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Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Taste of Thai

Tonight I am thinking of Thai Food.
The first time I had Thai food I ate something with a flavor that I didn't think was so great. I do not remember what it as, but I am glad I returned and tried Thai food again. It sure is a treat. I think one of my favorite dishes is Coconut Milk Soup.

Last night, after working hard outside all day, Geo and I went to one of our favorite Thai restaurants, A Taste of Thai. As we were looking for the number to find out the hours he read several reviews on line that gave this place a five star rating. We agree. It's five stars in our book too.

The food here has always been delicious. Tonight we ordered: Coconut Milk Soup, Pad Thai and Basil Chicken.

Coconut Milk Soup, (Tom Kha Gai,) is amazing. It's salty, sweet, sour and spicy, all in one bowl! It is made with chicken, coconut milk, lemon grass, lime leaves, mushrooms, red pepper, and a tuberous rhizome called galangal, or Siamese Ginger. always think of the 1971 calypso song, Coconut, by Harry Nilsson, when I am eating this stuff.

The song goes, "Put the lime in the coconut, you drink 'em both together, Put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better....Put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both up, Put the lime in the coconut, and call me in the mo-o-ornin'. I am not sure what the song means, or what it's about, but it's probably not lime coca cola as that's a relatively new invention... but who knows? It's probably not about coconut milk soup either, but it's a catchy tune and it works for me.
It's lime in coconut... yum! I even like Lime Coke...

Pad Thai is a dish made of stir fried rice noodles, eggs, tamarind, chili pepper, crushed peanuts, fish sauce, bean sprouts and coriander. We ordered ours with pork, which was very good. Usually we order chicken.

the Thai people really like basil and the Basil Chicken was something the owner recommended to us, so we tried it and it was most enjoyable too. It's a sauce dish that is served over rice, or at least that is what we did with it.

I guess you could say this was a new experience for us as we ended up ordering our food "to-go;" usually we eat there in the dining area. But we arrived there late in the evening and took the food home with us. It was just as good at home!

Here are some other Taste of Thai specialties:
Garlic Shrimp

Chicken Musselman Curry

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Did I mention that we like oriental food?

Mr. Wok is one of those places that we have frequented time and time again. The food is good, the bathrooms are clean, (at least when I have been inspecting them) the service is nice, the price is reasonable and we like the people who run the restaurant. What more could a costumer ask for?

We have our favorite dishes that we like to order here: Kung Pao Chicken, Ma Po and seasoned noodles. These are the usual unless of course we deviate from the norm or have guests with us. We also like the rice bowls which are about $5.00.  More places should offer rice bowls, especially for lunch.  As a side note: This place makes the best Ma Po Tofu ever.

The atmosphere at Mr. Wok is sort of a cross between a sit down restaurant and fast food. When you arrive, you do not get seated, instead you place your order at the counter, as if you we eating at MacDonalds. Then you take a seat and the server brings your food to the table, unless of course, you order your food TO GO. Then it is all packaged nice and neat so you can take it with you when it is ready.

That's what we do sometimes, order it TO GO.  We eat in sometimes too. 

Mr. Wok is located in a small shopping mall next to Wendy's at the Division "Y."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Kim's Korean Restaurant

Kim's is already one of our favorite places to eat and probably one of the best little-known secrets of ethnic food in Spokane.  We recommend this place to anyone who either likes to try something new to them or likes Korean food, and we go here often because we like it so much.  We have been visiting Kim's for years. Not only is the food exotic and yummy, but Kim is the cook herself and is always very sweet. There is something special about knowing a little bit about the people who make your food and we like to frequent this little "mom and pop" type of place.

 We used to buy kimchi from the Korean food store next to Kim's restaurant. The kimchi was made by a little ol' white- haired Korean woman who spoke little or no English. We did this for a long time before we decided to try the little diner next door. I do not know exactly why we waited so long, but we have been going ever since!  At first we thought the two businesses must be related, but they are not specifically related, just both Korean and friends.

One fun thing about Korean food is the little trays of various side dishes that comes to your table. There are all sorts of strange looking things to try. It is not always the same combination of things set before you, but there are usually several. You may be served any combination of fish cakes, radish salad, pickled cucumbers, bean sprouts, black beans, an egg foo young sort of dish, spinach, tofu, potatoes, anchovies, salted seaweed sheets, and usually the famous Korean kimchi. Also meals are served with rice.

Kimchi is a spicy pepper, pickled types of dish made mostly with cabbage, although garlic, radish and onions with cabbage is sometimes added. It's a nutritious and delicious food, high in vitamin C and fiber. It is, for most people that I know, a food that one must acquire a taste for. Like Limburger cheese, it has a reputation for it's odor.

I like to order Bulgogi or Daeji Bulgogi. Geo likes a seafood soup. Sometimes we order other things like barbecue mackrel, or spicy chicken.

One of the most interesting things to me is the soup Geo likes. It comes in a little black pot and it is bubbling and steaming all over the place. I do not order it, and I only taste it because it is filled with a variety of things. Geo likes soup and orders it often. I think Kim would be very surprized if he ordered something different.

I get a kick out of watching Geo eat his soup because I think he has as much fun with it as he did snorkeling when we went on our trip to Hawaii. In fact, he first ordered this particular soup after we went on a trip to Hawaii. I was so surprised at the variety of things in this soup; there are all kinds of treasure in there. Geo will put his spoon into his bowl and out comes something exotic... shrimp, clam, ouster, squid, octopus...tofu.. and then he delights in eating it, or grossing me out as I am stuck watching him eat it. (The little suction cups get me!) It's fun though. I enjoy watching him have a good time with it all. It's a little like watching him snorkel.

I am still not quite brave enough to "snorkle" in my soup... like Geo does... finding all those little treasures that he enjoys so much, but every so often he offers me a sip.

If you go here, please say "hi" for me, to my lovely friend, Kim!
 Here are some tasty treats, bolgogi and noodle soup.

Kim's Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Taco Bell

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would write about Taco Bell. Some people would argue that Taco Bell is NOT real Mexican food, but let me say Taco Bell, in my opinion, does a pretty good job of making the food they do and it's definitely tacos and burritos, not fish and chips nor burgers and fries. Now, as to whether it's Mexican Food or not, one thing is certain... it's tacos and burritos. I just happen to like tacos and burritos, and I like Taco bell.

Even though today IS Cinco de Mayo, I did not eat at Taco Bell today, I didn't even go out to eat! I just thought that since Taco Bell is someplace we frequent, and they specialize in Tacos and burritos, (which are Mexican foods) I would write about it.

I know that some people cringe and Taco Bell being thought of as Mexican food, but I tell ya, I have eaten in restaurants that think they are Mexican, but are not. Although Taco Bell has a sort of flavor of it's own, it is tacos and burritos, and much more "mexican" that some of the places I have been that claim authenticity.

For example, when we first moved to Michigan, which was definitely "gringo"-ville, (as the locals are mostly Finnish or Canadian and say "ay" after every other syllable when they speak.) I remember clearly how it was that before we moved, we were seriously afraid we would miss eating all the delicious Mexican food we were used to eating in our hometown. We were afraid that they would not even know how to say Jalepeno, after all we were going to the Uppish land of pasties and smelt.

Desperate for Mexican food, we decided to at least try the local "Mexican Food" restaurant in Marquette at that time. I pretty much laughed my way through dinner. The food was good, but it was definitely not Mexican Food. In fact, it was more like Italian Food.

Being Italian myself, I found it hilarious that they served enchiladas with oregano, and ricotta cheese. I thought I would die laughing as I ate the food. Real Tacos do not taste like spaghetti sauce.

I would have been really happy to have even a Taco Bell, but there was none. I would make my own tacos and enchiladas at home, but I missed my tamales. I endured Mexican food withdrawals for a while, but sometime later someone opened a restaurant in Gwinn with authentic tasting food, which helped us with our homesicknesses. (I think sometimes a person raised on Mexican food just needs homemade tortillas and frijoles. (beans) Now we live in a place which has a lot of Mexican food restaurants to choose from, run by authentic Mexicans too, but when you do not have time, or money, to spend at a fancy food place, Taco Bell is sure handy, and it's yummy too!

For fast food, Taco Bell is definitely fast. Sometimes, but not always, their drive through is amazing, though they have been known to make a mistake or two. Also their TV commercials, are not disgusting like some other food chains, (who will be unmentioned,) and you can even order al fresco.. (meaning, their lower fat menu.) Taco Bell is one of those places we stop occasionally to grab a bite to eat, and best of all, the price is right. Depending on what you order, you can eat for less than $1.00, or feed a crowd without spending a small fortune. I like that.

My favorite thing to order there is a tostada, I have a special affinity with tostadas from my vegetarian days. However, they always make a mess of it. I mean ALWAYS. I order it, because I happen to like it, but I always consider the possibility of never ordering it again... and then I do. I never have hard anything I didn't like at Taco Bell, (except for the fruity drink, which I thought was too sweet.) Well, this could be also because I usually order the same thing, tostada.

Another plus for the restaurant is shier clean bathrooms.

When we first moved to Spokane the Northside Taco Bell was new and it was pretty much the further thing on that side of Division street. The city has grown Northward quite a bit since then.

I remember eating at Taco Bell when I was just a kid, which is probably another reason I like it, and I like it better than the other Taco joints that have popped up around town. It must have been about the seventies, but I remember they used to make an item called the Bellburger that was kinda like a sloppy joe sandwich on a hamburger bun only it was made with the taco meat and all the taco trimmings. I also remember when burritos could be ordered with green sauce or red sauce and they only cost 49 cents. I think they were even less before that. But they are still cheap at about 89 cents. However, they do not do green sauce anymore, at least not where I live.

I didn't go out to eat in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, but if I did, I would definitely have tacos and burritos. They might even be from Taco Bell. I would be happy. One thing for sure, I wouldn't have to worry about enchiritos with oregano and cottage cheese!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kim's Teriyaki

I have to agree with a friend of mine, last name ... Lopez who only recently started eating "Asian" food. He says this is a good place for Teriyaki. At his recommendation, this is the place I met with Beth for dinner when we needed a place to meet in that area of town. Kim's is located at 927 W Garland Ave.

Beth ordered Teriyaki and I ordered honey garlic teriyaki. Although I didn't like the Honey Garlic Chicken dish I had ordered, which was the "new menu item, " (It was way too sweet, and deep fried.) I have to agree with Lopez; if you do not usually like Asian food, the teriyaki at Kim's will change your mind, or maybe even taste buds.

We were also surprised as the size of our orders which were served with rice and salad and there is also "free" soup while you are waiting. Unfortunately, the free soup was not available when we were there, ( it was being refreshed, or something,) but it is offered by the restaurant when available.

I had tried this restaurant once before when it first opened and I didn't really care for it, but then I didn't order teriyaki either. I didn't like the serve-yourself/fast food feel to it I guess. I still kinda do not like it since I was unhappy with the Honey Garlic Chicken. It was like eating candy, However, the teriyaki, especially if it is take out, it would suit me fine.

This restaurant is located directly across the street from the Garland Theater, on the south side. It might be a fun stop for a fast food stop or quick dinner in that area of town, but then I would probably only order teriyaki chicken, because it really was yummy! And if you were not too hungry, one of their large plates would most likely be enough for two to share.

However, be warned- the honey garlic chicken is way too sweet for some people, especially me.