Part 12 - And You May Find Yourself In A Beautiful House
Yoonhi is eagerly awaiting the introduction of teleportation, not caring much for the time it takes to get places.
I sometimes think things change fast enough as is.Chiang Rai
Leaving the air conditioned serenity of the Discovery, with the music still in my ears (“dancing cheek to cheek”) we were ushered into Chiang Rai International Airport.
I queried my driver on this.
“Why do they call it ‘International’? Where do they fly to?”
“Bangkok!” and he laughed.
“That’s it.”Chiang Rai International Airport. Your Gateway to Bangkok!
I just don’t know how that would work as a slogan.
As you can see, inside was, well, challenging. The stalls were fairly tightly crammed, while the big corporate groups squatted like ogres, taking up space and preying upon passersby.
I saw more of the honeycomb here, but again Yoonhi held me back. I did remember to buy some ginko nuts, and I looked longingly at the sausages, but I was told we had enough.
We made it through security to the Spartan camp of the departure lounge, and prepared for the next leg.
If Yoonhi had her way, she’d snap her fingers (or wriggle her nose) and we’d be somewhere else.Bangkok
It’s good to be recognized…maybe.
We slinked out of our cheap taxi from the airport, bungy straps holding our suitcases in the trunk (ever since they introduced the LNG tanks back there, there’s less trunk-space than a Mercedes SLR), but were spotted right away. Rainer, the new GM (and Regional VP), greeted me warmly, and had us swept away to our room for a more comfortable check-in.
The economy is hurting, and the Four Seasons is weathering the storm as best they can, relying upon the support of their local clients while foreign travel slowly comes back. So they were very appreciative that I’d flown back for Valentine’s.
I wish I’d had more time to chat with Rainer, as he, like Patrick earlier, is a very easy person to talk with, but we had a dinner to be at.
Traffic had been rough on the expressway, and we were in some doubt that we would make it to our meal in time. As we were meeting others, this was a concern.
At the hotel, our attendant had asked if she could arrange a car to take us there. I looked at her and said,
“It’s a Friday night in Bangkok. I think maybe the BTS?”
“I think the BTS is better, yes. I would take the BTS.”
(and you have to imagine the appropriate smiles with this)
Consensus is good.Rule 13 of romance: be cheerful, but don’t smile too much at other young ladies
(this rule goes hand in glove with the bit about knives in rule 12)
We looked longingly at what may be the biggest and most comfortable bed we’ve ever had, and then set out into the night.Deja bu
Kinnaree again. Roll your eyes if you will, but I like this place. It’s a beautiful house, the ambience is good, and the food is very well prepared.
And they have cocktails.
Cocktails with straws.
Over the top works well as a descriptive phrase here.
We sort of felt like hummingbirds, sitting back in our chairs and lightly sipping from a distance.
We had a small crowd. FlyingRat (Ellen) was out for the evening, but her husband was suffering at home, victim to a one of those flus that picks people at random in aircraft and then takes possession of their lungs.
And M & E were out, with their young son, S, just back from travel abroad, too.
This is the making of a great meal, with everyone back with stories from their travels.
Timing wasn’t too bad. We arrived just at 7:30, between Ellen and M, and so nobody was kept waiting for too long. Just enough time to start wading through the menu.
Our drinks, already on the table, were the Kinnaree Secret, a blend of gin, dry vermouth, guava, pomelo, and grenadine.
Light of Kinnaree was light rum, vodka, Malibu, midori, pineapple, lemon, and syrup.
Red Kinnaree was gin, peach schnapps, lychee, strawberry liquor, blackberry liquor, and lemon.
I like the touch of a whole banana on the edge. If you’re going all out, forget the lime wedges, and cherries. Go for the Carmen Miranda fruit basket look.
For a starter, as we tried to find order out of chaos in our selection, we had a perfectly little spring roll, brushed with sweet tamarind sauce.
Yam som o was a requirement. This is probably my favourite version in town right now (although the addition of the waffle basket at the Tented Camp was a brilliant move). I’ve noticed, though, that nobody seems to be going to the trouble they used to in the old days to separate every single bead of the pomelo, making do with small chunks
We had this last time I was here, I believe. Beef wrapped around pineapple. Young S eschewed the pineapple (rather than chewing it) and unwrapped the meat and ate that alone. It’s like our kids. I think the young years are best described as “carnivorous”.
Fat Horse I ordered just for the name. steamed shrimps resting on black mushroom and taro root. A touch of mint, and a bit of chili.
Moo yai takrai – pork on lemon grass. Like a meat lollypop, with the scent of lemon grass and the pleasure of pork. A touch of chili sauce on the side just to pick it up.
River prawns in a chu chi curry, with white mouse ear fungus fighting back the orange tide. This is a particularly good gravy that cries out for rice.
And behind that is Kinnaree’s “pork chop” a glistening, soft cut of meat that almost melts
We’d talked before of pandan leaves. Here they were wrapped about more prawns, and then grilled, the aroma rising off of them. This was served with sesame in soy.
And duck. I had to have more duck. This was Kinnaree’s version of coffee duck. Drier than the Four Seasons, treated as a marinade and coating for the roast, rather than a separate sauce. Again, the mouse ears adorn only one side of the plate, takeing after Vincent Van Gogh.
I can still taste this.
A crab farci – sweetheart crab. A good dish for Valentine’s Eve. This is an extremely simple thing to make, but always tastes so good. To do it, you have someone else take all of the meat out of the crab, first. ☺
Fish 2 Oceans sounded interesting, and was. They steamed one part of the grouper and served it with a spicey lime dressing, and then deep fried the other portion, and doled it out with a sweet and spicy topping and baby tomatoes.
And we had more duck, and more chu chi. This time together, with lychees added in for more sweetness.
S had done well with us, taking part in the conversation, and eating those items that suited him. So, when he wanted to skip ahead a bit to dessert, there was no reason not to agree.
He’d asked the waiter if he could have a cherry, and the waiter obliged.
We’d ordered way too much food, and dessert seemed like a non-event for us, but M has an insatiable appetite, and insists that a meal isn’t a meal without dessert.
Given this ultimatum, we had durian ice cream with green pandan sticky rice, topped with a dollop of coconut cream.
It was very good, but I had some serious questions now about getting into my tuxedo.
And the presence of a selection of fruit and fried chocolate filled things along with more ice cream wasn’t helping.
Still, the two desserts were shared out amongst us, and we did an honorable bit of work on them.
We asked for some straws to take home with us, and I navigated my tummy out of the restaurant.
Outside, the weather was near-perfect for Bangkok. Mid-20s, clear(ish), and there was that heavy odour in the air that I always miss.
But no birdsong.
Edited by Peter Green, 21 February 2009 - 04:29 AM.