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Lunch at TAC Quick

Lunch at TAC Quick
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    Post #1 - April 4th, 2005, 1:39 pm
    Post #1 - April 4th, 2005, 1:39 pm Post #1 - April 4th, 2005, 1:39 pm
    I've had Thai food on the brain for the past week or so - thanks to the posts on this board. Finally decided to do something about it on Saturday. My wife and I went in to TAC Quick around 1:30 pm. I realize there are numerous posts and threads already, but thought that the perspective of one who hasn't tried Thai food in a long time* may be of some relevance. (Also I'm trying my hand at describing food and using a newly acquired digital doohicky.)

    We were quickly seated by the sole waitstaff and given the menu. We looked at this menu for maybe 27 milliseconds (and I quickly realized why I had been disinclined towards restauants - the usual seemingly ordinary 'farang-ified' fare*. I did note the less than ordinary Wild Boar Pad Ped on the specials board). But no fear, we already knew what we wanted - had known even a day before we stepped into the place. Although I had a printout of Eriks translated menu, I asked for the 'non-farang' menu. Some items were spelt slightly differently (like daed - spelt 'taet' on the pdf) and described in less detail than on the pdf.

    We ordered (spellings and descriptions from Eriks pdf)
    Appetizer - néua tàet dìaw : dried “jerky” beef served with a sweet and salty dipping sauce.
    One bite of the strip of beef and we were glad we made the trip. The dark, slightly oily strip was slightly hard and chewy but juicy and succullent, with a pleasant sweetness. A perfect appetizer: it made us look forward to the rest of our order. The dipping sauce seemed little more than sriracha diluted with lime juice, but did pair well in small doses with the beef.

    Two main dishes
    krà-phrao kràwp khài yiaw mûa : deep-fried holy basil with minced chicken, stir-fried and served over preserved eggs
    Image
    Having picked up a half-dozen of 'preserved eggs' a couple of years ago just because they looked cool, I simply wasn't able to eat more than one (including my wife's nibbled half). So I picked this dish to see how the preserved egg was incorporated. The fried minced chicken was sweet and slightly sour, with the hint of fish sauce and eaten with the preserved egg was magnificent. The crisp fried holy basil created a burst of sweet freshness that was a bridge between the other textures and flavours. I decided to buy preserved egg again, if I can find out what is a good brand.

    khâo khlûk kà-pì nãa “RAM” : shrimp paste-seasoned rice, served with sweet pork, shredded
    green mango, sliced omelette, dried shrimp, and slivered red onions
    (described on the restaurant's menu simply as shrimp past seasoned rice with an assortment of items (or something like that))
    Image
    This was the highlight of the meal. The salty shrimp rice with each of the other items on the plate, slightly tart green mango, fried egg, sweet pork, hot chillis (you've got to mix that with the rice and mango) - created a range of tastes that really transformed every spoonful into morsels of delight. Closing my eyes, I could almost feel a gentle breeze, with the aroma of the sea, salt and beach that comes from blowing across fishing nets hung out to dry. This dish opened my eyes to - what! most of it was gone! I've got to stop daydreaming.

    We invoked a small blessing for the hands that made such a fantastic meal before we left.

    And a thank you to Erik and also to this forum for leading us to TAC Quick.


    * Couple of years ago we had been to Sweet Tamarind and were very dissapointed. It was lunch and we were the only ones there. We chatted a bit with the person who cooked our food, and specifically asked for 'authentic' Thai style preparations - my wife and I cannot really be mistaken farangs. Yet the food we found bland and uninspired. Sweet Tamarind is a "four-forker" (I have since learnt to heavily disregard the forking reviews). Curiously TAC quick displays its "three fork" review in the restaurant - yet this experience was a thousand tines better.


    edited to correct sp and add link
    Last edited by sazerac on April 4th, 2005, 3:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #2 - April 4th, 2005, 2:21 pm
    Post #2 - April 4th, 2005, 2:21 pm Post #2 - April 4th, 2005, 2:21 pm
    I am presently drafting a lengthy post/essay on khâo khlûk kà-pì. I should be finished shortly. In addition to background information on the dish, I intend to include an overview of the different versions around town. This will, of course, include several pictures.

    sazerac wrote:Curiously TAC quick displays its "three fork" review in the retaurant - yet this experience was a thousand tines better.


    I love it. :D


    Regards,
    Erik M.
  • Post #3 - April 4th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Post #3 - April 4th, 2005, 2:56 pm Post #3 - April 4th, 2005, 2:56 pm
    Actually I think Sweet Tamarind demonstrates the limits of conventional media in scouting out these things. Setting aside the idea that TAC is in any way inferior on these terms, from the perspective of one looking for conventional Ameri-Thai, Sweet Tamarind IS a four-forker-- you get impeccably fresh vegetables, clean, non-gloppy sauces, nice presentation, a pleasant room. Compared to so many dives, Sweet Tamarind is a very nice place, they were not wrong to rank it above the madding crowd.

    It's only when you try to order anything that isn't pure, 100% Ameri-Thai that you discover that there's no soul there, there's nothing deeper than the surface; Sweet Tamarind might as well be staffed by Lutherans from Minnesota as by actual Thai people. No sticky rice, minimal fishiness, fresh shrimp in a papaya salad that's screaming for dried shrimp (see picture; note also bits of beet mixed in with papaya for primarily visual effect)-- this is Thai food that has been purged of Thainess, for a purely gringo audience.

    But I took some very nice pictures there.

    Image
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  • Post #4 - April 4th, 2005, 2:57 pm
    Post #4 - April 4th, 2005, 2:57 pm Post #4 - April 4th, 2005, 2:57 pm
    1 simple way to use the leftover preserved eggs ( pí dàn in Chinese )

    I was at TAC Quick on Saturday as well for an early dinner. also had the minced chicken/preserved eggs. added the "Karee Beef with Roti" on the specials board as a second dish in addition to the raat naa "Empire". the beef curry was just excellent, creamy, traces of spiciness with chunks of carrots and potatoes. unfortunately, didn't hv the digicam w/ me, so no pictures to share...

    could've passed the extremely salty raat naa (which i incorrectly wrote as lard nar previously, and was promptly corrected.. :wink: ). a shame too, as the dried garlic? and the ginger combination was just keen.

    forgot to add:
    1 more reason to dine @ TAC Quick. TAC is on http://www.rewardsnetwork.com . for me, this translates to 10 frequent flier miles per $1 spent. hate to be so trivial but i was pleasantly surprised at the end of last year by the miles.
  • Post #5 - April 4th, 2005, 4:35 pm
    Post #5 - April 4th, 2005, 4:35 pm Post #5 - April 4th, 2005, 4:35 pm
    Mike G wrote:It's only when you try to order anything that isn't pure, 100% Ameri-Thai that you discover that there's no soul there, there's nothing deeper than the surface; Sweet Tamarind might as well be staffed by Lutherans from Minnesota as by actual Thai people. No sticky rice, minimal fishiness, fresh shrimp in a papaya salad that's screaming for dried shrimp (see picture; note also bits of beet mixed in with papaya for primarily visual effect)-- this is Thai food that has been purged of Thainess, for a purely gringo audience.


    This is something that I find a little irritating. Why do restaurants have the 'translated' menu separate? Why not give the customer the choice? Is it because of the possible increase in labor (as mentioned here)?
    Lao Sze Chuan has a "Very Chinese Special" (sic) section on their menu. And I've happily gone back there time after time.
    It is a little annoying because I can't help feeling a little gypped out of great food for the past few of years.

    My apologies if this has been discussed endlessly already. If it has please redirect me. Thanks
  • Post #6 - April 4th, 2005, 5:53 pm
    Post #6 - April 4th, 2005, 5:53 pm Post #6 - April 4th, 2005, 5:53 pm
    sazerac wrote:This is something that I find a little irritating. Why do restaurants have the 'translated' menu separate? Why not give the customer the choice? Is it because of the possible increase in labor (as mentioned here)?


    While you and I might be most comfortable reading a menu printed in English, there are others that might be most comfortable reading a menu printed in Thai, Chinese, etc.

    As for the discrepancy that often exists between the versions of an ethnic restaurant's menu, I think it is simply the case that the restaurateur does not imagine that all of the items that might appear on the foreign language version would appeal to Americans (and so forth) and vice versa. Additionally, having all of the items that might appear on the foreign language menu on the English menu as well is, rightly or wrongly, often perceived to be a liability. I can't tell you the number of horror stories I have heard from restaurateurs about Americans (and so forth) complaining about "authentic" dishes, sending these dishes back, refusing to pay for these dishes, etc.

    Erik M.
  • Post #7 - April 4th, 2005, 6:36 pm
    Post #7 - April 4th, 2005, 6:36 pm Post #7 - April 4th, 2005, 6:36 pm
    I have a DVD set called "Slapstick Encyclopedia" that includes a comedy short from the 1910s in which the female comedian is kidnapped in a Chinatown restaurant; one of the running gags is that the "chop suey" is made by mopping the floor, then taking the mop strings and whatever you picked up with them and cutting them off with a pair of scissors straight into a bowl.

    Now remember that chop suey was the original Chinese-American dish, invented by Chinese restaurants as something to serve their roundeye customers; if that was the popular attitude toward chop suey, just think how white-skinned customers must have reacted to, say, a nice dish of top quality sea cucumber. About like the NBC censors reacted to Saturday Night Live's "Placenta Helper" sketch, I'd guess.

    The result was the American menu, full of Americanized, gringo-friendly items like egg foo yung, which as Erik says stood a considerably lower chance of being sent back in disgust by white customers and costing the owners money. At the same time, if the restaurant had any trade among its own people (and of course many did not) it would continue to offer traditional dishes to them, possibly via a printed menu, possibly just in the way that any competent American grillman could make a Francheezie or a Denver omelet. From our perspective the "secret menu" is the add-on but in reality, of course, it's the Asian menu that's the "normal" menu and the American menu is the unusual one, full of strange new creations.
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  • Post #8 - April 6th, 2005, 12:15 am
    Post #8 - April 6th, 2005, 12:15 am Post #8 - April 6th, 2005, 12:15 am
    Erik M. wrote:As for the discrepancy that often exists between the versions of an ethnic restaurant's menu, I think it is simply the case that the restaurateur does not imagine that all of the items that might appear on the foreign language version would appeal to Americans (and so forth) and vice versa. Additionally, having all of the items that might appear on the foreign language menu on the English menu as well is, rightly or wrongly, often perceived to be a liability. I can't tell you the number of horror stories I have heard from restaurateurs about Americans (and so forth) complaining about "authentic" dishes, sending these dishes back, refusing to pay for these dishes, etc.Erik M.


    I'm sure customers who've ordered "authentic" dishes get suddenly less adventurous when the plates actually arrive, but how about if Thai restaurants posted (on the menu) a statement to the effect that "The following menu section lists real Thai food. It's fresh, explosive, bright, brilliant and many times hot. If you order this authentic chow, we will serve it to you enthusiastically...but we accept no returns or exchanges. So, you have to ask yourself, 'Do I feel Thai?' Well, punk, do you...?"

    Or something to that effect.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #9 - April 6th, 2005, 5:20 am
    Post #9 - April 6th, 2005, 5:20 am Post #9 - April 6th, 2005, 5:20 am
    David Hammond wrote:I'm sure customers who've ordered "authentic" dishes get suddenly less adventurous when the plates actually arrive, but how about if Thai restaurants posted (on the menu) a statement to the effect that "The following menu section lists real Thai food. It's fresh, explosive, bright, brilliant and many times hot. If you order this authentic chow, we will serve it to you enthusiastically...but we accept no returns or exchanges. So, you have to ask yourself, 'Do I feel Thai?' Well, punk, do you...?"

    Or something to that effect.

    Hammond


    This reminds me of the menu at Aroma, which is around the corner from my office. You couldn't find a more Ameri-Thai place if you tried. Their menu rates the heat levels 1 - 10 (thai hot), with a warning that if you order your food at level 10 there are absolutely no returns allowed. I ordered something at a 10 and could barely feel the heat. I wanted to return it not because it was too hot, but because it was so bad. :twisted:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - May 14th, 2005, 2:49 pm
    Post #10 - May 14th, 2005, 2:49 pm Post #10 - May 14th, 2005, 2:49 pm
    My wait is over, I finally made it to TAC Quick for lunch today. Admittedly, I know very little about thai food, except that I have liked most things that I have tried. I am very open to new foods and enjoy trying new things. That said, I had moo ping, pork skewers with dipping sauce, which, being a pork lover, enjoyed very much. Never having tried a catfish curry dish, decided on the phat phet plaa duk. Very enjoyable, not too spicy or fishy. I was surprised how inexpensive everything was considering the freshness. I look forward to working my way through the menu.
  • Post #11 - May 17th, 2005, 7:47 am
    Post #11 - May 17th, 2005, 7:47 am Post #11 - May 17th, 2005, 7:47 am
    It's funny about the 2 menus.

    Due to reading all about TAQ Quick here, dh, dd, and I went there last Wed. I had shown dh Erik's translated menu, and he jotted down the Thai names of the Thai fried chicken, the Chinese sausage and bbq pork dish, and the fish maw salad (for me - he wouldn't go near it.)

    At the restaurant we were given the American menu, which seemed to be the default since even the neighboring table populated with Thais had to ask specifically for the Thai menu. Sitting at the table palming his little purple Post-it, hubby froze up just before the waitress came by. He was losing his nerve and was going to order off the American menu. Not because he thought his choices were too weird (come on, fried chicken and bbq pork!), but because of the us/them secretive connotation of having two menus. I had to rescue the situation by grabbing the post-it from his sweaty hands. The waitress couldn't have been nicer, and the meal was fabulous. Dh loved it (and dd, age 2, loved the gyoza.) And I purposely did not google "fish maw" before eating it because it looked so fabulous in the pictures that being fully informed would only risk making it less appealing. Finding out after the fact that it's swim bladders is actually kind of cool!

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