Take Thai flavors to the beach, or enjoy the cozy atmosphere of To Thai For’s café
Although Capitola Village already is home to two Thai restaurants, To Thai For adds a unique element to the culinary cornucopia. More café than restaurant, by mid-day, owner Mona Prakrong had already filled numerous takeout orders for neighboring businesses. She also offers an array of specialty coffee drinks to rev the locals’ morning engines.
Her refrigerated case is well stocked with prepared entrées including chicken salad ($8), pork wraps ($7.50), and chicken sandwiches ($6.50) spiked with cilantro and crunchy daikon radish.
Tangerine patio chairs on the sidewalk complement the paint on interior walls and table surfaces where laminated menus double as placemats. Fresh flowers here and there, along with table service, add ambiance, while free “Thai-fi” is featured for your browsing pleasure.
In the Pearl drinks ($3.60), soft beads of pearl tapioca mingle with fruits such as mango, peach and pineapple. Refreshing Italian sodas ($3) are available in numerous flavors.
To Thai For serves traditional sweet Thai iced tea ($3) with half and half, as well as a mildly sweetened version without the milk ($1.50) in which I could taste the provincial spices.
Six soups of various sizes ($4.50 to $11.50) bring welcoming warmth to these blustery days. The small size Tom Kha Coconut Chicken Soup ($4.50) is the best I’ve found; thicker than others and loaded with vegetables and chicken breast, I could taste the exotic flavor of kaffir lime.
I found the huge bowl of steamy Pho Chicken and Noodle Soup ($8.50), with its salty bouillon cube-type of broth, to be quite different from the traditional Vietnamese Pho. Nevertheless, it still made a hearty meal with soft rice noodles topped with chicken breast, vegetables, cilantro, green onion and crushed peanuts.
The Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad ($8.95) was beautiful to behold with baby field greens and plenty of tail-free shrimp mixed with shredded and sliced carrot and nicely spiced with cilantro, red chili dressing and fresh mint leaves.
Instead of plum sauce, the Thai Wrap with Shrimp and Vegetables ($8.50) was paired with a light pink sauce flavored with peanuts and the syrupy sweet chili sauce I am so fond of. A large flour tortilla was stuffed with lettuce, cilantro, mint, red cabbage, carrot and cucumber, and dotted with shrimp whose flavor was overwhelmed by the herbs. A shot of crimson sriracha sauce turned up the heat.
The pork wrap however, which included avocado, was a marvelous medley of flavors and textures. Packed with flavorful lean meat, crisp raw vegetables and perky mint, it was served with a thick creamy peanut sauce. Just one half hit the spot for breakfast.
We took home an order of Red Curry Chicken ($10). The three-cup container was chock full of broccoli, zucchini, carrot and chicken breast with bits of cabbage in a thin pink sauce whose spiciness was balanced by a hint of sweetness. It was accompanied by a two-cup container of scented jasmine rice whose grains swelled as they absorbed the liquid.
To Thai For, 201 Monterey Ave., Capitola, 477-9836. Open daily from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Catering available. Visit to thaifor.org.
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