keepin’ it local

tonight sam and i had take away from another neighborhood restaurant.  hinlay curry house.  this cozy restaurant is really just a hop skip and a jump from our house.

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which is super handy when i don’t feel like cooking (which is most nights) or being embarrassed by the delivery driver arriving at our gate one more time.


tonight sam and i tried a variety of the curries.  we also had the yellow rice and some garlic roti.

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my food photography skills and my lack of a non yellow/brown plate to serve yellow/brown food on sort of fail me here.  but what you see moving clock wise is –

  • yellow rice
  • mutton dopiaza – delicious pakistani mutton curry with twice as much onion and aromatic spices as the other dishes.  this curry has a thick, tangy sauce with lots of taste.  delightful!
  • pumpkin curry – southern indian-style pumpkin curry.  Mushy, with pieces of tender pumpkin soaked in mild spiced sauce.  the pumpkin gives it a mild sweet flavor.
  • chicken tikka masala – recognized as a “british national” dish nowadays, it is cooked in masala and cream sauce and has a delightful flavor of its own.  best choice when you don’t know what to choose.
  • shrimp masala – shrimps cooked in masala and cream sauce.  has a delightful flavor.

and on the second plate –

  • garlic naan

the descriptions are straight off their menu and all are pretty accurate.  i don’t think you can go wrong with anything, at least all the dishes we tried this evening were very good.  sam’s favorite is the shrimp masala and i am a big fan of the pumpkin curry.


what’s cookin’?

sam and i spent the day taking a thai cooking course.  he’s never done one before, but i have.  you might have read about one of them here or here or possibly here.  there are tons of cooking schools in chiang mai and my experience so far says they are probably all pretty good.  i imagine they all try to do something unique to set them apart, but in the end you’re going to visit a local market to get up close and personal with the ingredients you’ll be using and you’re going to end up cooking lots of thai food and eating it.  today we went to siam rice cooking.  i picked it because sam wanted to learn to make khao soi and they don’t all offer that.


cooking schools also provide a ride to and from their location.  we were the first picked up followed by 2 more families – a family of 5 from israel and a family of 4 from holland.  there’s been no kids at any of my previous cooking school experiences and it was kind of nice to have 6 teenagers in the group.

when we arrived at the cooking school we were greeted by our teacher for the day, aim.  she had us sit down and pick what we wanted to cook.  there were 7 categories and at least 4 dishes to choose from in each category.  sam and i decided to divide and conquer.  we never chose the same dish because we wanted the opportunity to make and try as many of the dishes as we could.

the first course was the soup course.  sam made hot and creamy soup and i went with chicken coconut soup.  both good choices.


next up were the noodle dishes.  i made fried big noodles (pad sii ew) and sam took on the drunken noodles which provided some cooking excitement.  (no worries, no eyebrows were damaged.)




by now i’m pretty sure i’m full, but also very aware we’re no where near done.  i manage to soldier on to the curry dishes.  sam chose khao soi – no surprise.  i went with green curry.  it’s one of my favorite thai dishes, but i always think it could be just a little big spicier.  our first task was to make curry paste (curry paste was the third dish).  this was my chance to bring the spice.  i thought 8 peppers was brave, but sam goaded me into 10.  once we had the paste made we were ready for the curry.  (curry was the fourth dish.)



khao soi on the left. green curry on the right.

after the curry round we had a bit of a rest.  just a few moments to let things digest and prepare ourselves to tackle more food.

after our rest we knocked out dishes number 5, 6, and 7.  number 5 was the appetizer dish.  (i know, it seems a little late to be taking on the appetizers.)  sam made spring rolls.


i made papaya salad.  which went into a to-go bag.  i couldn’t bring myself to eat anymore.


dish number 6 was the stir fried options.  cashew chicken was my choice.  sam’s was sweet and sour vegetables.


after my cashew chicken made it into a to-go bag we still had to tackle dessert.  the final course.  sam made mango sticky rice and i made sticky rice with young coconut.  which i ate.


then we graduated.





we’re really doing this thing

2nd restaurant down.  both sam and i have eaten here before so weren’t sure about putting it on our foodcation list.  however, we figure we can justify it because it was recommended on my officially unofficial facebook request for suggestions.

tonight was arcobaleno.  and also the second restaurant we showed up too early for service (if you are keeping count that makes us 2 for 2.)  totally our my fault.  apparently i would do well with the senior citizen crowd – dinner at 5pm seems pretty reasonable.  so, once again we got to take a few moments and chat, but only about 20 minutes this time.  once they unlocked the doors we were the first only ones in, but a car did pull up about the same time.  So even though it looks like we have the restaurant to ourselves there is a family of three just out of the shot.


i feel like when you eat italian you are obligated to have a glass (or two) of wine.  and since eating is our vacation/job this summer i figured i should do whatever’s required.  i’m sure you feel my pain.

we started with a baked crab dish for our appetizer.  i’m pretty sure not remembering the name of the dish is a food blogging rookie mistake, but it’s on the appetizer list and it’s cheesy and crabby.  also, i took a picture.


sam really likes this dish.  i do, too.  i would call it sort of fancy comfort food.  i googled the restaurant and found the name of the dish.  it’s called crab meat au gratin, pretty sure that’s enough to keep food blogger rep intact.

next up were the mains.  sam ordered rigatoni formaggio.


it was creamy and cheesy.  sam summed the dish up pretty well when he said, “anything that involves more than two types of cheese, well…  you really can’t go wrong with that.”

i had the gnocchi malfatti.  IMG_1445

that’s spinach and ricotta cheese gnocchi in a cream sauce.  you can get it with red sauce, but i don’t really like red sauce, so the cream sauce seemed the better choice for me.  second restaurant i’ve ordered a spinach dish and it was good.  as you would expect with the cream and the cheese it was also a bit heavy.  sam found the gnocchi “interesting”.  he wasn’t too fond of the texture, but he liked the flavor.  i don’t think that’s the fault of the restaurant, just a preference on his part.

and we finished off with desert.   i let sam choose, and he went for the tiramisu.


i wasn’t sure about this, but didn’t want to discourage him from trying something new.  he liked it okay.  but he’s not a fan of coffee, which is a big flavor in this desert and i wasn’t sure how he would like the wet cake texture.  i, on the other hand, am a big fan of coffee and have no problem at all with the wet cake texture.  the only thing i would change is i’d turn that chocolate flower into a whole bouquet of chocolate flowers – maybe even a field of flowers.

thinking that tiramisu might not be his thing i went ahead and ordered the panna cotta with strawberry sauce.


he liked this one much better.  the panna cotta was sort of a perfect mash up of pudding and jello with a very nice strawberry sauce on top – it was just the right amount of sweet and tart.

i would have no problem recommending arcobaleno to someone looking for good italian food.  i’m not the biggest fan of italian food, but the atmosphere is lovely, the service is great, and the food was really good.

so far this summer vacation eat-athon seems to be working out pretty good for us.


a good start


restaurant number 1 in the line up – 9 moo 9.  and it was good.  the only negative was my fault.  we had to wait an hour to eat, because we got there an hour before they served lunch.  but they owners were very accommodating and it turned to be a good thing, i enjoyed some french press coffee and we both enjoyed a nice, relaxed chat.


for our starter we shared a soup.  cream of broccoli & stilton soup with crusty bread.  it was as good as it sounds. nice and creamy, but not too heavy.


then onto the mains.  sam ordered the home-made pork and leak sausages, green salad, & potato salad.


it was good.  the sausage was very flavorful.  i tend to find that sausage here is either bland or just seasoned with heat.  not the case with this sausage.  the potato salad was also good.  sam said that the potato salad “exceeded his expectations.” (for those of you not fluent in sam speak that is very high praise.)  i agree it was very nicely balanced and had great texture.

i ordered the spinach and pine nut filo tart & green salad.


this too was good.  sometimes i find spinach can be a bit bitter and a little too earthy, but not this spinach.  it had a very fresh flavor and made a dish that i think could have been too rich nice and vibrant.  we both agreed the green salad was good with a light and flavorful dressing.

and since we’ve set out to eat our vacation, you know since the rest of the family is in america and we’re here, we ordered desert, too.  we shared a lemon syllabub.


syllabub is a british thing.  we both agreed that it falls into the pudding/custard/mousse family.  it was delicious.  light and zesty.  not too sweet.  a very nice finish to a lovely meal.

the grounds of the restaurant are beautiful.  they also have a bed and breakfast, which i can only imagine is quite nice, too.  the owners, tony and his wife, siripan, were very gracious.  they were attentive and friendly.


i would highly recommend 9 moo 9.  it was very quaint and charming.  the menu alone was worth it, but the property made it feel special.  it was a fair distance for us to drive, but well worth it.

**note – they are open thursday to sunday 10am – 5p.  they began serving lunch at 11:30.


summer with sam

*i was gonna name this post “summer of sam, the reboot”  but i am worried that i have the wrong idea about what reboot means.*

sam and i are spending the next few weeks hanging out.  the rest of the family is in the good ol u.s. of a doing things like college campus tours for aly and volunteering at camp for all of them.  so sam and i are taking the opportunity to become temporary and totally unqualified food bloggers.  (i’ve reassessed and i think maybe we are qualified to be food bloggers, we eat food and I have a blog.  i also have an instagram account.  maybe that last one makes us overqualified?)

i’ve very casually asked friends on facebook for restaurant recommendations.   i’ve been given a handful of suggestions and today we tackled the first one.  we’ll give our impressions of it in the next post.  i’m going to try to get at least one quote from sam about each restaurant.  he’s not exactly a willing participant, but he does know we’re doing this.  or i’m doing this and including him. he’ll thank me later.


friday trifecta – part three

turns out two is not too many ramen noodle museums to visit in one day.  we didn’t eat any ramen noodles at the cup noodles museum we just created some to eat later,  but at the shin-yokohama raumen museum we had every intention of eating some fresh ramen soup.  i’d read that you went to this museum for the eating – the museum part is secondary.  while the museum part did create some nice ambience, there wasn’t really much to it that a quick walk through wasn’t enough for.  i wonder how close to 1958 japan it really comes.

after our walk through it was time to get down to business.  we decided to split up to sample ramen from two of the eight shops located in the museum.  these eight shops were chosen from the 10s of 1,000s located through out the country, so they should be pretty good.

chan and i chose sumire.  they make a miso soup from soybean paste with chicken, pork, seafoods, garlic, and ginger as ingredients.  we both chose pork.


michael, a16, and s13 all had ikemen hollywood.  it’s tonkotsu ramen with soy sauce as the basic seasoning and pork, garlic, and ginger as ingredients.

everyone was satisfied with what they chose and everyone cleaned their plates (bowls), so it’s hard to say which was better.  but all that really matters is that everyone was happy.

we finished up and were ready to head back when this happened.  we’re still not sure just what it was.  but it involved dancing.  and acting.  and cup stacking.  and juggling.  where do they find that kind of talent?



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whatever it was it was certainly worth the price of admission and s13 voted it the best part of his day.

friday trifecta – part two

after the niagara curry house we headed to the cup noodles museum, because how could a trip to japan be complete without a visit to a museum all about the creation of cup noodles?


this museum got a thumbs up from everyone in the family.  i think michael even said it was one of the best museums he’s ever been to.  when you pay to get in they also give you the option of making your very own cup noodle.  yep, you read that right.  you can make your very own cup noodle.  if you cant to take advantage of that option then you have to do it at the time they assign you.  for us that time was pretty much immediately.  so our first stop was very hands on.

you start buy purchasing your cup noodle cup and then move on to sanitizing your hands.


then we were given a lid to for our cup and asked to wait until our entire group was together.

we found a table and began the task of decorating our cups.  everyone was pretty committed to making the coolest cup ever.


once we were satisfied with our cups it was on to create the perfect cup noodle combination.  we started by trying our hand at the reversal technique.  we didn’t know what that was at the time, but we learned later,- once we were able to explore the museum – that the reversal technique was momofuku ando‘s brain child and the answer to how you get the noodles in the cup.


then it was time to come up with a perfect flavor combination.  starting with the seasoning and then adding in freeze dried meats or vegetables or some other freeze dried food type items.

and then we inspected our finished creations.  i’m sure they will be amazing.

next up in the process is the packaging.  we were shown how the cup noodles get their paper lids and how the shrink wrapping happens.

and finally we were left to turn our cup noodles into pillows.  i’m not sure the purpose of this, but it made them very easy to carry.


once our cup noodles were made we were ready to see the rest of the museum.  starting with the ramen time line.  from 1958 – present day ramen’s sure come a long way.

the next stop was a movie about the momofuku ando’s challenges and successes in the ramen noodle world – they had an english translation for us.  i wasn’t sure about committing to a ramen documentary, but it turned out to be informative and entertaining.

after the movie we headed out to the rest of the exhibit.

a replica of the house ando lived in during his early ramen years.


the dates of ando’s big instant noodle breakthroughs.  interesting factoid – cup noodles came about because of america.  true story.


a few other great minds that changed the world.


a statue of ando and a big ol’ cup noodle art statue thing.

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and finally, a sample of a collection of limited edition cup noodles.  they could be yours for 100,00 yen.  which i believe is $1,000.  wow.

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