Saturday, August 6, 2011

My first Pad Thai at Thai Garden

27472 Portola Pwy 206
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610

  My lunch at work is typically a lunch bag filled with a sandwich, an apple and other snacks. I hardly ever go out to eat during the work week. So when I do its rare and a treat for me. A co-worker of mine had told me about Thai Garden with an offer to take me there a few months ago and I finally took her up on the offer. Thai Garden is in a strip mall right next to a few other food establishments. I did not think much of Thai Garden from the outside. Once we walked inside the place was packed with the lunch time crowd, a good sign for sure. My co-workers and I opted to sit at the bar so we could order quickly. I ordered the #34 which is a lunch special chicken Pad Thai. My friends ordered the #1 crying tiger and, I think it was the #15 spicy basil which she had to order easy on the spice. My meal was about $12 after tax and tip.

  The lunch special comes with a bowl of soup. The soup came to us almost immediately after we ordered our meal. The bowl of soup was placed in front of me and the first smell I got was of pure fish sauce and it was almost off putting to me. The soup was full of fresh bean sprouts and rice noodles. The contrast of crunch from the bean sprouts and the soft noodles made each bite different. The broth ended up being really good and the was a perfect start to the meal.

  Since this was my first time at Thai Garden each of my friends let me have a bite of the dish they ordered. The spicy basil has chicken, bell peppers, carrots and other fresh veggies. I forked a piece of chicken and the sauce this dish was cooked in was spicy but had me wanting more. The other dish is one of the most popular dishes at Thai Garden and it's the crying tiger. This was steak that was grilled and sliced up then severed with a garlic and lime dipping sauce. My co-worker who ordered the crying tiger said to stick it, dip it then hit it. So that's exactly what I did. I stuck a piece of steak, dipped it in the garlic, lime sauce and then popped it right into my mouth. At first you get the smokey flavor from the steak being grilled then the garlic lime sauce kicks in. The steak was tender and the sauce was an amazing mix of fresh garlic and citrus flavors. Next time I visit Thai Garden the crying tiger will be mine.

  I have always heard Pad Thai is a great dish to start with when it comes to Thai food. So I headed the warning and did that for myself. As you can see from the previous pictures each dish came with a small side salad. The salad dressing was a sweet peanut based dressing that was creamy but not too sweet. I finished almost all the salad before I started into the main dish. I then loaded my fork with chicken and noodles for my first bite. The chicken was tender and the noodles were soft. The sauce was sweet from the tamarind and full of flavor. A bit salty with some nuttyness from the chopped peanuts that were throughout the sauce. A few fresh bean sprouts helped to add a snap to the dish that it needed. This plate of food was gone almost as quickly as it was placed in front of me.

My meal at Thai Garden was a great treat that I will have to experience again. The service was fast, the lunch special prices were good and the food was delicious. This is definitely a restaurant that I would recommend to the beginner or the advanced foodie. For me the Pad Thai was something I had never tried before and would recommend to anyone that is in my shoes. The crying tiger will be my next dish at Thai Garden and I hope it is not too far. While the spicy basil is for those of you more hardcore then myself. The spice level on that dish can be through the roof. If you are anywhere close to the Thai Garden make it point to stop by and place yourself an order.

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