Archive for April, 2011

10
Apr
11

Where to eat?

On Twitter, @Beijingwithkids asks:
I have to entertain 3 generations, early dinner, Thai food but must have some not so spicy for kids and grandfather. Ideally historic or beautiful or interesting building setting, if that’s not asking too much! Thanks!!

Dear Jacqueline:

Thanks for asking, I am honored to be part of the #bkkfatty collective, and will give you my two cents.

Your parameters narrows it down a little bit, so I took out places that might seem too romantic (you want kids friendly I assume), but still authentic.

Actually, there are too many good restaurants that I could recommend, but I decided to pick the ones that give you a very good selection of Thai dishes that you can enjoy together based on geography. In Bangkok, you don’t want to waste time in traffic if there is something very good nearby, and I am assuming you would prefer not to eat in a hotel.

 

If you want riverside dining:

The most perfect one I can think of is Supatra River House is on the Thonburi side across from the Oriental Bangkok, right on the Chao Phraya river (266 Soi Wat Rakhang, Arun Amarin Rd, Tel: 02-411-0305)

If you are near the Silom/Sathorn Area:
There are quite a few good places, I recommend (in my order of preference) Blue Elephant is renowned, a little bit fancy but one of the best around (233 South Sathorn Rd, Tel: 02-673-9353), Baan Khanitha (69 South Sathorn Rd, Tel: 0-2675-4200 to 1) gorgeous converted house, mouthwatering curries, Ban Chiang (14 Soi Sriviang, Surasak Road Tel: 02-236-7045, 02-266-6994) another beautiful converted old house, Anna’s (118 Soi Saladaeng, Silom, Tel: 02-632-0619) very popular with westerners both local and visiting. Advanced reservations is a good idea for all of them.

If you are around Siam Square/Maboonkrong (MBK) Center:

The Jim Thomson House has a fine restaurant in their fascinating compound, so you could go take a tour and stay on for dinner at Thompson. (6 Kasemsan Soi 2, Rama I Rd, Tel: 02-612-3601)

If you happen to be stuck in Siam Paragon, go to the ground floor to Cafe Chilli (Tel: 02-610-9877 to 78) for some yummy northeastern Isaan cuisine, with both indoor and outdoor dining.

If you will be between Asok and Emporium:

I love the charm of Ruen Mallika (189 Sukhumvit Soi 22, Tel: 02-663-3211 to 2) while Mahanaga (2 Sukhumvit Soi 29, Tel: 0-2662-3060) is also lovely.

If you are anywhere near Thong Lo, you have to check out Soul Food Mahanakorn (56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Soi Thonglor)
Tel. 085-904 2691, Read more here: http://www.cnngo.com/bangkok/eat/soul-food-mahanakorn-348453#ixzz1J9djUVHI)

If you in the mood for incredible, authentic seafood in a local setting there is Sornthong Restaurant 2875, Rama 4 Rd, 02-258-0118.  Book ahead, because it is always packed.  Somboon Seafood (various locations) has the best stir-fried curry crabmeat ever, supposedly.

In my neighborhood (Langsuan Rd.) our favorite Thai restaurant is Krua Nai Baan tel 02-253-1888. Really good value and perfect for foodies and families. Also a good idea to book ahead.

And finally, if you are looking for something to do on a weekend during the day, head just outside of Bangkok to Suan Sampran, Rose Garden Riverside (http://www.rosegardenriverside.com) to their restaurant Inn Chan, which is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for dinner. It is a beautiful wooden restaurant over a quiet little river, with incredible food at a great price. Perfect for the family.

These are just a few ideas for you, I’m sure some of my friends will be kind enough to corroborate, or offer their own ideas in the comments section below.

Sawasdee,
Jack

02
Apr
11

Food and Wine pairing.

Just read an interesting blog post by Jason Wilson from the Washington Post discussing whether pairing wine and food is really something we need to be doing, or if it’s just a bunch of baloney. It’s a good read no matter what side of the gastro-vineyard fence you are on.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-we-can-eat/post/the-lies-lies-lies-of-food-and-wine-pairings/2011/03/31/AF3MITCC_blog.html

(Apologies for not putting hyperlinks, I’m doing this from Blackberry, so I’ll fix it when I’m next to a proper werkstätion.)

As I am unable to comment on the blog from a mobile browser, I’d like to offer my two cents to Mr. Wilson.

Dear Sir,

Let me first say I enjoyed reading your post, and it inspired me enough to type all of this on a BlackBerry, risking catastrophic carpal tunnel collapse.

First off, I’m no wine snob. I’ll drink from a bottle of Penfold’s Bin 2 just as readily as an Opus One (though I would try not to spill my wine dancing around, happy to be drinking this bad-ass booze). I don’t follow any dogmas about what meats pair with what wine, e.g. said Opus One was happily consumed with a dinner of (really good) fish and chips. But I appreciate people (and Pixarian rodents)with advanced palates who can break down why they love the flavors of fine foods so much. If they say a certain wine has characteristics that complement a certain type of cuisine, then I’ll listen. I think the bold red wine/grilled red meat thing has merit, and certain cheeses do seem to fare better (or worse) with my favorite Sauvignon Blanc (St. Clair, NZ, FTW). Dismissing the logic of some foods go better with some wines than others and vice versa (if that’s a suggestion I’m picking up from your post) feels to me a bit, well, wrong. IMHO.

The statistic indicating most frequent wine drinkers aren’t consuming with meals may be true, but doesn’t 60% mean roughly 1 in 3 partakings is with a meal? The other two maybe to unwind at home, meeting for a second date, out of a paper bag on the street corner, etc., but perhaps not as forlorn a habit as Mr. Yarrow suggested (1:8, or something like how many people use hotmail vs gmail, or maybe read vs only watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy). Or maybe there is a reasoning behind the adjusted ratio I am not aware of that you could help explain.

All that said, I largely agree with Yarrow on the fundamental falsehoods of wine and food pairings, though think Lie #2 has a shade of truth. Perhaps it would be better to say that “There are certain foods you probably shouldn’t pair with certain wines, and there are also some pairings that seem to work well for a lot of people. It’s up to you how passionately you want to feel either way about it.”

Of course, I may have just revealed myself a complete neophyte when it comes to wine. At least I will have made a fool of myself on my own blog instead of yours. (Though I do wish I could read the other responses.)

Okay, hand starting to cramp. Hope to hear something back from you.

Thanks,
Jack

PS: Please forgive my formality in the salutation if it seemed like I was going to elegantly troll you. I am always uncertain how to address it. Let me assure you I’ve never been accused of being a troll (or elegant for that matter).