*For the record, I am alive (mostly), I was just in a food/chocolate coma for most of the weekend as my brother was home from school & it was my mom’s birthday…you know how all that goes. As for the chocolate coma…to be blogged about. Stay tuned. You really want to know more about that.*
I would also like to apologize for the intense cheesiness of this post’s title. It took me a long time to come up with. And it’s really quite mild in comparison to my other brainstorms.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…
I don’t really remember when or where my love for Thai food began. I wish I could pay my respects to a certain restaurant or chef, but alas, I was not always the food-trend-stalking foodist that I am today. I know, perish the thought. I have, however, always loved 2 particular activities that led me to my first taste of Thai: trying new foods, and eating at restaurants.
No, I have no idea when or where that first hot plate piled high with pad thai landed in front of me, with those crisp, crunchy sprouts, luscious bits of egg and that uniquely sweet-and-savory peanut sauce just begging to be eaten and enjoyed. But I do remember it, the burst of new and exotic flavor combinations and textures…man, eating is fun.
While like most children, I ate pad thai pretty exclusively at any Thai restaurant we tried, I also discovered that I am HUGE fan of curried things. And mango things. And many other things typical to that cuisine. Those fresh summer rolls with the vermicelli and veggies and rice paper are a particular fave of mine. Obviously, I’ve branched out a bit. And while classic Thai places with all the staples on the menu are fun, my favorite places are the ones that take a creative (and seasonal!) spin on traditional dishes. They’re not called culinary arts for nothing, people!
When my mom and I found ourselves alone for dinner on a weekend, going out seemed to be the only logical option. We have wanted to try Phu Ket in West Roxbury for ages, so it was decided upon pretty quickly.
I really liked the ambience: very quiet, but relaxed; white tablecloths, but it didn’t seem too fussy. Very decent wine list, AND when I asked for seltzer water they brought me one of those adorable baby bottles of the good stuff – San Pellegrino. We were off to a very good start.
We split the steamed shrimp shumai appetizer, because I have never met a shrimp shumai I didn’t like and order it whenever possible. If you’ve never had the pleasure, fix that. Now.
[Ahem, as I was saying about the ambience…lovely for dining, less so for photographing. You understand.]
YUM. And very prettily presented!
As for entrée, the minute I saw pumpkin curry on the specials menu, I knew there was no turning back. Sure, I perused the rest of the menu for good measure, but it was over with those 2 words. Pumpkin. Curry. They were meant to be.
Pillowy chunks of pumpkin with fresh squash + carrots in an perfectly sweet & just-a-tad-spicy curry sauce with shrimp. Yup, this was a very good decision. The pumpkin was so soft & rich it was almost buttery, and the portion was ideally sized. This goes down in my book as one of the best dishes for a cool fall evening. It was a tad high in salt, but the flavors were so well matched, I didn’t much care. I would recommend this time and again – but it’s a special, so you’re better off getting up and going right now before it leaves.
Mom got a duck + spinach pasta which was, again, very tasty:
I was far too distracted by my plate of pumpkin goodness to really focus on the small bite I stole of this, but I can say with absolute confidence that duck fans would be quite happy with this. The portion was very large which of course meant lunch the next day. Love it when that happens.
You may notice that the pumpkin was skin-on, and the skin is where a TON of fiber is stored. Suffice it to say, there was no room in my tummy for dessert. Until I got home and the chocolate chips in the cabinet started calling my name. You think I’m kidding. They beg to be eaten. BEG, I tell you.
I swear I’m not schizo. At least, not for the most part.
To sum up, I would most definitely recommend checking out Phu Ket – wonderful food, lovely atmosphere, really convenient location, and the prices are very very right.
A very satisfactory dining experience, indeed. There is just something about the whole dining-out experience that I thrive on. It’s such a unique opportunity, I think, to try new things, stretch boundaries, all while having good conversation in great company – to me, it’s the best kind of escape. Mostly because it’s an event that is completely about food. Those are the best kind of events.
And speaking of dining out, I am currently in the process of selecting a restaurant for my birthday dinner in 2 months. I am very excited because, though dearly did I love my college, the dining options around were slim and dim. Now that I’m back in a food-tastic city, I feel almost overwhelmed with options. The forerunner is Rialto, because…well, it’s Rialto! Best of Boston several different years, 4 stars from the Globe, and it’s Italian food. Definitely can’t go wrong. But then there is Bondir, recently named #10 on Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in 2011 (yes, in the whole country!). And Bergamot, another Boston classic, has to go on the list – although the menu didn’t tempt me like the other 2. Of course, there are also all the restaurants that were Chefs Collaborative event – especially Mary Dumont’s Harvest. I am STILL dreaming about that pizza. Holy local squash, that was good.
My main requirements are that it have a focus on seasonal & sustainable food, and be more on the fine side of dining. Not pretentious, but not picnic-tables-and-plastic-cups either. While fame & reputation isn’t exactly a requisite, there is a big part of me that feels like as a young foodie I have a LOT to catch up on in Boston and I need to start with the classics, ya know? I am, of course, ALWAYS open to recommendations! I want to decide soon so we can make the reservation because some of these places are hip-hop-happenin’ (and better be for good reason!).
I love, love, love eating out. I have countless memories, of food & other bits of nostalgia, of wonderful, delicious, and eye-opening experiences in restaurants all over the world, and I only get more excited with each new adventure. Cheers.
Do you have a favorite dining-out memory? Do tell!