Thai-style minced chicken and basil and springrolls at Thai Bay. /Photo courtesy Scott Simmons.
A lot of business workers from downtown will be happy to read this: Thai Bay is open again, and most of the favorite foods from the past are still on the menu.
Don’t all go at once – it’s a small, tucked away spot on Old Okeechobee Road in West Palm Beach. With only 20 seats indoors and 10 outside, it’s much smaller than the two big rooms that overflowed with lunch crowds at the former location on Okeechobee.
Dean Hoffman, who opened Thai Bay in 1988 with his wife and recipe source, Voonsom, says construction held up process.
“The last couple of months, I made a prediction on the answering machine when I expected to reopen. It would fall through, and I’d have to rerecord it. Finally, I just took it off and quit making a prediction altogether, and just said ‘soon.’” The restaurant opened quietly on April 1.
Along with Aleyda’s Mexican restaurant, Thai Bay’s lease was not renewed by the landlord at the old place. Hoffman said the landlord gave as the excuse, “They wanted new faces.”
Thai Bay opened 25 years ago
The restaurant had thrived since opening in 1988 to enthusiastic diners catching on to Thai cuisine. Hoffman knew it well: He was stationed in Thailand during his 24-year Air Force career, and met his wife there. “She’s from an area 40 miles from Bangkok. She’s the one who wanted to open a restaurant, and these are her recipes,” he said.
After expanding into a space next door to accommodate the bustling lunch crowds, the owners saw business drop after the 2008 downturn. “Our business went down 40 percent,” Hoffman said. They gave up the lease for the second space and when the lease was up this time, the landlord exercised the non-renew clause.
The restaurant’s workers put out the word that owners were looking for a new location, but it turns out the landlord of the new place was a customer of Thai Bay, and offered half the building to Hoffman. The rest is currently housing a sandwich shop. Though it’s small, there’s a possibility of expansion at some point, Hoffman said. “Things are beginning to pick up again. We hope the economy turns around.”
What’s new? The daily blackboard specials are gone and instead, soup or salad is included in every meal. Much of the old menu, with a mix of stir-fries and noodle dishes as well as entrees and their Tom Kai Gai signature soup remains intact.
A few lawyers and other downtowners have found it, and take-outs are popular. Hoffman said word’s spreading. “A lot of our old customers are back again.”
- 1000-A Old Okeechobee Road, West Palm Beach (west of Parker Avenue)
- Phone 561-832-6091; thaibayrestaurant.com
- Hours: Lunch, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner, Monday-Saturday, 4:30-10 p.m. Closed Sunday.
View Thai Bay restaurant in a larger map
Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News · Uncategorized · Where to Eat in Palm Beach County
Despite rain and crazy heat, last year’s PGA Craft Beer Festival & Burger Bash drew big, happy crowds to the grounds of PGA National Resort and Spa.
They repeat the event Saturday, June 15, from noon to 4 p.m. Dress for sun this year.
Chuck Burger Joint returns to reclaim its title of King of All Burgers, voted by the festival attendees. Trying to capture the title, a number of restaurants are submitting their best burgers – or burger-like entry. Bar Louie, Burger Bar, Cha Cha’s, Talay Thai, Chuck Burger Joint, Sweet’s Raw Bar, Four Seasons Resort, Millers Garden Ale House, CR Chicks, Corner Café, Hamburger Heaven, III Forks, The Office, Vic and Angelos, Mrs. Smokey’s BBQ, Whole Foods Market, Hurricane Café, Whole Foods Market, Hog Snappers Shack & Sushi, and Frigates will be grilling up patties in three categories: Best Burger, Best Alternative Burger and Best Innovative Burger.
It’s also a chance to sample 50 craft beers being poured in 2-ounce glasses. Live music and vendor booths are part of the scene.
PGA Resort is offering a special overnight rate for festival goers – a smart idea for those who plan to indulge. $169 gets you a room, parking pass and two $40 tickets – a real staycation deal. The resort offers five golf courses, a European spa, tennis and racquetball courts and more. The famous iBar and Ironwood Grill are on the premises.
The event benefits the Palm Beach County chapter of Surfrider Foundation, an organization that works to protect and raise awareness of the world’s oceans and beaches.
PGA Craft Beer Festival and Burger Bash 2013
- Where: PGA National Resort and Spa, 400 Avenue of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens
- When: Saturday, June 15, noon-4 p.m.
- Tickets: $40 in advance, $45 at door (over 18 only admitted); limited number of tickets
- Information and tickets: www.pgabeerandburger.eventbrite.com
Tags: Calendar: SoFla Food Events · Food and wine festivals · The Eat Beat: Restaurant News
Photo by Dr. Sandra Frank, RD, LDN
Forget the calendar: summer is upon us, no matter what it says. Memorial Day’s over and schoolkids are free.
The season brings along 10 must-eat summer foods. Here’s the list – and where to eat them.
1. Lobster rolls. It’s summer and the lobsters are rolling in. Gotta eat them in Maine – they’re called Maine lobster for a reason. Also rans: Anywhere along the water (water must be visible) in the Northeast. Picnic table and paper tray are nearly required. Mayonnaise and celery mixed in is preferable, but melted butter, especially in Connecticut, ranks a high second. The Clam Shack in Kennebunk is the favorite tourist spot, but we think the technique for a split bun that’s grilled to crispiness at The Ramp Bar & Grill at Cape Porpoise Harbor, a suburb of Kennebunkport, Maine, should be taught in Maine schools. In the photo at left: Lobster roll from Atlantic Fish Co., in Boston, Mass. Photo courtesy Taylor Morgan.
2. Clams, preferably steamed at a clambake, and preferably at a beach. (OK, you can throw some lobsters on that fire, too, as long as you’re cooking.) Because restrictions prevent the average beachgoer to build fires, special permits are needed and caterers are the best bet for this. Contact McGrath Clambakes in Rhode Island – the home of clambakes, to set one up on a beach in the Northeast. Otherwise, wait till September, and get in on the Lions’ Club Clambake in Block Island, R.I. If you can’t get them steamed, try them fried. Go to the Clam Box in Ipswich, Mass., for those.
3. Italian ice. Philly is it for the fruit-flavored ices that cool you down and give you a brain freeze. You can try Pop‘s - an 80-year-old favorite, or Aldo’s – where a pastry chef is selling “gourmet” flavors. Also ran: John’s.
4. Frozen custard. We’re headed to Wisconsin for this creamy treat (Michigan will argue). People line up when it’s 10 degrees outside for this stuff – so you can imagine what they think of frozen custard in summer. Kopp’s Frozen Custard is tops with the Badger State folks. In Michigan, it’s Erma’s in Shelby Township.
5. Grilled bratwursts. My friend Tom Sears has written a piece about brats that bring out the passion in every Wisconsonite. He’s from Milwaukee – and that’s where you should eat them. Eat them at a Brewers game, the other summertime passion. Besides, it’s hilarious to watch the Racing Sausages in the middle of the sixth.
6. A Nathan’s hot dog – Staying with sausages – a Nathan’s hot dog is de rigeur on Coney Island. Simply called a Coney Island dog by old timers – it’s more about the scene, though Nathan’s has been forking out the tube steaks at the beach since 1916. And no self-respecting Yank would put ketchup on one; sauerkraut and mustard allowed. Calendar item: Joey Chestnut defends his title of top dog-eater on July 4 at the contest Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island at noon. Also ran: A Chicago dog with the neon green relish, at Wrigley Field.
7. A Margarita. Did you know the drink that Jimmy Buffett sang about more than 30 years ago is now a brand as big and well known around the world as the Star Wars franchise? Key West is the site for his original Margaritaville store/bar/Parrothead shrine where thousands of gallons of the drink are served each week. We personally prefer the on-the-rocks version of the cocktail (or any other cocktail) at Louie’s Backyard Afterdeck on the Atlantic Ocean near the Southernmost Point in Key West – Buffett used to sing on their upper porch, so you still get the star factor.
8. Ollalieberry pie. In the thick of summer, the berries come in on the West Coast of the U.S. like rain. You can find pies made from them in all the local cafes. Duarte’s in Pescadero, Calif., around in some fashion since 1894, sells pies based on the current owner’s grandmother’s recipe – including the cross between a bunch of berries – called ollalieberry. Sensational and not to be missed.
9. Fresh peach pie (or cobbler). Peach pie means summer to a Southerner. Georgia claims to have the best – and we’re not putting our dog in that fight. We give a nod to South Carolina and Alabama for great peaches, as well. Places we recommend: The Pie Hole in Roswell, Ga.; the Heavenly Bake Shop near Hiawassee, Ga. For peach cobbler, it’s Mary Mac’s Tearoom, Atlanta, or the Dillard House in Dillard, Ga. At either of the latter, find fried chicken – the other iconic summer picnic food – done to perfection.
Tags: Travel food
An early, active season
Andrea, the first named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, bears down on my Sunshine State today and according to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), we’re in for a lot more.
It’s not forecast to become an actual hurricane, but it doesn’t take a formal designation to make a storm dangerous or at very least, inconvenient. Several homes in my county have been hit by high winds (a possible tornado at this writing) – trees are down, cars and homes damaged and one person (so far) hospitalized. The power is out in many areas.
Of all the storm effects, power failures are the most common and even a thunderstorm can cause them. They may last only a couple of hours or a couple of weeks – either way, it’s problematic – and the “minor” storms can happen anytime – hurricane not needed.
Moral of the story: It’s never too early to stock your Emergency Food Box and set up your kitchen for iffy weather. Smart people prepare – the others regret. Be smart – get busy and get ready. It’s so easy to say, “I’ll get to it.”
Empty store shelves before a hurricane. Photo credit: Heather Pone.
Two words: Empty shelves. Two more: Long lines. Don’t wait – stock up now on non-perishables and your supplies and fuel.
Shop for essentials for an Emergency Box
A separate box (or two) of non-perishable food and supplies that can see you through a week without power is essential; a two-week supply might make you the neighborhood hero if we’re hard-hit. Today’s laws require grocery stores and some other places to have emergency generators, but that doesn’t ensure they’ll have stock on their shelves. And there’s no guarantee you will have places to put perishables, so don’t rely on this plan.
Get these things now, a little at a time, to avoid panic-buyers
- A small source for boiling water and cooking. If it’s a grill or a small 2-burner propane stove like the chefs use or a camping stove, you can boil water and have a lot of options, including a hot cup of coffee in the morning. (I like this model, Stansport Propane Stove with Piezo Igniter, which costs around $50 online and uses propane cannisters.) (See below about using these inside the house.)
- Gas or charcoal for your grill. Fill your tanks now, and buy a spare. If you have a gas grill, you can cook anything. Get out your cast iron skillet and a spatula there you have it: a total kitchen.
- Charcoal - a warning – don’t use it in the house or even the garage without total ventilation. Same goes for propane – even the little stoves put out dangerous gasses that could be toxic in an enclosed area. It’s best to cook under a cover outdoors if at all possible. If you need a wind break, do NOT make one out of cardboard – use metal baking pans to shield the sides of your stove from the wind. (This is why the camping ones are good – they are built on.)
- Remember to have a match or grill lighter in your box.
- Protein foods that provide energy and nutrition. Shelf stable proteins such as tuna and chicken in vacuum pouches, nut butters, canned fish such as sardines or other fish can be eaten without cooking. These are the first shelves to empty when a hurricane approaches, and they’re non-perishable. Get them now. Shelf stable sausages, bacon or jerky should be used sparingly – they are salty, and in the heat, make you thirsty, but do add a lot of flavor to a bean salad or a scrapped together Ramen noodle dish. Beans have protein: many canned varieties aren’t bad. Frozen ones can be used if they have NO sauce on them and are thawed but still cold. Buy plain ones but don’t stock up on them.
Small boxes of shelf-stable milk. You’ll have ice at some point to keep leftovers, perhaps, but by using small boxes for cereal and thinning soups, you won’t have much waste if ice isn’t available. Milk is great for making the instant boxed mac n cheese for the kids to keep them satisfied at least for one meal.
- Canned soups. Splurge for organic soups that have less sodium than most others. Gazpacho, vegetable and bean soups are not bad at room temp, but if you have the little stove, you can heat up stews, and make boil-in-bag rice or couscous to put with them for a decent meal. Conserve your fuel, however – more may be hard to come by if you are out of power for a lengthy time.
- Salsa is a terrific flavor-booster for several other foods. With tomatoes, peppers and onions, it’s a vegetable drawer in a jar. Quick meal: Combine it with chicken from a pouch, and pour it over couscous and sprinkle a little box of raisins over it. Add a pinch of cinnamon, and you have a somewhat exotic meal. Layer salsa with canned refried beans mixed with a little cumin, and the pouched chicken, diced. Serve it with tortilla chips, or just as is with a fork.
- Canned vegetables. They’re already cooked; toss ‘em with some ramen noodles you’ve poured water over or rice from a boiling bag, and you’ll have a and a jar of spicy pasta sauce, it’s a meal that’s better than canned spaghetti.
- Canned fruits and shelf-stable pudding. Pudding affords diners who’ve been without something creamy a way of satisfying that craving. Dessert Layer canned fruits, the pudding and crushed cookies (splurge: amaretti or chocolate wafers). It doesn’t have to be cold to be good. Gourmet “hurricane parfait.” Pick up some mangoes that blew down if you’ve got them.
- Dried fruit. Figs, apricots, dates and dried cranberries have nutrients that boost energy and help hydration, such as potassium.
- Coffee, tea: The ritual of a hot cup of coffee or tea can be a comfort after a storm. For this, get a press-pot, also called a French press. (I like this Vacuum Insulated Stainless-Steel Coffee Press since it is a Thermos, too.) And remember to buy ground coffee or grind some just before the storm. Pour boiling water over coffee grounds, and press down after a short steeping time. Very good coffee if you use good grounds. Or, go with a good instant coffee – espresso if you like it strong.
- Juices: Buy vegetable juice for the vitamins. Try to find low-sodium types. Canned fruit juices are also good for vitamin benefits if they’re not full of added sugar. Avoid giving too much fruit juice to kids and infants; it will cause diarrhea that can result in dehyration.
- Instant potatoes and boxed mac-n-cheese. Use your boxed milk and the grill or little stove to make these special treats that provide a taste of comfort when you’re really bummed out.
- Fresh fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, lemons and limes – all keep at room temperature for several days.
- Cheese spreads or American cheese: These keep at room temp and can add to a sandwich or crackers.
Remember pets and have extra food for them. Have extra formula or Boost drinks for the infants and elderly.
Foods to avoid
- Salty and sweet snack foods, salty nuts. It’s easy to reach for a box of peanut butter crackers or chips and salsa, but the temps are going to be very high and you’ll be thirsty. Water and ice are in short supply – try to avoid creating thirst.
- Candy and sweets. Sugar makes you thirsty, too. Eat a can of fruit or pudding if you want something sweet.
- Sports or energy drinks. Take care when drinking these – while they add potassium, they also contain sodium and huge amounts of sugar. Hydrate with water or vegetable juice with low-sodium.
- Alcohol. It’s a well known fact that most of the deaths from hurricanes occur not during one or as the result of winds, but of people doing stupid things after a storm. Like using a chain-saw while under the influence. If we have a serious storm, you’ll need a clear head. Save the margaritas for celebrating long after the storm’s gone and when you don’t have power tools in your hands.
Dry goods – clean up and packing items
- Pack up the kitchen. If you know you’re in for a flood, or even suspect you’ll have water pooling in the kitchen, bag up all your non-perishable foods and put the things from the lower cabinets such as pots and portable appliances onto the countertops. Cover them with plastic tarps (a contractor-grade plastic bag – available at home warehouse stores -slit open makes an OK water barrier; fasten it down with duct tape or clamps to keep water from leaking onto it.Just in case, use a permanent marker to write the names of the canned goods on the cans in case heat or water causes them to be lost. Date them at the same time. Before using them, if they’ve been wet, wash them in soapy water. If the can is bulged at all, toss it. The contents have been compromised.
- Garbage bags. Heavy-duty contractor bags are great non-square alternatives to tubs. They also hold heavy, pointy things, so you can pack food boxes and utensils in them without tearing them. Highly recommended for a variety of uses.
- Paper plates, napkins, cups and plastic utensils. You won’t have an easy time of dish-washing, so for this week or so, use paper and disposables.
- Wet naps, paper towels and waterless hand sanitizer. Gloves are a good idea.
Manual can opener. The power will be out, remember?
Propane lights. The same canisters used to power the portable stoves can be screwed onto lamps that are bright enough to cook by. Use judiciously and with ventilation. Better to find battery-operated lights if possible.
Fuel for your gas grill – another reminder. Tank up now, and buy an extra tank of gas to see you through the storm. Charcoal and matches.
Extra coolers. You’ll want to be able to get ice whenever you can find it after a storm, and keep it. These are a lifesaver for some.
Extra batteries and a charger that pulls from your car battery. Flashlights and phones are very useful in emergencies. Make sure you have batteries for the lights, and a way to charge your phone from your car. They also sell a charger that works with a 120 volt plug, so you could, ostensibly, plug in your toaster or coffeemaker to your car’s lighter.
Cash. If there are restaurants open for business, there’s a chance they can’t take credit cards – and will ask for cash payment. It’s a good idea to have some on hand, too, for paying the neighbor’s kids to haul that debris out of your driveway.
Plan to have a week’s worth of water per person. Stock your freezer with at least two 1-gallon jugs (leave headspace). These will be ice blocks – and if you can do it before the storm hits, fill the freezer with them. Ice lasts longer in block form. Defrost and drink it – it will not go to waste.
Water is more essential than food – and if water lines are compromised – not typical, but it can happen – you will need water.
Packing up: What’s in your kitchen that you cannot replace?
In all of this, remember what matters most. For many of us, the kitchen is where we keep our cherished family recipes – stuffed inside a cookbook or in a folder or bursting from a recipe box. In a flood, they’d be ruined and in dire instances, blown away. My good friend and fellow food editor, Judy Walker of New Orleans, wrote the book Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans about retrieving recipes for readers after Hurricane Katrina. She compiled the favorites to replace those that were lost in the flood there. The stories were heart wrenching.
Treat recipes as you do beloved photos – pack them safely in a waterproof box and seal it securely. As a back-up, scan them and put them on a flash drive and put that somewhere safe (and waterproof!) – and do it now. Remember to update it if you already have done this.
Here are links to other sites that can guide you in further preparation, and a previous post of mine.
Get busy, folks!
Hurricanes and food, Jan Norris
Hurricane supply list, Sun Sentinel
Hurricane food supply list, St. Pete Times
Hurricane food preparedness, Hurricanepreparedness.org
Lenore Pinello decided over six years ago to follow her passion in food and cooking. Author of Mangia, Mama!, she offers classes at her school, In the Kitchen in Tequesta. The classes match the seasons, so summertime favorites are featured in June’s menus. Students watch Pinello prepare the foods, then join in dining, while taking home recipes to recreate in their own kitchens.
Classes are popular for a “girls night out” and other groups who like to get together over food. Students can bring wine or other beverages to share if wines are not provided.
Any level cook or food enthusiast is welcome, Pinello said.
For the more serious food and wine lovers, special wine dinners are planned; in June, Seven Hills wines will be part of a dinner. (See below.)
Along with weekly cooking demos, Pinello also offers private dinner parties, personal chef services, party and fine-dining catering and retail foods.
For all classes and events, reservations are required.
June 6 (Thursday), 6:30 p.m.: “Summer at the Seashore”
- Menu: Clams casino, arugula watermelon salad, seafood cioppino over orzo, Key lime meringue pie with raspberry sauce.
- Wine provided: Seven Hills winery.
- Cost: $65
June 12 (Wednesday), 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Seven Hills Wine Dinner
Howard Friedland of Bulletproof Wine & Spirits will be at In The Kitchen for this special Northwestern U.S. – inspired wine dinner. Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is one of the Walla Walla Valley’s oldest and most respected wineries and is one of several major wineries represented by Howard and his partner, Mike Greenfield. This evening’s wines will focus on Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux-varietal reds from the Red Mountain and Walla Walla Valley AVAs.
- Menu: Crispy fried sweet onions with buttermilk ranch dressing; beet and orange salad; wood-roasted salmon with asparagus; wild mushroom ravioli with veal demi, kale and pine nuts; apple walnut phyllo with apple cardamom ice cream
- Wine provided: Seven Hills Wines
- Cost: $75
June 20 (Thursday), 6:30 p.m.: “Best Thing I Ever Ate! Dad’s Favorites”
- Menu: Mussels in garlic and wine sauce, classic Caesar salad with bacon and croutons, ultimate pork chop, triple hot fudge sundae
- Cost: $65 (great gift for Dad!)
June 22, Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Hands-On Pizza Making Class
Learn to make gourmet grilled pizzas from scratch – beginning with the dough! Grill it and choose your favorite toppings for a fabulous treat!
- Menu: Gourmet grilled pizzas, including dough and toppings.
- Cost: $100
In the Kitchen
- Gallery Square North, 389 Tequesta Dr., Tequesta
- Phone (561) 747-7117; www.inthekitchennow.com