If you’re looking for them, you can find Thai-inspired products almost anywhere. The boyfriend and I traveled up to Napa Valley as part of our anniversary this year, and were happy to spot quite a few Thai food related products! Here’s a recap of some of our favorite findings.
Napa is all about fantastic French food, and believe me, we had our fair share. But while we were there, we also wanted to try Iron Chef Morimoto’s Asian inspired cuisine. We made a reservation for Morimoto Napa and made a point to arrive early so that we could check out the candy bar we had read about online. As we were waiting for our table, we spotted these adorable little kaffir lime marshmallows, amidst all the other sweet treats.
I’ve made a few desserts using kaffir lime, like these mini tarts and this white cake, and have plenty more ideas, but marshmallows hadn’t crossed my mind… I’m thinking that it might be fun to try to recreate these! But more than just giving me another dessert idea, seeing these marshmallows showed us that even the Iron Chef is inspired by Thai ingredients.
With our minds attuned to finding Thai food inspiration, the next day we visited Redd in Yountville. It was a little bit of a last minute choice and we didn’t realize that many of the menu items would be Asian inspired. As soon as I saw it on the menu, I knew that we had to have the crispy calamari served on top of tamarind sauce. The tamarind sauce was lovely — bright and sour — and really the perfect complement to the slightly salty, slightly spicy calamari. This combination of sour, salty, and spicy works well, even outside of pad Thai!
As we walked out of the restaurant and down the street, the boyfriend spotted a car advertising Dang coconut chips. These toasted coconut chips are made by a Thai family based in the Bay Area and are great as snacks, but also work well in miang kham and other Thai and Thai-inspired recipes. We’re big fans of these little chips and even contemplated waiting by the car to meet the owner. Fortunately, our desire not to be creepy won out, and we just snapped a quick photo…
On our last night in Napa, we ventured in to the Oxbow Public Market. This cute little market has all kinds of wonderful vendors, kind of reminiscent of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. By the time we made it to visit, though, many of the shops were almost closing. As the gates were being drawn down on the Napa Valley Distillery storefront, the boyfriend spotted a tiny bottle of Thai bitters. We were so drawn to this that the owners kindly agreed to stay open and allow us to taste this and a few other bitters and syrups.
After doing a little taste test, we decided on the Thai bitters. They are hot, as advertised, but also have wonderfully refreshing hints of mint and galanga in the background. We bought a bottle for a friend, but then ended up getting another bottle of our own, after he inspired us by making a spicy margarita.
Stay tuned for the recipe for this awesome Thai-inspired basil margarita with Thai bitters… In the meantime, have you found any great Thai or Thai-inspired products recently? Tell us in the comments below!