Coming up for air… and Thai

So the entire household of six managed to go through a whole month of the nastiest cold/flu imaginable. As you may surmise, eating was more a chore than a delight (I did manage to produce a lovely homemade chicken noodle soup, complete with fresh stock… it was gone in a few hours).

One nice food-related bit in my life is the development of a few foodie groups in the KC area (the other will be the source of another post, if it takes off). One met last Thursday at The Thai Orchid on Martway in Shawnee Mission.

Thanks to the efforts of Aaron Deacon (he of LTHForum ported down here from the Windy City), a group of foodies from eGullet, LTH, and Chowhound met up for some “real” Thai food. He arranged with the chef for carte blanch at a prix fixe (with tax and tip: $34.50 and well worth it), and we got some wonderful stuff.

I assumed he’d taken notes, but I haven’t seen a review of the evening from him or anyone else on any of the three forums (I may have missed it, though… can anyone point me in the right direction?).

From memory: green papaya salad, fried springrolls, sticky rice, seafood soup (lemongrass broth base), whole fried mackerel and steamed vegetables with a killer chili-shrimp sauce, fried catfish, spicy chicken, laab (I LOVED this stuff!), Thai sausages, and finished with a sweet coconut milk/tapioca/salty black bean pudding. I’m sure I’m forgetting half the dishes… the tables were absolutely groaning with the weight of all the amazing things set before us.

At first, we were given the springrolls with a typically bright red sweet-and-sour sauce, and there were no chopsticks on the table. I must admit I had a teensy moment of “oh, no… they think we want Americanized Thai!” But the arrival of the whole (with head and eyes and fins and everything) fried makerel signaled the veering off into a wide departure from the pad Thais and Massaman curries you find at every US Thai food place. In fact, aside from the springrolls, and maybe the chicken, I hadn’t had anything like most of what we tried that night. My eyes were streaming for most of the meal but I was grinning like a very happy fool. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t go back for more of.

Thank you, Aaron, for making this happen. It was a lovely gathering of knowledgeable (and funny) local foodies, and even though I’d never met a single one of the dozen folks there, I didn’t have one second of awkwardness.

We had three people come up after hearing us talking about the group and ask to join… we must have sounded like we were having as much fun as we were!

It sounds like we might be going to Colombia next month… hope I get to tag along again!

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