When Number One Son turned 21 he got to choose the restaurant for dinner. He chose the Thai Thani Restaurant right next to Sea World.
Mrs LanceAround, Number One Daughter, and I joined Number One Son for the festivities. We were sad to miss Number Two Son who was at college.
Located in a small strip mall at the corner of the Central Florida Parkway and International Drive, the moment you enter this exotic place you will forget that you are in a strip mall in the middle of touristville. The restaurant features carved, teak wood walls and rooms, a few low-to-the-floor Thai seating places, numerous Buddhas, Thai sculptures, intricately carved archways, and the walls are adorned with authentic Thai artwork which is also available for sale.
Like most Thai restaurants, the servers are conscientiously attentive and polite and the food is delivered quickly. We all order Thai iced tea; appetizers of fried tofu, egg rolls, and spring rolls; and tofu red and yellow curry for entrees.
The Thai iced tea comes quickly and leaves us with the usual dilemma. For those of you who never had Thai iced tea, it is a combination of regular iced tea topped with a rich, creamy milk. The two sit completely separate in the glass with the dark brown tea on the bottom and the white creamy milk on top. (How in the world do they do that? They must pour the milk in very slowly and carefully.) If you suck on the straw carefully, you can keep the two liquids separate and have a sip of tea interspersed with a sip of milk. If you are too rough or select to stir your tea, the white milk and the dark tea combine for a cream colored treat. Amber and Brandon solve the dilemma by vigorously stirring the tea while Mrs. LanceAround and I take alternating sips.
The refreshing tea is enhanced by the atmosphere that transports you to Thailand. Soft Thai music plays while candlelight dances along the teak wood walls and artwork. Every now and again a Buddha reminds you to be present in the moment. Alas, however, worldly pleasure quickly intervenes as the appetizers are served. We ordered extra peanut sauce to spread over our appetizers, all of which are delicious.
No sooner were the appetizers gone then our curry arrives. Heavenly! Wimps that we are, we ask for all the dishes to be prepared very mild. The curry tastes of heavy cream, the vegetables are done just right, and the addition of rice makes for a scrumptious meal.
As is usual when our family eats at a Thai restaurant, Mrs. LanceAround and Number One Daughter admonish me for my totally uncouth behavior of spooning the rice directly into my curry bowl. “First you put the rice on your plate, then spoon on some curry, then add the peanut sauce,” scolds Number One Daughter, as if talking to a two year old just learning to eat with a fork.
I concur that, no doubt, the cooks in the kitchen are chatting about the Ugly American who eats like a pig. “In fact,” I reply, “I could hear them talking about us as I walked past. Only they were speaking in Thai, thinking I could not understand.” (Is Thai even a language? I don’t think it is.)
[Editor’s note: Actually, according to Wikipedia, the official written and spoken language of Thailand is Thai. Sorry, I can never pass up an opportunity to educate–Even if it is educating myself!]
We are too full to order dessert and prepare to leave when, unexpectedly, a group of Thai servers dressed in traditional garb come to our table with a dish of fried bananas and coconut ice cream and a single lit candle in the middle. They sing happy birthday to Number One Son in English. Although we are all touched by this tender scene as the rest of the restaurant applauds, I keep thinking of the last scene in the classic movie “A Christmas Story” where the family goes to the Chinese Restaurant on Christmas Day and the waitstaff sings “Deck the Halls” in pigeon English.
The bill was only $87 for the four of us and I leave a generous tip as we all congratulate Number One Son for an excellent culinary choice for his 21st birthday!
Big thumbs up!
Thai Thani Restaurant
11025 International Drive
Orlando, FL 407.239.9733.
PS: We went to the restaurant at 8:30pm on a Wednesday night during the off season and it was packed! You might want to make reservations for this place. I hope to see you there. (And if you do see me, please be sure to pick up my check as a way of saying thanks for the recommendation.) Then, leave a comment on the blog letting us know your thoughts about Thai Thani.
PPS: Shortly after we celebrated Number One Son’s birthday at Thai Thani on International Drive, a new Thai Thani Restaurant opened in downtown Celebration. We tried that restaurant and found it just as fantastic. Now the lucky readers of my blog have two great Thai restaurants to choose from when looking for “more than a mouse”™
Thai Thani Celebration
600 Market Street, Suite 100
Celebration, FL 34747