Hello again chowhound. I've been travelling a lot lately, interviewing for cardiology fellowship spots. I've had incredible meals including pristine sushi in Portland, a savory ginger and scallion lobster in boston, an ambrosial coal oven pizza in east harlem, a papusa in LA. Just havent been eating out in chicago lately.
Last night the fam ventured out to Thai avenue. We ended up haping an incredible meal.
Pan Fried chive dumplings. Hockey pucked sized discs formed of a 1 cm outer layer of moist, glutinous rice flour, the surface of which was crispy fried a la the best gyoza. inside was a fragrant stuffing of sweated chives redolent of oniony perfume. These were served with a tangy sweet tamarind hili soy sauce.
Thai style papaya salad. Beautifully julienned strands of translucent young papaya in a chili lime sweet fish sauce studded with tiny crab shells and tomato slices. This was the best version of this dish that I ve had. the sauce gave the papaya a pleasing crunchiness reminiscent of japanese takuan pickles. And the wonderfull melding of the different flavor elements sweet, salty, sour, oceanic, and a wonderful chili burn that raged briefly and then receeded to a pleasant stinging burn that continued dancing on the mouth, and lips throughout the entire meal.
Tom kha kai. the wonderfully rich coconut milk flavor playing off of the opposingly astringent sweet acidity of a tom yum kai. A little less rich than the Siam N and R version, but wonderfully spiced with shoots of lemon grass, discs of ginger, hints of kaffir lime prominently floating in the milky broth.
Pad Thai. A close second place to Siam N and R's version beause it was missing the minced pickle crunch. But clean flavors and elegant praparation were one again evident.
Pad Prik Khing. slivers of pork, sliced long string beans, flash stir fried after being coated with a curryish dry rub that was a complex melange of spices with an overriding presence of kaffir lime leaves present in every bite. Just wonderful. It was exotic and comforting at the same time.
a cute little basket of perfetly prepared sticky rice.
This place is now 1 and 1A along with the funkier Siam noodle and rice in my book. Every dish just reeked of loving preparation, quality ingredients, and attention to detail.
Its good to be back home!