Tag: Sausage

Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage)

Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Sai Ua (Chiang Mai Sausage) | Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Well friends, this is the last post from my time in Thailand. Although I’ve been gone from the country for a month and a half now, the fact is that after this post I’ll be done writing about it, looking at pictures constantly, revisiting notes, and all that. But in a way I saved the best for last.

As a birthday present for me, Kylie and Walt got the four of us a class at Ton Gluay Thai Culinary Heritage, a cooking school that Kylie found on a blog all about life in Chiang Mai. They contacted Ice, the woman who runs the school, and got us set upΒ for an afternoon class to take place at Ice’s house. The cool thing about thisΒ class is that instead of rushing you through making four different dishes, you pick one dish to make from scratch. One of the dishes we hadn’t yet made in any of our cooking classes was the infamous Chiang Mai sausage, or Sai Ua, that we had eaten (and loved) on many occasions. It was spicy and juicy, with strong flavors of cilantro and lemongrass. Now, I’ll admit that making sausage from scratch isn’t necessarily the most appealing thing to me – intestines have never been high on the list of parts I enjoy eating or handling. But I was determined to try something new! So the class was scheduled and we were on.

When Jonah and I pulled up to Ice’s house on our motorbike, she and her boyfriend Eric (from New Jersey) were sitting out front, waving us in. Perhaps the first thing you notice about Ice is her petite but incredibly strong frame – turns out she and Eric are starting a gym in Chiang Mai and do lots of weight training in their yard. But the second thing you quickly notice is her voice. Ice is Thai but studied in Scotland and has also spent some time in the U.S., and because of this her accent is fascinating and hard to place. The way she said “cool” was so great that eventually all four of us started repeating it after her. If you want too hear what I’m talking about, you can check out the podcast that Jonah and I have been making and listen to the episode that features Ice’s class.

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Restaurant review: Brunch at Ataula

Brunch at Ataula // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Brunch at Ataula // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Brunch at Ataula // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

I am writing this post while on hold with my health insurance company. I just thought you should know that. And it’s snowing outside. Little bitty flakes, nothing like the giant snowball-like flakes that fell for approximately 10 minutes yesterday here in Portland. But still. Snow.

A couple of weeks ago, when my dad and Darla came to town, we had to have the famous “where will we eat” discussion. Brunch was a big deal for us because I work on weekends, so brunch was the kind of normal meal we could eat. (We ate other normal meals, they were just very late, much later than normal dinnertime.) I had heard great things about Ataula, a new-ish tapas restaurant in NW Portland, and after glancing at their brunch menu, decided we should try it.

Having heard great things about Ataula, I expected it to be full – I mean, you know Portland at brunch. Or maybe you don’t, so I’ll just say that sometimes people wait an hour and a half or two hours for a good brunch. Seriously. Anyway, I was surprised and a little saddened that upon arrival at around 10:30, there were plenty of open tables. I nabbed one, and while we waited for Dad and Darla to arrive, we admired the space. The room is very open, and very bright thanks to two big skylights. I loved the decor, particularly the light fixtures – it felt like a kind of funky little bistro. Once my parents arrived, we got down to examining the menu. (Please forgive the crummy iPhone photos.)

Brunch at Ataula // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Brunch at Ataula // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Brunch at Ataula // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

We started healthy, with a light salad, and then moved onto the croquetas, or salt cod fritters, with aioli. The salad was dressed perfectly, and a great little start to the meal. The croquetas were lovely – really salty and fishy, perfectly crispy on the outside, and the aoili brought a nice touch of heat to the bite.

We got two “tortillas,” which were like a small frittata: one potato for the vegetarian among us, and one chorizo. Both were delicious, but I certainly preferred the chorizo, as I found the potato to be a little bland. The chorizo was better, with some spice and lots of flavor. I also really enjoyed the toasted bread rubbed with tomato that the tortillas came with.

We also enjoyed a sausage dish with catalan beans, shoestring fries, and pickled onions. I am not generally a big fan of sausage, but I really liked this dish. The sausage was cooked well, not too fatty, and very rich. The beans were delicious – I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of them, and the fries and onions were a nice little touch on the side.

Lastly, we went for something on the sweet side: churros with dipping chocolate. The churros didn’t have the crunch I usually like, and could have done with a bit more frying time. But the combination of the warm doughy churros with the dark, almost bitter dipping chocolate with fleur de sel was a great way to end the meal.

While I certainly enjoyed some aspects of the meal – namely the sausage dish and the croquetas – a few of the dishes seemed like they could benefit from a little more seasoning. I’m not sure I would go back for brunch, especially with the plethora of options in Portland for that weekend meal, but I would certainly like to try it again for dinner.