Thai Island

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Thai Island ext

Today's review of Thai Island includes a right wing conspiracy. Or maybe it's left wing. Wings are definitely involved.

Thai Island is at the corner of Semoran Boulevard and Michigan Street. It sits next to Wingstop, a Buffalo wings chain, and a couple of doors down from Red Wing Shoes.

And as it turns out my favorite Thai appetizer, Angel Wing, is on Thai Island's menu. Angel wing is a chicken wing that has had the bones -- the humerus and the radius bones, as it were -- removed, with the resulting void filled with chopped chicken meat and clear noodles. The result resembles more of a drumstick. Why don't they just stuff a drumstick? you ask. I don't know, I'm just winging it here.

Mee Thai

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Mee Thai interior

First we had Mai Bistro, now we have Mee Thai. Is there a trend in ego centric eateries?

I'll leave that discussion to Freud, and I certainly won't comment on a restaurant whose name is uncomfortably similar to a contemporary hashtag movement.

Let's just be be straightforward here. Mee Thai is a pleasant little cafe on Lee Road serving simple Thai favorites. If there is one thing that sets Mee Thai apart from other Thai restaurants in the area, it's that it specifies that it offers the cuisine of the Isan region of Thailand, or Esan, as they spell it here. Frankly, I didn't spot anything on the menu that wouldn't be available at other Thai restaurants. And it would have been a good opportunity for a restaurant specializing in Isan cuisine to offer a current local favorite -- sticky rice is a staple of that region. That dish is not on the menu.

Orchid Thai Lake Mary

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Orchid exterior

I've always enjoyed Orchid Thai on Park Avenue in Winter Park, so I was glad to learn of a new location in Lake Mary. Unfortunately, it's just not the same.

Of course it was bound to be different. The Winter Park restaurant has the ambience of Park Avenue and the lovely outdoor dining. In fact, I couldn't imagine going to the original Orchid Thai and choosing to dine in the small, a bit-too-cramped dining room.

There is no outside dining at the Lake Mary OT. Even if there were it probably wouldn't be very pleasant looking at the parking lot of the strip mall it's located in.

Krungthep Tea Time

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Krungthep interior

Krungthep Tea Time isn’t your typical tearoom.

Or maybe it is and I’m just not familiar with them any more. My perception of a tearoom is set in the days of doilies and lace, quilted cozies and delicate tea cups with rose patterns and handles so small you couldn’t pick one up without raising your pinkie.

At Krungthep there are no doilies, no tablecloths of any kind. The floor is bare concrete, and tea is served in big honkin’ glass mugs.

Thailicious

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Thailicious soup

I ended up having a pleasant meal at Thailicious in Longwood. It didn’t seem promising when I walked through the door and stood waiting to be greeted. A waiter breezed right by me without so much as a how do you do. But almost as quickly as he whooshed by, another young man stepped right up and offered me the kind of warm welcome a visitor to a new place should receive. He showed me to a a small table at a banquette.

I was less encouraged when it became clear that the first fellow would be my server, and I wish I could say that he warmed up a bit. But clearly something was distracting him.

Oudom

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Oudom interior

 

 Oudom, a Thai and sushi restaurant, is the latest to take over the Graze/Prickly Pear/ Lotus/Mingos space in the Sanctuary condominium building in downtown Orlando. Five restaurants in seven years isn't too bad, is it? 

Maybe Thai will be the magic sauce for this place. Or curry. Or whatever. A restaurant in this location needs to count on frequent vists from neighbors. A menu with a lower price point can help in that regard.

Oudom Tom Kha

I began my lunch visit with a bowl of the Tom Yum soup, a hot-and-sour broth with some large chunks of tomatoes, mushrooms and shrimp, tails removed, thank you. I also was served a salad, apparently part of my entree order. The salad was a bit of a soggy sort.

I was heartened a bit when someone came by and left a set of chopsticks on my table after I had ordered my Pad Thai with chicken. The Thais don't use chopsticks except when eating noodle dishes, which is odd since noodles are the hardest thing to eat with chopsticks. I'm wondering now if the young fellow, who was not my server, just thought I had ordered sushi. I did not see chopsticks on the only other occupied table, even though some of the guests there were eating noodles.

And speaking of there being only one other occupied table in the restaurant, it was extra annoying that my server asked if I wanted to keep my fork when she took my salad away. "If that's my only option," I replied, placing it on the white butcher paper that topped the tablecloth.

Oudom pad thai

My Pad Thai was fine and had a good spiciness to it. (I had ordered it medium spicy so that I could gauge; ask for Thai hot if you really like the heat. I appreciated, but did not need, the tray of condiments, including crushed peanuts and pepper flakes, that were offered with the dish.

Food did not come out at a speedy pace. Something to keep in mind if you visit on a limited lunch break.

Oudom is at 100 S. Eola Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-849-3739.

 

 

Pop Thai

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Pop Thai Interior

I don’t know why, but every time I hear the name Pop Thai, I think about lemongrass flavored pastries that you heat up in a toaster.

But no, Pop Thai is the name of a new restaurant in the Mills 50 district that replaced the three or so years old Yum-mi Sandwiches shop.

Thai Purple Orchid Cafe & Grocery

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thaipurple fish cakes

I came across another nice little eatery in that unlikely and unassuming strip mall on East Colonial Drive. We've been here before, at Taka Taka, a Venezuelan restaurant. This time it's Thai Purple Orchid Cafe & Grocery, although the grocery part of it is pretty meager — fewer shelves than many people have in their closets.

And there aren't a lot of tables in the cafe part, either. But the owner will greet you graciously and will even serve you the food. I can say for certain, but she may have been back there cooking it, too.

Dinner and a Show: Date Night in Winter Garden

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Thai blossomI’ve got your next date night all planned for you. It’s that classic combination of dinner and a show, and it’s going to take you to the romantically charming Winter Garden.

If you haven’t visited Winter Garden lately you’re missing one of the more happening places in Greater Orlando. The downtown area along Plant Street is so perfectly quaint that you expect the buildings might be Potemkin Village facades propped up by two-by-fours from behind.

But this place is the real thing. And it’s apparently not a big secret, judging from the crowded restaurants and lounges I encountered on a recent Friday evening. Downtown Winter Garden is home, of course, to Flog favorite Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, but other restaurants now line the two or three blocks, making this one of the richer mini restaurant rows in the area.

Spice Thai

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Spice Thai Pad ThaiAccording to Urbanspoon, we now have 54 Thai restaurants in the area. I can’t think of a cuisine that has grown in its representation in the area more than Thai. And a great majority of them are worth trying, too.

One of the few geographical pockets without a Thai restaurant -- or without many nonchain restaurants at all, for that matter -- is the neighborhood near Orlando International Airport. Now Spice Thai is filling that void.