1 Here I am with Andy Ricker - the chef/owner of Pok Pok and Hannah Milman - MSLO's SVP, Exec Editorial Director, Crafts. Andy opened his first restaurant, the original Pok Pok, in Portland, Oregon in 2005. He now runs multiple restaurants on both coasts.
2 Hannah is friends with Matthew Adams - director of operations at Pok Pok NYC. Posing with Matthew and Andy
3 Hannah and Matthew - We had all been wanting to dine at Pok Pok and we were very happy that this evening finally came to be.
4 We were seated at the best table in the house right below Hing Phra, the house altar. Here I am with Hannah Millman, Ian Berry, and Kate Berry. Kevin Sharkey was taking the photo.
5 Hannah's camera purse!
6 This is the Hing Phra. Upon the altar is a Buddha statue, placed by Monks during an opening ceremony. The offerings to the Buddha often include fruit, rice, flowers, and something to drink.
7 The Pok Pok Bar
8 A simple setting at the bar – Thai melamine side plates, stainless steel water cups, and the standard Thai table setting of a spoon and a fork - the spoon is used for eating the food and the fork is used to push the food onto the spoon.
9 This is Nang kwak, the beckoning lady, bringing good fortune to the business. An offering of water and candy is placed next to her.
10 And this doll, holding a water jar, is a symbol of welcome. There's also a bunch of very tasty whiskey on the shelf!
11 Beer Lao, the national beer of Laos, is made in a government-owned and run brewery. This lager is widely considered one of the best, if not the best, beers in Southeast Asia.
12 Bowls were brought to the table with bags of Thua Thawt Samun Phrai, which are house-roasted red peanuts with kaffir lime leaf, dry chiles, fried garlic, and sea salt.
13 Thua Thawt Samun Phrai, a very tasty concoction, is a common bar snack in Thailand.
14 This tasty dish is Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings with Vietnamese table salad - cu cai (pickled carrot and daikon), cucumbers, lettuce and rau ram (Vietnamese coriandar). Pok Pok uses traditional and not commonly found herbs, giving an authentic flavor to the dishes.
15 The chicken wings were great with a nice cold beer!
16 Andy Ricker is considered to be one of the leading American voices on Thai cooking and he now has a much-anticipated debut cookbook of 70 of the most popular recipes from Thailand and his Pok Pok restaurants. These bottles are Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar.
17 We were given a sampler of Pok Pok Som drinking vinegars - Thai Basil, Ginger, Pineapple, Honey, Pomegranate and Tamarind. Mixed with 4 parts soda water to one part drinking vinegar, it makes an excellent aperitif. Drinking vinegar for health reasons is an age-old practice around the world. These were all delicious and refreshing!
18 We ordered Laap Pet Isaan - Minced Duck salad (laap) from the northeast of Thailand, with lots of herbs, toasted rice powder, lemongrass, and fried duck tongue. The flavors were deeply intense and good.
19 Laap Meuang - Northern Thai minced pork salad (laap) with complex spice mixture, pork offal, fried pork skins, fried garlic and shallots, and herbs. Wow!
20 Raw vegetables and herbs to eat with the laap. The purple stem is from the lotus plant. Also on the plate - Thai olive leaf (sour), Thai basil, khao tong (fish herb), phak phai (rau ram in Vietnamese), rice paddy herb, cucumber, napa cabbage, and Thai eggplant.
21 This is Plaa Thawt Yam Boraan - Deep fried whole local porgy with "ancient" salad of green mango, carrot, toasted coconut, lemongrass, chiles, and peanuts in a roasted chile paste dressing.
22 Naa Kin! I really enjoyed this dish!
23 We also had Kung Op Wung Sen - prawns baked in a clay pot and topped with glass noodles.
24 Kate and Kevin - Naa rak, meaning cute!
25 Kevin enjoyed the Whiskey Soda Float - cola with bourbon ice cream!
26 We also enjoyed an ice cream sandwich - coconut-jackfruit ice cream (no dairy, just coconut cream, sugar, and jackfruit) in a bun lined with sweet sticky rice, with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate syrup drizzled on top, sprinkled with peanuts. It's another very common street snack in Thailand.
27 The specials board at Pok Pok NY
28 After a fun and delicious meal, I left with this farewell - "Sawaat Dii Khrap, Khun Martha. Thanks for coming to Pok Pok NY!"