Happy Wednesday, friends! It’s time for another post about my new hometown, & this time we’ll be enjoying some culinary delights!
It was a dark & stormy night in December—as is so often the case!—& I was in my new apartment with a powerful hankering for Chinese take-out. If memory serves me, I’d just gotten off the bus into a cold drizzle some minutes before & thought that I’d noticed a whiff of Asian food in the damp air.
So I headed on a virtual search for Chinese restaurants in my area, & found that none were especially convenient by walking or bus, but that there were two Thai restaurants nearby—& I realized where that enticing aroma had originated. Now on that particular evening, a combination of factors kept me from heading off to check this place out—the fact that my larder was not, in fact, empty; the rather miserable weather outside; & a general lack of funds. But I filed it away for future reference.
Fast forward to Monday: a lovely day here in Portland, sunny with temperatures in the 50s. Meanwhile, I was (still am) battling a ticklish throat & a bit of a cough since the evening before. Since I have great faith in the curative powers of curry, I decided this was the day to try Monsoon Thai.
Monsoon Thai is a lovely little restaurant situated on the corner of N. Mississippi Avenue & Skidmore, a mere two blocks & change from my apartment—on Monday, a most pleasant walk up tree-lined Mason & Albina. One unique feature of the restaurant is that it shares a building with a laundromat—the laundromat faces Mississippi Avenue, while the entrance to Monsoon Thai is on Skidmore. In fact, as I later learned on Yelp, the restaurant is often called “Laundry Thai” or Laundromat Thai.”
I didn’t get any interior shots that are good enough to post, but I will say that the décor & lay-out are nice—orchids, carvings, lots of light, at least one booth & white clothed tables. There was a TV in the lobby, but the sound was turned off (I always think this is merciful), & I spent a pleasant 10 minutes waiting for my order wondering how a TV personality manages to have the exact same amount of assiduously tended 5:00 o’clock shadow for every show—I think this was on HGTV. Of course, I was only watching a single episode, but they ran a promo for the show during one ad interlude, & by golly, yes: the exact same 5:00 o’clock shadow in every shot. A true mystery.
The food? Not being a pro restaurant reviewer, I only got one dish (nor did I bring along a friend or comrade to expand the selections): mussamun (or massaman) curry—the titular curry paste in a sauce with coconut milk, & featuring potatoes, carrots, onion & peanuts; I got this with chicken (for the sake of the incipient cold), but it’s also available as vegetable only, with tofu, or beef or pork, or shrimp, squid, scallops or mixed seafood. Beef is apparently the traditional meat for this curry, but I tend to go either the chicken or tofu route, depening on how the spirit moves me. I thought about adding salad rolls, but both from the standpoint of appetite & expense this seemed a little excessive for “just me.” Still, at $7.25, the price of the curry was most reasonable. I got it at “3x” in the spicy category.
The curry was good! It hit the spot, was reasonably spicy—some might even have called it hot, but I tend to have a high tolerance for hot food—& the portion reasonably sized—I was not left wanting more, tho I didn’t have any leftovers either, except for a bit of rice. The restaurant has gotten a high percentage of positive reviews on Yelp, & based on this one experience, I can see why. I’ll admit that I’ve had more interesting Thai food: in my limited Portland experience, for instance, Chiang Mai on Hawthorne has some wonderful dishes—but this is tasty food at a reasonable price, & it’s certainly convenient, & with friendly service too. As I understand, the pumpkin curry & the drunken noodles are two particular favorites at Monsoon Thai—something to keep in mind for next time!
I’ll be back!