Monday, March 7, 2011

My Thai

I will forever be grateful to my band of co-workers at Cincinnati Christian University for introducing me to a few lasting food favorites.  One of those happens to be Thai food.  I’d never ventured into the area of Thai cuisine before lunching with that fabulous crew.  Thai Café will always hold a special place in my heart.  Though finding parking was a near nightmare, the food was fantastic.  And nothing satisfied more than finishing off with a short hop, skip & jump over to the nearby Graeter’s ice cream shop for dessert.  Ah, I miss you guys…

Anyway, in Omaha we’ve found a few decent Thai places.  And recently Jake has determined that since a lot of Thai food fits his new strict diet regimen, Thai is the food of choice for most eating out opportunities.  Our favorite is Thai Kitchen.  They have a wide range of options at decent prices.  This happens to be the first Thai spot we encountered in the Omaha area when we moved back and I think it very closely resembles Thai Café in food offerings.  They say that the first cut is the deepest when it comes to relationships and I find this to hold true for relationships to food/restaurants as well.  (Our favorite sushi is still Hiro, which was the site of our maiden sushi voyage, so my theory holds.) 

Ordering Thai food can be tricky.  Most Thai restaurants we’ve been to require you to request how much heat you’d like to experience via your food by choosing a number from 1 to 10.  (Sometimes zero can be an option as well.)  I usually stick with a 2.  The funny part about that is that sometimes a 2 is no heat at all and sometimes, like this last time I went, it can be so hot that your lips are on fire after bite #3.  I think this discrepancy mostly has to do with who is cooking at the time.  But still, this makes things a bit dicey.

My favorite Thai dishes are the ones that have lots of veggies & chicken accompanied by a thin, sweet but very slightly spicy sauce, all of which is then spooned over rice.  Yum.  The Cashew Nut Chicken at Thai Kitchen is a good example of this.  Also, I definitely prefer the crispy spring rolls at Thai places versus egg rolls at Chinese places.  The only difference I can tell is that the crispy spring rolls are wrapped in a light flaky crust similar to phyllo dough rather than the thicker crust on an egg roll that would be more similar to pie crust.  

I have to say that I haven’t branched out too far when it comes to Thai options.  And I don’t really care for Pad Thai all that much, which is surprising given my love for all things rice.  (Pad Thai is a dish mostly consisting of rice noodles.)  Though I do prefer my rice in actual rice form rather than flour or noodles, so that’s probably part of it.  I’ve been known to order rice noodle dishes at pasta restaurants like Noodles & Co. or Nothing But Noodles, but I rarely (if ever) order a noodle dish at an Asian restaurant.  Lo Mein always takes a backseat to fried rice at my table.  (Apparently my table is a bit schizo & thinks it’s a car sometimes?!)  Thankfully, though, my husband has discovered that he LOVES Pad Thai.  I’m so glad he’s finding things on his new diet that he not only can tolerate, but actually really likes. 

Thai Kitchen (near Lakeside, 168th & Center) & Thai Spice (multiple locations) restaurants in Omaha are operated by the same people.  And both seem to be good options, though I have to confess I’ve only experienced Thai Kitchen firsthand.  My husband has dined at Thai Spice several times, though.  But it does seem that Thai Spice tends to be more spicy (as the name might suggest), as well as a bit more expensive (though not extremely so).  So bear all that in mind.  We’ve also tried Thai Pepper (Miracle Hills, 114th & Dodge) and though the food was good, the prices were outrageous in comparison.

If you like other Asian (aka Chinese, sushi, Japanese), you will most likely love Thai.  If you like Indian food, you’ll find something to like at a Thai place as well.  Check it out!  We recently found that though there are over 20 sushi places in Omaha, there are only 11 Thai places.  We thought that was immensely interesting, as sushi would seem to be the more extreme of the two.  But since Omaha residents apparently love their sushi, I’m pretty sure they’d love Thai as well. 

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