Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thai House

To complete my tour of Southeast Asia (so far I've hit the Philippines and Vietnam), I headed to perhaps the most ubiquitously-represented country in the Inland Empire food scene. Italy? Hardly. India? Don't count on it. Mexico! Actually, I don't even think it's Mexico.

I'm talking about Thailand. Surprising, but it seems to be true! There are so many Thai restaurants popping up in the IE, in addition to the ones that I came to know and love while I lived here, that it has to be the most commonly found "ethnic" cuisine, easily. Why, I have even noticed that with three restaurants I was familiar with - one Indian, one French and one Korean - have all closed down, two of them are now Thai.

But I avoided the flood of new Thai restaurants for one tried and true one that I just keep coming back to. This is the Thai House in Redlands, a city famous for, well, nothing really. Its biggest claims to fame are its orange groves (which is more of a pan-SoCal thing). Though I was surprised to find out how many people hail from Redlands, specifically athletes: the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan, KC Royals' Mark Teahen, and pro golfer Dave Stockton. I was also surprised to find out that Redlands has connections to not one but two Baltimore sports personalities, both Ravens: head coach Brian Billick and wide receiver Patrick Johnson. Both played for the local high school. (I also lived here for about four years.)

But enough of the crazy pro-sports history of this small city, and back to food. Thai House has lots of sumptuous Thai art and artifacts, and in the warmer months their garden is up and running - though I don't think people are let back into it. After being seated, I perused the menu while waiting for my waiter, who took a little while. I finally settled on the following:
  • the egg rolls, since I had gotten these at all the other Southeast Asian places I had eaten at through the week. Pretty good and crispy, though a wee bit greasy (most are);
  • tom kha kai soup, that wonderful chicken, lemongrass, chili and galangal soup in a coconut broth; I love theirs;
  • the Thai iced tea, with a thick cream head. Yum;
  • a mint leaves in chili dish with pork, served with white rice. It tasted good, though the mint was totally overpowered by the chili (which was only set to medium). I finished half because I was stuffed (and the irritating guy behind me was having a blowout with someone on his phone). I took the rest home.
I regret to say that the next morning I was in some minor Crohn's pain. I think it was the pork mint dish. Just when you think dinner is going so well, you get sick again. Dangit.