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High School Culinary Society going to Thai Town: can anyone help us?

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flowerofhighrank Oct 27, 2010 01:16 PM

My food club is planning its first trip of the year. i like to start off with Thai food. We order 12 entrees, everybody gets a taste of everything, we discuss and analyze, etc.
We then go to Scoops on Heliotrope. The new kids get to see the older kids get excited about going and that motivates them to keep the whole club going.

I've been going to Cafe Sanamluang for a long time. The food is...okay, it offers an okay intro to new flavors for kids who've never tried Thai, and it's pretty cheap. That's why, for the last three years I've taken the club there.
But I know there are better choices out there. RCA is great, but I don't think they'd appreciate me bringing in 20 eaters some afternoon; it's a little classier than we're looking for, perhaps.
If anyone could suggest a Thai place in Thai Town (or the Montebello/Alhambra/Monterey Park area and we'll save Scoops for another time) that is:
-able to handle 16-20 diners in a group, including polite-but-excited teenagers
-fairly cheap, entrees around $7-8
-easy to find, decent parking (parents will be driving carpools)
-offers a decent introduction to Thai food

and, if any Hounds know an owner or manager who would offer us a discount, I'd do my best to get the place mentioned in our school paper...

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    estone888 RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 27, 2010 02:44 PM

    As much as it is my favorite Thai restaurant, full stop, I think Jitlada is likely to be more expensive than what you are looking for. Also, its best and most interesting dishes are, I think, a step above Thai Food 101 for most people.

    I think Yai, in the stripmall with Fatburger at Vermont and Hollywood Blvd. will be less expensive, more user friendly for a sort of Thai starter course, and should be pretty quiet mid-afternoon, thus able to easily accomodate a large group.

    (The address given in this post - automatically - for Yai is of the original restaurant. It is very small. The branch at Vermont and Hollywood is more likely to easily accomodate your group.)

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    Jitlada
    5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

    Yai Restaurant
    5757 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    1. Porthos RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 27, 2010 03:20 PM

      I disagree with the board darling Jitlada rec in this instance: its tough to accomodate 16-20 diners, it's probably the priciest and smallest portions for thai, and most importantly, parking is impossible at times.

      I agree with Estone that Jitlada is best for the unusual southern thai often times funky and spicy stuff. But sometimes you just want straight thai food.

      I would recommend Ruen Pair for very good standard Thai food.

      There's basic stuff for the less adventurous and also more advanced stuff (eg papaya salad with raw crab). Entrees are more $10-11 range. The various noodle soups around $8-9. Appetizers around $8. Cash only. Check out the pictures on Yelp.

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      Jitlada
      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

      Ruen Pair Restaurant
      5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

      5 Replies
      1. re: Porthos
        Professor Salt RE: Porthos Oct 27, 2010 03:42 PM

        Third the concerns about Jitlada for this trip.

        Ditto the rec on Ruen Pair. I think it's a great place for your culinary society trip. Also stop by the Thai dessert place across the parking lot. It's educational to see what other cultures eat for dessert.

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        Jitlada
        5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        Ruen Pair Restaurant
        5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        1. re: Professor Salt
          s
          sushigirlie RE: Professor Salt Oct 27, 2010 08:09 PM

          I agree that Ruen Pair + the dessert place across the street (Bhan Kanom Thai) is a good way to go. Bhan Kanom Thai is one of the gems of Thai Town.

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          Ruen Pair Restaurant
          5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

          Bhan Kanom Thai
          5271 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

          1. re: Professor Salt
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            flowerofhighrank RE: Professor Salt Oct 28, 2010 12:56 AM

            Thanks to both of you! I'll try Ruen Pair as soon as my grades are done. I know nothing about Thai desserts, but I look forward to learning more.

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            Ruen Pair Restaurant
            5257 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            1. re: flowerofhighrank
              Mr Taster RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 28, 2010 08:15 AM

              What happened to servorg's Jitlada rec? Weird. Anyway, one of my favorite Thai desserts are the chewy coconut (taro?) rice cakes.... they look like little purple hockey pucks and are in a case next to the cash register. Be sure also to try the khanom krok, little coconut custard/pancakes, although they tend to pre-make these and they are best served fresh (request a fresh batch if you can- it will take 10 minutes to make but it is interesting to watch... n.b. the vendor at Sunday Hollywood farmers market makes a delicious khanom krok which they list on menu "coconut cake" or something, and in an odd step away from all farang economic systems, its not much more expensive than at BKT).

              Sometimes there is a snack vendor in front of the parking garage entrance of Silom supermarket next door making fresh comestibles. And take a cultural moment to admire the beautiful spirit house/shrine outside the building.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster
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                sushigirlie RE: Mr Taster Oct 28, 2010 09:26 AM

                The purple pucks are made from taro and called panchi. They are the bestest.

        2. Ciao Bob RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 28, 2010 03:14 PM

          Cool idea for a High School group flower! I wish I had one 30 years ago.
          It is not in the areas you asked for, but for your consideration: Sri Siam Cafe in the San Fernando Valley is one of my all time favs for authentic Thai and it is well-priced for you.
          PS I agree with you about Sanamaluang - it's so so-so that I call it So-so-luong.
          http://www.yelp.com/biz/sri-siam-cafe...

          1. a
            AAQjr RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 28, 2010 09:19 PM

            You might try Palms Thai. They have a great big room. Food is good for a Thai food 101, and in your price range.

            Plus if you're lucky, Thai Elvis :)

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            Palms Thai Restaurant
            5900 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

            1. p
              PayOrPlay RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 29, 2010 08:25 AM

              Just to echo what Professor Salt and Sushigirlie said--when I saw your inquiry, the first thing I thought of was Bhan Kanom Thai for dessert. It's the perfect place for a bunch of high schoolers to wander in after the meal with a few bucks each to pick out different desserts. The "Thai tacos" are in particular not to be missed. http://www.bhankanomthai.com/

              And, congrats on your group--great idea.

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              Bhan Kanom Thai
              5271 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

              1. v
                vickie2172 RE: flowerofhighrank Oct 30, 2010 03:03 PM

                Kudos to your spirit in chaperoning a group of teenagers! In elementary school, my nephew was in a party of three who won a raffle to go to the movies with the teacher. That young man (the teacher) ended the afternoon with "I'm never having children!"

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