Monday, August 30, 2010

Post 1 : Virgin America flight to L.A --> Thai Garden

This post starts a series of posts chronicling my trip to Los Angeles a few weeks ago. I won't be just talking about food and restaurants in these posts, but will also be posting various pictures that I find beautiful or interesting along the way during my 9 day trip in the States.

For those who follow my blog, you probably know that I was given a free flight, courtesy of Virgin America (@VirginAmerica on Twitter) and their partnership with Klout (@Klout), to either Los Angeles or San Francisco (if you want to find out how this came to be, feel free to read my post about it here). I chose L.A. because my brother and my sister-in-law were also going to L.A. so I figured I will tag along (after asking them, of course). So on Saturday, August 7th, I arrived at Pearson at wee hours in the morning. I want to say here that I detest Terminal 3. I'm usually at Terminal 1 and never had problems. But geez, this time at Terminal 3, the line-up at customs was a nightmare, super long because only 4 counters were opened.  Going through the X-ray scan was horrible because only TWO X-ray lines were opened, and everyone there was slacking off and chatting. The whole customs and X-ray ordeal took an hour and a half! I was almost late for my flight - the first time ever that I had to RUN to the gate because they were already announcing the final boarding call for my flight. I was freaked out because I am NEVER late and always super early for a flight.  Albeit all the commotion before the flight, this Virgin America flight to L.A. is probably the best experience I've ever had on a plane. And no, I am not paid by Virgin America to say this LOL!

The whole cabin, in my opinion, looks really cool. The purple mood lighting (maybe bias because my favorite color is purple), the whole polished white scheme and the black leather seats make the whole environment very sleek and modern. Everything looked so new.They also have soft relaxing music playing in the background before taking off. Some people say all this is weird because it's like a lounge, but whatever, I like it.

You know those safety videos that usually nobody pays attention to (or at least, I don't)? Well, this one caught everybody's attention because it was done in cartoon, with cute characters, and delivered in a fun and interesting way, so you actually WANT to watch it. I thought this was very clever way of delivering not-so-interesting content so I took a picture of it haha.

THE best part is that the plane is equipped with satellite TV and wireless connection on board. Wifi is not free (I got promotional codes so I didn't have to pay) but believe me, for around $10 bucks a trip, it is SO WORTH getting it, especially for long flights. The flight to L.A. was 5 hours long and I can honestly say, I have never experienced a faster 5 hours on a plane before, it just flew by. It was also the perfect opportunity to play with my new iPad =) I personally do not know any other airline that has on-board wifi.

There is also a remote control hidden inside the arm rest which controls the satellite TV. The normal TV buttons are on the front...

...and on the back there is a full QWERTY keyboard for playing games on the TV, or more so for messaging other passengers on the plane (i.e. useful for friends/family not sitting together, or for messaging a cute guy/girl a few seats away).  This option was not available yet on the flight.

The staff was also very friendly and cool, not uptight and stuck up like some that I've experienced with before. 

Isn't it so nerdy of me to take so many pictures of an airplane and everything else in it? Oh well, what do you expect, I'm Asian girl and I am armed with a camera. People really shouldn't expect anything less haha

So the hours flew by and BOOM here I was in LAX waiting for my luggage around 3pm. My luggage arrived safe and sound, a blessing really considering all the horror stories I hear about checked luggage, no matter what airline. I usually don't check in bags unless I absolutely HAVE to.

For the next two days in LA, I was staying at a family friend's place. They don't live in L.A. actually, but about 1.5 hours away from LAX, the only point of reference I know of, at a place called Foothill Ranch in Orange County. A very quiet and serene area that is very different from that of downtown LA.  

After settling in and unpacking, it was almost time for dinner. Our family friends took us to a local favorite Thai restaurant called Thai GardenThai Garden does table top grilling too, which I'm not sure if its an authentic Thai thing (correct me if I'm wrong), but I personally do not know of any Thai restaurants in Toronto that also does table top grilling. But I do notice from this trip, it seems like a lot of restaurants in California offers table top grilling. Anyway, we ordered normal dishes only.

The front cover of the menu.

Thai Ice Tea - I didn't order this and I never had this before. It was way too sweet for my taste.

Thai Beer - I didn't try this.

Tom Yum Soup - Spicy and sour lemon grass broth soup with shrimp, fresh mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, green onions with lime juice and chili. Very nice presentation also a lot of shrimp too. I find theres always a lack of shrimp when I order tom yum soup in Toronto. This soup also had very rich flavor and I thought this was probably the best tom yum soup I've ever had.

Beef Satay - Grilled beef satay on a skewer marinated in curry and seasoning char-broiled served with peanut sauce.The beef was very juicy and not dry at all

Thai Fried Rice- Stir-fried Thai Jasmin rice with chicken, onion, carrots, and celery.

Crying Tiger -  Char-broiled prime-cut beef marinated with Chef's special Thai herb and charcoal broiled served with lettuce and spicy Thai sauce. This was awesome. Not sure what was in that sauce but it was tasty, and very green haha. The meat was sooo tender too and perfectly seasoned.

Picture of the white rice served. Thought the shape of this was pretty funny/unique.

Lemon fish - Steamed Tilapia fish top with Chef's special lime sauce. Fish was fresh and wasn't "fishy" at all. Lemon wasn't overly sour either and you can tell that the broth had a lot of different herbs in it. The broth was so good that could be drank as soup.

Papaya Salad - A famous Thai green slice papaya, tomatoes, carrots, carrot, cashew nut with chili and lime juice. A very nice alternative to the mango salad which I always get in Toronto. I don't see papaya salad in Toronto often.

Pad See-Ew - Stir-fried fresh wide noodle with egg, carrots, zucchini and broccoli with special house sauce. This is probably my favorite dish of the night. 

Everything that night was very flavorful and not bland at all. Very very good Thia food, probably one of the best Thai meals I've had in a long time.

18450 Brookhurst St
Foothill Ranch, CA 92708
(949) 716.4422