Monday, May 26, 2014

Thai Food To Go

I wouldn’t generally dine at a place called ‘Thai Food To Go’ as the menu sounds like it would be about as creative as the name, but this E. Desert Inn hole in the wall had shining reviews on Yelp so we decided to check it out. Not surprisingly, the restaurant’s main business is of the ‘take-out’ nature, but surprisingly, they offered much more than standard ‘take-out’ fare, including Roasted Duck Curry and Spicy Fried Catfish. The charming, five table dining area meant we didn’t have to wait to get home to enjoy our dinner, and the place was so popular that the seats had completely filled up by the time we left.

We ended up starting with a few light favorites that we tend to try at every Thai restaurant - Larb ($6.95) and Papaya Salad ($5.95). Larb consists of ground meat (either pork or chicken), mint, toasted rice powder, and lime dressing accompanied by slices of crunchy cabbage and Papaya salad is made by laboriously pounding young green papaya with palm sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce then tossing with tomatoes, raw green beans, and peanuts. I have always loved Papaya salad but have only recently started eating it again (I burned myself out after my quest to find the best version when we traveled to Thailand in 2008). Thai Food To Go’s is a better rendition than most I’ve had in recent history.

While refreshing, the cool salads ignited our mouths, which was a good indication of the restaurant’s authenticity. Since that trip to Thailand we have a great appreciation for restaurants stateside that use actual Thai chilies. Most settle for red pepper flakes, which really don’t capture the essence of authentic Thai flavors. That being said, be mindful of the heat level you choose (we chose 8 and 5, respectively, but both were like 10’s).

We followed the salads with the pumpkin curry, which is listed on their board but not on the menu. We ordered beef and they gave us chicken, but we didn’t care because it tasted great and we loved the pumpkin. It was tender enough to eat the skin, and the flavor really complemented the sauce. For $8.95, you can’t go wrong.

Fortunately, my dear friends live near there so we brought them take-out and got to sample a few more items (this place isn’t close to me, so I wanted to maximize the experience). They requested the Chicken Fried Rice ($6.95) and Thai Beef Jerky $7.95), and both were well-received and deemed worthy of ordering again. The jerky was especially addictive with the accompanying spicy sauce. I also brought them Salmon Panang Curry ($9.95), which was equally tasty and another great value.

Thai Food To Go really is a perfect Frugal Foodie spot, as the food quality exceeds the price. It’s probably not worth traveling across town for unless you are really cheap, but if you love Thai food it is certainly worth a fifteen minute drive. They also deliver, so if you live close be sure to grab their menu for your junk drawer.

 Papaya Salad

 Pumpkin Curry

 Salmon Panang

Beef Jerky

1 comment:

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