Kysha Harris | 4/25/2012, 6:26 p.m.
As April cometh this weekend, so does the taxman. All of the richness of your 2011 life reduced to numbers and figures. Hopefully he will be as good to you this year as you were to yourself last year...and if not, try, try again.
I was separating my receipts and came across a dynamite dining experience I forgot to share with you. The receipt reminded me how often I choose Thai food when I am hungering for complex and intriguing favor combinations. Heck, I just had it the other night in a food pinch.
This idea had me thinking, if there were such a thing as a food passport, how many frequent-eater miles would I rack up for Thai food?
My adventure to Thailand had the Sunday Brunch Crew (SBC)--Jason, Dee, Raquel and myself--venturing to Hell's Kitchen on a brick-cold afternoon in January. The destination was Pure Thai Shophouse (766 Ninth Avenue, (212) 581-0999, www.purethaishophouse.com).
The SBC was waiting for my late self to arrive. Well, they had already started with crispy tofu with peanut and tamarind-chili gastrique ($5), chicken curry puffs with onion, sweet potato and cucumber relish ($6.50) and the spicy green papaya salad with dried shrimp, tomato, peanuts and long beans ($7.50). I instantly fell in love with the curry puffs and their flaky casing. They could have added salted blue crab to the papaya salad for an additional $2. Why didn't they?
After the first round of food and catch-up conversation, I turned around on my backless metal stool to take in the narrow, wood- and brick-lined space. Less the lack of insulation, thus a little cool inside, the cozy, railroad-style, humble design reminded me of two other restaurants on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue, Recipe and Land. I asked our server if it was the same owners. Low and behold, it was. Note to self: I need to meet these people. They really have the right idea.
Next up on the table was Nakorn-Patom duck noodle soup with thin rice noodles, braised duck meat, bean sprouts, Asian celery and five spice soy broth ($10), Pad See Ew with chicken ($9), Ratchaburi crab and pork dry noodles ($10) and the special, seafood Rad Na with tiger shrimp, calamari, crab meat and vegetables ($14). Yes, it was a lot, but we made it magically disappear.
We enjoyed the Ratchaburi, as it used their house-made egg noodles. I would go back for that as my meal. The seafood special was also magnificent, as all of those delicate seafood flavors still came through the richness of the sauce. The braised duck soup was balanced and right on time for the cold weather. I wouldn't have minded sitting over the pot while it cooked!
So my food passport is stamped yet again with the flavors and foods of Thailand. Thank you, SBC and Pure Thai Shophouse. I will return for more. I know you will be ready, too.
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
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Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email kysha@iSCHOP.com.