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Evil Penevil

Under 300 Baht ... And Good!

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And a new installment:





Taco Taco Tex Mex is a food stall that sells tacos, burritos and margaritas in the Soi Bukhao Night Market (see map below).  As you face the Night Market on Soi Bukhao, Taco Taco is in the front row of stalls, second from the left.




It has a small folding table and a few plastic stools in front for anyone who wants to eat on site, but most of the business is takeaway.  Your choice is limited to different types of tacos and burritos, all cooked to order. 





It's basically homestyle Tex Mex done by a cook who knows what she's doing in terms of flavor.






There are plenty of hot sauces available to add as much heat as you want.  She makes everything with just a little bit of bite.






Taco Taco has four types of burritos:  bean, pork, chicken and beef.  They range in price from 80 baht for a bean burrito to 105 baht for the beef burrito in the pic below.




The Taco Taco burritos are the large, U.S. variety, stuffed with a meat, potato and cheese mixture.  




I don't want to get too specific about the burrito style (Mission, California, San Diego, etc.) as that would require a  long and complicated discussion.  Suffice it to say the burritos I had from Taco Taco tasted great and were quite filling.




The tacos can be ordered with either soft wheat tortillas or hard-shell corn tortillas and filled with pork, chicken or beef mixtures. 




They are based on small tortillas, three or four inches in diameter. That's the size of the original tacos sold as street food both in Mexico and in Mexican neighborhoods in the U.S.




The larger U-shaped hard-shell pre-fried corn tortillas were invented in the 1940s by Mexican restauranteurs in the U.S. to speed up preparation in commercial kitchens.  The hard-shell tacos were popularized in the 1950s mainly through the franchising operations of Glenn Bell, founder of taco bell.




Shredded lettuce, sour cream and guacamole on hard-shell tacos is more Taco Bell than Mexican.  The Taco Taco version is closer to the Mexican no-fuss type, but the yellow cheese topping makes it squarely Tex Mex.  The tacos are small, so you'll need several if you are hungry.  The food in the pics- a beef burrito, two soft pork tacos and two pork tortilla) cost 250 baht.




Taco Taco Tex Mex is a great option for a takeaway meal or late-night snack.  I simply love the beef burritos and could eat one every day.  Of course, if you want a sit-down Mexican meal with more sophisticated flavors and a much wider choice of dishes, then visit Dave's Cantina (review) on Soi Regional Land.  A pic and a special from Dave's:







For those not familiar with the Soi Bukhao area, here's a map.  The Night Market is almost on a straight line due east of Central Festival Mall.  The Night Market is a few hundred meters north of LK Metro. Jolly's and The Great American Sandwich Company are close to it.



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I've had several meals at Spaghetti Bistro,  a rcently opened small restaurant on Soi 15 behind The Avenue Shopping Plaza.




As its name indicates, pasta is its mainstay and it offers a surprisingly large choice for a small restaurant. All the standard pasta dishes on the menu can be done with spaghetti, penne or tagliatelle and there's an option to "design your own" plate of pasta  in terms of sauce and ingredients. It also serves other Western dishes (steak, pork chops, chicken, tuna, salmon, salads, appetizers, sandwiches and  desserts) and a few Thai dishes. 




It does have some interesting items on the menu that I am looking forward to trying the. "Oriental Merguez & Harissa" pasta as well as the "Camembert on Toast."  The menu clearly has some French and international touches to it.  It's mainly Italian, but not strictly so.




There are four tables and some bar counter seats under the roof, plus a couple of small tables outside. It has a ceiling-mounted flat-screen TV and free WiFi.






I tried the "Triple Cheesy (Parmesan, Emmental, blue cheese) with penne for 220 baht. It was a decent portion with excellent flavor. The chef got the mixture of cheeses 

just right.




The penne was cooked as it should be, al dente.  A problem with a lot of the pasta in Pattaya is that it is overcooked.




Another day I had the old standard from my school lunches, spaghetti and meatballs, for 185 baht. The Spaghetti Bistrot version added diced fresh tomato.  Again, a good portion with great flavor in the sauce and meatballs.








Spaghetti Bistrot offers a daily special, such as the "Surf N Turf"  announced in the pic below that I took from the restaurant's Facebook page. I've also seen Chicken Parmesan as a special for 240 baht.  It also offers bottled beers, wine and spirits.







One interesting feature is that it offers both take-away and delivery.  It's also open from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 a.m., which are ambitious hours.




The menu is extensive and rather sophisticated for a small restaurant.  I no idea who owns it, but I've only ever seen Thais working there.  The chef must have had a strong background in preparing European farang food. The only American items on the menu are the "Chicken Wings  New Orleans" and the Chicken Parm, which was first made by Italian immigrants to the U.S. 

I certainly hope Spaghetti Bistrot succeeds, but I worry about its location.  Soi 15 between 2nd Road and Soi Bukhao has very little foot traffic.  Perhaps there are enough farang who live or stay in the immediate area to attract a solid customer base; otherwise it may struggle. The prices are reasonable for the quality of the food, but many enclosed restaurants with air conditioning offer similar dishes in the same price range. I wish them the best and I'm  keeping.

Second visit-


This is what I had for supper:




The menu calls it "Oriental merguez & harissa."  Merguez is a spicy lamb sausage of North African origin.  Harissa is a paste made from chillies and various spices.  It's common in Moroccan cooking.  That a sophisticated dish for a small outdoor eatery in Pattaya.




I had it with tagliatelle and it cost 185 baht. 




I liked it very much.  I enjoy merguez and it's not often you see it on menus in Pattaya.








I like the "open kitchen" model.  Yesterday a Russian woman was giving the cook a lot of suggestions about preparing her meal.







Edited by Evil Penevil

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Nice report

Very nice menu.

The price of the wine by 0.5 L and 1 L is very good although, no doubt, one of the regular brands such as Mont Claire. 

You are probably right to have concerns about it's location.  I have stayed at Mercure many times and I have always be happy to walk passed those bars etc opposite the back of the Avenue. They all look a little sad and not always the cleanliest of areas. The restaurant looks nice but maybe in the wrong place; I think if it was nearer to Soi Bukhao and air con the place would be packed, looked sparse of customers the times you have been there.

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It's been at least eight months since I've eaten at the Robin Hood Tavern in The Avenue Shopping Plaza.  I have nothing against the Robin Hood, it's just there are so many options for dining in Pattaya that a restaurant has to be special in some way for me to eat there regularly.  The menu at the Robin Hood is understandably focused on U.K. pub food,  of which I've grown a bit weary.

Last night a friend who'd never tried the RH wanted to give it a whirl and I went along.  He had the cottage pie at 290 baht ...


while I had the Hunter's Chicken for 260 baht.


Neither of us had any complaints, but we both felt the food was a bit overpriced for what you get.  There's enormous demand for U.K. food in Pattaya and dozens of pubs and restaurants vie to fill that demand- and the bellies of tourists and resident ex-pats.  While the RH is physically a more comfortable restaurant (good A/C, spacious, well-lit) than most of its competitors, the food itself doesn't stand out.

I had wanted the daily special, chicken tikka masala with naan and poppadom at 179 baht,  but it was already finished at 7.00 p.m.  When a special is no longer available, I do think they should take it off the board outside the restaurant.

My friend liked his classic British comfort food.  The taste was fine and the portion large, but he felt the price was high compared to similar portions of cottage pie at other restaurants.


Hunter's Chicken is a ubiquitous dish that comes in many variations depending on the country where it's served.  The RH's version was British style, which is very different from Chicken Chasseur (Poulet Sauté Chasseur) or Chicken Cacciatore ((Pollo alla Cacciatora).

IMG_0016.jpg ]

The British version usually consists of a chicken breast wrapped in a couple of rashers of bacon, then topped with BBQ sauce and cheese and baked.  It's actually closer to a U.S. southern regional dish called smothered chicken (the BBQ sauce and bacon are the clues) than the French or Italian hunter-style braised chicken dishes.


At the RH, the fillet of chicken breast had been pounded thin, breaded and pan-fried. It was topped with BBQ sauce (homemade, according to the menu), mozzarella cheese, two slices of streaky bacon fried crisp and some shreds of cheddar for color more than flavor.



It came with a tiny portion of coleslaw, which was watery but good, a dish of ketchup and shoestring fries.


The fillet had been nicely fried, although perhaps it had been pounded a bit too thin as the meat was somewhat dry.  The BBQ was properly an accent and didn't overwhelm the dish.  I could taste the chicken, bacon and mozzarella, not just BBQ sauce. 


Shoestring fries are a favorite of mine and the RH's version was done well.  The super-thin slices of potato require split-second timing in the fryer; otherwise, they lose all flavor and only the crunch remains.


Bottom line:  The RH-style Hunter's Chicken gets a thumbup.gif , although it didn't make my taste buds dance. The shoestring fries are as big an attraction as the dish itself.  I can well imagine having it again, but I won't be rushing back.  




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Your Hunter style chicken dish looks more like what we call Chicken New Yorker which is sold in many pub style eateries in UK. The recipes are similar and may be referred to as both names but I have tried Hunters style in the UK and it usually has mushrooms in it, maybe even only a minimal amount of cheese I.e not smothered.

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If you are tired of Christmas food, you still have a few days left to get a nice chili cheeseburger as GASCO's December special.  It costs 245 baht. Chili cheese dogs, chili fries and bowls of chili are also specials.





It's a great-tasting burger with a good chili topping.








I've yet to have a burger or sandwich I didn't like at GASCO.  That's why it distressed me to see this notice on their Web site:




I sure hope GASCO will continue to serve up its U.S.-style food.  It is a welcome addition to the food scene in central Pattaya.





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Up in deepest Isaan the Barry special pizza 260 baht. It has everything bar Som tam on it and if you wanted some on it wouldn't be a problem... 



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Last night I had the pork chop special for 169 baht at Kilkenny Bar & Guesthouse on LK Metro.  For the price, it was a good meal.




It came with mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables. It was a substantial chop, not thick but large.  The portions of mash and veggies were larger than you usually get in Pattaya restaurants.  My bottle of SML cost 60 baht, so I got a very filling meal for 229 baht.




The pork chop had been fried nicely.  The vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli and carrots) hadn't been boiled too long and tasted quite fresh. The mash was excellent and the cook hadn't skimped on the butter, that's for sure. The gravy was the weakest link; not much flavor and too salty.  Thankfully it came on the side in a gravy boat  and not on the plate.  I left the gravy alone and tucked into the rest with an occasional thought to Kenny McCormick and South Park.




I ate at Kilkenny around 10 p.m. and it was busy.  About 80% of the seats were taken inside and out.




Bottom line:  I won't hesitate to try another special at Kilkenny.  The rest of the menu wasn't particularly inspiring, the usual collection of pub food and Thai standard dishes.

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Tonight I had the Sunday roast lamb at Kilkenny.  Wow-20110531.jpg Delicious and great value for money at the price (199 baht).



It appears to be very popular as well.  I ate at Kilkenny between 6.00 and 7.00 p.m. and at least 15 other customers were also having the lamb special.  I got a generous portion of lamb (imported from Australia, according to the Kilkenny web site); a large roast potato; mashed potatoes; Yorkshire pudding; and the Kilkenny trio of vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.


Top marks on the lamb, tender and tasty.  The mashed potatoes and veggies were also a big thumbs-up-sign_1f44d.jpg


I was less impressed with the roast potato.  It was fluffy on the inside, but didn't have a crispy outer layer.  It seemed more like a skinless baked potato.  I don't think it had been coated in oil prior to roasting.  It's probably a lot less calories and healthier that way, but it didn't have the texture and taste I associate with roast potato.

The Yorkshire pudding was better than most you get in Pattaya.  It could have been a bit lighter, but that's hard to achieve if it isn't served straight from the oven, which is difficult for any restaurant.  I also wish the gravy hadn't been poured over the lamb, although that's a personal preference of mine and most likely isn't shared by most of the other diners at Kilkenny.

There was a lot of food on the plate and I couldn't finish all of it.  Just by glancing around, I didn't see anyone who had cleaned his plate and some of those gentlemen didn't look to be light eaters.

Bottom line:  Kilkenny is an excellent option for a Sunday roast lamb dinner.  I can't recall having had a better one in Pattaya at that price.


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MC Burger on Soi Bukhao is a recent entry in Pattaya's crowded field of hamburger restaurants.  It's located roughly halfway between Pattaya Tai and LK Metro,  about 50 meters south of, and on the same side of the road,  as the ill-named Action Street.





It's a small single-shop restaurant without a large external sign, so it's easy to miss if you're riding the baht bus.




It has three tables for four inside and  one table outside, plus a low table flanked by sofas.




The walls are decorated with rather garnish graffiti-style paintings.  But what the hell.  This is a hamburger joint in Pattaya, so garnish isn't really out of place.








This is the menu that has been posted on MC Burger's Web site, along with a photo of one of the items, the Frisco Melt. It's a small and straight-forward menu, featuring hamburger variations and curly or French fries.  




There are a few non-burger sandwiches listed on the menu inside the restaurant as well as chicken tenders and wings.  MC Club also has a "build-your-own-burger" option.




All the burgers are 200 baht and include a small basket of fries.  I went with the Frisco Melt last night and wasn't disappointed.  It's a decent recreation of the iconic Frisco Melt, the signature burger of the U.S. Steak n Shake chain.  The MC Burger variation consisted of two beef patties, two slices of cheese, bacon and Frisco Sauce on toasted sourdough bread.  Frisco Sauce, at least in the U.S., is a combination of Thousand Island and French dressings, plus ketchup.  It's not a favorite of mine as it has a sweetness I don't think goes well with a burger, but many say that's what gives the Frisco Melt it's distinctive flavor.




The fries appeared to be hand cut and were cooked as they should be, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the outside.  They were lightly dusted with a seasoning I couldn't identify, maybe a paprika blend?




The Frisco Melt I got on my plate was very close to the picture on the Web site.  thumbup.gif   It was good, but next time I'll ask them to skip the Frisco Sauce.






Earlier this week I had the Six Days BBQ Burger.  It was a single patty of beef topped with a slice of cheddar cheese, pulled pork, coleslaw and BBQ sauce on a toasted bun.


IMG_0008 - Copy.jpg


The curly fries were excellent, even crispier than the straight-cut fries I got with the Frisco Melt.  I'm a big fan of crispy fries!




The burger was OK, but not as good as the Frisco Melt.  It was a bit "busy," too many flavors and the coleslaw had a sweetness I didn't like.  I think it would have been better with the coleslaw and maybe even the cheese to allow the pulled pork to stand out, but that's just my preference.




Bottom line:  I'll be back to try some of the other MC Club variations, although I'm sure the Frisco Melt will remain my favorite.  Pattaya probably has more burger outlets per square kilometer than New York City.  The burgers in Pattaya range from luxury wagyu burgers through the standardized transnational chain burgers and down to budget variations at 150 baht or less.  The standard burger with lettuce, tomato and onion I find boring and never order it.  If I'm going to eat unhealthy food, I want it to be honestly unhealthy.  Lettuce and tomato on the side (maybe), but not on the burger, thank you.  MC Burger has added a bit of originality to the Pattya burger avalanche and I appreciate that. default_Bravo1.gif


It's possible that the young guys who run MC Burger may want to adjust some of their recipes in the future as creativity shouldn't overpower flavor, but they are definitely trying.  


Some other observations:  Bottled beer is 75 baht; water 20 baht and soft drinks 30 bat.  Cocktails and shots are available.  Service was fast and friendly, with everything cooked to order in an open kitchen space.  The first night I was there, the place was full, four diners at all the tables except mine.  The second night I was the only customer, but it was late, about 11.00 p.m.  MC Burger is open from noon to midnight.



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 For those of you who like big burgers  and especially Australian-style burgers with beetroot, fried egg and grilled pineapple,  Kilkenny's has added to its menu the Ozzie Works burger.  Kilkenny does a good job with farang comfort food and its daily specials are great value for money. From Kilkenny's FB page:




I had the Ozzie burger at Kilkenny on Australia Day as I continue to meander along Coronary Lane.



That was quite an impressive burger for 185 baht including fries. It consisted of a thick beef patty topped with cheese, fried onions, side  bacon, fried egg and a slice of grilled pineapple. The beef patty rested on a layer of pickled beets, a couple of slices of tomato and a lettuce leaf.  A toasted bun held this hefty concoction together. The fried egg had been splashed with HP Sauce, but there wasn't any other dressing on the burger.a




The cook sure didn't skimp on any of the ingredients; there was a lot of beef, cheese, bacon and beetroot, making it a very filling meal.  I'm not a fan of pineapple on burgers, so I pushed the slice aside and had it as a mini-dessert when I had finished the rest.




There are a lot of theories about how beetroot, fried egg and grilled pineapple came to be added to hamburgers,  One popular version claims it was a prank played on U.S. servicemen in Australia during both WW II and the Viet Nam War.  There may be some truth in that story, but Australian food historians say beetroot, a very popular vegetable in Australia, had been added to hamburgers since the 1930s, a decade before the arrival of U.S. troops.  The most likely explanation may be that it was a combination of toppings that caught on with the Australia public.

When I tried it, the Ozzy burger had been a one-day special at the Kilkenny in honor of Australia Day.  I liked it because it tasted fine and I enjoy trying burgers that are different from the ones you'd get at a truck stop in Norman, Oklahoma or Frog Leap, Tennessee. Maybe I'll have another Ozzy Burger next year on Jan. 28.


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I hadn't been into White Pines for several months because of some disappointing meals in the wake of last year's staff hassles. However, I'd heard about the new chef and wanted to try his food. At 11.00 p.m., I was the only customer- not a good sign-  although one other person entered while I was there.
I didn't have to wait long for my meal-  I ordered the salmon with garlic rice- and it was quite good, especially the garlic rice.
The salmon was fresh and cooked properly,  not at all dry.  The garlic "chips" atop the rice has also been fried perfectly and added a nice accent.  The dill sauce was also good.  This meal harked back to the White Pines of the past.
When White Pines opened in November,  2016, it gained a reputation for offering excellent food at bargain prices.  The female chef at the time clearly knew how to make Western food, Italian in particular.   White Pines' location also made it very convenient for visitors to Walking Street.
However, when the chef left WP in October last year, the quality of the food slid significantly and the recovery process has been bumpy to say the least. 
It wasn't the biggest piece of salmon I've had in Pattaya, but at 195 baht, it was good value for money thanks to the quality.


This was only one meal, but it was certainly encouraging, enough so that I'll be back.  Next time I'll try the calamari to see if it has regained its previous heights.  I couldn't fault the service in any way.  At the end of the meal,  the chef came out of the kitchen and asked via the waitress if everything had been O.K.  I said yes and complimented him on the sauce and garlic chips.


White Pines has printed up a new menu, but the offerings don't seem to have changed up. It's now open between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. ,  but closed Tuesdays.


Photos of some of the menu pages.
This is real fusion cooking for you: Tom Yum Quinoa and Krapow Quinoa with salmon.  I'm sure the early Andean people would be proud.
Physically, not much has changed with White Pines since it opened 16 months ago.  It's still clean, well-lit and comfortable.





Bottom line:  I haven't abandoned hope for White Pines and will be back to see if the improvement is lasting.


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