Arriving late after being “Shang-haied in Shang Hai” we decided to wait a little later to eat on the first night of my friends arrival to Chiang Mai. We wondered the blocks between and around our condo and her hotel. Finally, we decided it was time to dine and gave up on her waking to join us. We picked a place we had been pleased with last year. Nines Kitchen is a small restaurant with outside dining on a somewhat quiet street. We ordered our appetizers of 7 Fried and lemongrass salad with shrimp and my phone buzzed, my friend was awake and hungry after her flight mishap nap. My honey walked down the street to get her and when they got back we ordered an additional lemongrass salad and dug in. The salad was delicious with papaya and carrot shreds tossed with a spicy marinade, sprinkled with ground peanuts and topped with succulent shrimp. The 7 Fried on the other hand was fairly disappointing with literally a few fries on the plate plus chicken nuggets and shrimp croquets which actually weren’t bad. We ordered Khao soi, Pad Thai with shrimp and chicken vegetable stir fry. All were very tasty and fresh and the check came in at a more than fair price point. We wandered a bit to exercise off some of the food then made our way to introduce my friend to the sweet art of Thai massage in hopes she’d settle in for a good full nights rest to allow her to get past any jet lag.
Backtracking in this food extravaganza just for a moment, I want to mention a great lunch time meal we had the day we drove to Hang Dong. Located in the Tawai Creative Village just beyond a shop with beautiful hand created teak tables we found the garden setting of Casa Shade to be very enjoyable. My honey and I ate simply but thoroughly enjoyed the mixed vegetable salad, fried rice and chicken egg noodles. The garden setting was not only beautiful but extremely relaxing.
Introducing my friend to the old city found us dining for a light lunch at The Corner. This was an easy location to relax a bit, try to cool down and do some people watching. Our order included Massaman curry, Penang curry, spring rolls and a fruit plate. All was delicious and flavorful. We did however continue our wandering in the humidity of the afternoon and my man needed a cool down so he purchased a coconut ice cream from one of the street vendors. I must say both us girls ended up wishing we would have divulged our sweet tooth with this 35 baht goody. It was a single dip served in a coconut shell, surrounded by fresh coconut meat and topped with crispy fried rice.
The Good View offered a beautiful view of the Ping River for sunset dinner on another evening when we made our way across the Iron Bridge after wandering the fruit market. We needed bananas for breakfast and my friend had not seen this brightly colored vibrant area yet. As we stopped for our fruit, my honey struck up a conversation with a Thai woman about how to select the best bananas, instructing us to search out the smallest yet plumpest and instructing us to eat two a day for good digestive health. When he indicated “Okay, I’ll take them.” She chided him and said “No, not these, they mine.” She was delighted when he bought them for her. It made her day for a mere 20 baht! (Such a sweet man like that #karma) 😉 We dined at a table outside along the river bank as we watched the Thai men rowing their canoes and local fishermen standing in the water drawing in their nets. Live music bled into the area from the inside stage. My friend enjoyed Duck curry, my man had a Green chicken curry and I had the spicy vegetable and prawn soup. The price point was a bit higher at this location but the ambience was fully worth it and the food was tasty.
Another early evening found us at Rajdarbar across from the Duangtawan Hotel. We had gotten the taste of Indian food in Penang and our taste buds called for more as it did one of our last evenings in the country at Bukhara’s on Sukhumvit. Both places provided excellent food, not at nearly the low price we found in Penang but very good and the service was excellent and both places provided cloth napkins which always puts a check mark in the customer care category for me. Between the two places we enjoyed chicken and mutton masala, papad, mixed pakora, paneer pakora, tomato and chicken shorba (soup), chicken tikka, chicken three ways platter, missi roti, and onion and garlic naan. Without a doubt the bread and sauces are my favorite part.
Celebrating our 22nd anniversary we snuck away by ourselves to a place called David’s Kitchen at 909. Dining at its finest is what we expected and this place delivered in a big way! We went by tuk tuk and were greeted at the car park and escorted to the hostess who immediately took us to our seats. Gracing the table was a welcome card and an anniversary card with red felt hearts placed atop our napkins. A nice touch indeed. We started with a cocktail. I enjoyed Rum on the Leave, basically a Thai style mojito with fresh keefer lime and mint with shallots and my groom had a Russell Reserve Bourbon Manhattan. A mixture of freshly baked rolls and salty butter were brought to the table as we enjoyed our drinks. As we moved to placing our appetizer request we ordered a Riverby Estate’s Australia Sauvignon blanc. It paired very well with the seared scallops trio served on a sweet potato mash and house made Gravlox salmon. From there we moved on to soups. An original recipe French onion and a Green Pea. Next up was a shared Caesar salad with Seared Ahi tuna. For the special occasion we had carried a select bottle of wine with us all the way from Idaho. A 2002 Penfolds McGill Estates Shiraz. It served as the velvety accompaniment to the lamb shank and beef bourgeoisie we had for our entrees. For dessert we chose sticky toffee pudding with coconut ice cream, cappuccinos and grand mariner and a port. Every single bite of this dinner was over the top with flavor and every item paired well with our beverages. As is the tradition of our marriage, we enjoyed this fine dining experience and toasted to many more wonderful years together doing just this sort of activity. As we paid the bill I was presented a bouquet of 7 pink and red baby rose buds and given well wishes. This restaurant took it one more step the following day when we received an apology for not being in attendance from the owner who was out of town on business for the first time ever since opening his restaurant. He personalized the thank you with his own well wishes for our anniversary. It was a nice touch.