#44 - Bann Thai, Wichita, KS

So I realized yesterday that I was so excited to blog about my meals in Dallas that I completely forgot about an amazing lunch I had in Wichita on my way home from the Big 12 tournament!

About a year ago, my mom bought a certificate through Deal Chicken that gave her $400 in restaurant.com gift certificates for $40.   Overall I think it's a great deal.  Most of the restaurants offer certificates in values ranging from $5 - $100.  However, many restaurants have lots of stipulations, and others make you spend at least $35-$40 before you can even use it.  Also, the restaurant options aren't always the greatest, depending on the city, and of course I can never find many good options in the cities where I am.  There are a couple of Stillwater restaurants on the list...El Vaquero is one of them, but you have to spend $50 before you can use the coupon.  Who the heck spends that much at a Mexican restaurant??  You have to go with a big group to have any chance of hitting that.  About a month ago my mom reminded me that I needed to start using the certificate so that it wouldn't go to waste.  The good thing though, is that once you print the  individual certificates they "never" expire. So this weekend I'm going to find a few more in OKC and print them out and use them in the next few months.  I found a $25 certificate for the restaurant at the team hotel in Kansas City, but never got around to using it.  The morning I was leaving I gave it to a couple of our donors to use for their breakfast.  I had also found a certificate for Bann Thai in Wichita.  It had gotten some good reviews online, so I figured I would check it out.  And besides, I only had to spend $10 to use the $5 certificate. 

The restaurant is located in a strip mall, about 5 miles off of I-35.  I drove through a really nice neighborhood, into what looked like a not-so great neighborhood, and then turned into the strip mall.  No chance I would  have found this place just by driving by, and not just because it's kind of on the back side of the mall...more because on any other day I would race straight through that part of town without stopping.  But I figured I was already there, and wanted to give it a shot.  It's got about 10 tables, and only 2 of them were occupied.  Again, on a normal day during lunch that would not be a good sign.  But I was deteremined to see it through.  I have to admit I was surprised when my Diet Coke was delivered in a can with a glass of ice. The waiter did, however, open it and pour some into my glass for me.  My waiter was very nice, but spoke very little English, and what he did speak was very broken.  Thank goodness for menus!  The owner came out a few minutes later to offer help on what to order.  Her English isn't great either, but she pointed out items on the menu as she talked, so that helped.

I decided to start with the spring rolls
Crispy spring rolls stuffed with vermicelli and vegetables. 
Served with plum sauce
I was shocked to get 5 rolls!  At most places you get 2-4 maximum.  They were hot, fresh and delicious.  The plum sauce added a great sweetness to the savory rolls. 

I really wanted the honey duck, but they didn't have it available.  She explained the reason to me, but to be honest I couldn't really understand what she said.  So I just said okay, and decided to go with the Pad Khing chicken.  She said they make their own chili paste, so I told her to go ahead and do medium.  A few minutes later the waiter  came back over and told me a story about the Thai origins of the name.  Couldn't even begin to tell you what he said, so I just smiled and acted like I knew what he was talking about.

Sliced ginger, mushroom, onion stir fried with chicken and sauteed with the house sauce
She told me it would be a "little spicy".  She LIED...my mouth was on fire from the first bite!  And that made me sad, because I didn't get to enjoy the meal as much as I wanted.  On the other hand, the veggies were all cooked tender-crisp, which I really love, and it was a lot of food for the money.   And I'm glad that they threw in a bunch of extra veggies, like the corn and baby carrots, because  it just added to the overall flavor.

I was already pretty full and had no plans for dessert.  But I needed something to stop the burn.  I was planning to just go and pick up some candy at the gas station, but when the owner suggested the Thai pancake, I figured why not.  I had never tried one before, and I was sold when she said white chocolate was one of the topping options.

This was one of the best desserts I've ever had!  The pancake was thin and light, and stuffed with nutella. Honestly, anything stuffed with nutella is to die for.  I loved the little white chocolate chips on the edge.  I was stuffed about halfway through, but there was no way I was leaving any of it on the plate, so I just plowed through.

Will I go back?  You know, I think I will!