Monday, December 31, 2012

Thai Cafe

Folks are requesting hidden gems. Well, they don't get much more hidden than Traverse City's Thai Cafe!
What is it about Asian fare that is so absolutely necessary in this world? That question has plagued locals and travellers alike for centuries. Without reason and without cause, a sudden, overwhelming urge to sup on the delicacies of the Far East will firmly implant itself within your skull and, until you satiate that urge, the torture is almost unbearable!
Here in Traverse City, we're lucky enough to have quite a few options for such urgings. This, however, can be a nasty crutch. When one craves a bit of China, Japan, Thailand or more, one wants the absolute best that can be had. And, again, while TC has its share of fine joints that fall into these categories, there is but one establishment that has grasped the concept of unerringly amazing Asian food. Perhaps not surprisingly it is located in Traverse City's Campus Plaza, next to Northwestern Michigan College. I speak, of course, of Thai Cafe.

The decor is.....very simple. You are very aware that you have just stepped into a restaurant with a college nearby. No worries, though! The food is all the decor you'll need here!
As I just mentioned, Thai Cafe is tucked discreetly into the Campus Plaza, between two chain restaurants. Their sign is small, their entrance slightly hidden. Their space here appears to be almost an after thought. If you're driving past, it is extremely easy to miss this place.
That's right. Thai Cafe has every mark of a bit of hidden foodie treasure.

Traverse City's Thai Cafe is easily the best Far East food joint in town!
Now, throughout my time here in Traverse City, I have made a routine of hitting these guys up every couple of weeks. They have never disappointed. Their food is always perfect, no matter what I order. In fact, once I finish this blog, I'm off to Thai Cafe!
So, as I am very much looking forward to the trip, let's get this blog over with!
The food: As one will likely expect, Thai Cafe's menu is quite large. As such, I'll list a few of my favorites and some price ranges from each section. But, believe me, no matter what you choose, you will instantly fall in love.
The menu begins with Appetizers. These range in price from $2-$6. You cannot go wrong with the shrimp tampura ($6) or the crab meat ragoon ( $4)!
From there, the menu continues on into the Salads section. These range in price from $7-$12. For $9, you can snag the Yum Squid. Whoa is it fun!
Soups come next. These range in price from $2-$9. While they have some excellent soups, I have yet to try anything other than the egg drop ($2). SOOOOOO good!
Noodle dishes are up next. They range in price from $7-$14. The Talay will give you shrimp, scallops and squid ($9 or $14 depending on portion size).
Fried rice dishes are always popular here. These range in price from $7-$14 as well. Coconut red curry. Need I say more?

What Thai Cafe lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for in dining awesome.
Up next is my favorite section of the menu: Coconut Curries Dishes. Now, Thai Cafe is known for their curries, some can be quite hot, so watch out for that! This section ranges in price from $7-$16. I will usually match up the duck or talay with  the Gang Ped (red curry with peppers, onions, pineapple, bamboo and tomato).
Stir fried dishes makes the next appearance. This has a price rang of $7-$15. Try out the Pad Bai Gai Plow (stir fried peppers, onions, basil and mushrooms.
Fish dishes comes next. These have no range. Three dishes are all $14 each. The Pla Chu Chee is my favorite (white fish with ginger, onion, basil and coconut red curry).
Lastly comes the Chinese dishes. These range from $7-$12 and include some of China's most well known dishes (at least at American joints).
A dessert of sweet rice and mango is usually available as well for $4.

Buddha would approve of Traverse City's Thai Cafe.
Obviously, the decor isn't breathtaking and the location isn't the most beautiful view. When you enter here, you certainly feel the closeness of the college campus. But, once you tuck into your order, none of that will matter. Your taste buds will be in Thailand and, as we all know, when the buds are happy, so shall be we!
(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

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