Tonight on New Year's Eve 2018, Don and I are at home in Texas... watching TV... remembering a year ago when we dined at a restaurant in Thailand. I cannot remember the name and this photo does not help me. I will call it Cafe on the Canal.
Remembering Our New Year's Eve Feast
Last year, we dined with our daughter-in-law, Chali’s family, while visiting their Bangkok home. The Cafe on the Canal, was just across the street from their house, in a cozy neighborhood, far from the touristy city.
Borrowing the Menu
It was nearly 10 pm when we thought about heading over for dinner.
From the Canal
It was dark when our group headed over for dinner. A few days before, we had seen the restaurant in daylight, while on a canal tour.
Tableful of Food
The canal-side deck was fairly quiet at 10 pm. The live music had already finished up and tables were beginning to clear, just as our table began to fill with food.
There were a few toasts to the New Year and a special toast for our daughter's fiance. Jamie was not feeling well and he was in bed, across the street..
Then we dug into our fabulous foods. It's impossible to remember all the dishes we devoured, but Linda chose well and we did not go hungry. I must have used about 50 tissue-type napkins, from the little dispenser..
While finishing up our meal, Chali and Scott got a surprise visit and a wedding gift.
The newlyweds were quite the neighborhood celebrities, since their Thai wedding (a few days before) had pretty much involved the whole neighborhood... starting with a procession in the street.
At some point a grandma appeared, showing off a 2 month old baby. Chali and Linda cooed and took photos. The whole evening felt like we were celebrating in someone's home.
After we were finished feasting, we decided it was time for the fish in the canal, to have their own feast. Chali's brother dashed home and came back with the giant (Van Gogh decorated) tub of popcorn, that I had lugged home that day, from a movie theatre in the city.
Post Meal Fun
With some World Leaders looking on from their portraits, we played quite a few ping pong matches. Luckily Linda had checked ahead of time and discovered no paddles & balls. She made sure we did some ping pong equipment shopping, earlier that day. We made good use!
Back in Time For Midnight
We finished up the matches, while the staff finished cleaning the dishes. Then we were back at the house in less than a minute. We cheered with champagne at midnight, then headed to the terrace to view the moon, which looked pretty full to me!
The Cafe on the Canal, saw us a few more times during our stay. Luckily Jamie's ailment lifted and he was able to feast on the incredible catfish dish that Heidi raved about. I can't remember specifics about the foods I ate, except that they were delicious and plentiful.
I so wish I could snap fingers and be right back there (with the whole bunch) on this quiet, New Year's Eve!
Authentic Northern Thai Cuisine
Here we are with our two families on Christmas Eve, at the beautiful Thai Buddhist wedding ceremony of our son and new daughter-in-law. No one is yawning in this photo, but a few of us had flown in from the States, just hours before the morning ceremony.
Huen Phen on December 26th
The day after Christmas, we rose early and flew to Chiang Mai. We were a hungry bunch by the time we arrived at Huen Phen. The house-like restaurant was packed at lunchtime so we waited outside.
Tired, Hungry and Smiling
Luckily our group was in pretty good spirits. I believe "the Bride" took this photo.
While waiting to be seated, I peeked around a little. I could tell the space was broken up with a few separate dining areas. I was amused with the odd rocking horse and thought about giving it a try.
There was a good view of the foods and the cooking action, from the sidewalk. But honestly, I could barely recognize any of the foods.
2 Rockin' Mamas
Our table still wasn't quite ready, so it seemed time to make use of that rocking horse. My son's new mother-in-law, Linda, had great horse sharing skills... and humor!
Serious About Menus
We were finally seated, in a small room, with just a few other tables. There was lots of light and quiet, which helped give us a chance to concentrate on the menu.
There were photos, which helped a tiny bit. There were words in English and that also helped a bit. Mostly, I was happy to let Linda and her family do the ordering.
Yes, we were a little tired, but I had no idea how serious we looked until I saw these photos. We look like we're gathered around a table, having a very important meeting. And I guess we were. Linda did an excellent job of telling us about our options. She busily worked with the pencil and order sheet.
A Full Table!
The food began to arrive and it was time for some serious dining.
I was pretty excited about the little things, like the woven boxes, with lids, that held rice... and the foods, displayed on large green leaves.
Then the bowls of Khao Soy arrived, with chicken and egg noodles and curry paste! This is the dish we'd been told about. It is the food, most connected with Chiang Mai's Northern Thai cuisine!
Fixing it Up!
Linda and her family helped guide the rest of us. We garnished our soup with sprigs of cilantro, shallots and squeezes of lime. The soup-like dish really was something to savor... tangy, with just enough spice!
For a while, my daughter-in-law, Chali disappeared and came back smiling. She chuckled about an odd restroom experience and I had to go see for myself. I headed through the other eating area, where I actually spotted some tourists. I wonder how they found the place?
I must have taken a different route, because I found a mysteriously festive area, that Chali hadn't mentioned. After exploring I returned to the table with my report. I had found a restroom, but it had a regular toilet, not a hole in the floor. Chali grinned with embarrassment, realizing she must have discovered the staff bathroom. However, I was pleased to announce that I had been quite impressed with the door peg that kept the bathroom door closed.
Restaurant adventures are so fun!
Off We Go!
After our feast we were energized for some touring. Our visit to Chiang Mai was pretty amazing, thanks to the best tour & food guides, ever!
Can't wait to go back!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.