Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thai Taste

Thai Taste is just that... a taste of Thai cuisine. I have been a couple of times and have had good experiences each time I have been. Warmly greeted, I was seated quickly and was brought ice water. Hot tea was also offered - and I accepted - since it was a balmy 30 degrees outside.

The menu has many options in which you select a 'base' then add chicken, duck, pork, beef or seafood. There are also several vegetarian options. For a starter, I ordered the Poh Peah Tod, which are spring rolls stuffed with vegetables and served with Thai sweet and spicy sauce. The spring rolls arrived quickly and were fried hot. The rolls were not greasy and had a good flavor of the vegetables and the sweet and spicy sauce. There are four rolls per serving so it's an easy split between a party of two.

For my meal, I ordered the Pud Gra Pow with chicken (chili and basil leaves, stir-fried with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and carrots). You have the option to order from mild to super hot as to the spiciness of the dish... and I went for medium. It's always to add more spice than take it away in my opinion. The dish arrived overflowing with veggies and meat. It was paired with a bowl of steamed white rice. I did ask if there was an option for brown rice but there is not (which I would enjoy more than the white rice but oh well). Back to the food - yes, it was brimming over with not only veggies and meat but with spice and flavor. I was glad I ordered medium as it was pretty hot... but that did not stop me from adding some more chili sauce. The veggies were nice and crisp and were plentiful and the chicken was tender. The portion of the dish is quite large and can make 2-3 servings depending on how hungry you are.

I give Thai Taste 3.5 ghosts. The service is top-notch and the staff was very friendly and courteous. Several refills were provided for both water and hot tea. Due to this, it bumps up from a 3 to the 3.5 score. The food was good but I have had a little better Thai food in the area. Overall, I was happy with my dish and plan to return for a nice spice kick in the pants.

Thai Taste has three locations - Matthews, East Blvd and University.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Loco Lime

Loco Lime is a brand new restaurant in the Plaza-Midwood area. Since I had Monday off (thank you Mr. Presidents…) I decided to stop in and give it a try. We were greeted by a friendly staff who took our drink order and brought us some chips and salsa. The salsa was a homemade red tomato salsa – you could see and taste the fresh cilantro and peppers. When the waitress returned, she asked if we wanted some hot sauce and I quickly said yes! We were quickly brought two bowls of additional sauce – a green tomatillo sauce and a red chipotle sauce. The tomatillo sauce was a little creamier than a regular tomatillo sauce in that it had some avocados mixed in and it was complimented by lime and cilantro. My first taste of this sauce was something I have yet to taste at a Charlotte area Mexican restaurant – it was bliss. The tomatillo’s small ‘bite’ was cooled by the lime. The avocado gave the sauce a nice thickness to coat the tortilla chip. I then tasted the red chipotle sauce. This sauce was the thinnest, hottest and smokiest. The taste of the chipotle was strong and had the smoky undertone of a roasted pepper. I then combined the red tomato salsa and green tomatillo salsa (thanks to an extra bowl brought for just that) and was proud of my combination. The chips were also nice and hot and had a trace of some paprika.

The waitress was real friendly and gave an overview of the restaurant and its menu. She was able to provide several good suggestions – in which we took her up on them. My friend ordered the vegetarian burrito. This burrito was stuffed with refried beans, mushrooms, corn, zucchini and plantains (which at first my friend thought it sounded weird) and topped it with a citrus chili sauce. There are several options of sauce for your burrito topping – the citrus chili, queso, green tomatillo or red sauce. I settled upon the chicken enchilada (topped with green tomatillo sauce) and a cheese relleno. I substituted the refried beans for black beans.

I continued to drink the green tomatillo sauce until our food arrived. Our plates were hot, hot ,hot. My friend’s burrito was a perfect portion. The friend commented that the plantains were actually tasty in the burrito and complimented the citrus chili sauce nicely. As far as my dish, I jumped on the enchilada first. The chicken was very very tender and flavorful. It tasted as if it was simmering for hours. The green tomatillo salsa on the enchilada was a more traditional tomatillo salsa (thinner but still full of flavor). The cheese relenno was a huge poblano pepper that was lightly battered and filled with a lot of queso fresco (cheese is my secret lover). The queso fresco was hot and oozed out of the pepper. It was a nice mild cheese that mixed well with the ranchero sauce – neither overpowering the other. The pepper itself was nicely battered and not greasy. I am glad I ordered the black beans as they tasted fresh and was flavorful with a lime aftertaste.

We were both too stuffed (like a poblano) to order dessert… maybe next time. But it was all muy bueno. I give this new little place 4 ghosts – yes, equal to my beloved El Valle. My lunch was ~ $9 with tax and tip. Loco Lime also has a Huntersville location.