Sweet Satisfaction: By Farrah Praisal
Love at First Bite
About six years ago when I began my
obvious quest to gain as much weight as fast as humanly
possible, I heard a rumor of a well hidden but worth seeking
bake shop tucked away in a small soi in fair Chiang Mai.
After searching for years throughout Hong Kong and the
surrounding countries I was admittedly skeptical that a
place in our little village would meet the high standards
that my finicky sweet tooth has managed to develop after
years of eating sweets in San Francisco and New York’s
finest kitchens and bake shops. Well dear readers, much to
my surprise my taste buds have been sated at Love at First
What a place, what a wonderfully charming, modest place. The
setting is quaint and if it looks as if you are sneaking in
and grabbing a bite at someone’s home, that’s because you
are. The hosts, Jerry and Mattie Watana have turned their
garden into a delightful sanctuary to savor not only a wide
variety of taste tempting treats but also a handful of
delicious savory items for those who seek a little substance
before the sugar.
Since its opening, this bakery has garnered loads of
recognition for its high-quality artisan products. With the
addition of savories, it has come into its own as a
destination for such comfort foods as macaroni and cheese,
quiche Lorraine, chicken pot pie and beef stew. The
husband-and-wife team of Jerry and Mattie also make
incredible ice creams, cakes, cookies and tarts. Having
lived in the Unites States for over 25 years the pair
possess first hand knowledge of just what their menu items
should taste like. For many years in Asia I have seen dozens
of “bakeries’ who produce visually stunning creations that
taste very much what I imagine cardboard layered with
sawdust would taste like. At Love at First Bite this is
definitely not the case. Leave it to this lovely pair to mix
the language of love and food, and get it right.
Upon entering the property you will find a well manicured
garden to your left with gorgeous plants and flowers and a
number of tables for outdoor dining. There are also two
separate dining rooms to the right for guests who prefer air
conditioned dining. In the first and original dining room
tall, glass-doored refrigerators hold shelves jammed with a
huge selection of cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, trifles and
a wide assortment of other sweet treats. Glazed fruit tarts
glisten in the window cases, practically screaming for you
to take one home, or have a little sliver with your
afternoon coffee. A personal favorite is the chocolate town
cake. Every slice is sweet and moist and sure to cause a
fork fight at your table. Special treats like grasshopper
mint pie and macadamia tart are sure to please the
connoisseur of desserts.
The look and presentation of a cake can be as important as
the taste. Fresh ingredients, time, and care all go in to
the making of a true masterpiece of culinary art. At Love at
First Bite they seem well aware of this and it is always
clear that the ingredients are the best available with the
freshest of fruits and finest of chocolates.
The restaurant/bakery also makes custom cakes for special
events like birthdays and weddings.
The cakes and pies are not the only items where details and
ingredients are key. The quiche is hands down the best I
have tasted in Chiang Mai. The crust on the chicken pot pie
is perfection and the cheeses in the macaroni and cheese are
a wonderful combination. The beef stew is tender chunks with
potatoes, carrots and hearty gravy. It’s a real treat to sit
in the garden and enjoy a savory with a cup of fresh coffee
or one of the many choices of beverages on offer and finish
it off with a delicious cake or pie.
The pastries in the display case beckon as you leave; it’s
hard to resist buying a cookie, an individual trifle or a
slice of pumpkin pie to enjoy when you arrive home.
While the setting is in itself quite peaceful and serene,
cars are allowed in even though there is plenty of street
parking to be had. This can be annoying and detract from an
otherwise lovely experience.
Love at First Bite is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30am to
6:00pm and closed on Mondays. To find it, go to the old
church near the Narrawat Bridge on the Old Chiang Mai -
Lamphun road and turn down the small soi 1 to the right of
the church. There is a small sign at the corner. Tel. 053
Paper Wrapped Chicken
This is a well known Chinese appetizer, and one you may have seen at a
Chinese banquet. It is not difficult to prepare, and I do recommend skinless
fillets of chicken breast.
Cut the chicken meat into 3 cm wide and 5 cm long
cross wise slices, put in a bowl and marinate with sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster
sauce, sugar, rice wine (or sherry), ginger root and black pepper for 30
minutes. This is best done in the refrigerator.
Using one sheet of rice paper, brush it with the chicken marinade, then place
some chicken strips inside and fold up like a small envelope or parcel, wetting
the ends so they stick down. Do this for around 15 parcels.
Heat oil in wok and drop the packages into the oil, around five at a time, and
deep-fry for about 2 minutes, remove from the oil, drain and then set on serving
Ingredients Serves 4-5
Chicken breast meat
Squares of rice paper (12 x 12 cm) 15
Light soy sauce
Rice wine (or sherry)
Ginger root (grated)
Oil for deep frying
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