Sunday, 25 February 2024

Foodie Freak: A visit to Ting's Thai Kitchen

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Ting’s Thai Kitchen Restaurant

18983D Hartmann Road (Hardester’s Shopping Center)

Hidden Valley Lake, CA.

Lunch: Noon to 3 p.m.

Dinner: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Telephone: 707-987-1063

www.squidoo.com/TTK

http://twitter.com/tings

Reservations are not required but are recommended.



Being a frequenter of Chic Le Chef in Hidden Valley and an associate of Julie Hoskins, I’ve been to Ting’s Thai Kitchen Restaurant several times. The two business are just spittin’ distance apart. That’s a fact.


When you enter Ting’s you can’t help but notice the elegant Thai décor with lots of shiny polished wood and assorted elephant decorations, an important animal in Thai and Buddhist cultures. The feel of the room is like you just entered the dining room of the royal palace. Quick fact: The King of Thailand is the longest reigning monarch in the world today.


The hostess who was also my server greeted me immediately upon my entrance and said I could sit wherever I wanted. She’s a tiny, pretty, young lady with a striking accent and a charming smile that made wish she would stop by my table more often. What can I say, I’m a lonely old man; that’s not a quick fact, though.


My visit to the restaurant occurred at approximately 3 p.m., so there were very few people in the dining room. With the exception of one person poking their head out of the kitchen momentarily, the hostess was the only staff member I saw during my visit. Quick fact: Thailand was called Siam until 1939.


Ting’s boasts of having free Internet, so I decided to make that part of my review also. Seeing my laptop computer on the table, the hostess asked if I needed a password and then brought me a mildly worn Post-It note with the code. I’m guessing that this Post-It is used over and over again, so if you use it please don’t throw it away. I entered the code and was immediately connected to the Internet. The connection is lightning fast and pages loaded faster than even my home computer.


The menu consists of several pages with every Thai dish I could think of, and has numerous photographs of the food to thoroughly tempt you. There are also many vegetarian dishes available. Quick fact: The word “Thailand” means “Land of the free.”


I ordered the Pad Thai lunch special, which is kind of like ordering a hamburger in an American restaurant or pasta in an Italian restaurant. If they can’t do Pad Thai well nothing on the menu is going to pass muster. Quick Fact: Pad Thai is the national dish of Thailand and was popularized by the prime minister in the 1930s and 1940s as a way to promote national unification but also to cut down on rice consumption during a shortage.


The hostess asked how hot I would like the Pad Thai to be and I said “Hot.” She countered with asking, “From one to five, one being mild and five being really hot?” I went with “four” just to be safe. Quick fact: a Thai chili can range from 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville units while jalapeños average 2,500 to 8,000.


The first item to arrive was a cup of soup. If you have never had a Thai soup with the coconut-based broth you have got to try it! It isn’t sweet like you may think, but is savory and includes things like kaffir lime leaves (a fragrant citrus flavor with perfumey overtones), galangal (a slightly medicinal flavored cousin of ginger), chili peppers and basil. Oh my, I love them all! Tings has several very good soups. Quick fact: Almost 95 percent of Thailand’s population is Buddhist.


The Pad Thai showed up quickly. I ordered the shrimp version which contains shrimp, rice noodles scrambled eggs, bean sprouts, tofu, peanuts, cilantro, lime, chili peppers, soy and fish sauce.


The Pad Thai was full of my favorite flavors. The dish was not only hot in temperature but also had just the right amount of chili burn. I was sweating but still could enjoy all of the flavors.


Everything was cooked perfectly and the contrasting tastes and textures made me so happy that I actually smiled as I ate. Quick fact: The country of Thailand is larger than Spain but smaller than Texas.


The price is slightly higher than the other Thai restaurants in the county, but with the elegant interior, high quality of the food, free Internet access and convenient location it is worth it. My lunch special with a beer cost $20 including tip.


Last quick fact: Everyone can find something they will enjoy at Ting’s.


Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .

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