I don’t often do “revisit” posts unless something goes REALLY haywire with a place. Day-to-day stuff I post on Instagram and the bigger, more important, or newsworthy stuff I post here. My second visit to Sen Pad Thai resulted in more thoughts about this place — too much to cram into an Instagram post — so I put it up here. Enjoy.
The newest Angus An venture, Sen Pad Thai, opened up a couple weeks ago (early May 2017) in the Net Loft building across from the Granville Island Public Market. (It’s the same building that houses Paper-Ya.) The whole Angus An group of restaurants has had a busy season. Only two weeks previous, Freebird Chicken Shack reopened in a larger space at River Market (New West) with a revamped menu. I’ve written about this group of restaurants before:
- “First Look: Juicy, Delicately-Seasoned Rotisserie Chicken at Freebird Chicken Shack in New West”
- “Fat Meh Noodles: An Early Review of Fat Mao Noodles”
- “Longtail Kitchen – New Fall Menu” (2013)
- “Longtable Dinner at Longtail Kitchen: Authentic Malaysian Cuisine by Alex Chen” (2014)
- “Getting My Tail Kicked at Longtail Kitchen” (2014)
- “Steel & Oak x Longtail Kitchen: You Got Red Pilsner in My Green Curry! You got Green Curry in my Red Pilsner!” (2014)
- “I Choo Choo Choose You at Longtail Kitchen” (2015)
- “What its like being a small part of a food TV show: You Gotta Eat Here (Longtail Kitchen Episode)” (2015)
I’ve also been to Maenam a couple times (before I started this blog), so I think I have a bit of a tough love kind of relationship with the whole group. I hold them to high standards (if you flaunt Michelin-star experience, then I must watch for attention to detail, technique, consistency, and above all, taste — actually, those are my criteria all the time). If those high standards aren’t met, it kills me inside as a fan and as a customer.
So does Sen Pad Thai fall into the homerun category (Longtail Kitchen), underappreciated but mildly inconsistent category (Freebird), or the not-good-enough-out-of-the-gate-wouldn’t-go-back category (Fat Mao)? Read on…
As you might know, I wear my love for Longtail Kitchen on my sleeve. It’s the more casual and affordable version of Maenam (who still have an awful Flash-based website). I was less enthralled with Fat Mao, their other restaurant. But on December 1, after several months of gestation, Angus & Co. opened up Freebird Chicken Shack at River Market in New West. It’s the same mini-Granville Island market that houses Longtail Kitchen and Re-Up BBQ. With a tight, focused menu, does Freebird bring my dreams of hawker stall-style eating to the Lower Mainland?
Kin Kao on Commercial Drive was the first Thai restaurant in Vancouver to serve Sour Cured Pork Ribs that are fermented with cooked rice for a few days then deep fried. I love the sour tang (similar to flavours in some kinds of charcuterie), and it’s excellent with beer! (You can read my review of Kin Kao here.)
Recently, Longtail Kitchen started serving their own version that had a more pronounced sour tang:
View this post on Instagram
Longtail now has those Thai sour cured ribs! They call them "Country Fermented Dry Ribs". If the idea of deep fried ribs with a sour tang doesn't scare you, then you will be justly rewarded. I love these. With beer, of course. #longtailkitchen #ribs #dryribs #thaifood #newwest #rivermarket #curedribs #thairibs
A relatively light day, but no less satisfying:
- Highland Park Brewery / The Hermosillo (Highland Park)
- Ruen Pair (Thaitown)
In the previous two days of our trip, I was dazzled by the variety of beers available. I was at times paralyzed by choice! A good problem to have, I guess. Today, we scaled it back a bit.
- Golden Road Brewing (Glendale)
- Night + Market Song (Silverlake)
Bit too much beer the night before, so we started out a bit lighter on this day then ramped it up 😉
- Yung Ho (San Gabriel)
- Bhan Kanom Thai (Thaitown)
- Father’s Office (Santa Monica)
It was a massive 10-day vacation in Los Angeles around Easter long weekend where we visited ~32 food/beer places. We brought Wicca’s mom there for the annual Qingming Festival (Ching Ming aka Tomb-Sweeping Day) because Wicca’s maternal grandparents are interred in one of the Chinese cemeteries there. We also did a whole lot on our own, so let’s jump into it!
I’ve split this trip report into sections this time (click on the days to view the post). I’ve added stars (*) to places that I felt were the best experiences of the trip:
- Summer Rolls Nem Nuong (Rosemead)
- In-n-Out Burger (Rosemead)
- Stone Company Store (Pasadena)
- Congregation Ale House (Pasadena)*
- Yung Ho (Taiwanese Breakfast in San Gabriel)
- Bhan Kanom Thai (Thai desserts in Thaitown)
- Father’s Office (Santa Monica)*
- Golden Road Brewing (Glendale)*
- Night + Market Song (Silverlake)
- Quan Ngon Nha Trang (San Gabriel)
- Fugetsu-do Sweet Shop (Little Tokyo)
- Far Bar (Little Tokyo)
- Angel City Brewery (Little Tokyo/DTLA)
- Wurstkuche (Little Tokyo/DTLA)*
- Pie Hole (Little Tokyo/DTLA)*
- Pizzanista (Arts District)
- Highland Park Brewery / The Hermosillo (Highland Park)*
- Ruen Pair (Thaitown)*
- Philippe The Original (Chinatown)
- Buu Dien Banh Mi (Chinatown)
- The Bruery (Placentia)*
- Garden Cafe (Alhambra)
- Ocean Star Restaurant (Monterey Park)
- Qingming Festival (aka Ching Ming)
- Saigon Flavor (San Gabriel)
- George’s Liquor (San Gabriel)
- Boba Ave 8090 (San Gabriel)
- Elysian Food + Bar (Glendale)*
- Phantom Carriage (Carson)
- Smog City (Torrance)*
- Hwal Uh Kwang Jang (Koreatown)
- Brodard Chateau (Little Saigon)
- Thach Che Hien Khanh (Little Saigon)
- Asian Garden Mall (Little Saigon)*
- Beer Belly (Koreatown)*
- Banh Cuon Hai Nam Saigon (San Gabriel)
If you read from the beginning, it sort of tells a story. But enjoy in any order you want!
Wicca and I sometimes differ on restaurants. Some I like more than she does (Alibi Room), and of course she has her own preferences and favourites. One place we BOTH agree on is Longtail Kitchen with their punchy, powerful Thai flavours in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. We find it quite easy to make the effort to drive out to New West, even though everyone we talk to groans about how far it is.
Longtail put on a special Valentine’s Day menu for $55 per person, so we went and here’s what happened!
I was both excited and nervous about trying the newest Thai restaurant on Commercial Drive, Kin Kao. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I have the highest regard for Longtail Kitchen in New West. But Kin Kao is closer to my house and also has good beer…it feels I’m being unfaithful to my spouse. Are the menus different enough so that I can frequent both places? Do I have anything to worry about? Do I need to make sure I don’t have glitter all over my clothes when I get home?