Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's all about the food

Let me backtrack a minute. I'm staying at the Emporium Suites, a luxury apartment complex atop a shopping mall / office building. The first seven floors are the mall, the next twenty or so floors are offices, and then there are ten floors of apartments. This is very convenient. In addition to having a movie theater, restaurants, a grocery store and a food court an elevator ride away, there's a spa, gym and pool here. For a city gal like me, this is heaven! And the Skytrain, the metro system, is attached to the mall, too.

I don't remember the food being all that great the last time we were here. The thing is, I don't like Thai food. I love Thailand: the culture, the people, the scenery, the hospitality. But I like my sweets sweet and my savories savory. Coconut in my beef? No thanks! Rice for dessert? Why bother? However, it's different this time. We're doing a lot of eating this trip. Not only do we eat, we talk about our next meal while we're eating the current meal. We plan our daily activities based on what we're in the mood to eat. Apparently this is very Thai. (This is very Jewish, too, actually.) I could devote multiple blog entries just to the available eating options here in Emporium but I'll try to summarize for you.

The Emporium has a dozen or so regular restaurants interspersed with shops in the mall. And then the bulk of the 7th floor is devoted to food. There are essentially three areas.
  • A high-end grocery store. I browsed it on Day 1 and noticed that the strawberries were imported from Watsonville. They are in the exact same packaging I find at my local Safeway.

  • A take home food section. These are prepared foods or foods they cook up right there for you to take away. Think of San Francisco's Ferry Plaza. Dim sum. Sandwiches. Donuts. Grilled fish. Salads. Sushi. Smoothies. Tea. Greek food. Mediterranean food. Bakeries. Seven different outlets for ice cream. Two for gelato. Japanese food. There were about 25 different sellers within this area. The pictures here are from the take home foods. I bought some of these cotton candy balls for the kids. And the cupcakes here were just as good as Kara's Cupcakes (and almost as expensive).

  • A food court for dine-in eating. The Thais have greatly improved on the American execution of this. Here's how it goes. You walk in and each person in your group is given a bar-coded card. Then you sit down at your table of choice. Your waiter writes your table number on your card. Then you stand back up and walk around and decide what to eat. There's an Italian place. An Indian one. A Thai one. Chinese. Japanese. Frou-frou drinks. Burger King. Sushi. Your card is scanned after you make your choice and then you return to your table. After your food is made, it shows up at your table. And after you're done eating, you take all your group's bar coded cards and pay at the cashier on your way out. The food court at the Emporium was nice. The one at the Central shopping mall was mind-blowing.

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