Pim Techamuanvivit, one of the top food bloggers in the United States, has written ‘The Foodie Handbook (The (almost) Definitive Guide to Gastronomy)’ which is being launched in the UK this week.
One of her most popular posts is ‘Pad Thai for beginners’ and in the book there is a step by step guide how to make this dish. It so often ends up in a sticky clump in the bottom of the pan, impossible to serve without the aid of a pair of scissors. The Underground Restaurant seized this dream opportunity not only to learn how to make it, from the horses mouth as it were, but also a chance for press and fans in the UK to meet Pim. And of course for Pim to meet the burgeoning food blogger community in Britain.
Unfortunately Pim has been diagnosed with pneumonia and is therefore unable to fly to Britain this week. Hopefully this event will be rescheduled at a later date.
The book is a scrapbook of information, with wonderful photographs taken around the world. It contains recipes, hints, personal reminiscence and ‘how to’ lists.
For example; Pim’s ‘Ten signs of a mediocre restaurant’ (her advice in bold):
1) Truffles on the menu in summer. ie seasonality or lack thereof
2) A million dollar view or too convenient location. Absofuckinglutely. All the money is spent on the rent, not on the cook’s wages or the ingredients.
3) The word gourmet is used suspiciously often. I do think this is an American habit though.
4) Menu reads like a document from the United Nations. Too varied a menu is never good.
5) Menu is the size of the Odyssey. Too big a menu is never good.
6) Unlikely ingredients in unlikely places. Keep it local or at least on the same continent.
7) Ushers at the door. She means those guys that try to ‘call’ you in. In London, they lurk outside Indian restaurants in Brick Lane. Often found at tourist spots. Rarely a good sign.
8) “Twenty locations in ten cities all over the world”. Franchises. Not a sign of quality.
9) Restaurant has gift shop attached. Not sure I agree entirely. Quite partial to a gift shop myself. (Love the V&A gift shop). Depends on the ‘gifts’.
10) Restaurant is empty. While this is good advice, I always feel sorry for empty restaurants and feel a personal responsibility, ridiculous I know, to be the first diner. People are so often sheep-like…it just needs that first step…