Vol. VI No. 16 - Tuesday
June 12, - June 18, 2007
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DINING OUT - KHUN OCHA'S COOKBOOK & ENTERTAINMENT

All you can eat Sunday feast: By Barbie Cuepork

I had lunch at the new Holiday Inn today. It’s the old Sheraton Hotel on the Ping River which was in turn the former Westin. The buildings foyer was undergoing some welcome renovation. The River Terrace dining room was as open and bright as I remember it. I couldn’t help but notice that the exterior of the building was in need of a facelift and some repairs. Hopefully the new management noticed it too.
Sunday is mega-buffet day and the dining room was busy with many a familiar face. Buffets can be a crapshoot and I remember the Westin being big on quantity but not so hot on quality. It appears that the good innkeepers at the Holiday Inn have chosen to go with a bit less variety and a bit better quality.

In the center of the large 70’s era dining room is a circle of appetizers that could make any Las Vegas hotel envious; Parma ham, smoked mackerel, marinated salmon, mussels, langoustines, prawns, etc. The list goes on and on. There was something for all tastes. Between me and my entourage we probably dipped into a taste of everything. The guacamole got high marks as did the quiche. I enjoyed the assorted cheeses and pates as well as the nice array of fresh fruits.
Along the back wall of the restaurant the entrée department went on for the length of the room, and it’s a big room. There was a long line of food from India, Japan, Thailand and the west. Chefs stood at the ready waiting to carve healthy slices of roast duck, turkey, Australian strip loin, chicken, German style roast pork and my personal favorite, roast lamb. There was also baked fish for those non meat eaters. Guests had a choice of soups and a variety of vegetables and potatoes. A nice touch was the fresh juice bar where a smiling young lady was graciously pushing tomatoes or melons through juicers for a refreshing treat.
The room was well staffed and service was very attentive. One had but to raise ones head and someone was in site to assist you. Plates were cleared as soon as they were emptied so a new full plate could take their place. Coffee and tea were served promptly and those of you who like a strong cup of java will not be disappointed.
Families with children will be pleased that the room also offers a mini-me version for the kids. There are mini chairs and mini tables and a mini buffet just for the little ones as well as a choice of toys to play with. It was thoughtfully located on the opposite end of the room and I noticed that staff was positioned nearby to keep on eye on the tots.
Lets not forget the most important area…again, a personal thing. The desert table was not only abundant with sweets but they were also good. There was a made to order crepes Suzette station and a home made sorbet area. The banana and orange sorbets were a hit with all of us. I found the pot de crème and the crème brulé to be excellent although I heard the carrot cake was not up to par.
All in all it’s a good value for money and if one is a big eater they may think they died and went to heaven. The buffet is offered every Sunday from 11 am to 2:30 pm and outdoor terrace seating is available for smokers. An a la carte menu is also available for those who are not so hungry.
The buffet is served from 11:00am until 2:30pm and adults are charged 550 baht net and children under 7 years eat for half price. They offer a free VIP card which entitles you to a 10% discount. Ask for an application from one of the servers.
The Holiday Inn Chiang Mai is located at 318/1 Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road. Telephone: 053-275300 for reservations.


Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a famous Spanish soup which is served cold. This is a wonderfully refreshing soup in the hot climate. With our current local temperatures (global warming not withstanding), this soup is ideal for Thailand. The use of your blender makes this a very easy soup to make, but do not over blend. The soup should have a thick consistency. You can also substitute red and yellow bell peppers for green if you wish.

Cooking Method
Using the blender: first chop up the garlic, then add the cucumber and bell peppers (capsicum), adding tomato juice as needed to liquefy. Finally add the tomatoes and the rest of the juice. If you want elegance, press through a sieve. If you’re going for heartiness, just leave it the way it is. Mix in the olive oil and vinegar. Now refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, pour into bowls and garnish with salad vegetables as you see fit: minced or notched and sliced cucumber; thin green bell pepper slices; chopped coriander; and croutons.

Ingredients                                        Serves 4
Tomatoes canned                                   1 kg
(or 8 large fresh tomatoes, peeled)
Cucumber peeled and chopped                1
Green bell pepper cored and chopped       1
Onion chopped                                       1
Garlic                                                    1 clove
Olive oil                                                  2 tbspns
Vinegar white                                         4 tbspns



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