On a recent early Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were driving around downtown Mount Vernon looking for lunch.
Where to go? Been there and done Skagit Valley Brewery and the Co-op. But ah. The Thai House was open -- with no parking in front.
It was the good sign we were looking for.
Entering Thai House is like entering a piece of ginger root, in a good way. The walls and booths are done in a soothing, warm amber tone, a fountain softly gurgles somewhere, and gentle Thai tunes play softly in the background.
I just wanted to melt into a booth and eat something hot and spicy right away. There apparently were many other people with the same plan, because the restaurant was humming with a lively lunch crowd.
My husband, Peter, and I scanned the robust menu. We both had the same idea: order from the chef's specialty section.
Peter zoomed in on the wasabi tuna ($15.99). He's a wasabi nut.
Curry sounded like the prescription I needed on this soggy afternoon, and I couldn't resist the green curry with avocado.
Avocado in curry? That seems different, I thought. The dish also contains asparagus, bell peppers, ginger and bamboo ($14.99).
We began with spring rolls from Thai House's extensive appetizer menu, which includes such offerings as chicken satay ($7.95); Thai House steamed dumplings of ground shrimp, chicken, garlic, water chestnuts and green onion, wrapped in wonton wrappers ($6.95); or crab Rangoon, five fried and wonton-wrapped yummies that mix cream cheese with crab and garlic ($6.95).
Our spring rolls were encased in a light and fluffy pastry, and the vegetables and mung bean noodles inside were hot. Perfect with the cool, sweet plum sauce. ($5.95).
Our entrees arrived just as we were finishing off the spring rolls. The aroma was pretty intoxicating. Pete's dish was artfully displayed, with the food rising high on the plate and topped off with a tuft of fried vegetables, looking like a party decoration.
Pete dug in and liked that the tuna was a thin cut, quickly seared, and that the wasabi was not in your face but more on the subtle side. He could breathe through his nose with no harsh consequences.
My dish was scrumptious, and it seriously provided three meals: lunch, and then Pete and I shared the leftovers with rice for dinner.
And the avocado in the green curry was generously chunked and in some kind of magical way kept its shape throughout the lifespan of this dish. It did not turn into guacamole.
The vegetables were fresh and crunchy, and the ginger-infused coconut-milk sauce seeped through my body like a health wave.
According to the Thai House website, the restaurant has been family owned since 1999, the cuisine features all-natural herbs and ingredients, and local produce is used in all of the entrees. The food contains no MSG, the website says.
Executive chef Pen Sritong is originally from Bangkok. Her culinary career took her to Vail, Colo., in 1990 where she became a protege of several elite chefs.
Pete and I hope Chef Pen continues her restaurant and her creative flair for food for some time to come so that the next time we are in downtown Mount Vernon on a soggy October Sunday, we can drive right to Thai House, and maybe even get a parking place in front.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; firstname.lastname@example.org.
616 S. First St., Mount Vernon; 360-336-2966 www.thaihousemv.com/
Specialty: Thai food with vegan and vegetarian options.
Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; dinner, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays. Dinner is served all day from noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 8:30 p.m. Sundays.
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