Tag Archives: thai restaurant

Thai Cooking Class

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Last week, I posted about a Thai restaurant in our neck of the woods that we totally fell in love with this past August.

A couple month’s later, on October 24th to be exact, my friend Jen and I took a Thai Cooking Class at the Kitchen Window in Uptown, Minneapolis.

The class was called Spicy Thai Street Food and was taught by Joe Hatch-Surisook, Co-owner & Executive Chef of Sen Yai, Sen Lek {meaning Big Noodle, Little Noodle in Thai} also located in Uptown. It was advertised as one of the most popular classes. Since both Jen and I love Thai food, we gave it a try.

The classes that I’ve taken at the Kitchen Window have varied greatly in style. My Knife Skills class was instructional in nature; however, we did get to practice what we learned. It was life-changing! The food that we chopped was cooked into a dinner we ate later. The Cooking from Your CSA Box class was completely demonstrative in nature. We sat and watched as we obtained ideas for using CSA box items and ate all of his delicious creations in courses!

However, in this Thai Cooking Class, we were separated into groups to cook together by following the recipes, creating our own dinner! We were instructed on specific techniques and learned about lesser known ingredients throughout the evening, too. We’d cook a few dishes together and then the entire class sat at one big table and ate what our group cooked. We repeated the process after a few other dishes.

While the class was a ton of fun, I remember thinking that some of the ingredients weren’t practical for me to buy just for one specific dish. It’s just way too easy to get excellent take-out Thai all throughout the Twin Cities metro area instead. But now that I look back at the recipes we were given in class, there really aren’t all that many unique ingredients.

If anything, though, this class did get me out of the Pad Thai/Green Curry box to try new Thai dishes. Here was our menu that evening:

  • Gai Satay – Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
  • Cucumber Salad (The dressing was made with Thai chilies!)
  • Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad
  • Khao Neow – Steamed Sticky Rice
  • Pad See-Iew Gai – Stir Fried Wide Noodles with Sweet Soy, Chinese Broccoli and Chicken
  • Khao Soi – Curried Chiang Mai Noodles with Beef

I was having so much fun that I didn’t think to take photos until we reached the end of the evening…

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Khao Soi – Beef and noodles in a coconut curry sauce and topped with crispy noodles

Yes! We made that! And it was excellent. I can’t imagine making it now, though, without the help of my teammates.

But both Jen and I found our new favorite Thai dish!

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Pad See-Iew Gai – Stir Fried Wide Noodles with Sweet Soy, Chines Broccoli and Chicken

Those of you who know me well are probably wondering how I loved a dish with broccoli. But Chinese broccoli is nothing like the broccoli we know.

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Chinese Broccoli (source)

To me, it’s more like a bitter green. Click here for more information on Chinese Broccoli {also known as gai lan} and what you can substitute if you can’t find it.

Since the class, Jen has ordered Pad See-Iew (but with pork) at a local Asian restaurant. It’ll be the next thing I try at Spice! And now that I’ve revisited Chef Joe’s recipe, the Pad See-Iew doesn’t look difficult to make at all. I’ve decided that I’ll attempt to make it the next time I host my girlfriends for dinner. {Jen and Kim, you now must hold me to that!}

While it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to share a restaurant’s recipe from a class for which I paid, you can do a search for pad see-iew {there are spelling variations} online and yield great results!

And I do need to take my husband for a trip to Chef Joe’s Sen Yai, Sen Lek. It’s an award-winning Minneapolis restaurant where I already know that the food will be made with fresh ingredients and taste delicious!

What new vegetable have you tried lately?

Cheers~
Carrie

Spice – Savage

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We had been meaning to get to Spice for ages. But it took us a Groupon with an expiration date to actually get us there. It’s not very far from us, but it’s not very convenient either. It’s not a place where we’d just stop because it’s kind of out of the way. There would have to be a specific occasion or reason to go there. In fact, many other restaurants have failed in its location.

Now I’ve been meaning to post about Spice for ages because, when I check my calendar, it looks like that first visit was in back in August!

Spice is a Thai restaurant, a cuisine I’ve found that whatever you order, you pretty much can never go wrong. We arrived and ordered our beverages. I was surprised that there was no Riesling on the wine menu. There were mostly dry whites. A sweet white wine is preferred with spicy Thai and other ethnic foods because the sweetness counteracts the spice. The wine glasses were small without correct pours, but I wasn’t expecting them to be. At Thai restaurants, my only expectation is a low-end, but enjoyable, quaffing wine.

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We asked for recommendations on the menu, too. I really wanted to try something other than my usual Thai standybs of Green Curry and Pad Thai. Our server recommended the Basil Noodle, Pad Thai and the Curries.

Go figure. Rob had been eyeing the Basil Noodle and already knew he was going to get it. In fact, he usually orders some sort of noodle dish with basil when he eats Thai food. Maybe those are safe recommendations when you don’t really know what your customers like.

While waiting for our dinners, I noticed this:

What?

Can you explain this to me?

It’s some sort of shrine setup, but there is a plate with a banana in front of it. I really know very little about Thai culture, so I’m quite curious what this is all about. If you know, please do share!

Rob’s dish:

Basil NoodleThai rice noodle stirfried with basil, onion and chillies

Basil Noodle
Thai rice noodle stirfried with basil, onion and chillies

It was a Monday after work and I had just run four miles because I was training for my first ever 5-mile race in October. I had only run four miles a couple of times, so I wasn’t feeling all that great. I was a bit nauseous and not exactly in the mind frame to think nor even to eat anything spicy. However, I knew whatever I didn’t eat could come home with me and would reheat well. So I didn’t step outside the box.

My dish:

Gaeng Keow Wan (green) with shrimp

Sweet green curry, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, basil, and peapods

This restaurant’s spice levels range from 1 to 5:

  • 1 – Mild
  • 2 – Medium – This is what I went with this time. If I chose a higher spice level, I knew I’d eat too much rice to mellow it out. I decided to try to see if I could cut back on the rice by choosing a lower spice level than I usual order.
  • 3 – Hot – This is my usual preference and what I tend to order when we get any sort of Asian take-out.
  • 4 – Thai Spicy – This is the level that Rob ordered. He likes just about the same amount of spice as I do, maybe just a bit more. His verdict on this level? TOO HOT for him! He said he needs to go down to a 3 next time. The heat didn’t keep him from enjoying his meal, though!
  • 5 – Challenging – I love that this is the way this level is described! There was a couple who was seated next to us who both ordered Pad Thai. The woman ordered it mild and the guy ordered it challenging. I would have loved to have stayed to see his reaction!

So our thoughts on this place? We loved it! Rob has gone back (out of his way) to get take out several times since! I know some people aren’t fond of Groupons because they feel that they take advantage of the company and can cause them to lose money. While that could quite possibly happen, it’s really just another way to spend advertising dollars. And this is one instance that proves that the Groupon got a customer into their restaurant and brought them back again and again!

Spice is thriving in a location where other restaurants have not. So much so, that they have opened up another location on the Apple Valley/Lakeville border. It’s another location where I’ve seen many restaurants come and go! My guess is that they’ll be around a while.

What is your favorite Thai dish and why?

Cheers~
Carrie