10 July, 2013

Conflicted

It is a cold and rainy day out...my favorite kind of weather.  It makes me quite happy to wake up to no sunlight and a slight nip in the air.  But this morning, nothing was going to make me smile.  So much has taken a back seat in our home since our little Sweet Pea was welcomed into our family.  Lumped right on the back seat next to our love of sleep is my "to eat" list.  

We haven't eaten out together in quite a while.  But, when you're tired, food blogging is honestly the last thing on your mind.  Last night my Mister and I got about 3 hours of sleep cumulatively.  I THINK I got 2 hours (but I can't be certain) and he may have gotten 1 hour.  Sweet Pea is giving us a run for our money, that's for sure!  But, how can you resent a face as darling as this one??

She is WIDE awake...my Mister is half dead.  
 
It was a heckova way to start out the day.  The Mister knew we had a couple of things we needed to do before his big meeting today but, he was dragging bottom so badly I had to scoot him out the door.  While we were out at our first destination he reminded me that we had a restaurant to try that a church friend recommended.  I can't remember much these days so I couldn't recall the name of the place.  "It's Chang Thai Kitchen...it's in Carp." he said.  Ah, yes. Chang Thai; we drove past the restaurant when we went to the Farmers Market two weekends ago.  Who is gonna pass up going out for cooking when they'd gotten no sleep the night before??  NO one I know!


There is free parking in the back of Chang Thai; a welcomed gift in this town!!  I could tell from the number of vehicles that the lunch rush hadn't begun yet.  What luck!  When you're traipsing around with a 7 week old, you don't want to disturb other people's leisure lunch break.  It also meant that I could keep it respectful when shooting indoors; easily able to keep dining customers out of the shots while still capturing the general layout and ambiance of the place.

We were seated right away and given a lunch menu.  Their lunch menu (as of yet) isn't available online but their dinner menu and take out menu is available to view.  The lunch menu has a few choice dishes that are Thai staples in any authentic Thai restaurant.  PaNang, Pad Thai, spring rolls, etc.  We knew what we wanted in less than 2 shakes of a lamb's tail.  Gaeng PaNang with chicken, Pad Thai with chicken and an order of Tom Kha for me!  Tom Kha is one of my FAVORITE soups of all time...even over my Momma's homemade chicken noodle soup.  With the cool, wet weather soup was the first thing on my mind.  All of the lunch entrees come with a vegetable spring roll and dipping sauce, so we didn't feel the need to order a platter of those.

The restaurant was pretty slow for customers, so I asked if I might be able to shoot photos inside.  The waitress wasn't sure if it would be okay or not, she would have to ask the manager.  I completely understood.  But the manager wasn't there until dinner service.  So...when she offered to call the manager I thought I'd have my answer before we left.  But, alas...our check was paid and we were out the door and no more mention was made of it.  It is too bad, it is quite cozy and decorative inside.  It would have been nice to show you...  

Not long after this exchange about photos our veggie spring rolls arrived at our table along with some soup...

Por Pia Pak with Sweet Thai Dipping Sauce

I won't lie to you...this is THE smallest spring roll I have seen in this town since I have been living here.  I actually had to make a conscious effort not to giggle when I saw it.  But, size doesn't always matter, right?  RIGHT!  This spring roll was pretty outstanding even if it seemed microscopic.  The flavor packed inside of that wrap was fabulous.  If only they were a little bigger.  Perhaps the spring rolls ordered at dinner are made larger???  One could only hope.

Soup...

I am not sure I can call this "Vegetable Tom Kha" because it seemed to be more of a broth soup rather than a cream.  As if the soup was made with coconut WATER rather than coconut MILK.  In fact, I was so convinced of that I asked our waitress over before I even touched it and asked her if she put the order in for "Kha" or "Yum".  She said she sent in for Kha and that Kha is what I had.  I looked her in the eye and asked her if she was SURE there was coconut milk in there.  She seemed annoyed when I did that and she doubled down on the assertion that there was coconut milk in there.  I acquiesced because I didn't want to get snippy and I just dug in with my spoon and tried it.  Folks...this was not made with coconut milk.  I'm not gonna beat around the bush.  I was disappointed and disgusted on principle that I just got something I wasn't going to eat.  I put my spoon down and pushed it aside.  Of course...my Mister grabbed the spoon and tried it.  Then finished it.  He doesn't like to waste anything he is about to pay for.  Fair enough.  But I would never order that soup from them again.  Ever.  Not when I have had it better elsewhere and know that this should have looked milky, not watery.  The whole situation was pretty disappointing because I was SO looking forward to the warm creaminess that is usually Tom Kha.  

Our main entrees were out less than 5 minutes after she cleared our appetizer dishes.  Service is prompt and efficient in this place, that's for sure!  We planned on sharing so I have included shots of my entree and my Mister's entree this time 'round.


Gaeng PaNang with Chicken

There is some pretty wonderful plating goin' on in this place!  So interesting and beautiful.  It adds a special touch that makes you feel like the people who are preparing your food REALLY love food and aren't just "good with a knife" back there in the kitchen.  BRAVO!

The PaNang was properly seasoned with just the right amount of spice for a gentle sweat to break out under your eyeballs, without laying you out flat.  My nose didn't run, but I didn't want it to either.  It was just the right amount of everything.  Coconut milk (it WAS in there!), spice, vegetables and meat.  Spectacular balance to the meal as a whole.  I liked it.

Now...for the Pad Thai...

Pad Thai with Chicken

Again, the plate presentation on this dish is immaculate.  It made my job of photographing it very easy, no matter what angle I shot this plate from it made me hungry!  But, when I dug into it with my fork my hunger stopped there.  I was quite glad my Mister ordered that dish and not I.  I've had my fair share of Pad Thai in my lifetime and one thing I always worry about is the dish tasting like it was made using ketchup.  I'm not sure what happened with this dish but, one bite was all I needed.  I let my Mister finish it without a second thought.

Am I going to go back to this place??  I'm not sure.  The jury is still out.  I'm conflicted about how fabulous the spring rolls were and then the soup totally missed the mark.  The PaNang was spot on for flavor and viscosity with the sauce but the flavor of the Pad Thai sauce was confusing and overly sweet.  So, the best thing to say is that I am still on the fence.  The last thing I will say on the matter is that we left paying less than $30 loonies for lunch for two; quite reasonable for a sit down, warm lunch.  Please take the time to make the trek out to Carp and try them out for yourself.  Perhaps you'll have a different experience than we did.  If you do, absolutely let me know!

 Chang Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

*Since the original date of this meal I have been contacted by the manager of Chang Thai Kitchen and was given permission to come back any time with my camera to shoot the inside of the establishment.  With the Sweet Pea being only 10 weeks now and summer vacation hitting, I just haven't been able to go back yet and I am not quite certain when I will have the time.  But it has been added to my list of things to accomplish this summer. 


   

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