Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where we eat: Tampa Thai Temple, Saffron, Andy D. and Omo

Today is Sunday, a big day in the Tampa area. Sunday is the day that Tampa's Thai Temple, Wat Mongkolratanaram, is open for business. Aside from offering worship opportunities in the Temple (remember to remove your shoes) the Wat Mongkolratanaram families have a lot of very cheap, traditional Thai food on sale. The food is unlike anything you would see in a Thai restaurant. Even something as ubiquitous as Pad Thai looked much different served on a porch alongside the Palm River. The only disappointment was the lack of vegetarian options. The temple offered a variety of fish dishes and pork but the vegetarians were limited to fried bananas, Tofu Pad Thai, salad, or dessert. Maybe that wasn't a bad thing as the bananas and Pad Thai were delicious.
Deep Fried Bananas

Tofu Pad Thai

Another Tampa fare that J-Fur and I consumed recently was Saffron Indian Cuisine. This small restaurant located in the Cross Creek strip mall was very dark and romantic upon entering. Normally J-Fur and I have very different tastes so we both order something separate. This works out for me because I get to taste two different menu items (she almost always shares) but because she doesn't eat spicy food, she usually declines my offer for a taste test. Perhaps it was the romanticism in Saffron or the feeling that we hadn't seen each other much the last few days. Or maybe it was the sheer amount of food that we would get. Whatever the reason we decided to order Saffron's vegetarian dinner for two. For twenty-two dollars we received two soups, two appetizers, bread, two entrees, and two desserts. This was a good deal even if the food didn't taste good.The quality of the food only made the deal even better.

For starters we received a spicy tomato soup (something that I am going to have to try to emulate at home), vegetable samosa, bhel (puffed rice, tomatoes, onions, and chickpeas), and papdi chat (flour chips with potatoes, onions, and chickpeas). For the main course I ordered the Bombay aloo (potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cooked in a clay pot). J-Fur requested the Chana Masala (which thankfully did not have too much cilantro). To top it off, the dessert of the night was Gajar Halwa (a pudding made of carrots, cheese, milk, nuts, and cardamom). The dessert was the only part of the dinner that I did not enjoy. Due to the dark nature of the restaurant (and the fact that I only had my point and shoot camera along) I was not able to capture any really good pictures. The only somewhat decent picture is this shoot of the sauce platter they brought out:

One of J-Fur's favorite Thai things is their tea. Unfortunately for her the Thai Temple only offered sweetened tea and she just can't do that. So she missed her tea break that day. Omo, an indie rock band from London on Lo Alternative Frequencies won't be missing their "Tea Break" anytime soon. "Tea Break" comes from the bands latest release, The White Album, which hit stores last Monday. To purchase or listen to the full album go here (which is the same as above).

Omo-Tea Break

Thanks to My Old Kentucky Blog for introducing me to Andy D. He reminds me a lot of another Andy that I love a lot (Andrew W.K). I wonder what would happen if the two of them got on stage together? That would be a raucous event. Here is Andy D. doing "God loves drunk chicks." Perfect for the Sunday morning hangover. "Welcome to your NEW ADDICTION."

Andy D.-God Loves Drunk Chicks

Saffron Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon