Friday, May 2, 2008

Food Stop: Thai Rama

Thai Rama Restaurant
Thursday, May 1 2008
Approximately 2:00 P.M.

Tina and I had just left the Bead Museum in Glendale in search of a cool place for LUNCH. We were on our way back to check into the Wyndham then setup at the Convention Center. We were searching, looking and earlier in the day we had passed a few Thai restaurants. Being from the Los Angeles area, we are no strangers to good Thai restaurants here at home but the thought of having Thai food in Phoenix was a fun prospect. Will Phoenix be up for the challenge of big city Thai restaurants? Thai Rama Restaurant on Camelback Blvd in Phoenix was going to be the real test of what Thai food can be away from home. There is another restaurant in Chandler, AZ too.

Opening the door, you are welcomed by a beautiful wooden statute of a woman in traditional garb. Then you are pulled in further by the aroma of curry, lemongrass, spices, basil, etc. YUM, is all I could think. They also prepare everything with old traditional style cooking and NO MSG. I always seek out non-chain restaurants on my travels because as Anthony Boudain would say "Be a traveler, NOT a tourist!" Go ANTHONY! Why have the same old, same old folks. Tease your taste buds and live a little, will you? There is so much wonderful cuisine, from every culture, offering us a bounty of deliciousness.

I would say, Thai Rama is UP there in terms of taste, comparable to the finest Thai restaurants in Los Angeles. "At Its Finest" , kudos to the chef who has been preparing excellent food for 15 years! This restaurant has been around for 24 years dishing out all their yummyness. Now that is staying power for ANY restaurant, chain or not!

The lovely statue welcomes you inside Thai Rama Restaurant. See the gentleman in the background wondering what the heck I am photographing the restaurant for? No subject is safe from my Canon! The decor of the restaurant was very appealing and authentic. None of the commercialism you see in chain restaurants. That is what catches your eye first and then the aroma pulls you further inward.

Tina and I started with Angel Wings as an appetizer. This is a boneless chicken wing stuffed with a mixture of chicken, secret spices and rice vermicelli. You dip the chicken in a sweet and chili sauce filled with marinated cucumbers.

My FAVORITE Thai dish is Beef Panang. I love the peanutty flavors and the sauce is DIVINE. Dribble the sauce over rice and just soak everything up in that red coconut creaminess. Some places put their mediocre cuts of beef in this concoction but Thai Rama's beef was so succulent and tender. I give this dish FIVE STARS. I love the colors of food, don't you?

Tina decided to order one of the lunch specials so we could share. This is Coconut Curry Chicken. With the dish you get a lovely eggroll and some dipping sauces. In the curry, there are potatoes and slivers of onions cooked with boneless chicken breast. This was good but hands down, the Beef Panang WINS in my book.

So if you are ever in Phoenix and have a taste for Thai food, I highly recommend Thai Rama on Camelback Blvd. It's a small restaurant and not all that appealing looking from the outside but give it a chance and you can't go wrong. Keep an eye for these mom and pop dining treasures on your travels. Sometimes you'll be surprised on what you find. Always ask to see the menu first if you are not sure you want to stay for a meal. It never hurts and better than walking out after they've served you water! You MUST love flavor-filled, aromatic and spicy goodness to dine Thai. I give this restaurant three YUMs.


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