May 7, 2010
When Kevin of kevinEats invited me to a food blogger/PR dinner at Nakkara last week, I was ecstatic. The opportunity to meet and mingle with Kevin and other Los Angeles food bloggers in person seemed like a fun experience. Plus, I was on vacation – what better way to relax than to eat a good meal with individuals of similar interests?
Of our party of six, I was last to arrive (I’m usually very prompt! I blame my lateness on the lack of metered parking in the area). I walked into the dining room and recognized a few familiar faces – Danny of Kung Food Panda and Diana of Diana Takes A Bite, both of whom I first met through Yelp, and Kevin and Christina of Food Je T’aime, whom I recognize from their online accounts. The last member of our party was Amy of The Roaming Belly, whom I got to know throughout the course of the night.
For this dinner, Nakkara organized a special 13-course Thai inspired meal that showcased a variety of their dishes, both on and off menu.
Nakkara Mieang Kum – Toasted coconut, cashew nut, dried shrimp, diced lime, ginger, Thai chili, red onion, mieng sauce.
We started with the light mieang kum, a lettuce wrapped bundle of coconut, cashews, dried shrimp and lime. They recommended eating it one bite; however, I just couldn’t do it (surprising, I know – I do have a pretty big mouth). Therefore, I think I was table to taste each flavor more distinctly. The bite with the tiny wedge of lime was my favorite – a sharp tart citrus to offset the pile of toasted coconut.
The next two courses – the filet mignon skewer in a green curry sauce and the garlic lamb – were particularly tasty because of the preparation of their respective proteins. A simple dish is so easily ruined by poor meat preparation, but there was nothing to worry about here – both were moist and tender.
The fourth course, a duck spring roll, was reminiscent of Peking duck, especially due to the inclusion of the hoisin sauce.
Big Surprise! – Shrimp, squid, crabmeat, coconut milk, red curry paste.
The Big Surprise had a table consensus of being one of the favorites of the night. A custom created metal serving plate from Thailand was used to serve individual sized balls of crab, shrimp and squid. The red curry and coconut milk were flavorful and helped keep the shredded crab meat moist.
We continued our 13-meal course with two soups for our 6th and 7th course. Similar in taste, the tom kha soup included coconut milk while the tom yum soup was a clear hot and sour broth. Both were typical of soups one would find at any standard Thai restaurant.
If you’ve never had green papaya salad, I would say that the one at Nakkara is a good representation of what a Thai green papaya salad should taste like. I liked the crunch of the green beans with the unripe papaya. Plus, the salad had just enough heat to get your tongue tingling but not overwhelm you with spice.
Crying Tiger – Flame grilled rib eye steak, dried chili pepper sauce.
The Crying Tiger was my other favorite dish of the night. The steak was cooked medium rare (the only way to cook a steak!) and topped with a tangy, peppery sauce. I distinctly remember the dish being served cold, although I’m not quite sure if it was supposed to be that way or if we just spent too much time photographing it.
The last four entrees of this 13-course meal came out, family style, around the same time as the Crying Tiger. The catfish was moist and flaky. The soft shell crab was paired with a rich red curry sauce. The fried rice had just enough beef and shrimp for each member of our table. The seafood pad thai was overflowing with seafood.
Mango and sweet sticky rice.
We ended our meal with mango with sweet sticky rice. Seeing that I haven’t seen many mangoes at the market (granted, I don’t go to the market all that often), I was hesitant about the ripeness of the mango. I shouldn’t have been – these were soft, juicy and sweet, without any gristle or stringiness. It was perfect with the sweet sticky rice.
As you can tell, I had a great time at my first official food blogger/PR dinner. Thanks again to Kevin for putting it together and thanks to all my fellow food bloggers for their delightful company!