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    Southern Chester County, PA

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  1. I'm not a big fan of pho because (by definition?) it's a beef-based broth and I've sometimes found beef broths a little "off" in taste. I guess you can say that the noodle soup I ordered at Baan Thai was a hybridized version of something Thai and Chinese. As you noted, the wontons (which were thin and quite tasty) and roasted pork do seem more Cantonese, but the rice noodles and add-ins gave it a Thai essence. But that hardly mattered to me because I thought it was quite good, whatever the ethnicity. I can't speak to the Yelpers' opinions. One of the reasons I'm not a fan of Yelp -- at least, not here in the Philadelphia area -- is that I often disagree with the reviews and opinions there. I've found other online sources to be much more in line with my own tastes, so those are the sources I generally rely on for restaurant recommendations. As for Baan Thai's website, I agree with you -- it leaves a LOT to be desired.
  2. You're right -- it's not exclusively Thai. In fact, it was my desire for a bowl of Vietnamese-style noodle soup that brought me there in the first place, and I wasn't disappointed! I ordered the roasted pork and wonton noodle bowl, which was huge, and although it wasn't supposed to be served with the platter of accompaniments normally served with pho (bean sprouts, thai basil, sliced jalapenos, lime wedges) the server brought me the accompaniments when I asked for them (no extra charge). I'm not a fan of Yelp, but if it serves to get the word out, that's great.
  3. I just discovered this place just a few days ago and last evening I returned with a friend for my second visit. For an appetizer we shared the Ebishumai which is described as "steamed shrimp dumpling topped with fried onion served with soy and ginger sauce." It was quite good. For our entrees, I had the Thai Basil with Chicken and my friend had Pad Thai Shrimp. Both were nicely prepared and delicious. It's easy to miss this place if you're driving by. It's in a partially vacant strip mall on Nields St., off Rt. 52, right in back of Laguna Miramare on the outskirts of West Chester. There were very few tables occupied during my first visit, although they seemed to be doing a brisk take-out business. Last night there were a good number of people dining there. I ought to mention that I had a wonderful bowl of rice noodle soup on my first visit that was so big I couldn't finish it all. The restaurant is BYO, tables are set with Asian motif tablecloths and prices are quite reasonable.
  4. We were introduced to House of W&M by Travelmad and we've been back several times. It's always been a great dining experience. Too bad it's not BYO.
  5. The folks who work at Moore Brothers are the best!!!! They're unbelievably knowledgeable, and their expertise comes not only from tasting, but from visiting with and getting to know the winemakers. Ask a question about anything they sell, and don't be surprised if they open a bottle and try it with you. They're also wonderful at helping you pair wines with food, whether you're cooking or dining out. And if it's recipes or techniques you're interested in, talk to Kathryn, who is a Cordon Bleu graduate. They carry a selection of wines you just won't find anywhere else, AND they keep a record of your purchases, so the next time you go back, if you want more of that "red wine from northern Italy," they'll know EXACTLY what you're asking for. I could go on and on about Moore Brothers...
  6. I've been to the "new" Avalon a couple of times and my take has been that it's slipped a couple of notches since their "reinvention." Avalon was one of my go-to spots before they moved (but, of course that had a lot to do with their BYO status ).
  7. I think I'm hearing your message, and if I am, what you don't seem to get is the power of the PA Liquor Control Board -- AND the $$$$ behind it. I'm afraid even social media isn't the answer here.
  8. To add insult to injury, state store employees are not informed enough to even answer questions about wine. And the prices in the state stores are driven so high because of the "Johnstown Flood Tax" -- a hidden 18% tax that's tacked on to every bottle of wine and liquor sold in the state, even though it doesn't appear on the receipt and even though the tax, dating back to 1936, was supposed to be temporary. "The $200+ million collected annually no longer goes to flood victims. Instead, it goes into the general fund for discretionary use by lawmakers." http://www.johnstownfloodtax.com/
  9. I'm a bit skeptical of that. I've heard rumors, especially around holiday time, of such "stakeouts," but I've never personally known of anyone picked up for transporting booze across state lines. Have you? And even if it IS true, that's a risk I'm more than willing to take to avoid shopping in the state stores.
  10. And don't forget -- closed on Election Day! Wouldn't want any inebriated voters, now, would we?
  11. It's really weird -- bars and taverns, and now some selected grocery stores and supermarkets, can sell you up to two six-packs. If you want more than that you'll have to go to a beer distributor, but there you'll have to buy your beer by the whole case.
  12. We were there for dinner last night. We sat in the larger dining area with the (slightly) higher ceiling. In that section there was one table of four, one table of three and two tables of 2 (including ours). Still, the din was so loud we could hardly hear each other. There were three occupied tables in the front area. So it doesn't take a full house, or even a half-full house, to create a roar in that space. As I've said before, I love the food and love the personal service, but really dislike the ambience (or absence of ambience).
  13. I appreciate restaurants where the chef and/or owner visits each table to chat about customers' dining experiences. I think it's a sign of a good restauranteur when he/she takes a personal interest in customers' opinions. And it becomes a plus for restaurant "regulars" who get to know the chef/owner a little better. Unfortunately, I think that's the exception rather than the rule in most restaurants. In my vicinity (southeastern PA), I can think of three such places, and those are by far my local favorites.
  14. I've been to a place out in Newark called something like "World Market". Some of the produce was okay; the meat all looked a little scary to me. For Asian groceries, I like Young's (or is it Yung's?) on the Kirkwood Hwy near Elsmere. But there, too, not for meats.
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