We began the pandemic getting takeout food only from places in our town or within a 20 minute or so drive. We then expanded our range to Bloomington and then to South Minneapolis. Now, more than three months in, we’ve finally made it up to St. Paul; and—with apologies to Joy’s Thai of Lakeville—we’ve finally eaten really good Thai food for the first time since this madness began. Yes, I drove up to University Avenue and picked up a box full of food for another socially distanced lunch on a deck with friends. A 50 minute drive to get there only to turn around and drive another 50 minutes back: but it was worth it.
I should say that Bangkok Thai Deli has joined the ranks of Twin Cities restaurants that have re-opened for dining-in since restrictions were eased in Minnesota. I believe they’ve been seating customers since the middle of June. They’re limited to 50% occupancy; and from what I could tell as I waited to pick up our food, diners are spaced well apart with one large empty table between every two seated tables.. Servers were in masks and there was no crowd in the waiting area. All of that is good, I suppose, but we are still very far away from feeling comfortable eating indoors—or for that matter, outdoors—at a restaurant. It’s going to be takeout-only for us for the foreseeable future.
What did we get? As with our orders from Grand Szechuan, we skipped dishes that are more likely to not fare very well on a long drive. So no noodle soups and indeed no noodle dishes per se. Instead, some grilled meats, a few salads, a couple of curries and a large bowl of tom yum soup. Other than the inevitable chicken satay for the boys (which they enjoyed as usual) we did not have any overlaps with our order from our last meal there in late February. Everything we ate was very good indeed but I’ll particularly praise the tom yum, the (very hot) Thai-style papaya salad and the clams pad-cha. To see what else we ate—and for a look at the restaurant with social distancing in place—launch the slideshow below.
At our last meal there we’d liked all the food too but were not thrilled about the fact that not everything came out as hot as we’d asked for it to be. On that occasion, of course, we were accompanied by a number of friends of the white persuasion. On this occasion, perhaps because I was a disembodied, Indian-accented voice ordering on the phone, everything that should have been hot was hot. And the things I’d asked for at the hottest setting (the papaya salad, the soup and the clams) were pretty hot. Always nice to sweat on a hot, sunny day.
Someday soon it will be a lot of fun to return to eat at Bangkok Thai Deli at their bustling norm but, as I said, I don’t know when that will be. Now that we’ve breached the borders of St. Paul though I suspect there’s a lot more University Avenue takeout in our future. Thai Cafe reopens on July 15, I believe—I could really go for some of their sour pork rib. We’ve also been jonesing for some Ethiopian and some Cambodian—I’m hoping Demera and Kolap are doing takeout. Oh, and we might need to cheat on El Triunfo with a bit of Homi goodness as well. I doubt all of that will appear in July but I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
I hope you’re all eating well too and eating safely and cautiously when you’re not eating home-cooked food.