My wedding anniversary meal is always a tricky one, as I have the pressure of finding the right place that with augment our love, and satisfy our two very different palettes. Having just returned from Thailand, I was missing the flavors of the land and my husband was missing his mango sticky rice (a food that he ate three times a day while we were there). We settled happily on Sister’s Kitchen in Grover Beach.
Ladda and Michael Pelypec started selling their wonderful Thai food at the farmers market a few years ago. People lined up, gobbled it up, and told them to open a restaurant. Their dream became reality with a fantastic restaurant, built like a food critics dream. The layout is open and airy so the diner can watch the dance of the chefs and see the fresh food being chopped and prepared as their mouths salivate from the aromas wafting over the glass partition.
We started with for Gai Moo Satay, a grilled chicken breast marinated in Thai sauces and served with a chunky peanut sauce and a Goong Tod, a huge shrimp deep fried in a wonton wrapper and served with that famous sweet and sour sauce. We sat at the counter and were mesmerized at the cooks, their woks, sauces, chopping, and plating. Ladda checks every dish before it goes out and adds a touch of her magic spices. Gary ordered his beloved mango sticky rice, which Ladda laid out to look like a heart with an arrow for our anniversary. The sticky jasmine rice is soaked with sweet coconut milk, and the Thai mango cut into slices. The whole dish is sprinkled with chopped minute peanuts and is so wholesome; I could eat it every day.
Our main courses were Pad Prig Geang, which is one of my favorite dishes. Every Thai restaurant does it different, but it is basically green beans and meat sautéed with a red curry paste. Sister Kitchen added kaffir lime leaves and a hint of red pepper to make this dish a tribute. You can order your food any level of fire you want here, which I like. I ordered this hot and was happy as the sweat poured down my forehead as I devoured it. We also shared a Khao Pad Poo, a stir fried rice with crabmeat, onion, carrot, garlic all topped with a fried egg. I find that when an egg is done correctly, it brings out the flavor of the seafood to its pinnacle.
Our next course of Pra Tod Gratiem, a catfish filet deep-fried in the wok, then covered in a caramelized garlic roast that is also created right before your eyes. We shared the sticky rice (the proper way to eat this is to roll it up in balls with your hands and eat it like a roll). Gary had the Gang Sapparod Goong, which was a red curry with huge shrimp, pineapple, coconut milk, basil leaves, and red bell peppers. It was sweet and hot and he licked his bowl clean. We chatted about Thailand, certain fruits I now crave (mangosteen and durian) and if she will be able to get them for me or I have to fly back to Phuket. I think I have to fly back, which suits me just fine.