beef with a little diced onion and a little spice. When I grabbed some of the guacamole and pico de gallo to make a big bite, it was a great combo. The guacamole also tasted fresh made. It was my favorite type – the kind that’s not processed, but chopped and mixed. It was chunky, fresh and spiced perfectly. I would buy this stuff by the gallon. The pico de gallo was much the same, fresh and bright with flavor.

We were getting lucky with homemade food, so we decided to keep the train rollin’. For dessert, we ordered the Tres Leches. The tag under the title “Made Fresh Daily” definitely caught our eye. When the dessert arrived, it didn’t look like much. A small round pile of something tan, coated in what appeared to be reddi-whip. When my fork bit into the pastry however, cream dribbled from the side. The effect was delightful. The pastry itself was springy, and not turned to mush by the cream. Each bite was wonderful – the cream was sweet and fresh, and the pastry a delight. Even the reddi whip was charming. The plate was decorated with a caramel sauce which had the perfect amount of salt. A great ending to our meal.

Garibaldi was definitely fresh. Everything had a refreshingly fresh quality to it, like the Prince of Bel-Air. The service was friendly and quick, even if the decor was a bit odd. For a chain restaurant, they certainly stood out with home-style cooking, big portions and a remarkably low price.

Once Upon A Time… in a Mexican Restaurant

Monday, July 4th, 2011

We showed up to a pleasant quasi outta the way restaurant called Garibaldi. Its a Mexican place that is situated just behind/near the florida mall. Outside it does a good job of looking what I imagine a fancy restaurant in Mexico to look like, regardless of the truth, it fit my imagination. There were two little fountains that looked like they were hand made with decorative tiles.

When we got inside and the decorations are a bit funny. There was a poster of ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico’ with three random mariachi instruments. There was almost no place to stand, fortunately the time we went the place was not super busy. The bar was just to the right and seemed nice and modern with its neon lights. The host showed up and took us on a small path that led directly past the kitchen. Sometimes this is a style choice so you can see the kitchen and watch the way your food will be prepared. I’m thinking this may not have been the case. It looked like it may have been an accidental design flaw. I could be wrong but it didn’t look like they were show casing the kitchen.

It didn’t seem like too big of an issue. When you get past the small walkway, you’re rewarded with the dining area full of tiled table tops that titillate and transfix the telescopic testimonials of the theater of the eyes…. whoa, sorry about that. I got into a serious thing. Then I forgot what we were talking about. Anyway, the booths and tables were roomy and tiled. Bonus points for having free and hot tortilla chips ready for us when the server showed up. We were also informed about their two for one house margarita’s.

I turned to Applecheecks and said “Do you want A margarita? Cus I could go for A margarita, and its priced two for one!” She obliged and the server brought us 4 margaritas… Pretty sneaky server. Are you really so frightened I may under-tip you that you have to sink to these depths? Instead of taking our implied order or ASKING US, you chose to give us twice what we wanted. Jerk. Anyway, they were pretty tasty, on the rocks, salt on the rim. Pretty good stuff.

We decided to go with a Antojito for an appetizer. Antohito is a Mexican street food that is basically (from what the internet tells me) a mid day snack that satifys a craving. We ordered a Sope with chorrizo. Its basically a corn dough patty cake thing. Topped with classic taco fixins and some delicious chorrizo. You have a choice of meats and we went with chorrizo because I thought the corn would mute any lesser flavors. It worked out great. Good starter, probably filling enough to be your main course.

For the entree I went with the Floutas, The picture was adorable, 5 little fried corn tortillas filled with beef and topped with cheese/sour cream, guacamole and pico. Giving the impression of the mexican flag. Unfortunately the beef inside tasted freezer burnt or soapy or some bizarre flavor. I ordered a bowl of pico (which was delicious) and some of the in house hot sauce (also very delicious) and dowsed the Floutas with my aquired sauces and it made it tolerable.

Dessert! We went in on some Tres Leche cake. Specifically because it advertised ‘Made fresh daily’ I’m a big fan of those things, if it’s a frozen dessert we could buy it ourselves and eat it at home. The cake came out in a rounded little serving size. Decorated cutely with swirly caramel. Topped with some whipped creame and a cherry. The cake was totally sweet and squishy with that leche sauce. Highly recommend this bad boy.

I’d stay clear of the flouta’s and be very clear with your 2 for 1 orders. Other than that, everything was tasty and pleasant. VIVA LA MEXICAN FOOD!

My cup overfloweth with fries.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

So, Applecheeks and I decided it was time to eat a juicy burger. Our wallets decided we shouldn’t review an expensive resturant.  With all these thought in mind we had both heard of this burger joint, a chain that had been opening up in central florida from Virginia.

From the outside, it’s a little unique. Most of the Five Guys are located in strip mall type area’s right next to a bunch of random stores. When you approach It’s got great big glass windows. Diner style lettering and bright, stark colors.
You’re greeted with the smells of cooking meat and peanut oil. Bright lights and the barking of food orders. The seating is pretty basic, sit-where-you-like and a fast food style of ordering your food and take it to a table. There are boxes of peanuts strewn through out for your pre-food snacking pleasure. There are also boxes upon boxes of potatos. Apperently they’re using the main dining area for potato storage and considering I’m going to be eating some potatos… I’m ok with this.

You can see behind the counter and watch everyone cooking your food. Speaking of food. They have an deceptive menu selection. There are no “combo’s” and at first seems like a small selection of food. You can have a burger or little burger. The difference is one patty or two. The patties are smallish so the regular burger works for me. You can choose cheese bacon or both during this phase of the order. Then they have a myriad of toppings; Mayo, Relish, Onions, Lettuce, Pickles,Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, Ketchup, Mustard, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Peppers, A.1.® Steak Sauce, Bar-B-Q Sauce, Hot Sauce.  WHEW!

Like I said, deceptive.
They have hotdogs as well but once I smelled those burgers, I wouldn’t have it. The next option is softdrink and fries. Fries are served in cups and are rustic style with the skin still attached. You can choose regular or cajun. (the cajun is a reddish spice mixture that is spicy and compliments the potato’s if you’re in the mood for something a little different.)

I went with a Cheese Burger (didn’t go for the bacon, I’m on a health kick) with pickles, relish, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and hotsauce. I’m pretty sure I ordered half that stuff on it simply because it was an option. When i tasted it, I’m sooooo glad it was an option! it works! the burger has the two patties both steaming hot and the cheese has melted to liquid. the bun is soft from the heat of the burger and my goodness what a tasty combo.

Applecheeks and I shared a regular sized fries. The food comes in a paper sack and they generously put way more fries than just the cupful in the bag. It felt like a secret, like I knew someone who worked there and they hooked me up. When I opened the bag, I closed it and looked around to make sure I didn’t get in trouble for getting too many fries. After visiting a few more times I’ve dropped this habit as it appears to be the way they roll.

I gotta say, if you’re looking for a delicious burger, like free peanuts, have always wondered where your potato’s grew and enjoy good friendly service, go check it out.

That is a tasty burger.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Who says you can’t go out to eat when you’re broke?  Lately we’ve been pretty low on funds, but we had a few bucks, and decided to hit up some “fast food.” Since we are going into this food adventure unbiased and unfiltered, I can admit to you that Five Guys Burgers & Fries, (if you can forgive the cheesy rhyme,) has one of the fastest and most delicious burgers you’ll sink your teeth in to.

The store has an interesting look and feel. Everything is simple – red and white with blocks of solid paint. It all has a “necessary” feel to it. Not like a McDonalds or BK that displays giant photos of artistically rendered burgers and happy dancing characters. Around 5Guys town, you’ll see home-printed sheets of burger reviews. Urban spoon printouts and magazine clippings.

But, to be honest the smell does all the advertising they need. You step in to a line divided by sacks of potatoes – yes real, fresh potatoes. We spotted the fry-guy grabbing a bag of potatoes and stalking off to the kitchen to fry them up in pure peanut oil.

The ordering process is simple. There are only a few things on the menu. Burger, little burger. Hot dog. Soda. Fries. The fries were about as expensive as the burger, but we noticed an entire family eating out of one cup of fries. They tumbled out of it and were easily enough to fill up everyone.

Man biscuit got a burger, and I got a little burger. With the amount of fries I planned to consume, I would need the extra room. The burgers have two tiers of toppings. The basic tier, with ketchup, mustard, onions, etc, was orderable by requesting everything. The second tier (at no extra charge,) had special stuff, like grilled mushrooms and jalepenos. I ordered a Little Bacon Burger (a single-patty burger with strips of bacon on it,) and added grilled mushrooms, mayo, tomatoes, hot sauce and grilled onions. Sounds good, right? Well..I won’t lie…it was.

We waited just a few minutes and the cook popped his head out of the kitchen with a steaming paper bag in his hand and a big smile. I greedily snatched the bag and ran off to our corner table like Golem with the ring.

We opened the bag and steaming delicious aromas drifted out. The fries were huge and mealy. They were incredibly hot at first bite, so we waited on digging in while unwrapping our conveniently numbered burgers. The numbers (1 & 2) matched the description of toppings on the receipt to prevent confusion. I marveled at the idea. Why hadn’t anyone thought of this before?

I unwrapped my burger like a child unwrapping a gift on Christmas day – and Santa delivered. Bacon tumbled out of my burger. Instinct drove me to snatch it up and eat it. Crispy! Bacony! But wait…there’s more. The patty was succulent and perfectly cooked, dripping with juice and mayo in that perfect combo of messy and awesome. I ate it as slowly as I could to savor every bite. The missing bacon from my first attack didn’t take away from the whole sandwich – there was plenty more bacon where that came from.

I crunched my way through half of my burger and zeroed in on the fries. They were heaven. We asked for them Cajun style and they were zesty, but not overwhelmed with spices.  They tumbled from the cup which overflowed with amazing crispy fries. They too, were perfectly cooked.

No complaints. No negatives, a truly perfect experience.

Thomething Thai This Way Cometh

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Thorry about that title. Oneth I start, it’s hard to stop.

We decided to head to a different restaurant when we realized the Hawaiian BBQ we were supposed to visit was a sports bar. One day we may sink to sports-bar levels, but for the moment we’ll try to avoid it.

Thai Thani is right next to my former favorite Sushi house. It exists on the strange corner of Central Florida Parkway and International drive, a convenient hop from Sea World. Despite its touristy location, Thai Thani doesn’t appear to be a franchise at first sight. You step into the front door and are immediately enveloped in Tai decor. Gold-leafed statues taller than you. Extravagant lamps dangling with trinkets and delicate glass sculptures. There’s an area to the right that seats people in the traditional way, on the floor using cushions and a very low table. Not sure my American-chair back could handle such an arrangement…especially in tight pants. Every inch of Thai Thani was lavished with Asian treasures.

We were greeted, eventually, by two young ladies who looked a bit flustured. They eventually ushered us off to our cozy booth in the far corner. There was pleasant candle light and yet more decor. Tantalizing odors drifted in from the near kitchen. Our booth was pleasant and comfortable. Our waiter hurried over with water and took our order with a big smile. He commented on Man Biscuit’s shirt and we chatted about video games and the new Nintendo 3ds for a few minutes. He’s a cool guy.

At my eager prodding, we both ordered the Thai Tea. If you’ve never had it before, order it. Thai tea is wonderfully sweet and thick. It’s like drinking a tea-filled coconut. Rich, red tea deeply herbacious and thickened with coconut milk, it’s the best thing to come out of Thailand since my favorite sandals. We sipped our tea with delight. It was as good as I’ve ever had–and I’ve had a few.

For appetizer, we ordered the Thai Thani Sampler. It was a little more than I wanted to spend at $10, but I thought it would give us a chance to explore more of the flavors in this place. The spring rolls were a delight – perfectly crunchy and filled with traditional flavors. Unfortunately they did not seem very “Thai”, it was as good as a good egg roll in any Chinese restuarant. Still, it was tasty, just not unusual. The chicken satay was chewy, as thinly sliced chicken tends to be, but the flavors were mildly earthy and meshed well with the sweet spicy satay sauce. The crab rangoon was oily, but not unpleasantly so. It crunched nicely, using the same exterior as the eggrolls. The inner rangoon pocket contained real crab and molten hot cream cheese. It was well done, but again seemed more Chinese than Thai.

Since we’d blown our whole wad on the appetizer and specialty drinks, we went fairly modest on the dinner menu. I asked (as is our new tradition) for his favorite thing on the menu, and our waiter replied with about 10 different dishes he thought were good. I settled for #10, the Curry Duck. He asked if I wanted it spicy, I heartily said yes.

The duck arrived. A creamy soup of curry swimming with thick fat chunks of duck and vegetables. I spotted a yellow corner and poked it with a chopstick. Pineapple. I snagged a bite with some duck, pineapple and a shoot of baby corn and shoveled it all into my mouth. It was surprisgly mild, and not in a good way. The pineapple was a delight, super sweet and tangy. The veggies were not over cooked and the duck was sheer fatty excellence. However, the sauce was a disappointment. I hope there was a mistake in the kitchen, and this wasn’t how they thought of the word “Spicy.” The meal was overall delicious, however, so I did not complain – though I missed the passionate electricity of deep curry heat. I may need to return some day for a curry redemption. The rice on the side was a nice base for the curry and there was plenty for leftovers.

We were stuffed, but gathered our courage and in the footsteps of true heroes, we ordered dessert. THe most interesting looking thing on the menu was called “Grandma’s Ice Cream.” A cocnut ice cream with peanuts on top and balls of sweet sticky rice. When it arrived, it exceeded expectations completely. The sticky rice was warm and sweet, complementing the coconut ice cream perfectly. I expected crushed peanuts but recieved halves – and while this was off-putting at first, their perfect soft crunchiness made an excellent topper to such a simple dessert. I’m drooling now as I write just thinking about the the little bits of chewy coconut.

To conclude this Thai repotoire, I suggest giving Thai Thani a try – just be wary of the possible lack of spice. Ask for it hot if you want it hot…just “spicy” will not cut it.

Your Thai-ness

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

First impression of the place, its in a small strip mall. My impression upon entering the place was, “Did someone replace me with Thai royalty?” It turns out that hadn’t happened, as likely a situation as it may have been. Everything here is so fancy and decorated. Many statues, paintings and decorative vases.

Wooohooo! Another restaurant where they just bring you water. For some reason that makes me happy. To drink Applecheeks suggested I get Thai Tea. A beverage made from red tea topped with coconut milk. The idea is, the tea is quite strong, and you mix in the milk for both flavor and to calm down the tea flavor. Quite good in my opinion, subtly sweet with coconut whispering to you, reminding you that it’s there and tasty.

For an appetizer, we went with the thai thani sampler, which came with thai crab rangoon. (standard set up except it had real crab and a few thai spice accents) Chicken satay (skewered chicken) and egg rolls. All served with a side of sweet and sour sauce and satay sauce which had a yellow curry flavor. It was a nummy starter if you’re sharing with a date. They portion it out so there’s two of each item for each person. Woot!

Tiger Tear Beef- I ordered this bad boy assuming it was tiger meat. It turned out to be steak, that is fine too. It was cooked perfectly to a medium rare. Sliced on top of some steamed vegetables. Carrots that were cut into a sun rise, broccoli and white cabbage. Of course it had a side of steamed rice and a sauce that tasted of soy, vinegar, green onions and some other ingredients I couldn’t quite put my taste buds on. Over all, I wasn’t wow’d with this dish. the beef was tasty but when I think thai food, I think spicy and spice-full. This dish was comparatively bland. I wasn’t a fan of it beyond the tender steak.

Grandma’s Ice Cream- Consisted of coconut ice cream, sweet rice and peanuts. I know that this sounds fairly simple. It totally is… However! Whatever brand of ice cream they had was of amazing quality. The sticky rice added this sweet chew that was so beautiful when taken in with that smooth coconut ice cream. It was infused with the flavor of the ice cream. Add a salty crunch to the beginning of that and you have a really tasty dessert. Just large enough for two to split. Not enough to make your tutu split… yeah that was bad… maybe I’ll edit that out.

But probably not.

When I add up the totals: great atmosphere, service, drink and dessert. Then subtract the things I wasn’t impressed with: Tiger Tear Beef and Chicken Satay/sauce. It still comes out on top. If you’re in the mood for Thai and have 10-20 dollars per plate, go for it.

Oh! I almost forgot… You don’t have to wear a suit and… THAI!!!