Khao San Thai Kitchen, 1314 17th Avenue, SW. Look at these amazing and inventive creations...and while we would have loved nothing more than to admire them for a while, they were gone in a blink of an eye. And yes, they tasted as good as they looked. Highly recommend you try this one out!
Food porn at its finest (thanks for noting, Myrna!)
The room felt the same; only the décor was different.
30 years ago, it was a small Italian place, with white-washed walls and the stereotypical red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the Chianti bottles plugged with candles, the neck and body thick with the drippings of the wax of a dozen or more candles before. It was a romantic little place, with a tiny patio—maybe four tables in all squeezed outside, a lattice wall woven with ivy to block out the glances of the passers-by, but low enough to allow the diners to see the world beyond their pasta.
Kitsch aside, Micio’s was a damn fine restaurant, and one that we could afford in those early days of marriage when a meal out was a rare occurrence. The bonus was that our apartment building was just one block behind, ever so slightly away from the bustle of 17th Avenue.
So walking into Khao San Thai Kitchen, two steps behind my friend Natalie, I was hit with a strong sense of déjà vu. The room is now sleek, the walls dark and decorated with carefully placed panels, tall and intricate and touched in gold, highlighting designs and figures that were notable but not distracting.
But it’s still the same room.
But it’s still the same room.
It was busy, but Nat thought ahead and got us a reservation, so we were seated right away, and before too long, Jim joined us for an incredible meal.
Nat had mentioned something called braised short ribs in Massaman curry, so we knew we were going to order that, along with the obligatory Pad Thai and a yellow curry, with coconut rice, of course. And when we saw the appetizers on the table next to ours, we knew we were in for a treat...those are the pieces at the top of this post.
Don’t you just love it when a chef makes a creation that literally looks good enough to eat? (Or maybe almost a shame to eat?).
We ordered spring rolls that came in shot glasses, standing straight up at attention and tipped into a wonderfully sweet-and-salty-at-the-same-time pineapple chili sauce, and dumplings, filled with chicken and spices, and carved to look just like flowers. Beautiful to look at, but even more amazing to savor.
Wow, it was so good. And then the mains—Nat was right about the short ribs (amazing aroma and flavor), and the Pad Thai was perhaps the best I’ve had. We pretty much ate it all, and somehow found room for sticky rice pudding and coconut ice cream. Just great.
And to finish...ice cream (with some unique toppings) and crazy good sticky rice custard. Killer desserts.
And yes, the patio is still there. A few people were out dining al fresco, but being in the main room provided a much better space for good conversation with good friends and little distraction; that said, at one point the door opened, and the very familiar and obvious aroma of pot wafted in….which got us to talking about the fact that, in just about a year from now, it will be legal to light up across Canada. I think the three of us were decidedly undecided about how we felt about that.
Guess we’ll know in a year.
In the meantime, keep the suggestions coming and consider joining me...and wait to you see what's in store next!