Saturday, July 4, 2009

Why I love America

Here are the top 10 reasons why I love America.

10. In Thailand we have no snow or ice. In America I have an 80-year-old neighbor named Larry who gets up early when it snows so he can shovel my walk. Larry has never charged me for this. Larry even shovels my walk before he does his. Larry says I work too much and he doesn't want me to slip and break my leg. Larry is a big part of why I love America.

9. In Thailand my friends kept telling me I was gaining weight. Larry's wife keeps telling me I need to gain weight. I like Larry and his wife a lot.

8. America has better Italian restaurants than Thailand.

7. In Thailand I was told I needed to learn to cook to get a husband. In America I got to earn degrees in Business Administration and Nursing. And I still get to cook!

6. In America I can dress up like Uncle Sam for the 4th of July. In Thailand they arrest you if you dress up like the King.

5. In Thailand there are countless great Thai restaurants. In America, not so many and that's good for my business.

4. The United States is not next to Burma. You don't know how lucky you are!

3. There is no Mall of Thailand.

2. In America, I learned how to blog. None of my friends in Thailand had heard of blogs before I started Anna's True Thai News!

And the #1 reason why Anna loves America? Because in Thailand I would not get to celebrate the 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

L.A. vegan restaurants fail ingredients test

Easily one of the biggest problems with trying to run a vegetarian-friendly restaurant is knowing what's in your ingredients. Mr. Meaner at Los Angeles food blog quarrygirl had the food from 17 L.A. vegan restaurants tested and seven of them failed due to the presence of casein and other prohibited substances.

No one takes their food more seriously than vegans and few "foodies" are more unforgiving in their criticism of restaurants. For most diners a bad meal is not the end of the world. For vegans, even a good meal can trigger unpleasant comments if they believe they were fed ingredients they find unacceptable. What should a restaurant owner do?

If you say you are a vegan restaurant, you are committing yourself to very strict standards. Keeping kosher is easy by comparison. Let me be very clear about this: True Thai is neither vegan or kosher! We have only one set of plates, and we use commercial ingredients over which we have no control but which we trust to be wholesome. We keep our prices low by keeping things simple, and running a vegan kitchen in a restaurant that serves meat, fish and eggs is next to impossible.

But I have been thinking about this challenge for a long time now. I would love to partner with some serious vegetarians to review True Thai's ingredients so we can offer a vegetarian menu that offers honest options to people who care deeply about their diet. In doing so I would hope to educate vegetarians about the realities of restaurant kitchens even as they educate me on the ways meat, fish and eggs sneak into other foods.

Many people think that Buddhists are all vegetarians, and that Buddhist countries like Thailand are havens for non-meat eaters. That is not true. Lord Buddha never commanded his followers to be vegetarians, and many forms of Buddhism allow monks to eat meat and/or fish. Even the Dalai Lama eats meat on occasion, although he teaches that vegetarianism is to be aspired to.

Americans, however, are nothing if not passionate. I know many Thai vegetarians and for them avoiding meat is either a duty or a goal, but either way the important thing is the effort.

True Thai has received complaints about our food from vegetarians. In some cases the criticism was warranted. Our biggest problem is in communication. We try but fail to make sure all our servers understand the issues involved, but for many of them there is simply too much involved in keeping track of all the different rules for all the different kinds of vegetarians. A special menu would help and I invite serious vegetarians with knowledge of food ingredients to email me to see if we can work together to solve the challenge of making True Thai more vegetarian friendly.

If you visit True Thai at night or on the weekends, and if you're not sure about what's in one of our dishes, please ask for me and I'll be glad to help you as best I can.

My friend Brenda Langton takes vegetarianism very seriously and loves True Thai as much as I love her restaurant, Café Brenda.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

C.S.I. True Thai!

My favorite customer has made a YouTube video I want you all to watch.

I love this video! I got to meet "Myron" for the first time last night and he is quite the charmer. After watching this exciting video I think his friend "Olga" is also very very cute.

I don't watch much TV but I have seen some of the C.S.I shows and I like "Myron's" the best of all.