#118: New Thai Kitchen (renamed My Thai Kitchen)

I just returned from dinner at a Thai place called New Thai Kitchen, which is located next to The Pita Pit and Costa Vida, in the Stone Point shopping center on Eureka.  I think I found out about this restaurant from the Yelp deal that I bought.  It’s still available if you want to get one ($10 for $20 deal at New Thai Kitchen).  I remembered seeing on their specials board, which they had sitting outside on the day I went to Costa Vida, that they had some excellent sounding curries that you don’t always see at other Thai places.  Yelp deal in hand I met up with my mom and we went in at just after 5PM.

We were the only customers and were greeted and seated immediately by a friendly waitress.  She took our drink orders right then and there.  I ordered a Thai iced tea and we both got waters.  I could see the specials board up on the kitchen counter but had to get up closer to be able to read it.  There I saw the curries that were there before: mango(red curry in coconut milk, basil and bell peppers), pumpkin(red curry in coconut milk, basil and bell peppers) & avocado(green curry in coconut milk, carrots and avocado).  I’ve only ever seen avocado curry at Auburn Thai Garden, which I’ve considered to be either the best or tied with Khun Suda Thai as the best Thai restaurant I’ve been to, and their avocado curry is amazing.  I knew I would be ordering that for sure.  As I sat back down our drinks were brought out.  My iced tea was un-mixed and had some straw wrapper art going on, which I’ve never seen before.  I thought this was a nice little touch!  I mixed it up and started sipping on it while we figured out what else we would order.  We decided on the Pad Se-iew (wide size rice noodles, egg, broccoli, carrot, mushroom in a sweet soy sauce), shrimp rolls (fried prawns in crispy wrappers. Served with sweet ‘n sour sauce and chopped roasted peanuts) and chicken satay (strips of chicken breast grilled on bamboo skewers and served with a side of peanut sauce and cucumber salad).

I’m embarrassed to report my very first spilled drink since starting Eating Through Roseville.  I dumped my nearly full iced tea right over.  My camera only sustained minimal splattering and I yanked it off the table before the rush of orange liquid could do more damage.  I used my hand to keep as much of it on the table as possible while the entire staff jumped into action.  They were all really good-natured about it and several were laughing, along with my mom and I.  We were moved to another table and I had a brand new iced tea waiting for me there before I had even sat back down.  They were on top of things.  1 out of 118, I think that’s pretty respectable considering how often I’m shifting plates and glasses around to get the right angle or light for a shot 😉

The layout has a somewhat open kitchen.  If it weren’t for the tallish counter we would be able to watch our food being cooked.  You can certainly hear the sizzling and steaming going on in there.  Soon we had our appetizers in front of us.  The chicken satay had four flat strips of grilled chicken on skewers.  I thought these were pretty good.  The chicken was fairly moist and tender.  The peanut sauce was a bit thinner than I’m used to, but the flavor was spot on despite that.  The cucumber salad added a nice crisp texture.  The shrimp rolls were really good.  I loved the incredibly crispy fried wrap on it, and the prawns/shrimp were good sized.  A little or a lot of sweet & sour sauce was good on these.  It wasn’t overpowering so I was able to add a bunch and get more of the flavor without covering up the taste of the prawns.  These two appetizers were a nice size to split between two people.  We ate them both completely and had plenty of room for the main course.

Our waitress cleared our appetizer plates and, not long after, the curry and noodles arrived.  These were both a good size.  We were planning on saving enough so my mom could take home a serving for my dad and it worked out perfectly.  The avocado curry was loaded with super green, ripe avocados and there was plenty of pork in it as well (choice of pork, chicken beef or seafood [probably prawns]) and was really, really good.  I loved the consistency with the smooth texture of the avocados.  I’m used to this being pretty spicy at Auburn Thai, since the people I always go there with like it that way.  I have to say I kind of miss that heat, but I’m certain New Thai Kitchen is fully capable of making it that way if requested.  My mom is not a fan so I have to do that when she’s not with me.  I will say that after a while one of the dishes did show a touch of heat, not really enough to do anything, but enough to notice if you hadn’t taken a drink for a while.  The pad se-iew was fantastic, and I think this might be my new favorite place for it.  Everything was perfect, the noodles were slippery and cooked just right, the flavor of the sweet soy sauce was rich, the pork was nice and tender (occasionally been a bit dry elsewhere) and the good balance of all the other ingredients in general.  I kind of wish I was still eating some right now.

Unfortunately we had no room for dessert.  This was a pretty good amount of food at reasonable prices.  I will absolutely be returning, I think New Thai Kitchen easily ranks up there with the best Thai restaurants, maybe even making my favorite a three-way tie with Auburn Thai and Khun Suda.  The staff were all very friendly, super fast and efficient.  Definitely some of the faster service I’ve seen at the Thai places I’ve been.

Website: http://www.newthaikitchen.com/

#117: Mr Subs

Mr Subs has been a place I’ve been curious about since long before starting this whole thing.  It’s located at the West end of Cirby at Vernon. I wondered for a while if there were actually two separate places since there is a “Burgers” sign that’s just around the bend of the building and the same size as the Mr Subs sign but a different color.  There’s even a second door on that side (spoiler, it’s all one place).  I’ve heard and read about the place, and the one thing people always seem to mention is the owner and how friendly he is.  Last night I read a review from someone that had a bad experience with him, particularly about taking photos, so I wondered how he would react to me today.

I stopped in just before 11AM.  The small dining room was empty, the kitchen quiet and no workers in sight.  The little kitchen is off to the right as you walk through the door and past the soda fountain.  There is a long counter area with the single register and a menu that spans the wall behind it.  They serve cold/hot subs, burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, gyros and breakfast.  Once I walked up to get a better look at the menu I caught a glimpse of someone in the back.  He saw me and greeted me from there, then made is way up front.  I asked him what he recommended and he replied with “everything is good.”  I tried a different approach and asked if he was to eat something right now, what would he make?  Same answer, so I decided to just do a burger.  I was drawn to the Capital City Deluxe (bacon, sauteed mushrooms & onions, cheese).  He asked if I wanted it in a combo with fries and a drink and I said yes.  Unlike a lot of places that like to give you fifteen gallons of soda with a combo, this was a more reasonable 16oz cup.  At some point in the transaction I said thank you which, if you’ve been here or read anything about it, triggers his famous catch phrase: “no, no, thank yooooou.”

I filled my cup with Dr Pepper and took a seat at the far end of the dining room where I could get a shot of the whole place while he was busy in the kitchen.  Just outside a back door is a small patio area with a single table.  Out front is another for when the weather is nice.  While I waited someone came in and placed an order to go, and a phone order was made as well.  It took a solid 15ish minutes for my burger and fries to be prepared.  He called to me from the counter while he grabbed a bottle of ketchup and placed it on the tray.  He showed me the other condiments on the counter to the right and I triggered another “no, no, thank yooooou.”

The first thing I noticed was that the fries looked pretty dark.  They were very, very crispy/crunchy.  I think a lot of people would consider them overdone.  I enjoy fries like this now and then so I didn’t have a problem with them.  I thought they were good both with and without ketchup.  The burger came wrapped in paper with onions and mushrooms spilling out from under the bun.  In addition to the cheese, onions, mushrooms and bacon on the Capital City Deluxe, Mr Sub’s burgers are served with homemade thousand island sauce, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and seasonings.  The bacon was pretty good.  It was crispy and plentiful, just about every bite had some.  The beef was well cooked and juicy.  Flavor-wise the condiments did most of the heavy lifting.  I didn’t find the patty to be all that amazing, but it wasn’t at all bad either.  The cheese was something along the lines of a Kraft single and wasn’t super flavorful itself, but it added a nice gooey texture to the burger once it had a little time to melt.  As I ate, the other two orders were finished and the customers headed out, each setting off his catch phrase.  When I finished as I headed out the door I went with a “have a good one,” to which he replied “you too my friend, see you next time.”

Overall the food was decent, nothing too remarkable.  The owner lived up to my expectations as being super friendly and I didn’t have any issues with photos, not that I was super obvious.  Worth stopping in to experience it at least once I’d say.

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

#116: Campelli’s Pizza

Tonight I went to dinner at Campelli’s Pizza on Foothills at Pleasant Grove.  I stopped in at about 5:15PM and was the only customer.  A couple came in and a delivery went out while I was there but it was otherwise pretty slow.  The dining room was a bit larger than I had expected.  It’s all against one wall as the space is long and somewhat narrow, mostly towards the back.  The kitchen is in full view so you can see your pizza as it’s made and put in the oven.

I was greeted immediately by the two employees waiting for customers.  I scanned the menu pretty quickly and decided on a medium half and half pizza.  You get a choice of their original hand-tossed or thin and crispy crusts.  I asked and was told that the hand-tossed is fairly thick.  Going with the thin, for one half I picked Isabella’s Garlic Ranch (garlic ranch sauce with herb chicken, bacon, red onion, mushroom, garlic & basil) and Riva Hawaiian for the other (Dole pineapple, smoked ham and crispy bacon).  I asked for the Hawaiian side to also be on garlic ranch sauce.  They had 4 beers on tap, Bud Light, Shock Top, a Campelli’s branded pale ale and I can’t recall what the last one was, maybe Sierra Nevada.  I got a pint of Shock Top.

I grabbed a table and my Shock Top was brought out to me immediately.  It was extremely cold.  So much so that there was a bit of slush formed at the top.  Quite refreshing.  The overall volume in Campelli’s was slightly high just due to the ovens and the soda fountain ice machine.  Despite that I was able to hear the 40ish  inch TV at the far end on the room.  There was another on the opposite wall behind me.  It took exactly 15 minutes for my pizza to be made, cooked and brought out.  My first impression was that it looked a bit light on toppings.  I think this was due to the bare space between the two halves.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pizza made like that, and I never shied away from putting ingredients close together on half and halves when I worked at Round Table.

The thin crust was very much exactly as advertised, thin and crispy.  It was thin enough that you have to support the slice with your other hand unless you folded it a bit.  The underside had a slight crisp and the edges were practically like a cracker (I love it that way).  I hadn’t actually closely looked at the description for the Riva Hawaiian and didn’t know there was bacon on it, so that was a big plus.  I’ve always liked the bacon/pineapple combo.  Thin slices of ham made up the rest of this half.  The balance of ingredients was well done.  I didn’t feel like there was too much or too little in any bite (except perhaps on that center division line).  Though the ham was very thin, it was quite flavorful and held it’s own with the bacon and the sweet and juicy pineapple.  All this on top of the creamy garlic ranch sauce was fantastic.  All the flavors seemed to melt together into something smooth and wonderful.  Isabella’s Garlic Ranch was more on the savory side without pineapple to sweeten it up.  The herb chicken was decent, though I think it could have been a bit juicier.  I didn’t actually recall mushrooms being on it until I looked back at my photo just now, so it definitely could have used some more of those, or at least thicker, more substantial slices.  The garlic was just about right.  Enough to taste in each bite but not overpowering.

I thought I’d take half of the pizza home for leftovers, but with such a thin crust I nearly ate the entire thing without feeling too stuffed.  I thought the Isabella’s Garlic Ranch was OK, but I really loved the Riva Hawaiian and kind of wished I had just done the entire thing as that.  I could snack on the thin crust anytime, it was both tasty and wonderfully crunchy.  The service was basic but good, I was checked up on about halfway through my meal and thanked as I headed out.  I could see myself returning at some point.  We seem to have a lot of take out / delivery only pizza joints, so it’s nice to be able to sit down and have a beer in one.

Website: http://campellispizza.com/