Celebrate Thai New Year this week or travel back in time to the final voyage of the RMS Titanic on the Queen Mary with a seven-course gourmet meal, inspired by the last first-class dinner served aboard. Plus Mid East Tacos moves to the Westside!
Whether you are the kind relative who will pick your guest up at the airport during the holiday season or you just need to kill some time before dropping off a loved one, turn that hellish drive/commute to Los Angeles International Airport into a memorable excursion. For travelers and locals alike, arrange a pre- or post-airport outing at one of these stand-out eateries that will be a welcome jaunt on your escapade to one of America's biggest and busiest airports.
L.A. Weekly is rolling out its annual Best of L.A.: Food & Drink issue, with picks grouped by region to help you find the very best places in your neighborhood.
The fifth annual Stu and the Kids fundraiser, a Thai-inspired food and wine festival hosted by chef Stuart Skversky and Redbird’s Neal and Amy Fraser, returned to Vibiana downtown on Sunday, Aug. 5, with proceeds benefiting the Hill Tribe kids in Chaing Mai, Thailand.
More than 25 participating restaurants including Jitlada, Chao Krung Thai, Nightshade, Redbird, Same Same Thai and Sinners & Saints gathered inside and on the courtyard of Vibiana for a food fest celebrating the many regions of Thai cuisine.
In 2009, Stuart Skversky, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a rising star chef, shifted gears and gave up a promising career in Los Angeles to move to Chiang Mai, where he became a full-time volunteer at the Wat Dan Chan local Buddhist temple.
He taught the high-risk local children English, cooking and baking. He founded Stu and the Kids to better prepare them for adulthood after graduation and give them tools for an independent future. Skversky has raised more than $500,000 for the kids so far.
Chefs and restaurants from assorted neighborhoods and cuisines gave their personal interpretations using traditional Thai ingredients, all uniquely different.
Jitlada was serving up its kan om jeen namya (Thai southern curry noodles with fish balls) alongside Native’s kimchi latkes. Chao Krung, L.A.’s oldest Thai restaurant, was in the forefront with my personal favorite, Amanda Kuntee’s sour Isaan pork sausage, which literally bursts with lemongrass and garlic flavor when you bite into it.
Same Same had some traditional papaya salad and mango with sticky rice, and there were lots of shrimp options — grilled with corn Thai curry and peanuts from République and peel & eat from Bar Amá.
Even more dessert options than savory dishes filled the inside of the former cathedral and spilled out onto the patio. Among them were mango coconut Jello and black sesame cannolis from Restaurant 917, Thai green tea macarons and spicy eclairs from Sinners & Saints and Patina’s coconut tapioca with tropical fruit salad and super seed brittle.
Here’s a tour of Thailand inspired by some of L.A.’s most seasoned chefs…
In 1969 Boon and Supa Kuntee opened Chao Krung, one of the first Thai restaurants in Los Angeles, paving the way for what would become Thai Town many years later. After decades of serving Americanized Thai food, daughters Katy Noochalor and Amanda Kuntee have taken over the baton at Chao Krung to create a chef-driven, elevated menu that reflects their parents’ original offerings in what is now L.A.’s oldest Thai restaurant.
Where else in the world but Hollywood would someone dip in for a plate of sweet nam tok "waterfall beef" bao bursting with fish sauce, enjoy a burlesque magic cabaret show, sip on the booziest possible rendition of a Thai iced tea, and get a tarot card reading while waiting for the restroom? And where else might you be politely denied all of this Hollywoodness at the door because your snapback violates the dress code? As is obvious to those of us who've had the privilege of getting faded within the vicinity of Thai Town and subsequently had an epiphany over fried noodles at 3 a.m., Thai food is the official cuisine of Hollywood. After a long night in this part of town, a craving for pad kee mao kicks in like clockwork. While there are numerous late-night options generous enough to stay open past last call to feed us when we're at our worst, Black Rabbit Rose is the first of its kind. That's because Thai food is the headliner of the night, not just something to eat after drinking. Read our full review.
Photos by Anne Fishbein