The timely and most welcome (and most coveted) invite to a certain food blogger's Thanksgiving tasting menu, just alerted me to the fact the happiest food holiday in all the land is right around the corner. Thanks to this wonderful high pressure system we're deep in the throes of fall. YAY! I get to wear hoodies, and sweaters, and long sleeved shirts! And best of all...SWEATPANTS DELUXE! It's a tradition my friend Evelyn does with her significant other. Sweatpants are clearly the world's most comfortable form of clothing and it's a good night when you can slip on the sweatpants, watch some trashy tv, and snuggle next to your one and only.
More than sweatpants deluxe, I get to use the oven without worrying I will be heating the house to hellish levels. This past weekend, we celebrated the advent of fall by have a food-centered Saturday. First we went to Rabieng, the second Thai restaurant by the people who run Duangrats. While I find Duangrats to be perfectly fine Thai food, I've never found it to be anything to writer home about. Our friend Uncle Tim and Auntie Em have raved about Rabieng's Thai dim sum and small plates fan that I am, I had to go. And it was WELL WORTH IT! Rabieng knows sticky rice like noone's business. Both of their sticky rice dishes, sticky rice with shredded coconut shrimp an sticky rice with taro were exceptional. The sticky rice was redolent of coconut milk and complemented the starchiness of the taro and the saltiness of the shrimp. In the same vein, we had the coconut crab won tons which had a similar crab filling as the shrimp. It had the same sweet nutty flavor as the coconut shrimp. We also had the expertly made scallion cakes which were had a nice crunch on the outside to contract with the soft glutinousness on the inside, served with a sweet soy dipping sauce, it was definitely a standout. Finally, we LOVED the green curry beef with a deep fried rice cake. I normally don't like green curry but this was a small serving that fit well with the pleasing crunch of the deep fried rice cake. Two dishes that I was meh on was the shredded chicken and carrot salad that was like a syrupy version of a Vietnamese Goi salad and the siracha chicken wings that were drowning in a siracha laced barbecue sauce. Overall it's a great food experience. I will say that the waiters are pretty businesslike and ask you to order by number.
Next door to Rabieng is the Duangrats Thai Market. Ever since our great Tom Yum experience, J has wanted to make Tom Yum soup at home. The only thing missing was galangal, a citrusy cousin of ginger. It was a bit of providence to find frozen galangal at the Thai market which we picked up along with a replacement sticky rice steamer basket (that my uncle and his family call "the hat"), and a few Asian condiments.
And then next door to that is the poetically named Aphrodite's Greek and Mediterranean market. This is truly pan Mediterranean with Egyptian busts, Little Greek Statues, and Turkish coffee machines. J and I went crazy here, buying all kinds of baklava, rose water, dolmades, Greek Phyllo pastries, rose water, and orange flower water. The service was attentive to the point where the woman behind the counter told me to put away the spanikopita I was about to buy and directed me to the homemade Greek phyllo pastries.
Going to both the Greek and Thai markets made me think of why New York is so awesome. In New York, these types of markets wouldn't be 15 miles away in a suburban strip mall. They would be in the city near public transportation.
After all of that, we went to the CSA to get our vegetables for the week and made a point to pick a good two pounds of basil for pesto.
The day ended with J and I curled up on the couch with a bowl of chicken stew and mashed potatoes. Recipe to follow.