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Phat Thai


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Finally made it to Mark Fischer’s Phat Thai. It is a few blocks down from Six89 on the same side of Main Street in Carbondale. It would be nice if he’d open a place in Boulder, but the fact that his cuisine is dished up three hours away gives me an excuse for a road trip. We arrived around 6:00, but people didn’t really start streaming in until we were leaving around 7:30. It was a steam oven in there (although not as bad as the FIREPLACE near Olives going full force at the St. Regis in Aspen the next day).

They brought out rice paper sheets accompanied by crushed peanuts, lime wedges, and nam pla prik (chile peppers and fish sauce). We split an appetizer of lemongrass beef lettuce wraps. They were okay--much improved with the addition of some of the spicy nam pla prik. We shared two entrees—an amazing Green Curry with eggplant and the Khao Soi (Chiang Mai egg noodles, coconut, red curry, cilantro), to which we added shrimp and requested it be prepared spicier. Rather than chile peppers, they use elephants next to the names of the dishes on the menu to denote the spiciness of the dish. The Green Curry had 4 and the Khao Soi had 2. I’m not ordinarily a fan of eggplant, but I think almost anything immersed in that godlike green curry sauce would taste like a million bucks. The suggested Hugel Riesling was a great pairing with the curry. A bowl of white sticky rice was brought out with the entrees. We finished with the trio of sorbets (coconut, melon, mango) that seemed fairly ordinary to me. The entrees were well worth the drive though.

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Great review, RLM. I was in Glenwood with friends & family this weekend, and so the restaurant recommendation was fortuitous. Carbondale had some kind of massive crafts fair on, with associated tourist mobs, but we were able to get seats at Phat Thai's long communal table Saturday night. Between four-and-a-half of us, we had the two entrees you described, as well as the pho and the red curry. The kitchen even accomodated the fussy 12-year-old "half" with a bowl of plain chicken and rice. Apps were a tasty green papaya salad and a thing called something like "10 flavors" (my memory is fuzzy; I think I was still deep in a hot-pool-induced state of well-being). This consisted of ramekins of dried shrimp, chilies, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, fish sauce, and similiar strong "tastes" accompanied by serrated-edged leaves of that herb/lettuce often served with certain sushi (I forget what it's called). The idea was to roll up tasty bits in the herb and consume like a tiny handroll...fun but not altogether satisfying. (Though we were happy to have the extra chilies for the rest of the meal.) Service, though harried and hectic, was attentive and competent. I can't say it was an altogether authentic Thai dinner, but it was very good indeed. Especially the green curry, mmmm.

And speaking of authentic...it was really interesting observing the vast increase in the number of authentically ethnic establishments in the Roaring Fork Valley...and the people that have support them. The store next door to Phat Thai was a Mexican/Central American grocery, well-stocked with giant bags of masa and dried pinto beans and featuring the usual services (cash transfer, calling cards, etc.). As I waited on the sidewalk for the rest of the crew to emerge from the restaurant, I noted many youngish Norteño (to judge from the spiffy ranchero styling) guys walking by in groups of three to five. Driving through Carbondale, I saw a carniceria, a couple of taquerias, and someone selling tamales out of the back of a truck. And back in Glenwood, there are now three authentic taquerias, one of which also features central American favorites like puposas. The change is striking. And welcome; our lunch at a Glenwood taqueria was excellent.

Apologies for the scattered nature of this report; I'm off to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in about 12 hours and have to unpack, do a mountain of laundry, and pack again before then. If anyone can recommend something good to eat in that neck of the swamp, I'm suspect that I'm gonna be desperate.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." Mark Twain
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And speaking of authentic...it was really interesting observing the vast increase in the number of authentically ethnic establishments in the Roaring Fork Valley

Yes! I was very tempted by a few places on 133 by our hotel (a market called Garcia's, a tortilleria in a strip mall, etc.), but I saved my appetite the next day for Aspen down the road.

I read that Mark Fischer calls his Thai food "gringo Thai." :biggrin: Whatever he calls it, I enjoyed his green curry more than an "authentic" one I had in the Bay Area in March.

Are the taquerias in Glenwood on or near Hwy 82?

Can't help you with Oshkosh, unfortunately. Have a safe trip.

Edited by rlm (log)

“When I was dating and the wine list was presented to my male companion, I tried to ignore this unfortunate faux pas. But this practice still goes on…Closing note to all servers and sommeliers: please include women in wine selection. Okay?”--Alpana Singh, M.S.-"Alpana Pours"

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Apologies for the scattered nature of this report; I'm off to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in about 12 hours and have to unpack, do a mountain of laundry, and pack again before then. If anyone can recommend something good to eat in that neck of the swamp, I'm suspect that I'm gonna be desperate.

the advertizing has me thinking that the local specialty is rosy-cheeked tykes wearing overalls. i don't what the authentic manner of preparation is though.

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The leaves that you refer to rolling the "10 strong flavors" in sound like chiso leaves--the ones that are used in scallop and other sushi rolls. They are also called green perilla, and I love their flavor (although my wife does not love it nearly as much). We had them in the Mi Quang Noodle bowl that we ate at Da Lat Saturday night, which is the only place I've run into them outside of a sushi bar.

Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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