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Evil Penevil

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Everything posted by Evil Penevil

  1. Sad news for fans of American food: Richman Poorman in Jomtien is closing its doors. March 9th is its final day. I'll have to trundle out there in the next few days; maybe tonight, as the daily specials look inviting. especially the chicken parm at 195 baht: (from RMPM's Facebook page) Evil
  2. No doubt the ribs are good and value-for-money, but I'm not sure they are worth a rave. One big advantage of Surprise! is that you can order a small portion of ribs, which is usually enough for me. I don't often feel like a full rack or even half-rack of ribs. Evil
  3. Surprise! (aka Surprise BBQ) is best known for its U.S.-style BBQ beef and pork ribs at bargain prices, but it also has steaks, burgers, skewers and chicken on its menu.. It's located near the intersection of Soi Buakhao and Soi 21, across the street from the north end of Tree Town and around the corner from the Chunky Monkey. It's a very small restaurant with only three tables (two tables for four and one for two), plus counter seats for about six more. It's popular, which means it's often crowded. It's not a comfortable place to have a meal, but the decent food at cheap prices have won it a loyal customer base. Two ladies handle the cooking and two more the serving, which means wait times for your food can be long. Because Surprise! is so cramped, I've mostly had ribs for takeaway, but that's a topic for a separate post. Yesterday I tried the rib eye steak steak at 169 baht. It came with a handful of thick-cut fries, two onion rings, a dish of brown sauce and a dollop of salad. I asked for my steak to be cooked medium rare, but I got it medium. It was Thai beef. but not tough. The menu and a sign says its "AA" grade beef, but I'm not sure what grading scale is being used. Canada has a scale with letter-A ratings and "AA" would be the equivalent of lower-end U.S. Choice. For the price, it was O.K. The fries could have been a bit crisper for my taste. The onion rings, which I can easily live without, were O.K. and the salad was fresh. It hadn't been sitting slathered in dressing all day. The sauce was supposed to be pepper or mushroom, but had no flavor at all. At least it was served on the side and not poured on top of the meat. Bottom line: The rib eye steak was O.K., certainly not great, but you can't expect a great steak for 169 baht. The sides were a mixed lot, ranging from good salad through middling fries and onion rings to a poor sauce. My main reservation about Surprise! centers on the cramped quarters, which more or less rules it out for me as a place to have a meal. You are almost sitting on top of the other customers. Not only can you hear every word they say, but every sound they make, including chewing, burps and farts. If they haven't had a recent shower, you can sure smell them. In the future, I'll continue to use Surprise! for takeaway. Almost worth noting for anyone with mobility problems. There is a very narrow set of stairs leading up to Surprise! which would be difficult for some to manage. It's open from 2.30 or 3.00 p.m. (the menu and sign give different times) to 10.00 p.m., but opening hours seem quite flexible. It often closes earlier than 10.00 p.m., probably because they have run out of food. It's closed Sundays. Evil I've included photos of some of the menu pages to give a better idea of what's available and the prices charged.
  4. Chinese Shaxian Snacks has become one of my favorite restaurants in Pattaya. It is one of the better recent additions to the local food scene as Pattaya has always been weak on the Chinese side. I've eaten there a number of times since it opened in September, 2018. It's a small restaurant on the east side of 2nd Road near Soi 6. The name can be a bit misleading as the word "snack" in Chinese (xiaochi, literally "small eats") encompasses a lot more than potato chips and salted peanuts. Chinese snacks are street food that has traditionally been sold by hawkers and vendors from carts or stalls on busy streets, often near markets or temples. Shaxian refers to Sha county in Fujian province. In the 1990s, local entrepreneurs began selling their county's specialties on the streets of larger cities. The "snacks" became hugely popular and an association was formed to market the Shaxian brand name. The snacks themselves are Chinese standards like dumplings and noodles as served in Sha county. Today there are thousands of outlets for Shaxian Snacks across China and even some branches in foreign countries. The new Pattaya branch has four tables indoors and three outside. It's cramped and basic; clean but messy, with no decorations. The exterior sign is its fanciest feature. However, the food I've tried so far has been delicious. The big attraction for me is that the jiaozi (dumplings) are made fresh daily in the traditional fashion. The fact that she sat in the dining area filling the jiaozi gives Shaxian a very authentic Chinese feel. It's a bit rough at the edges and about as far way as you can get from elegant dining, but the food is excellent. And this is how those dumplings will end up: either steamed , boiled in broth- or fried- Most of the staff at Shaxian know I can use the nimble tongs, but a new waiter brought me the order above with a fork and side dish of ketchup ()!!! The fork was replaced with chopsticks and I used the dark vinegar instead of ketchup (). One of my favorite dishes is the noodles in peanut sauce and topped with scallion and pickled cabbage. You have to mix it thoroughly. I also like the steamed dumplings: and the beef brisket noodle soup: One of the dumplings is missing in the pic, as I popped it in my mouth before I took out my camera. The dumplings cost 100 baht and the big bowl of soup was 130. The wheat noodles were fresh, but hadn't been made on-site. The broth had a great taste, quite sophisticated for a Chinese restaurant in Pattaya. Each table had a container of dark vinegar, a bowl of chili paste and a squeeze bottle of chili oil. A couple of things to note: this is an authentic Chinese hole-in-the-wall place, more a glorified food stall than a sit-down restaurant. I believe it's mainly intended for take-away rather than in-house dining, just like in China. The menu is short, about a dozen dishes, with text in Chinese and English, but the English can be strange. Who would guess that "Fried Cow River Powder Noodles" are actually broad rice noodles with beef brisket? Large and accurate pictures are the menu's saving grace; just point at what you want. Next up for me will be zhajiangmian (noodles with minced pork in bean paste) and wontons with peanut sauce. Chinese Shaxian Snacks is clearly aimed at ethnic Chinese visitors to Pattaya. It offers a taste of China, not Chinatown. Farang looking for U.S.- or U.K.-style Chinese food will be sorely disappointed. There's no General Tso's Chicken or chow mein on the menu. Several times at Shaxian, I've seen farang families walk in, sit down but not recognize any items on the menu. After some fruitless questions the staff didn't understand, these families got up and left in frustration. On a couple of occasions, the family father made stupid remarks that reflected his ignorance rather than any shortcoming with the restaurant. If Orange Chicken at Panda Express defines your taste in Chinese cuisine, you're better off skipping Chinese Shaxian Snacks. While its menu has expanded at bit since it opened 5 1/2 months ago, it is still concentrated on a few types of Chinese food, namely dumplings, noodles and soups. If your heart beats warmly for boiled or fried dumplings, beef brisket noodles, herbal soups and wonton or noodles in peanut sauce, then Shaxian is the place for you. Bottom line: I eat at Chinese Shaxian Snacks two or three times a week. I can definitely recommend it, but only if you are familiar with and enjoy traditional Chinese snacks Evil
  5. Yesterday I had breakfast at the Chill Inn on Soi Buakhao. It's across the street from Jolly's and next door to the former premises of the Great American Sandwich Co. that are currently under conversion to a coyote bar. It wasn't a calculated move on my part. I was walking past about 11.00 a.m., felt hungry and saw a sign for a 89-baht breakfast special. I gave it a try. The breakfast consisted of two fried eggs, back bacon, a U.K.-style sausage, fried potatoes, toast, jam and coffee or tea. It was good for the price. The eggs were fresh and the bacon and the potatoes fried with onions- they weren't hash browns- were tasty. I don't like that sort of sausage so i didn't eat it. The bread was too lightly toasted for me, but that's down to personal preference. I'm well aware you can get three times the food (and probably five times the calories) with the Retox baht-buster breakfast for 99 baht, but the Chill Inn's special was enough for me. I don't eat big fried breakfasts anymore. It also a pleasant place to sit; open-front, but the fans keep it cool. I didn't like that they llow smoking- and one customer was even puffing on a pipe- but the fans kept the fumes away. Bottom line: I doubt I'll have much occasion to eat breakfast again at the Chill Inn, but I was happy with my breakfast there.
  6. That wouldn't surprise me. Asset forfeiture is used by law enforcement all over the world against drug dealers and smugglers. In the U.S., local law enforcement even use it against small customers. The daughter of a friend lost her car because she used it to score $20 of grass. Evil
  7. I had a look on Soi Lengkee Sunday afternoon. As you said, there is no sign of any work going on in any of the vacant premises and there are only a few, including the former Blue Heeler. There are a couple at the 3rd Road end of Lengkee. Of course that doesn't rule out the takeover of an existing restaurant. The Lone Star has a "For Sale" sign on it, but I believe that's been up for awhile. Only time will tell, I guess. Evil
  8. This may not be new, but Jolly's no longer seems to offer a Sunday carvery buffet. The restaurant and the Piss Stop Bar have had a checkered past due the major, major legal problems of the husband-and-wife owners. It doesn't get more serious than being sentenced to death. The food had gotten atrocious in the wake of all the hassles and the restaurant was closed for months. Apparently it's being operated by the family of the wife and old staff. The menu and specials haven't changed, but the carvery is gone. I just hope the food has gotten better, but I'm not brave enough to try it again. The Beer Hubb on Soi Buakhao across from the Chunky Monkey has been open about a month now, but doesn't seem to have attracted many customers. The set up looks nice and the price of bottled beer is in line with other bars on Soi Buakhao. The menu is Indian, Thai and international food. Evil
  9. Posted just now I don't write often about fast-food chain restaurants in Pattaya, mostly because I don't eat in them except on very rare occasions. On an impulse, I tried Texas Chicken at Central Marina. I was pleasantly surprised; the chicken I got was better than I had expected and it qualified as good. Texas Chicken is the name Church's Chicken operates under outside North America. It's the fourth largest U.S. fried chicken chain in both number of outlets and revenue, but I can't recall ever having tried it in the U.S. as it doesn't have stores in the eastern states. I ordered the three-piece combination for take-away. It cost 159 baht and came with a small order of French fries, one biscuit and a "bottomless" cup of soft drink. I also got some mashed potatoes with gravy for 15 baht. I drank my ice tea in the restaurant; I didn't want to lug it to my hotel. Here's what I got in my take-away box: The three pieces of chicken were all white meat, not thighs and legs. They had been battered and deep-fried properly, crisp on the outside, the meat juicy and full of real chicken flavor. It was far superior to greasy KFC chicken with its soggy batter and tasteless meat. The sides were less impressive. The French fries were industrial-style and the mashed potatoes had started out as flakes from a package. The biscuit had been topped with a honey-like sweetener and had a strange texture. It wasn't bad, but reminded me more of a dough-nut hole than a traditional biscuit. Bottom line: I don't often get a hankering for U.S.-style fried chicken, but the next time I do, I wouldn't hesitate to make a return visit to Texas Chicken. The restaurant has plenty of special offers. In that sense, it lives up to its U.S. reputation as the "poor man's KFC" because of its lower prices. Evil
  10. Big Kahuna is an American restaurant on Thappraya Road in Jomtien, about 100 meters north of the intersection with Thepprasit Road. The name, decor and some of the dishes on the menu are Hawaii-inspired, but Big Kahuna mostly offers U.S.-style finger food like burgers, sandwiches and pizza. It also serves U.S.-style breakfasts, with pancakes a notable item. It occupies the former premises of the defunct Pastrami on Rye and the menu at Big Kahuna reminds of PoR's. There's a big kahuna painting on one wall, but the interior isn't dripping with kitschy tiki symbols. In fact. the main dining area is pretty much free of them. It's a relaxing atmosphere in which to have a meal. In the Hawaiian language, "kahuna" can refer to a traditional priest, sorcerer or healer, but also to an "expert" of any sort. The term "big kahuna" was applied to Hawaii's top surfer and was made popular by a character with that name (played by Cliff Robertson) in the 1959 movie Gidget with Sandra Dee in the title roll. Today it points to the leading expert or most influential person in any field. I made me think about who might be Pattaya's "big kahuna." Link The other day I had the Small Pancake Special at 98 baht. It featured a single buttermilk pancake with syrup and butter; an in-house-made sausage patty; fried or scrambled egg; and your choice or coffee, tea or orange or pineapple juice. Considering the pancake was one of the best I'd had in Pattaya, it was certainly value for money at the price. The pancake was light and fluffy, exactly how a North American pancake should be. The egg was fired nicely and the sausage patty was OK, if a bit bland. It was pancake and not real maple syrup, but you can't expect too much for 98 baht. It wasn't a healthy breakfast unless you're running a marathon directly after, but it sure tasted good. I wouldn't eat it every day or even every month due to the jolt the syrup gives your blood sugar levels and I just can't have pancakes without some sort of syrup. It was a fair-sized glass of pineapple juice, not the thimble full you get in some restaurants. Big Kahuna has some of the best American food in Pattaya, but it's a bit of a trek to go all the way to Jomtien for a burger or sandwich. Fortunately they have delivery as well for 50 baht extra. I ordered the Cuban sandwich for lunch yesterday. It was a bit of a hassle as I've moved out of my condo and am living temporarily in a hotel. First the girl taking orders thought I had said, "Reuben sandwich," instead of "Cuban sandwich," but I caught that due to the disparity in price she named for the order. It also took some time to make clear my new address. I had anticipated that might happen. so I gave her the phone number to the hotel so she could call and get the directions in Thai. Forty-five minutes later my order arrived, which was fairly quick given the distance involved. Big Kahuna didn't use a moto driver for delivery, but the same pretty young waitress who'd served me my pancake breakfast the day before brought me the sandwich. It consisted of ham, pulled pork. Swiss cheese and slices of dill pickle between the halves of a baguette that had been spread with butter and mustard, then toasted in a sandwich press. It came with a choice of one side dish and a soft drink and I had picked coleslaw and Coke Zero. It cost 285 baht plus 50 baht for delivery. Some foods don't photograph attractively and a Cuban sandwich is one of them. I did indeed taste better than it looked and nevertheless was a fair approximation of the Cuban sandwiches you get in Florida or a big city like New York. Cuban sandwiches should be made with Cuban bread, the recipe for which includes lard as a shortening. This helps give the final loaf an exceptionally crisp crust and and airy. light interior compared to its French and Italian counterparts. In NYC, I lived close to one of the best Cuban bakeries in the city, so getting Cuban sandwiches with the authentic bread wasn't a problem. It would almost be an impossibility to find Cuban bread in Thailand and the Big Kahuna's substitution of a French baguette is the only option short of baking Cuban bread itself. In the pic above, I've opened the sandwich and included the coleslaw, Coke and slice of dill pickle that came with the order. Both the ham and pulled pork held a high standard. You can't make a good cuban sandwich from a sow's ear. I would have liked more mustard on the bread, but that's just personal preference. on the sandwich overall. The coleslaw was very good, with freshly grated cabbage and carrots. It wasn't swimming in dressing and celery seeds had been added for flavor. Bottom line; I won't hesitate to return to Big Kahuna to satisfy my infrequent longing for certain types of U.S. food, but I'm more likely to use the delivery option. The restaurant has numerous specials on food and drink. I'll post some menu pages from Big Kahuna's Facebook page as well. Writing this review has made me think about a Reuben for lunch! Evil
  11. When Japan banned the import of U.S. beef in 2004 due to mad cow disease, Yoshinoya temporarily shifted to pork bowls. Sukiya went with Australian beef instead. It saw how popular the pork bowls were and added them to its menu. Since then Sukiya has expanded its menu, especially abroad, to cater to local tastes and catch more Japanese tourists who may want more than just gyūdon. Evil
  12. Sukiya at Central Marina is the Pattaya branch of Japan's largest gyūdon (beef bowl) restaurant chain with 2,390 units in Japan and multiple branches abroad. Gyūdon consists of thin slices of beef and onions simmered in sauce of dashi, soy sauce and mirin and served on a bowl of rice. It's a popular fast-food dish in Japan, although it's not considered part of classical Japanese cuisine. I recently had the gyūdon with leeks and a softly poached egg for 109 baht. It was very good and filling enough to serve as a lunch. In addition to beef bowls, Sukiya also offers fried chicken and pork bowls as well as various noodle dishes, combinations and sides. I also tried the fried chicken bowl set with four thick slices of salmon sashimi, miso soup and four minuscule sides (corn, mushrooms, potato salad and savory egg custard). It cost 214 baht, with the sashimi pushing up the price. The same combination with eel rather than salmon cost 159 baht. The taste was good and everything was fresh. I particularly liked the Japanese-style fried chicken and savory custard. The interior is clean, comfortable and air-conditioned. The times I've been there, the other guests have been Japanese or Thais, mostly families with kids. Sukiya does a landslide business with its 10-baht soft ice cream cones. Bottom line: In terms of taste and value for money, Sukiya beats the hell out of Western fast-food places in Pattaya. Portion size is fine for me, but those with bigger appetites would probably need to order several dishes. Sukiya's slogan is "Save time and money," and that's a pretty accurate description. For a quick fix of Japanese food at a cheap price, Sukiya fills the bill. I'll include some photos of menu pages and specials to give a better idea of what's on offer. Evil
  13. I hadn't eaten at Jameson's Irish Pub in years but tried it again the other night as I was staying in a hotel nearby. It wasn't a convenient location for me, but the main reason I didn't go back often was the funereal interior. When I visit an Irish pub, I want to be reminded of leprechauns and the Blarney Stone, not haunted castles, banshees and the Cóiste Bodhar. Typical American tourist attitude, I know, but I don't like gloomy bars and restaurants. The food as I remember it had been good, but friends said it had gone down in recent years. I did have a good meal there the other night. The interior, though, was as uninviting as I recalled, except it was as cavernous as before. Jameson's has been cut in half to make way for a yet-to-open pizza place. I had the roast chicken dinner for 245 baht. On the plate I got half a chicken, roast and mashed potatoes, a boast of gravy and the usual medley of boiled veggies. The chicken had been roasted properly and was moist. The potatoes were fine. The veggies were a bit soft for me, but that's a matter of individual preference. The gravy seemed to a generic out-of-a-package and overly salty, so I didn't bother with it. In all, it was good meal. Not outstanding, but good. A bottle of water cost 30 baht, so the whole meal put me back 275 baht. Bottom line: Jameson's location and gloomy interior are negatives, but based on my chicken dinner, the food wouldn't deter me from another visit if I felt like pub fare. Here's the location for those unfamiliar with it. If you're riding the Second Road baht bus, get off just before Soi 6, cross the street and take Soi 4 to Jameson's. It has some decent prices on pints during its Happy Hours, but so do many other bars. Evil
  14. Some pages from the menu at Tigglebitties: And a few more specials: The pics Tigglebitties uses to illustrate its specials correspond closely to what you get on your plate.
  15. Tigglebitties Tavern is an American restaurant that serves mainstream U.S. food; Tex-Mex and Mexican-inspired dishes; and Thai food. It's located on Soi 17 (aka Soi Regional Land) about five minutes' walk south of the intersection with 3rd Road and ten minutes' walk from Tukcom. The great thing about Tigglebitties is that the owners and kitchen staff understand what American food is about and how it should taste. It's also one of the few restaurants in Pattaya to offer freshly baked U.S.-style biscuits, including biscuits and gravy. It also features in-house-made U.S. desserts like apple and pumpkin pies and carrot cake. Prices are quite reasonable for the quality of food and large portions. It's an open-front bar and restaurant with a casual tavern atmosphere. Plenty of drinking as well as eating goes on there. The fans keep the interior reasonably cool. It can get noisy, though, as Soi Regional land is heavily trafficked. Tigglebitties is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day Tigglebitties has two specials, usually one main dish and one appetizer or snack. They are true specials; they often aren't on the regular menu. The other day I tried the fish taco: In the U.S., these are called Baja fish tacos. Japanese commercial fishermen were frequent visitors to the coastal cities of Baja California in Mexico during the 1960s. A group of them once asked a taco stand operator to batter the fish tempura-style rather than grilling it. The new version of the fish taco became popular among local Mexicans and North American tourists, except they favored a crispier crust. A U.S. college student was so impressed with the Baja fish taco he opened a restaurant serving them in San Diego in 1983. He now operates a chain of 200 fish taco restaurants. Here's what I got: That's a lot of food on the plate for 160 baht! Everything- the fish, veggies and tortillas- was fresh and tasted fine, although I could have done with less lettuce and more salsa. I had to use a knife and fork to eat the mound of green stuff, but a taco is a quintessential finger food. The original Baja fish tacos were served in corn tortillas and topped with purple cabbage, salsa and Mexican crema (similar to crème fraiche), but since moving across the border to the U.S., fish tacos have taken on many variations. Each of the fish fillets was good-sized and flaky with a crisp batter. I had no real complaint with the tacos, just some niggling about details. Were they the best fish tacos I ever had? No, but they were good and they aren't very common in Pattaya. A breakfast sandwich with a Jimmy-Dean-style sausage patty, fried egg and cheese on a in-house-made biscuit is another classic American dish and well worth 150 baht. It's the biscuit that makes the sandwich for me, but the sausage patty was also good. I topped off the sandwich with a piece of in-house carrot cake. It was delicious. Neither the cream cheese frosting nor the cake were too sweet and the frosting had the proper tang. The crushed walnuts atop the frosting was a really good touch. The Monday specials at Tigglebitties center on BBQ ribs and chicken: It's a good way to satisfy a BBQ fix at a fair price. The pics Tigglebitties uses to illustrate its specials correspond closely to what you get on your plate. Bottom line: Tigglebitties is one of the best options in Pattaya for American food- and that includes Tex-Mex and Mexico-inspired dishes. The main dishes and sides, such as coleslaw and potato salad, taste like they would back in the USA. The staff is friendly and speaks better English than is often the case in Pattaya restaurants. Prices are reasonable given the quality of the food and the size of the portions. Evil
  16. Some Texas chili purists maintain a real "bowl of red" only contains pieces of chuck roast, chilies, onions and a few spices. Others allow the inclusion of tomatoes or tomato sauce. There's universal aversion among Texas purists to ground beef and beans. However, the version with beans has as long a history as Texas chili. Both were the result of frontier one-pot cooking, Texas chili began with cowboy chuck wagon cooking, while beans were added by pioneers on wagon trains heading west. Housewives substituted ground beef for beef chuck in the 20th century because it was cheaper to buy and easier and quicker to cook. Evil
  17. Three strikes and the Chunky Monkey on Soi Buakhao is out for me, at least when it comes to eating a main meal there. Last night I had my third mediocre meal at CM and I'm being generous to call it mediocre. I had the meatloaf, mashed potatoes with onion gravy and garden peas for 169 baht. This is the classic meatloaf meal and one I remember fondly from my childhood. My dad loved it hot with mashed potatoes and peas, or cold the next day in a sandwich, so my mom made it one night every week. It was also one of the very few school lunch dishes I liked as a child. Meatloaf is popular in home and institutional settings because it is an easy recipe that is cheap and quick to make. If newlywed brides as well as the cooks in schools, prisons, mental hospitals, homeless shelters and on military bases and aboard ships can get it right, it's a shame the cook at Chunky Monkey can't. It is indeed a large portion, but a heaping mound of mediocre food is not a positive thing in my book. It just means more of it will remain uneaten. However, I do appreciate that if someone on a tight budget cleaned that plate, they'd be getting around 1,500 calories, which is what an older person needs every day. The meatloaf screamed "no seasoning!" at me. A mixture of ground beef and pork baked with egg and bread crumbs as a binder has very little taste on its own, but there are 1,000 ways to add flavor. Any kind of sauce ( Worcestershire, BBQ, chili, steak); bacon bits; garlic; any of a number of herbs and spices; ketchup; mustard; even salt and pepper would perk up the meatloaf. The cook at the Chunky Monkey skipped all of them. Bland, bland, bland. The ground meat itself must have had a high fat content, as it was greasy with an unpleasant mouth feel. The frozen peas hadn't been boiled long enough and were quite hard. The gravy was very salty and also a bit greasy. The mashed potatoes were OK, but could have done with some sort of seasoning. To lift the meatloaf from the depths of insipidity, I made liberal use of the well-stocked condiment basket on the table. That pushed the meatloaf into the somewhat palatable category. If it hadn't been for the condiment basket, I would have rated the meatloaf as poor. North American meatloaf is almost always topped with a glaze. ranging from dollops of BBQ sauce out of a bottle or spaghetti or pizza sauce out of a can to complicated variations based on homemade tomato sauce. The Chunky Monkey's meatloaf had no glaze, so it was U.K. style. But if you read the meatloaf recipes from Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, you'll see they use a lot of seasoning and other ingredients to add flavor, which the CM's didn't have. But theirs no doubt many Pattaya residents and visitors like the Chunky Monkey. I ate at about 8.00 p.m. and there were 25 diners in the enclosed section and another 15 or so outside. Just about all of them were eating, not just drinking. I assuming that has to do with the prices and not the quality of the food. No doubt CM is a cheap way of filling your belly. There are numerous specials on top of the low everyday prices. Wow! But the prices of the Monkey Madness specials on chicken, fish & chips, sliced steak and pork chop debuted at 79 baht and are now 99 baht. It seems to me that the food and service at the Chunky Monkey has gone down steadily since it opened. In the beginning, the food was good and the staff friendly. Not so last night. The server literally threw down the menu on my table without a word of greeting or a smile, then came back 30 seconds later and asked, "What you want?" If that were to happen to me in a restaurant in North America or Europe, I would answer "Nothing" and walk out. However, in Pattaya I make allowances for language skills and work load. They were very busy last night at the CM. It's also possible several months of dealing with chea- I mean, price-conscious, budget-minded customers- has left the wait staff jaded. It does appear the service at CM is getting close to the infamous "service with a scowl" at the original cheap-Charlie bastion, the Sailor Restaurant. Bottom line: I won't be back to the Chunky Monkey unless I have strong reason to believe the food has improved. Evil I'm including a few pics of the menu to give a better idea of what's on offer and how much it costs.
  18. Following on a tip in a post on another board, I checked out a new Vietnamese restaurant, Phở Mr. Nam (it's Nam who's the Mr.), last night for supper. It opened a few days ago on Thappraya Road and is attached to Mr. Mac's Hotel (see map below). I got there about 6.15 p.m. and initially was the only guest. During the 45 minutes I sat there, five other diners entered. Phở Mr. Nam is currently in a soft-opening phase and will officially open in February. The one-page menu is limited to three types of Vietnamese soup, three sorts of Vietnamese rolls and beverages. According to the friendly waiter who greeted me and took my order, more dishes will be added in time. It will also function as a coffee shop called Saigon Cafe. Since I've had beef pho dozens of times, I decided to try the crab noodle soup. It was actually crab cake noodle soup (bún riêu). The waiter explained that there was only a "little bit" crab in the crab cakes, but the soup had many other ingredients. According to the menu, it contained crab cakes, fried tofu, shrimp, pork ribs and pork sausage. It came with the customary plate of herbs and veggies and a small dish of super-hot chili paste. It cost 85 baht and a bottle of water was 15 baht. As you can see from the pic, my bowl of bún riêu didn't much resemble the one on the menu. The pic on the menu is what you would expect crab cake noodle soup to look like. Bún riêu customarily contains tomatoes and mine had none, which may in part account for the lack of red color. However, the main reason is the lack of bún riêu seasoning or Vietnamese crab paste. The broth tasted good, but it was more a pork flavor than crab or seafood. A generous helping of the herbs and bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime are crucial components in any Vietnamese soup. There was the usual four-flavor condiment tray, except garlic gloves had been substituted for chili oil or powder. As befits a new restaurant, everything was clean and shiny. It seats about 30 people in the enclosed air-conditioned section and another eight outdoors. The main kitchen is in the back, but there's also a front area where the soups are ladled out. The service is friendly and more than attentive. I saw a waiter wipe off the tops of soft drink cans before pouring the contents into the diners' glasses. Now that's elegance! Bottom line: Phở Mr. Nam is cheap. cheerful, well-lit and clean. I'll definitely be back to try the beef pho and Vietnamese rolls, despite the bit of a miss with the crab noodle soup. Hopefully a few more dishes will be added once it officially opens. It's located on Thappraya Road a few hundred meters south of the intersection with Third Road. If riding the baht bus from central Pattaya, press the buzzer as soon as you reach the Residence Garden Hotel. Here's a map for anyone not familiar with the area. There's also a big street sign for Phở Mr. Nam. Evil
  19. Yes, the name "chili" (sometimes "chilli") is used on menus in the U.S., but that's just a matter of terminology. Restaurants simply drop the words "con carne" because they are Spanish. It's a case of different names for the same dish, although there are countless variations to that dish. This article explains it quite well: These 25 Restaurants Serve the Best Chili in America Here's an excerpt from the introduction to the list: "When you think about chili, you probably think of a little bowl filled with a soupy mixture of ground beef, tomatoes, spices, and beans topped with sour cream, cheese, and onions. While that certainly qualifies as chili, it’s far from the only kid on the block. For today’s ranking, we’re defining chili as the dish it got its name from, chili con carne; that is, chili that contains beef (or another red meat) and red chiles or chile powder, with beans, tomatoes, other spices, and toppings as optional additions. " Evil
  20. It's pretty much random regarding which restaurant I visit, but there is also an element of a hunt to it. I know there is a huge interest from board members in meals under 300 baht, so I try to include them as often as I can. Evil Taco Taco bills itself as both Mexican and Tex Mex and chili con carne falls squarely on the Tex Mex side. Despite the Spanish name, chili con carne is as American as apple pie (which of course is English and German in origin). Chili con carne has nothing to do with traditional Mexican cuisine, but is a result of cowboy and wagon-train one-pot cooking in the Old West. Any Mexican restaurant that strives to be authentic wouldn't have chili con carne on its menu. However, some Mexican restaurants, even in Mexico, offer it because they know it is a favorite among American and other tourists. Like pizza, spaghetti and hamburgers, chili con carne has spread widely throughout the world and local variations often have little resemblance to the original. Even in the U.S., Texas chili purists become outraged if "a bowl of red" contains beans or ground beef. Evil
  21. I haven't tried it yet but I will, hopefully this week. Evil
  22. I'm a big fan of Taco Taco, but I haven't been back too many times since they moved to Soi 9 off Pattaya Klang, simply because the old location, a stall in the Soi Buakhao night market, was more convenient for me. No doubt, though, that the new enclosed, air-conditioned restaurant is a far more comfortable place to have a meal than a fold-up table in front of the old stall. The menu has expanded considerably, too. I went back yesterday to try the Taco Tuesday special: And a tempting pic from Taco Taco's Facebook page: The following tacos cost 60 baht each all day Tuesday and you can mix and match as you please: You can also choose hard-shell corn tortillas or soft wheat tortillas. I picked column B and had the conchinita pibil and chicken tinga in corn tortillas and the smoky beef on a wheat tortilla. The order came with three in-house-made sauces: the iconic Mexican pico de gallo (aka salsa fresca or salsa mexicana); habanero chili hot sauce (fiery hot ) and pineapple salsa. The pork, chicken and beef in the tacos had been slow-cooked with Mexican spices. The cook didn't skimp on the chili content and the chicken tinga and smoky beef had quite a kick without the hot sauce. The conchinita pibil was a bit milder with a sweet-sour flavor to the pork. It's based on a traditional pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula and is a favorite of mine. I hope Taco Taco spins off conchinita pibil into a main dish and not just a taco filling. The meal cost 180 baht for the three tortillas and 20 baht for a bottle of water. Bottom line: Since Dave's Cantina closed, these are the best tacos in Pattaya. They aren't the biggest, but definitely the best tasting. Some other taco variations on offer on the regular menu. Taco Taco also has weekly specials and this week it's three-bean chili con carne with rice and nachos: Evil
  23. Il Peccatore ("The Sinner') is an Italian restaurant that's been open since mid-November on Soi Lengkee, about half way between Soi Buakhao and 3rd Road. I read that the owner named it Il Peccatore because Pattaya is a city of sinners. It features indoor and outdoor dining areas, with the enclosed area strictly non-smoking. The indoor area had about 15 diners when I arrived and I didn't want to get intrusive with my camera, so I only took pictures of the bar area. I had been meaning to try Il Peccatore for awhile, but never got around to it until last night. Il Peccatore posts its daily specials on its Facebook page and yesterday's special really caught my eye: paccheri cacio e pepe. Paccheri is large tubular pasta and cacio e pepe translates as "cheese and pepper." The cheese is pecorino romano, a very salty type made from sheep's milk. Cacio e pepe is one of the oldest dishes in Italian cuisine, dating back to shepherds in Roman times. It's a simple dish, consisting of only a few ingredients, namely cheese, pasta and pepper. Modern variations often add extra virgin olive oil to give the sauce a shine. Since the 1950s, cacio e pepe has become a staple in Rome's restaurants and has more recently become popular outside Italy. In 2016, it was named by a New York City magazine as the year's "trendiest dish." I haven't seen it before on a menu in Pattaya, so I was eager to try it. I wasn't disappointed. The sauce was excellent and coated the fresh pasta as it should. I thought it could do with a bit more pepper and ground more on the pasta from the miniature pepper mill on the condiment tray. A basket of fresh bread preceded the pasta. After the meal. the waitress offered me a complimentary glass of chilled limoncello as a digestif. Nice touch! I really like limoncello. I was happy with the meal. The portion wasn't large, but the paccheri was very filling and adequate for me. Considering the meal was based on fresh pasta and pecorino romano and included bread and limoncello, I thought it was value for money at 270 baht. I know there are restaurants where you can get bigger plates of spaghetti for half the price, but a mound of boiled dry pasta with canned sauce is a long way from paccheri cacio e pepe. The service was fast and friendly. The waitress I had spoke good English, which isn't always the case in Pattaya restaurants. The owner (or perhaps manager) greeted me both on my way in and out. I didn't study the menu, but there seemed to be a wide range of Italian dishes, including pizza. I noticed another diner had taken the other special, the grilled T-bone steak for 490 baht, and I almost regretted my decision to go with the pasta. The steak looked large and thick and the gentleman ate it with gusto. Il Peccatore's daily specials follow a pattern of fresh pasta dishes under 300 baht and a meat dish (beef, lamb, pork, duck) under 500 baht. The meat dishes aren't necessarily Italian, such as roast beef with roasted potatoes and T-bone steak. I'll include some photos of the daily special lists from Il Peccatore's FB page at the end of this post. From what I overhead of the other guests' table conversation, almost all were Italian. That's a decent comment on the quality of the food. Bottom line: I'll definitely go back for another taste of Italy and maybe the steak and roast lamb as well. Evil
  24. I've had Nueng's pies in the past and they are good, but I fully acknowledge I have limited experience of UK-style meat pies. She's located on the Darkside and (edit in) delivers to central Pattaya. All the pics come from Neung's Pies FB page.
  25. says I. I just read the following on Facebook: I'll try to find out if it's finito or he is just moving to a new location. He has moved several times in the past. One interesting fact. I did a Google search on Simon's to see if he has a branch in Bangkok (I believe he does, but not sure). This came up on the first page of the Google results: My review of Simon's had been picked up by the Google spiders or bots. It makes sense to keep the lowest level open and to make damn sure the other levels aren't. Evil
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