A Thai Goodbye

I was all set to write about the new coffeehouse that opened up in the former art gallery space next to the Please Touch Museum recently—I even had photos!—but we ended up taking Hannah out for dinner tonight after work, and I feel like writing about that now instead.

Hannah had recommended Chabaa Thai Bistro in Manayunk to me a few weeks ago, and Al and I had noted its location when we were in Manayunk a couple days later picking out tile for our bathroom remodel (more about that in a later post), but we had yet to make it out there for a meal. Well, tonight it seemed like the perfect place to go for a last-day-of-work dinner.

Of course, I'd eaten an incredibly late (and incredibly large) lunch, so I wasn't the least bit hungry, and The Beaner kept repeating "no Thai food, no Thai food, no Thai food!" all the way to Manayunk, but in the former case, that just gave Al some cover to order more than one entree and take the leftovers home, and in the latter, we just replied, "ok, no Thai food. We'll just have noodles and rice."

The decision to go out to dinner was a late one, and we didn't call ahead to make a reservation. We totally lucked out, however, in that the host agreed to squeeze us in before an 8:00 reservation. (He was at first reluctant to do so because he didn't want to hurry us, but we assured him we could eat in under an hour, and we did. It's not like you can linger over a bottle of wine when you have a toddler with you... and in any case, we didn't bring one with us to this BYOB.)

Since I wasn't hungry, I only sampled tiny amounts of the food, but I can attest to its freshness and especially its flavorfulness (is that a word?). Our waiter was friendly and efficient, and he and the restaurant totally win points for bringing The Beaner's Thai Fried Rice with Tofu out first, as if it were an appetizer. The intimate venue is definitely better for a couple or a foursome of grown-ups than for a family with small children, but we were made to feel just as welcome as any other diners.

Al had the Chabaa salad, which was like no Thai shrimp salad I've ever seen, with fresh mesclun mix, huge jumbo shrimp with a light brush of sweet-spicy glaze, baby corn, pineapple, peppers, and broccoli. I horked one of his shrimp, and it was delicious. Hannah ordered the Pinapple Fried Rice with Chicken, and it was presented as an enormous cylinder with the grilled chicken on top. Gorgeous (and delicious, according to Hannah). The Beaner had the aforementioned Thai Fried Rice, which he really enjoyed. He ate the broccoli and the cucumbers (which he calls pickles), and then he begged some pineapple from Hannah before snarfing down the rice. He wasn't so interested in the tofu tonight.

As for me, I ordered Al's second entree, the Pad Thai with Tofu, and basically let it sit there while I helped The Beaner manage his rice and vegetables. I finally tried a forkful and found it, too, to be fresh and tasty (and not at all pasty). When The Beaner was done with his rice he had a few forkfuls of pad Thai as well and seemed to really enjoy them.

Dessert was a pineapple ice cream made with coconut milk (and served in a frozen baby pineapple); the texture reminded me of the coconut milk-banana-blueberry ice cream that Matt made for us up in Maine this summer. The Beaner LOVED it.

When we left the restaurant, I said to The Beaner, "Thai food is pretty good after all, eh?" He shook his head and said, "no Thai food!" I said, "oh right, you just had rice and noodles." I think there are likely more fabulous rice and noodles in his future—especially if Chabaa offers takeout.

Oh, and that goodbye? As Hannah herself said the beautiful card she gave us at dinner, "it's not goodbye. It's just a change in the frequency of hellos."

hannah and the beaner at chabaa thai

Posted by Lori in food and parenthood and philadelphia at 11:01 PM on November 10, 2006



I didn't realize it was Hannah's last day already. I walked behind her for a couple of blocks along 19th street yesterday afternoon, and I didn't say hi because I didn't recognize her until she, her companion, and El Senor Bean had crossed the street ahead of me (we were turning).

Posted by: ratphooey [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 7:27 AM

Chabaa's my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood. It can be rough with a baby indoors, but it's nice sitting outside for lunch. And you can't beat the takeout.

Posted by: girlfiend at November 11, 2006 10:02 AM

I was just saying that to Al last night after I wrote the post that I bet it'd be easier with a kid at lunchtime. And good to know that they *do* have a takeout option! One of us would totally drive out to Manayunk for good Thai.

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 10:08 AM

We love Chabaa Thai; our last au pair, who was from Thailand, said it was very authentic. It's not too far from us so we're really happy it's there. I particularly enjoy the green curry, personally.

Posted by: webhill at November 11, 2006 8:13 PM

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