This Town Just Got Cooler*

Growing up in a city meant having access to an abundance of restaurants. You want Hungarian? You got it. Ethiopian? Sure thing. A falafel joint? Indian? Pierogis on a grilled cheese sandwich? Duh.

But College Station isn’t exactly burgeoning with culinary options. Until recently, we didn’t have good Indian food. And for me, that was sacrilege. Now that Taz is here, I think about moving away a lot, lot less.

If we didn’t have something, I learned to make it. I wanted paneer, but couldn’t find it, so I made it myself. Then I discovered this gem of a place. I wanted Thai food, so I went to the Asian grocery store and bought Thai basil for pad kra pao or Chinese broccoli for pad see ew. That’s what happens when you move to a place that doesn’t have exactly what you want it to. You adapt.

But then yesterday I got news that made my hungry heart skip a beat. A Thai restaurant, Lanna Thai, had opened in Bryan. Actual Thai. Authentic Thai. This-probably-has-fish-sauce-in-it-but-I-don’t-care Thai.**

I had to try it IMMEDIATELY.

I resisted the urge to leave work as soon as I found it to go gorge myself on spring rolls and tom kha gai soup and curry. Bowls and bowls of curry. Instead, TP and I waited until dinner to try it out.

The verdict: This place did not disappoint.

For our appetizer, we had fried tofu with sweet chili peanut sauce. The tofu was a little different than I had had at other Thai places – a bit softer – but hot and light. The dipping sauce was scrumptious. Patrick started eating the peanuts out of it with his chopsticks.

Fried Tofu at Lanna Thai, Bryan Texas

Fight for the last piece of fried tofu

For our entrees, I had panang curry with tofu. Patrick ordered a dish with a brown sauce and shrimp and veggies (I forget the name of it). We also shared a plate of vegetable fried rice.

Panang Curry

Panang Curry with Tofu

Everything was hot and fresh, and the sauces of each of our dishes were delicious and seasoned well. The fried rice was a bit bland by my standards, but filled with vegetables and not too greasy. The presentation of each dish was lovely as well. I liked mine so much that I ate all of it. There was a small amount of sauce left in the bowl, and I asked the server to package it for me so that I could enjoy it over rice later.

Thai Food

Shrimp Dish - I forget the name

There’s a reason a lot of Thai dishes have the word “yum” in them.

Fried Rice at Lanna Thai

Fried Rice at Lanna Thai

My only complaint was the water had a slightly strange taste to it. Patrick thinks they put something in it to make it more fragrant since College Station and Bryan aren’t exactly known for their delicious tap water. My initial thinking was that the glass had residual soap in it, but we ruled that out.

Other than that, Lanna Thai gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me. And so BCS dudes and dudettes, I implore you to go to this place. Try it out. Keep it open. Expand your horizons if you aren’t familiar with Thai food. You’ll like it. And if you don’t, at least you can say that Bryan/College Station just got a little more colorful when it comes to its culinary landscape.

*It actually got a lot freakin’ hotter in the last week (101 degrees yesterday, boo!). But I’m not speaking literally here, people.
**Side note: I care a lot less about fish sauce now than I used to. I have started eating minimal amounts of fish recently. In fact, Patrick ordered a dish with shrimp in it last night, and I ate one. You might even call it a sea change for me. Har har har.

Back With a Bang

Crap. Lots of shenaningans have kept me away. Wedding planning. A new job. A new house. An addiction to thrifting. Hours of TBS (have I mentioned the fact that I’m marrying the real Sheldon Cooper, flip fold and all?)

So how about a video to get things started again?

That was this morning. A group of us got up at the crack of dawn to watch quite possibly the coolest thing to happen in College Station since No Doubt wrote their name on a bathroom wall 20 years ago. There wasn’t much of a warning as to when exactly the building would implode, so we were all caught off guard. Hence the giggles.

Things in life are steady now, which I appreciate immensely. They’re hectic, but I can handle hectic.

Let’s meet again here soon, shall we? For now, listen to this awesome cover of “Call Me Maybe” by Ben Howard. Enjoy.

Three Cheers for Paneer

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to good Indian food in College Station. Last night  I discovered a new restaurant in town called Taz Indian Cuisine. I urge anyone in the area to hurry there to satisfy your deep-seated cravings.

When I first moved to College Station, I was so disappointed that there were no Indian restaurants (well, at least, not legitimate ones) nor any Indian grocers. In Nashville, one of my first dates with Patrick was over Indian food. We bonded over dal and pakoras. The last year and a half, if we wanted paneer, I had to make it myself. It’s a fun process but it’s messy and time-consuming.

(In case you’re interested, you boil a lot of whole milk, add salt and turn off the heat. Then, you add lots of lemon juice to the milk and let it curdle. Strain the mixture through cheese cloth and carefully press into a block under something heavy so it forms a cube. One of these days, I’ll do a tutorial, but for now this will have to suffice).

Now, we have a new date spot. And I don’t have to wait for visits home to get my fix of good Indian food. I may celebrate this by going back for lunch later this week.