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Thai Cottage: A Food Review Adventure in Eating the Entertainment Coupon Book

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Awake at the Whisk: Thai Cottage: A Food Review Adventure in Eating the Entertainment Coupon Book

Monday, January 25, 2010


Thai Cottage: A Food Review Adventure in Eating the Entertainment Coupon Book

Thai Cottage is not what it used to be: in more ways than one. Several years ago, this was a hidden spot nestled between two car dealerships off a busy road. Once inside, you were whisked away to a romantic cove. The back of the restaurant had large windows overlooking a strong tree twinkling with white lights. A small creek flowed beneath. This felt like one of the fanciest establishments in town. To boot, their Thai food surpassed any in town with its clean flavors and bright menu.

But alas, a few years ago, Thai Cottage moved onto Howe Avenue, leaving its romantic hidden cove behind. As loyal subjects, my husband and I returned, only to have our memories tarnished by a much lower quality, oily food, and an utterly sub-par atmosphere, especially when compared to its former self. After one visit, we banished it from our lives.

That is, until our latest Entertainment Coupon Book purchase…

I was in the mood for Thai food. The husbo flipped through our coupon book in search of a bargain.

“How about Thai Cottage?” he asked hesitantly. “I don’t see too many others that I recognize.”

Memories of the beautiful cove knocked into those of oily eggplant in my head. Yet, my desire for those unique flavors that only Thai food can offer made me say, “Sure, let’s give them another chance.”

Off to Thai Cottage we went. A sign posted on their enormous door told us that we were supposed to present our Entertainment Book coupon to the server before ordering. This is something I’ve never seen before. We decided to ignore it. After all, what difference should it make? Would they cook us a smaller portion? Perhaps ring up a higher bill? It seemed suspect, and we weren’t willing to find out.

Taking our seats in the empty restaurant, old worries resurfaced. Usually, a busy restaurant is the sign of a tasty restaurant. I sure hoped we weren’t doomed!

I decided to order the fated dish that sent me running the last time I visited: spicy eggplant. My husband ordered his favorite red curry. When the plates arrived, they were overflowing with vegetables. On our last visit many years ago, we remembered only a few scant vegetables among many onions and bits of cabbage. But today, we were greeted happily by broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots, onion, cabbage, and even tomato. It was vegetable bliss!

My spicy eggplant summoned all the right notes: zippy ginger mellowed by bean curd and then brightened again with basil while running garlic up and down my tongue. The clean heat as I swallowed opened my nose, allowing me to take a deep, aromatic breath of my flavor-packed meal. This was a wake-up dish, and just what I needed to start the weekend off right.

Meanwhile, the husband’s green curry (the kitchen goofed and brought him green instead of red, and we decided to keep it) looked equally inviting loaded with all the veggies I was enjoying. Like a standard green curry, the heat nipped at the heels of your mouth like a tiny dog: a warm, glow-all-over heat cooled only slightly by the soothing coconut milk. Bright spices skipped and glided about, sneaking merrily between crisp bites of broccoli and silky melting fresh tofu. Wonderful food, although a little on the salty side.

Neither dish was tainted by over-oiled sauces, as we had experience before. I certainly detected more oil than I use at home, but it was markedly improved from our last visit.

Upon presenting our coupon to our server at the end of our meal, she never mentioned the sign on their front door. Perhaps she still felt bad for giving us the wrong curry dish? Perhaps the sign was more wishful thinking than an actual threat? Regardless, she made no comment and graciously applied our discount. After two entrees at $10/each and two orders of brown rice ($4), our bill was a mere $15 with tax.

Overall, I was pleased by the experience at Thai Cottage, even though my heart still yearns for the pretty environment of their former location. If they continue serving such a great array of vegetables and keep their oil to a minimum, I will gladly return—coupon or not.

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Oh, I totally agree. I used to LOVE Thai Cottage. It was our restaurant, we went there all the time when it was in the pink building by the creek. Then, it changed ownership and wasn't as good. I haven't been back in years and haven't had it since it moved and we used to go weekly. Try Star of Siam in good old Citrus Heights. It's a hole in the wall, not much in the way of decor, but the food is really yummy. - Shandy
Ah, Thai food. Our best is in Lawrence (an hours drive away - I usually get take out on the way back home from KC). BTW, love the new logo.

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