plan b

the family returns tomorrow morning (aly and michael) so tonight is the last night for our scheduled food blog.  we decided on italian and made our way to boutique della pasta.  it had good reviews on trip advisor so i thought we should give it a try.  i checked out their facebook page, found their hours (we weren’t going to make the mistake of arriving early again) and we made our way there.  when we arrived we discovered they were closed today.  this was not disclosed on their facebook page.  i found that slightly annoying because it seems to me that a quick status update letting folks know you are closed seems sort of an easy thing to do.  but what do i know other than they aren’t the only italian restaurant in the game.  so we headed to pulcinella da stefano.

pulcinella

we went ahead with the appetizer to share routine that we’ve gotten so good at.  we ordered the panzerotti.

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it was puff pastry, stuffed with cheese and mushrooms and fried.  not sure you could mess that one up.  we both agreed it was good and that it was a pretty substantial appetizer, even when shared.  sam thought it would make a great entree.

for my meal i ordered the gnocchi alla crema di asparagi e ricotta (gnocchi with asparagus mousse and ricotta cheese).

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it was a nice dish.  very much what was described.  it would probably fall in the comfort food category.

sam had the calzone.

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he said it was good, but it was a little heavy on the spinach and mushroom for his liking.  we probably could have made two perfect calzones out of this one.  i would have taken all the spinach and mushroom and he could have had the meats.

i think we would both say this was a good meal from a restaurant that is probably pretty reliable when it comes to serving good food.

i think it’s possible we will continue our food blogging, but we’ll have to see where our commitment levels fall before we know that for sure.

a lazy saturday lunch

butternut was recommended to me more than once when folks heard i was looking for new places to eat.  i figured it was a good option for a lazy saturday lunch – since it’s not too far from our house.
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it’s a cute little restaurant located on a soi on the outside of the east side of the moat.  (just like having a map, i know.)

i went with the mediterranean plate – hummus, falafel, two kinds of tahini, and a tomato salad served along with some soft pita bread.  all the flavors were fresh and bright.  i’d definitely go back just for this.

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sam had the grilled cheese.  it was a panini with cheese, bacon, and tomato salsa.  it was as good as it sounds.

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we’d also ordered an appetizer.  it came out last, but that’s not uncommon here.  potato croquette.  fried balls of mashed potatoes?  nothing wrong with that.

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pizza pie, oh me oh my!

i have a long haul drive to get to my physical therapist’s office.  it’s way on the other side of town.  i mean it’s a serious commitment.  but it comes with some perks.  there’s the massage, the heat packs, the rehabilitation, and there’s also being on the same side of town as pizza n pasta.  so pizza it was for dinner.

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sam wanted hawaiian pizza and i wanted sausage and mushroom.  the pizzas here come in big, bigger, biggest, and most biggest ever – all of them are too big for one person.  i’m not sure what size i ordered, i just know it wasn’t the most biggest ever.  went 1/2 and 1/2 with new york crust and new york sauce.  other choices are thick or thin crust and there were two other sauce choices.

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we haven’t sampled all the pizza in chiang mai, but we’ve had a lot of it and both of us agreed this was the best we’ve had here.  and, bonus, we had leftovers.

i’ve also discovered that not being able to burn the calories while increasing the intake of calories is not good math.  the rest of the family (or at least the rest of the family who is returning to chiang mai) are home in the next week and a half, how much more damage can be done in that amount of time?  it’s think i might need to reinvent myself as a health and fitness blogger.

 

 

 

 

fancy food

saturday night sam and i headed out to the restaurant that is currently ranked the #1 restaurant in chiang mai – according to trip advisor.  dk david’s kitchen at 909.  i had been warned that it was pricey and it was, sort of.   it was special occasion, excellent meal, great ambiance,  wonderful service pricey.  which i think translates to it was totally worth it.

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i called ahead and made a reservation for 2.  they asked if it was a special occasion and i made sure to tell them it would be my son and me.  i didn’t want to embarrass him any more than a 14 year old might already be embarrassed to be out for a fancy meal with his mother.

they had a set menu, which looked wonderful, but we went ahead and ordered a la carte.  we started with the crab bisque soup and the pomelo salad.

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the soup was sweet and creamy, but not at all heavy and the salad was a great balance of tart and sweet, with just a hint of heat.  both dishes were a very nice start to our meal.

after our soup and salad we were served a lovely little lime sorbet palate cleanser.

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for our mains sam had the lamb shank.

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it was extremely tender – it fell right off the bone – and the mashed potatoes were perfect.  i don’t have a quote from sam for this dish, but when he took his first bite of the lamb his face lit up like he’d just witnessed the most amazing magic trick.  i don’t believe he’s ever had food of this caliber before, at least i know i’ve never prepared anything this good.

i had the beef cheeks.

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i confess to not being 100% certain of just what part of the cow the beef cheek comes from and i wasn’t too embarrassed to ask.  turns out it is the actual cheek.  i had no idea there was that much meat on a cow’s cheek.  or that it would be that tasty.  again the potatoes were perfect and the sauce (i think it was a red wine sauce) was such a great complement to the whole dish.

by this point we were full.  but when dessert was offered we both agreed that we might regret not having it since everything else had been so wonderful.

sam ordered the chocolate soufflé and i had the banana flambé.

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and we were right.  they were divine.  so much better than the pictures.

the only thing that would keep me from ordering any of the dishes we had during this meal would be my desire to try everything else on the menu.  i cannot imagine there is anything on offer that would be less than amazing.

i would definitely categorize this as a special occasion restaurant and i’ve already started looking for excuses to celebrate more special occasions.  isn’t there a saying that every day is a special occasion?

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.)

curry

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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.

springrolls

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

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

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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.

dessert

then we graduated.

graduates

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.