Friday night Boyhound and I were planning a delicious night in. We have a bottle of Mumms Cuvee champagne (the one with the rose-gold foil) and wanted something spicy to go with it. On a tour of the Mumms vineyard last year, one of the guides mentioned this champagne goes well with spicy food, like Thai. Like we just sit around sipping champagne for no occasion with some take-out. Who does that!? Well, what the heck. We tried it. It was an amazing combination! Now we indulge in this treasured night in a couple of times a year
and I am sure Mumm is happy to have increased our consumption rate by two. (Wine hounds please go easy on me. I do not know anything deep about wine or champagne, brands or vintages, just that this combo is goooood to my palate.)
For three years we have been ordering from Kinaree Thai (SW corner of LaBrea & Fountain) mainly because it is so close to us. But, last night I wanted something SPICY. Kinaree is high on flavor, low on spicy (at least the dishes I order) and honestly that is another reason I like it. But, for the champagne, I wanted to make sure dinner had a kick.
I came to the boards in search of Thi N.s guide to Thai Town for some ideas. I was overwhelmed with possibility! The dishes were foreign to me. Here I thought I knew Thai food, but maybe my version of Thai is kind of like going to PF Chang for Chinese?! Oh no! Boyhound whisked me on some ridiculous errand before I could decipher my search into an action plan to try some serious Thai. Believe me, I plan to keep following the Thai threads on this board to expand my Thai horizons, but before that, I had to eat.
Enter Kinaree Thai, the old standby. Eating it last night made me realize I have been taking this place for granted for too long. This food is fresh. This food is delicious. This food has been consistently good EVERY time I have ordered there. So good in fact, that if I moved, I would still seek it. The décor is warm and beautifully appointed with copper tables and a long bar. Beautiful waitresses and you can always get a table. (And I mean always they must do a mean take-out business, because at most I have seen 2 of their 12 tables filled on a Friday night).
Dont dismiss the Thai-ness of this place based on my laymen orders it is good food, regardless of category, but feel free to dismiss me as a reviewer of thai food ;o) The chicken yellow curry (forgive my lack of memory on its Thai name) has so much flavor and only a hint of heat. The vittles to liquid ratio is a little light, but that may be due to us ordering it sans onions (blasphemy, I know), but the sauce is soooo good. Regardless, it all goes great with the perfectly cooked sticky rice. Once we eat all the bits out of it, we save the leftover yellow curry sauce to add to Wolfgang Pucks Chicken Corn Chowder canned soup for lunch the next day. Mmmmm, but I digress.
We also order the beef chow mien. Even though it might not be Thai, it is truly amazing. The noodles are plentiful and cooked perfectly al dente. The veggies are fresh and the meat is amazingly tender! It is not drowned in sauce. Last night, I discovered the red chili sauce side condiment. Perfect for my search for spice. I dont know what it was there were chili flakes in it and it tasted like hot-sauce, but with explosive flavor: not burn-your-tongue-and-cry but more tingle-your-tongue-and-smile. It definitely seemed homemade, which reminds me of the peanut sauce they make for the satay. It is not too sweet, a bit chunky and perfectly oozy. I am not a fan of sweet with savory, and I love this peanut sauce. Their appetizers are all terrific, but beware the Golden Triangles. Not a culinary adventure, these are battered deep-fried wedges of tofu that are just light and crispy vehicles for sauce. They are a good dish to order to stretch the appetizers, very filling. But seeing the forbidden plate of deep-fried goodness on the table might make your arteries yelp. The Pad Thai is the only dish here that I have had better elsewhere.
It is like Kinaree tucked its little Thai grandma in the kitchen to make dishes fresh for take-out with fabulous ingredients that make each individual flavor stand on its own - only blocks away from Thai Town.