Author Archives: ravishing

Cactus Club Cares About Quality

Last month, in September, John and I raved on and on about the NE Cactus Club to a friend.   She excitedly asked her daughter about it who confirmed how hip, trendy and delicious this place is.   Surprisingly though, that night, the service and food were off, not even slightly but completely missed the target off.  A sad disappointment.   But, after what transpired in the following weeks after posting our review, I’d say that Cactus Club sure doesn’t like being in a negative light.  They aim to please their customers, and it shows!

We got an email from one of their marketing people who had seen our post.  (How pleasant that they would care what an individual,  local person would say about their restaurant!)   They were quite concerned at our poor experience and mentioned that they would forward our post to the managers.  Within days, we got an email from the regional manager who stated that our negative experiences were addressed in the kitchen and at the bar.   Things were pointed out, streamlined, and addressed with the staff, from what we gathered in his email.   He even specified how he reminded the kitchen staff to count the number of scallops and shrimp in their spaghettini  dish.  Initially, I had some skepticism since anyone can simply type out such ‘promises’;  Action is what matters.  When he invited us back for a re-try,  I was pleased to feel that one local person’s opinion mattered to Cactus Club.   To be honest, that one caring gesture alone brought us back into the restaurant.

We ordered the same menu items as on the disappointing night a few weeks ago.   Why critique something different?  The new verdict ..

Tuna tataki. I presume that not many people know the unique taste of yuzu sauce.  It’s a Japanese citrus that is quite difficult to find in Calgary.  (I have had to begrudgingly  resort to a yuzu flavored dressing in my own dishes.)   When I saw the generous pool of the strong yuzu vinaigrette with the tuna tataki,  I was curious to see how the ingredients of tuna, pine nuts, avocado, green papaya slaw, and oranges would work together.   While my husband loved it,  I remarked that I couldn’t taste the fish.   As much as I  admired the bold combination of flavors and textures, I wanted to taste the tuna in the end.

Prawn and scallop spaghettini. Fabulously presented!   A swirl of mountainous pasta topped with a juicy prawn and plump scallop.   Tasty, savory and filling.

BBQ duck clubhouse. Moist, tender duck.  I couldn’t believe how large the slices of duck were in my sandwich.  The pecan fruit bread was sweet to complement the rich taste of duck.  After a few bites though, the bread started to fall apart.   Too many chunks of nut and fruit, not enough bread.  Is that a bad thing?  Hard to say.   It was a little annoying to have to use my fork to finish my sandwich, but it was delicious nonetheless.

Rocket salad. The warm panko and parmesan breaded chicken sits under the salad.  I’d say it was daring to use arugula since it can be overly bitter, but it worked for me.  Great look to the salad.  Unique.  Fresh.  Healthy.  The lemon thyme vinaigrette was a tad too zesty and overpowering.

Chocolate peanut butter crunch bar.   Without swearing, HOLY SMOKES!   It was amazing and has now made it to the very top of my favorite dessert list.   Crunchy base.   Not overly peanut buttery but definitely peanut butter and chocolate.  YUM!  I wished we had a larger slice.

Key lime pie. Quite good.  Peppy.  Zippy.  Zesty.  However you want to describe good key lime pie.  The chef, from the manager’s description, hand squeezes over 100 key limes daily to make this dessert.  Do you know how small a key lime is?   Impressive.   Tiny citrus.  Big flavor.   The only thing that we can mention is that the texture isn’t quite exact as an authentic key lime pie from the Keys.   But if you haven’t been there, you won’t care about Cactus Club’s version.  Heavenly!

By the end of the night, I had put Cactus Club back up on our list of Wow Restaurants.  The service was efficient and attentive.  She was knowledgeable and polite.   The manager and regional manager, at different points in our meal,  stopped at out table to check on how things were going.  We introduced ourselves and mentioned that we were ones who were re-reviewing the restaurant.  They were genuinely curious to hear our take of the experience up to that point.

Throughout the night, I kept an eye out for similar dishes passing our table.   I wanted to be sure that we weren’t getting ‘special’ treatment.  Afterall, I wanted to make a second review that was fair and unbiased.  From what I saw, there were definite noticeable changes in how the dishes were plated and how the servers and manager were getting around the tables.  We weren’t the ‘singled’ out customers.  We were treated like the rest.  Important.  Valued.

I’m glad that we came back.

Thank you, Cactus Club, for caring enough about the impressions and quality you make in the Calgary food industry.

WickedChili.ca Keeps Redesigning Itself

I’m not sure if it’s bending to the wishes of the masses or if someone running the show is experimenting, but WickedChili.ca restaurant seems to be trying many different strategies to get the people there.  The last time I was here in June, it was a week into their opening.   With four months under its belt now, here are the small and not-so-small changes.

1.  They have put up a wall, a distinct separation, between them and their counterpart, the Vietnamese Green Papaya, who share the large restaurant space.  To clearly emphasize their Indian specialty, they have toned down the melon green walls to two harmonious rich colors.   Indian art decorate the wall space with a gold statue of a god standing at the front door.  I think this change makes for a much more cohesive, appealing atmosphere.  I feel more settled knowing what I am getting when I walk in.  Before, it was very strange to walk into the large space, sit in any table or booth, and order from either the Indian menu or Vietnamese menu.

2.  It’s $12.95 for their buffet.   But, for those needing takeout, they offer 3 convenient boxes now, ranging from $6 to $10.  Rice with one side.  Rice with two sides.  Rice with three sides.  Papadum complementary.  Additional charges for naan, salads, etc.   I think people will take advantage of the smaller portions and the smaller price.  Last time, I filled up a takeout container from the buffet for the same price as if I were dining in.

3.  From 1.30pm to 5pm, they offer Happy Hour.  There are drink (beer from $3 to $5 and pop / tea for $1.50) and appetizer specials (veggie pakoras – 50cents each, fish pakora – about $1,25 each, meat samoas – about $1.25 each, tandoori chicken – $1 each).   Papadum is free.   You can order from the menu at 15% discount during Happy Hour too.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Happy Hour at an Indian restaurant but it’s an interesting strategy to compete with the neighboring pub during slow hours.

I had initially went in to grab a lunch box to take home but saw their sign for Happy Hour.  I phoned my husband to come down and chill with me.  The server was then smart to upsell the buffet at 15% off (roughly $10) instead of my first thought to just grab a few pieces of samosas and a beer.  Twenty five dollars later, I’d say their Happy Hour hook worked.  Nice job.

In 4 months, WickedChili.ca is trying to make a viable business.  The food isn’t too bad.  Not spicy enough for me but tasty, filling and hot.  We were there at 1.45pm and their side of the restaurant was about 50% full the hour or so while we ate.  Considering it was after the lunch rush, I thought that was a good sign that there was a  stream of people coming in.

They have a suggestion box at the front doors if you need to make an opinion.  Like I said before, I can’t tell if they are trying to design the restaurant based on popular demand or whether they are just learning by trial and error as they see the needs arise.   We’ll see.

Wicked Chili.ca Review

Located in NW Calgary in Creekside shopping center, WickedChili.ca (both the name of the restaurant and their website)  has been open for a week and a half.  (They serve India Cuisine if you couldn’t figure it out by their name.)  They have a lunch buffet (price?) and dinner buffet ($12.95).  They also have a nice regular eat in and  take out menu with a minimum charge of $5 delivery fee.

Upon entering the doors, I was confused by what I saw.  WickedChili.ca shares the same restaurant space as the Green Papaya Vietnamese Restaurant.   Shared tables / eating area and servers.  Turns out that it was the owner of Green Papaya’s  idea to bring in this interesting mix of business ventures together.  I’m curious to see how this will fly over the long run with their loyal Vietnamese-foodies, who perhaps might be turned off by the strong aromas of Indian curries and spices.   After all, eating also involves the olfactory sense.   I wonder how my beef ball pho might taste as butter chicken fragrances waft around me?  Interesting.

At the back corner, there sits a buffet cart of delicious smelling Indian meals.  On the night I visited, they offered butter chicken, vegetable curry with zucchini, yellow lentils, tandoori chicken, vegetable pakoras, beef curry, basmati rice, naan, 2 salads, and poppadum.  Since I was doing take out, they handed me an extra large foam container for me to fill up myself.   I took enough of what I wanted and thought that it was well worth $12.95 for this container.  When I asked for a small baggie to separate my vegetable pakoras and naan bread from the saucy meal, they provided a small foam container instead.  I could have grabbed 2 servings worth of food in the size of these containers!  WOW!

Now to review the taste.  Mild but definitely flavorful.  I assume it would be since it is a buffet catering to everyone.  The curries were balanced between the amount of veggies / meat and the sauce.   (I can’t stand when a restaurant serves me up a butter chicken, for example, like it was soup.)  The basmati rice was slightly dry and not as fluffy.  The naan was fresh.  (I think garlic naan would have been a nice option.)  I enjoyed the vegetable curry the most because the sauce was more pasty and medium-spicy.  The butter chicken was creamy smooth.  Tender chicken pieces.  (John thought another neighborhood’s butter chicken was more tender though.)  The tandoori chicken was tender too, but the pieces were small and not as meaty as I would have expected.  Good thing it was a buffet so eat as much as you want!

The servers were polite and helpful.  When I needed a bag, they came quickly with one.  When I asked about the rice, they were quick to offer to scoop some into my container so as to not burn myself on the hot rice pot.   The WickedChili.ca owner / cook was attentive to the buffet containers to make sure that it was well stocked and fresh.

Final verdict:  Give it a try.  For $12.95, it’s worth it if you like their buffet selection.  Even as takeout, it’s a good deal.  Good flavors.  Fresh.  I get the sense that they are really trying to make this business work.

Wicked Chili on Urbanspoon

Xan Mongolian Barbeque Review(Mongolie Grill re-born)

In NW Calgary’s Beacon Hill shopping centre, you’ll find Xan Mongolian BBQ.   You walk in and are greeted by slim, young hostess in tight black dresses.  The whole place feels upscale with dark furniture, tall ceilings, and white walls lit by fancy sconces.   Surprising, considering that you make your own meal bowls from the huge selection of fresh raw vegetables, meat / seafood, and sauces organized in a long buffet style bar.  You get a trendy deep red bowl to fill up at $2.39/100g.  You scoop in whatever you want to eat, top it off with sauces, and hand it over to the cook to weigh.  He gives you a slip of paper with the amount and tells you that he’ll bring it to you when it’s cooked.   After waiting for a few more bowls, the 3 cooks pour your creation onto a hot circular grill beside the others.  You sit back at your table for conversation, and within minutes, a steaming plate of your selections arrives.  The server brings over white rice and rice wraps to complement your dish.

buffet cart red bowlall ready

Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Yes, but deceiving though!  Here are my issues with this ‘adventure’.

1.  I head out to a nice restaurant for a meal that I often don’t (and perhaps even know how to) cook.   To pick my veggies and meat are a great idea since I want to know how fresh the items are.   However, when it comes to adding the sauces, I count on the chefs to create flavor combination in their dishes to wow me.  Not at Xan.  It’s up to you.  I don’t know how much ginger, garlic, Thai spicy, teriyaki, chili, soy, coconut curry, hot oil, black bean, sesame, or any one of the other sauces to put on!  I scooped out what I thought would make a tasty dish, but in the end, sadly, my meal was bland.  I was wrong.  Fortunately, the server got me some chili paste to spice up my meal.

creation 2

creation 1

What I really wanted though was to add more of my sauce options as a real cook would … after all, aren’t I making my own meal?  I had, what I thought, were the makings of a good black bean, beef and veggie meal.  I’m sure if I added more black bean and garlic to my dish, it would have been delicious.  That’s why I go to restaurants with menus … the chefs have skills in fusing spices and flavors.  They would spice as they go until it’s right to be served!

I wonder how Xan would react if I handed back my cooked meal to the cooks and stood beside them, telling to add a little more of this, a little more of that?  (… and how would they charge me?  For each little scoop of soy?)

2.  This leads me to my next observation.  When the cook dumps my bowl on the grill, they begin to pour at least a cup of water onto my food, to steam cook the veggies I assume.  At least, a cup of water!!!  At times, I saw them adding more a few minutes later!  All my careful planning for the sauces has now been diluted, washed away, or is running into my neighbor’s meal.  Hey, wait a minute … what’s running into mine????

grill

3.  Let’s mention how it’s all priced … by the weight.  The funky red bowls that they provide are heavy ceramic (not plastic nor an aluminum plate) so instantly, you pay just for sitting down.  (Yes, I know you don’t actually have to pay if you don’t eat, but do you get what I mean?)  The veggies are sitting in cold water … I presume to keep them crisp.  But, do you know what veggies do in water?  Yes, they soak it up  thus increasing the total weight of your meal.  I don’t like paying for watered down drinks so why would I like it done to my food?  (Hey, wait there a second … that’s even MORE water in my veggies when they cook it!  No wonder I have a tasteless dish!)

The idea for any buffet style place is to have a busy enough restaurant that they don’t need to worry about veggies turning brown from sitting around.  I’m sure some customers in line were wondering why I was madly trying to shake off everything and squeeze the life out of my shitake mushrooms!

wraps and rice 4. The meals are served with rice wraps and rice.  You fold your own wraps.  How?????  In my hand????  By the time, I scooped enough veggies into my palm, the wrap soaked up the watery sauce and fell apart.  I must have been doing it wrong, but the size of wrap encourages people to fill it up like a fat burrito.   I tried it with a bit of rice on the bottom then built it up with my meal.  That worked better!  When we ran out of wraps, the server graciously asked if we wanted more … at no extra charge.  I liked that!

OK, that was the bad and ugly.  Let’s finish off with the good.

The servers were great!  Friendly, smiley, and efficient.  When we were done our plate, she came instantly to clear it away.  She was informative and attentive.   Impeccable server!

decor

The decor was modern, roomy and stylish.  We felt comfortable to chat and eat.  Good diffuse lighting so you didn’t squint, especially with their wall high windows.

People seemed to be filling up their bowls to the brim and loving it.   Steady flow of customers.  Happy faces as they were at the buffet bar.   I saw cute Chinese take out boxes (like in the movies) for leftovers.  Oh, since you are in an Asian restaurant, you get a fortune cookie with your bill.

There was a lady in and out often re-stocking the items.  The meat looked like it was safely handled and freshly un-frozen.  The veggies were fresh and looked good except the white mushrooms that were not brushed off.  (Visible chunks of manure / dirt on it.)  The containers were clean.  The sauces seemed to be in their containers and not dripped everywhere.   Do note this warning … they have peanuts as one of their food options where people may mix up the spoons.

Would I recommend this place?   I’m not sure.  The atmosphere and service are great.  The food can be great … only if you make it right.  Account for their overuse of water when cooking.  (But, that would mean additional weight for liquid sauces, which don’t necessary guarantee the proper taste anyways since it’ll most likely run off.  In that case, can the food ever be good?)   For my $14.90 plate, I could have gone to Edo and gotten something similar.  Yes, I’m paying for variety, but I’d rather have a qualified chef fret over the right combination of flavors.  (Not that Edo has a chef, but, let’s face it, their food at least has a teriyaki taste.)

John’s Take:

This place looks good and the staff are well trained and attentive. This can go a long way in ones impression of the dining experience and for this I give Xan credit.

While I do like the idea of choosing my own food and mixing textures and flavors in new ways to experiment, I take exception to the billing structure and the obvious methods they use to pump up the weight of your meal. I’m referring primarily to the use of water in nearly everything they have on the selection bar, the veggies are sitting in it and I’ve no doubt that the meats are soaked as well. I had the same issue with Mongolie Grill in Dalhousie Station and have heard that the people running Xan are the folks who also owned that store but now have new partners with this attempt to upscale the same idea. If you charge by weight you set the price at a point that accounts for the weight of the food in it’s raw form plus overhead and profit You don’t rip off the customer at every turn by adding as much artificial weight as you can through the addition of water and use of diluted sauces. Also, if concerned about freshness and that excuse is used you simply adjust the quantity/ rotation of the food to match the level of business.  My dish was much smaller than Nancy’s and the friend we dined with and thus much more easily showed the high prices. The amount in my bowl was less than the amount of most other single order stir-fry dishes you’d get at any Asian restaurant in the city and was just under $10. I’d pay $5 – $7 tops for this nearly anywhere else. It’s great to say “we charge $2.39 per 100g” but if every 100g of food out of the case equates to 130g on the plate you are ripping the customer off. I also would like to see the staff zero the scale prior to placing my bowl on it, but that’s just me.

Another issue is more of a pet peeve of mine than something that would affect everyone dining here but I feel reflects quality and the owners concern for attention to the details thus I’ll mention it. I really,  really hate unfinished prep in the food I get served. I don’t like having to fish a prawn from a bowl of soup in order to remove the tail for example or seeing a huge dark sand vein that is full of poop in one placed in a dish I just payed alot of money for. While these could be said to fall under “you get what you pay for” and I somewhat agree, thus would be bothered by them less if the food was cheap they still show lack of concern in my opinion. In the case of Xan my issue revolves around things such as the poop on the uncleaned white mushrooms and the seeds in the slices of red bell pepper on the food bar which are two examples of lack of quality and a desire to expend as little energy as possible. While the pepper thing may be considered my nit picking I know for a fact that with very few exceptions nobody likes to eat manure.

My third point is one already mentioned by Nancy and bothered all three of us. I don’t get the use of so much water when cooking the food. There is enough that will cook out of the vegetables to do the job and most people put lots of sauce on their creations. I mentioned already that the sauces appear to be watered down and thus have lost some of the flavor they should have, my own dish with spicy Thai sauce had no flavor at all by the time I received it and this is despite putting two scoops on a smaller order, and to have what sauce I do have wash off the food is a real shame and just plain bothers me. I’ve actually cooked before and at no time have I ever put a cup or more of water on a stir-fry, even one that serves several people. There is no logic to it and other than to make as much steam for appearances I can see no reason for the staff at Xan to do this.

I think that the serving staff are great and find the look of the place to be pleasant, clean and modern. The selection was good and seemed fresh as well but the lack of effort in the food prep and the obvious attempts to squeeze as much money from the customers as they can make it impossible for me to have any desire to return to Xan in the future. I believe they need to add value to the equation if they are going to survive, once the new wears off they may find that customers actually care about these things.

Xan Mongolian Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Jones Soda Candy … fizzy and sassy

Jones Soda drinks can be found in 7Elevens and other major convenience stores.  Stylishly packaged with a bold black and silver font and art print label, the colorful drinks pops out. The unique flavors are tempting.  Green Apple.  Orange Cola.  Blue Bubble Gum.   To check out more flavors, visit their funky Jones Soda website.  (I just found out that you can customize your own bottle of Jones Soda with your own photo.  For a fee, they’ll print them and ship them to your doorstep!  Neat idea for weddings, etc.)

The other day though, we discovered that Jonas Soda Co. makes carbonated candy!  Intrigued how a candy could be carbonated, we bought the Green Apple flavor ($2.50). (They also offer Berry Fufu and Berry Lemonade.)

Jones Green Apple carbonated candy

Pop a few tablets into your mouth and feel the sensational fizz and flavor burst.  I like to place my tongue right against the candy to get the whole sparkling zip.  We keep it in the car instead of mints or gum.  If you are feeling tired or stressed from all the traffic, we’ve been waking up with just a few of this carbonated candy.  It’s a little pricey for candy but the sassy adventure in your mouth make up for it.   Definitely, a must-try recommendation!

Shawarma Station Review

Shawarma Station is an ‘ok’ stop.  Located in Kensington, kitty corner to the Greek restaurant, Broken Plate, it has the usual falafels, donairs, shawarmas, tabouli, and hummus.  Sam the owner cheerfully (perhaps even zealously) greeted us when we walked in.  It’s a clean, small shop with a few tables and modest decor.  He had a food review from Avenue magazine standing on his counter.

I initially ordered a BEEF SHAWARMA ($8) while my friend ordered a falafel version($6.50).  Sam started out asking if I wanted spicy hummus, regular hummus, or cheese.   (I thought it was odd to see white cheese slices in a Lebanese – style place, but to each their own market, I guess.)   For toppings, I choose crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes, pickled cabbage, sliced onions, sweet pickles, and hot peppers.  He grabbed a tiny bit of each and layered it on my pita.  (Personally, I was hoping for a bit more of everything.)  When it came to the meat, he suggested that I try a mix of chicken and beef rather than simply the beef.  Alright, I thought, not realizing that he was now charging me $9.70 for a different menu item, the MIX.  Finally, he asked if I wanted some tabouli for my shawarma, again an extra cost.  In the end, after all additions, I paid $13.50 for my skinny shawarma. I was hoping the taste would compensate for the pricey meal.

At first bite, it was surprisingly sweet tasting.   The pita was heated to a point where it was more chewy than soft.  Too much work for me to fight with the tough bread so I peeled the extra parts off to get to the filling.  The meat was mild; The chicken was a little dry, and the beef had a slight kick to it.  It was an average shawarma, warm and good but pricey.

My friend was disappointed with her falafel though.  He only gave her one ball, crumbled it, and spread it  in her pita.  She commented that some other places use 2 -3 balls.  She thought her meal had a strange taste to it too.  Difficult for her to describe.   Not a ‘so-bad-I-want-to-gag’ taste but rather a different flavor than other falafels she’s tasted before.  She didn’t love it nor hate the flavor.

Sam did mention earlier that, next time, we should order the “SAM”, which includes everything from each meats, hummus, eggplant and more.  Interesting idea to have eggplant in a pita.  Maybe I’ll pop by.  I’m not dying to return.  Just another station for a quick bite to eat on my way to and from somewhere.

(If you are dying for a good shawarma around the Kensington area, my suggestion is to walk a few more blocks west to Shawarma King, a block off 14st.   If you are lucky and they’re in the right season, try the pickled turnip.  YUM!  Decent price!  Large shawarma!  Great taste!)
Shawarma Station on Urbanspoon

Thai Boat Restaurant Review

Right up front I’ll tell you I’ve been to this restaurant before, about 5 years ago but wasn’t impressed with their food. This time though, with even more of a critical eye since having traveled in Thailand and sampled true Thai flavors, I was quite surprised by Thai Boat.

For appetizers, we ordered plameug wong (calamari with ginger sauce, $7) and a bowl each of tom yam soup ต้มยำ, ($4) one with chicken, one with prawns.  For meals, we requested phad thai ผัดไทย (noodles, $10), neua narm tok (beef salad, $9), and coconut rice ($1.70 per bowl).  For dessert, we tried a IMG_9342plate of sticky rice with mango ($4) and fried apple rings with a scoop of coconut ice cream ($4).IMG_9343

The deep fried calamari rings were sitting in a delicious lemon grass and ginger sauce!  It was so tasty I had to lick the remaining sauce after we finished the rings.  The tom yam was full of sour, sweet, salty, and spicy flavors … exactly as anticipated, complementing yet competing.  We would have preferred a little more heat in both appetizers but I forgot you can ask for various spicy levels (mild, medium, hot) when you order.

The phad Thai noodles were cooked perfectly, not overcooked and mushy.  I’ve seen restaurants use either thin or thick pad noodles.  Thai Boat uses thin noodles.  The beef salad was both deliciously tangy and sour.  I really enjoyed the fresh crisp lettuce served with the warm beef.  The server had said that this dish was large enough for two.  It wasn’t; I could have eaten the whole salad by myself.   As for the coconut Jasmin rice, it’s a must in Thai meals.  It adds calories but the coconut is a great compliment to the Thai spices.IMG_9360IMG_9350

For dessert, I was surprised that the sticky rice was served warm.  I think fresh mango slices would be better than the cIMG_9375anned fruit that was used for this sweet dessert.   We were divided on whether we liked this dessert or not.  For our other desert 2 small fried apple rings were served warm with a scoop of coconut ice cream.  It is an interesting texture sensation … warm crispy rings against soft cold ice cream.  Enjoyable though.IMG_9379

The decor in Thai Boat has authentic artwork, weaved material (as tablecloths), and pictures similar to ones I saw while traveling in Thailand.  You can even see a picture of the current Thai King and Queen hanging on the wall.  (the Thai people love their King!)  There’s an inviting bamboo swing in the back for you to try out.  Their dishware is a matching set of elephant covered ceramics.  Their silver rice containers and water pitchers are quite ornate.

From what I overheard, there are Thai speaking servers.  They are friendly and efficient.  I would highly recommend Thai Boat as a good restaurant to get your Thai fix.  It’s not exactly as I tasted throughout Thailand but Calgary doesn’t have the easy accessibility to the necessary fresh herbs and ingredients as they do over there.  But, Thai Boat sure does a good job with blending the right mixes together.

John’s View:

I’ve been to Thai Boat on several occasions and have never had a bad experience. After convincing Nancy to give it another chance I’m pleased that her first try was just a random bad day for what to me has always been a good restaurant.

It’s been some time since I’ve last visited Thai Boat and there have been some changes that I feel I need to remark on. First is that the portion sizes have gotten smaller, and while we North Americans are used to overly large portions and don’t actually need them I’m disappointed by this. The second and most noticeable change is that the cooks have really toned down the flavors in the food.  Obvious was the near total lack of heat (spiciness) in any of the dishes we ate. I’d become used to the very spicy Tom Yam soup and the slight kick of flavors from the Phad Thai noodles that were once present. I understand that many westerners don’t find heat appealing and this is without a doubt the reason for it, but I would think anyone wanting Thai food would expect the heat and it should be the norm. Let the “milk sops” who don’t like the heat have to ask for a change and not the other way around. Some of the other flavors that are very Thai, such as galangal also seemed to be muted. I’ll be asking for the full effect next time round and should get what I’m used to.

This visit to Thai Boat, like so many others was enjoyable and I will return (with Nancy now) in the future and recommend this place to others.

Thai Boat on Urbanspoon