Tommy Thai [ MV ]

As the state of Thai food in the greater peninsula is particularly impoverished, I’m making Tommy Thai my go-to default. Although I have long liked Amerin on Castro ( and don’t understand the haters - there are some dishes like Cashew Chicken where they delightfully brown their chili peppers - and you have to ask SPICY ), it’s time for a change of defaults.

Yesterday, I did a big take-out order and brought it to a local park for a picnic - and the food was greatly appreciated. One benefit of TT is it’s open all afternoon.

The BBQ Chicken was especially a hit with the kids. If you’d like a way to get your kids off fish fingers and string cheese and mac-cheese, here’s your dish. The dish is slightly sweet, a little bit of cumin, no kick, and both of the youngsters gobbled the stuff endlessly. Remember that when I mention later about spice - this is a place you can get adult-level spice fix, and there’s a dish the kids will crave.

One of the other nice things about TT are the cambodian dishes, so not just “standard thai”, and not the now-endlessly-trendy burmese. I keep forgetting which I tried, or which I ordered, but the dishes are hearty with lots of veg. And some unusual sour-spice combos that aren’t familiar to thai. Worth checking out - although it does mean the thai standards are somewhat phoned-in. Go cambodian.

Interesting about TT is the spice level. Although I’ve railed against “how spicy do you want it”, I know more greatly appreciate TT’s 1-to-10 spice levels. The kitchen is willing to do thai hot – that’s 10. At 10, your face will melt right off. I can eat 10, but it’s not pleasant - just like eating in Thailand, or eating in most Thai places in LA. I personally waver between about 6 - which is solid and you can taste the spices clearly - and 8, which is painful and tear inducing. I wonder how they do it, because it seems like they’re doing more than adding pepper. The hot dishes are hot and also interesting, kind of like they have two sauces for most things, and blend them in proportion when re-simmering. Or maybe they do thai-hot on their sauces, and water down with coconut milk and/or water.

Every time I go, the place is filled with Indian people. When my team from bangalore comes, they eat at TT constantly. They can get food that’s a bit exotic, but also has enough kick for them. Seriously - I think last time we sat down ate there, out of 12 tables 10 were indian. Families are OK there, it’s not a fancy place.

Alcohol there is nothing fancy. They have standard california wine and thai beer in bottles.

I think I’m going to try that new chicken place in sunnyvale this afternoon - the place you have to order online and they carry out to your car. Starbird. Often there is whining at home about the lack of chik-fil-a on sunday ( please don’t make me argue chik-fil-a politics. This isn’t about chik-fil-a. ) And dinner - I think it’s time to harvest the basil and do some pasta.

Which chicken place?

Have you had Sirayvah Organic Thai in San Carlos? I have not been but I have wondered about them. I have not been to Amarin lately. Although I recall that their menu contains only the standard Thai restaurant stuff, curry of all colors, pad thai, pad see ew, etc. And I’d argue that Thai food in the South Bay is not any better than the Peninsula.

Starbird.

http://www.mercurynews.com/eat-drink-play/ci_30011169/opening-soon-bay-area-trendsetters-starbird-lemonade-and

I didn’t think much of it. It’s no chik-fil-a. The app doesn’t run on android, so the cool idea of a “car hop” coming out didn’t work for me. I wasn’t crazy about the actual sandwitch either - I expect they are fairly low on salt.

I certainly don’t know any stand-out valley thai places, but I am not an expert regarding the true south bay.

No more gourmet than the average fast food?

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold