I’ve been hearing lots of stuff about Thai Fresh lately; it’s rumored to have fresh, home cooked Thai food that’s simply delicious, and it’s locally owned. Hearing about this relatively new Thai restaurant piqued my interest- good food, cooking classes, a grocery store. Why had it taken me so long to get there? I was definitely going to have to get together with Bonnie for another Lazygirl and LiveMom adventure!
Originally, Bonnie and I we were going to meet at The Fiddler’s Hearth for our next adventure, but we had heard that they closed down. It was unfortunate news because they were family friendly. And they had beer. Darn… sad to have missed out on that one, as there aren’t many family friendly beer joints around. If you happen to know of any more in the area, let me know! With Fiddler’s Hearth closed, we were on to the next place that was on my list: Thai Fresh on West Mary.
It was the first week of May and already hot in the Lone Star State. I walked in to find Bonnie and her adorable little boy, Sam, waiting for us. As I took a moment to adjust my body temperature from super hot to normal, I noticed the cooling ambience of the place. The stained concrete floors were painted in subdued orange and green tones, while the bright green and red walls made me think of a far away, tropical place where ceiling fans circulating the air were all the air conditioning that one needs. The rustic farmhouse style tables and a wall-to-wall shelf holding ingredients for more Thai food to come convinced me that this place was very well thought out and was built with lots of love.
As you walk into the restaurant, a deli case with your choice of food for the day greets you. The kitchen is directly behind the case, open for patrons to see Jam, the owner of Thai Fresh, hard at work preparing the food for the day. She cooks up dishes with seasonal ingredients from local farms, including the meat that is also raised locally. You can choose one, two or three entrees, depending on how hungry you are. I was going to pick three, simply because everything looked so good, but I reminded myself that my eyes are always bigger than my stomach. I was there to enjoy my lunch, not to get sick from eating too much!
Looking back, I realize that I should have taken notes. In any ethnic restaurant, I should never rely solely on my memory alone, because I can’t remember what anything that I ate was called now. But thanks to Bonnie’s wonderful eye and photo taking ability, here’s what I ordered:
Bonnie ordered Pad Thai and Green Curry (she either has a better memory or is much wiser to the names of Thai food dishes than I am), and shared it with Sam, who was happily wandering around, playing with the selection of toys that are available to entertain the kids. Sam found a little wagon to pull around and another toy that you push to make noise. There were a handful of customers in the restaurant at the time and none of them seemed to mind the noise of our kids running around. That’s a nice thing, because going out to eat in an environment where your kids are expected to act like grown-ups can be incredibly stressful! Not so here.
In addition to the fresh food, they also have a little grocery store, where you’ll find specialty Thai food ingredients (if you want to have a go at making what you’ve just eaten at Thai Fresh in the comfort of your own home), local meats, and fresh, seasonal produce.
One of my choice of entrees that I picked was a bit spicy, while the other was just tasty enough to please a picky two year old. That’s one of the other things that is really cool about this place- sharing with your kids has never been easier, as you can order several different entrees to please everyone’s taste buds. Typically, when I order Thai food, I can only get one entree, and if I want it spicy, a problem is created because it’s usually too spicy to share with my kids (they are wimps). Having a choice for more than one entree certainly solves that problem. Bonnie’s two entrees had a bit of a kick to them, but her kids like spicy food, so she was able to feed both of her entrees to Sam without any complaints!
The one thing that concerned me: It was lunch time and there were only, besides us, a few other people coming in to eat. Thai Fresh seems like it’s such a labor of love- both for the food that is created by the owner and for promoting and using the local resources that are available to Austinites. If you are in the mood for Thai food, make sure you head on over to Thai Fresh. There’s no other Thai food restaurant that I’ve ever been to that is creating sustainable food for the public like this place. Let’s support a local Austin woman (and a local Austin mama) who is working hard to make our lives a little better through the food that she’s cooking up! Excellent place…. can’t wait to go back. I certainly left content and more inspired to create fresh food at home that comes from local sources, to eat more Thai food in general, and to go back again and again!
Also, be sure to check out their website. There are a ton of recipes of the food that she makes in the restaurant available through the blog portion of the website. Plus, the pictures of the food are inspiration enough for deciding what to make for dinner!
All photos were taken by the incredibly talented Bonnie Berry- a local photographer who specializes in child, family, and wedding photography. Thai Fresh is located at 909 West Mary in Austin, Texas.