The missus and I finally got over to our new Thai establishment last week, Thai Charm, and we were both very happy with our experience. And I will tell you, if you don't know already, I am a Dedicated fan of Thai Derm. So I am not saying I am changing my allegiance, but I will say, I plan to be back to Thai Charm.
Now at least as it compares to Thai Derm, Thai Charm obviously has a newer look, certainly more modern, and I'm guessing in the evening (we went at lunch), probably more atmosphere than TD. I know some of my friends complain TD is a bit of a dive, and while I won't argue too much, TC definitely cannot be lumped into that camp. I see it as a frequent lunch spot for folks doing a business lunch in downtown. Anyway, onto the food.
While it was only lunch, we did want to start with a couple apps so we could sample more -- and we were starving! We ordered the garden rolls served with plum sauce and the curry puffs. Both winners in my book. The garden rolls were like you might find at many places, but they were fresh and tasty and the plum sauce was not overly sweet. The curry puffs we had not tried before. I would compare them to a veggie samosa on the inside, but the outside was flaky and buttery puff pastry. They were accompanied by a relish sauce. I recommend them.
And for those who like it spicy, make sure you ask for the spice tray. I certainly did and it added a good kick to both of the apps. I will also say TC has lunch specials too, $7.95. But if you want a spring roll or soup and a drink with it, they charge $3 extra. It's really not much cheaper than just ordering a standard lunch and a roll/soup. Maybe my only complaint of the meal.
For our lunches we did green curry and the mai pha. The curry was tasty and filled with peppers, eggplant, bamboo shoots, etc. They give you a nice amount. As expected this is a mild dish, but the curry sauce does have a rich flavor. The mai pha was a noodle dish, cellophane noodles with egg, celery, carrots and spring onions. And for my meat I added fried tofu. That's kind of like meat, isn't it?
I was very pleased with this dish. Again, a nice serving size (especially for lunch) and the noodles were well cooked; the dish was a hit. And since I still had the spice tray I definitely increased the heat.
I heartily recommend TC. I very much expect it to have a longer lifespan than old Mr. Chicken.
After lunch we walked over to our latest cafe, Zed's. Now I can't say I really expect Zed's to be a longtime fixture in the hood. The owner, Zed, has said he wants folks to see his place as one big living room and to hang out. That's all well and good, but don't they need to spend money too. I assume he has rent and other bills to pay. I am just not sure he's going to sell enough coffee drinks to keep things going. And by the looks of the food in the fridge, I'm thinking folks will grab a sandwich elsewhere.
But hey, I'd like to be proven wrong and see Zed succeed. He did seem like a very nice fellow -- just one who may not have the best business plan around.
My final thoughts take me north of Colesville, yes, NoCo. I heard from a commenter on the blog here that Ren's Ramen, formerly of Bethesda had recently re-opened in Wheaton. Once I heard that I made my plans to head over for a lunch. And I am glad I did.
The place is pretty small, 8 tables and about 6 seats a the window. They don't serve alcohol at this point and the menu is limited. But if you want ramen and don't want to head over to NE, check out Ren's. The broth in my ramen was great. I got the Sapporo style with the miso and pork broth ($10), but opted not to get any ground pork or pork roast with the ramen, only veggies. They have about three other options available and a veggie option too if you want to avoid the pork broth.
And man, it was tasty. The noodles were perfectly cooked. I would call them toothsome. And again the broth was fab. It wasn't too salty as some Yelpers have complained, but it could have been much spicier. However, they did have some Japanese pepper on the table so that helped.
There were plenty of veg in the dish and a little bit of seaweed too. I would have liked more of that. And I guess if I had forked over an additional $0.75 I could have had more seaweed. But in the end I really didn't need it.
One thing to note, Ren's is a cash only place. That could change, but if you head over anytime soon, hit the ATM if you need to. You won't regret your trip. It is oishi!