My favorite little Thai place

If you live near Forest Grove, OR, you should make the drive out to Pac Thai. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Pac Thai by a good friend in 2012. Since, it’s become an addiction. A delicious, delicious addiction.

One of the things that I love most about Pac Thai is the staff. It’s a family owned restaurant in the truest sense. Besides the owners, the others who work there are warm and friendly, remembering regulars and very helpful to newbies. PT is actually the first place that I feel I have achieved regular status. There is one girl who, in the nicest way, gives me a hard time when I order the same thing every time she waits my table. What’s my usual?

Pad Thai

Amazing on a plate. My mouth is watering just looking at this photo. Not kidding.

Pad Thai. Does that not look delicious? Aren’t you hungry now? I go back and forth between wanting it with shrimp or chicken. I have also enjoyed the ginger lover (first a little tongue-in-cheek after telling one of my best friends–who happens to be ginger–about the dish), and broccoli with oyster sauce. The one thing that I have yet to try is the curry. I have heard nothing but raves about it, but for some reason (okay, I’m a little scared of how spicy it might be) I haven’t brought myself to do it yet. Part of it is that I am a huge sucker for noodle dishes. It is what I love most about Asian cuisines. Noodles in so many sauces, and almost none of them dairy based! Worry free eating! But I digress.

What also makes PT a fun place to eat is the local community. If you don’t know, Forest Grove is a small place. It has that lovely small town feel. So every time you go in, it’s a little like stopping into a local diner, seeing familiar faces (even if you don’t know their names) and for most of the year, students of the nearby Pacific University (my alma mater–a little aside: I love that I can say that now! I graduated! Ok, I’m done.). It just a fun place to go with friends and hang out, chat over some really good food.

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Good Mexican food is hard to find

Growing up in Southern California, I’ve grown accustomed to a certain level of Mexican food. I’m used to authentic, hearty dishes. I’m used to hand-pressed corn tortillas, perfectly seasoned meat with just the right kick, and fresh-cut salsa. Since moving to Oregon, that’s been a hard find. Granted, I live in a fairly Hispanic town, there just aren’t a lot of places that meet my standards.

One place I have been and loved is La Estrella in Forest Grove. They make wonderful tacos and have a killer salsa bar. Because of my lactose intolerance I haven’t been able to try other dishes, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. What I also love about the restaurant is how “hole-in-the-wall” it feels. It’s not a big place, and every time I’ve been there, there haven’t been many other patrons (but I also tend to go in sort of off times and it’s in a small town). In California, I never went to places that had this feel. Most places were part of chains or still done up like a chain restaurant. The notable exceptions were Harbor House in Seal Beach and a place friends took me to in San Clemente when I visited in March. Both were great places with good food.

Last night, I once again got to have some great, authentic Mexican food. My alma mater hosts a Visiting Writers Series where authors come to campus and give readings. Beforehand, a dinner for the author is held with some students and faculty. Last night was one such dinner, this time catered by a small family company called La Surianita out of Forest Grove. It was delicious. I wish I could have snapped some photos of my plate to share with you all, but I was hungry and I had been in the amazing smelling room for probably 20 minutes already. There were the standard rice and beans, and there was also a choice between chicken, fish, steak, and the veggie option of mushrooms. I had the chicken and the mushrooms. Both were good, but the mushrooms…oh man. So, so good. Really, I love a good mushroom more than most any other foods. In fact, I’ll likely devote an entire post to them soon. I like love them that much.

Anyways, the dinner was fab and I would definitely recommend them if you’re in the market for some good catering. (The number on their card is 503-357-2664.) I’ve also heard that they have a booth at the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market. I will have to confirm this for myself next week. I really hope they have mushrooms.