Thursday, March 4, 2010

Heavenly Thai

I discovered Thai food many years ago when I got a job waiting tables at a Thai restaurant in my early 20’s. I’d never waited tables before and I’d never tasted Thai food either. I have no idea why they hired me – they must have been desperate – but they did, and it was quite the experience for all involved.
I soon discovered I was not cut out to be a waitress. I was that waitress who forgot to bring your drinks, who mixed up your order, and who got it all wrong when you asked what’s in the soup. I spilled drinks all over myself (but, fortunately, never anyone else), and once, I even set my own arm on fire while serving a flaming pot of soup. I was appallingly bad.

The restaurant owners treated me kindly nonetheless, and occasionally, when my shift was over, I got to hang out in the kitchen and enjoy a meal with the Thai natives who cooked and ran the place. They were pretty impressed with the amount of heat I could take (I always liked spicy food), and I absolutely fell in love with the amazing flavors.

When I realized I was just never going to become a good waitress, I quit my job at the restaurant (I’m sure they were greatly relieved they didn’t have to fire me) and set out to find delicious Thai food elsewhere. I found that I liked different dishes at different places: panang curry at one place, green curry at another (far away in San Marcos, California – darn it!); pad Thai here, Thai string beans there. Today, I went to a place called Heavenly Thai for takeout. I got the spicy mango stir-fry with bell pepper, cabbage, onions, sweet basil, and fresh mango in a spicy sauce. It was fantastic – even better than usual.

I thought I’d learn to cook Thai food too. I mean, I love to cook and I love Thai food, so it seemed like I should be able to put the two together. But it didn’t really work out. Experimenting on my own got me nowhere. I just couldn’t begin to guess the ingredients or techniques used to achieve the authentic Thai flavors I was going for. Someone finally gave me a cookbook that was quite helpful and I’ve managed to make a few maybe-not-amazing, but decent dishes. Many of the recipes I’ve made over the years, however, have been total flops and, though I still take a stab at it now and then, I’ve had to admit that I’m much better off going out for Thai than trying to prepare it myself.

So, back to Heavenly Thai I go, and Thai Orchid, Lemongrass, Siam Society, Sweet Basil, Beau Thai, Typhoon, Thai Noon…


  1. You're back! Hooray! There's a little Thai place (family owned op) out in Chanhassen. Nothing at all fancy, but we like it and go there occasionally. Remind me when you are here and we'll try it. King and I in downtown Minneapolis is supposed to be the best, but we don't care for it (lots of things come mushy). I think Lisa knows some really good Thai places.

  2. I don't know if this is accurate or not, but someone told me Heavenly Thai was what once was Thai 122nd just opened with a new name & a new location. I too love Thai food, too bad my husband & daughter don't share the love.

  3. Yep, that's right - Heavenly Thai is the new Thai 122nd.