Happy Food – Oregon Healthy Living Review

Once again we are honored and delighted to have the Bistro reviewed by the Medford Mail Tribune, Oregon Healthy Living.

We are humbled, yet ecstatic with such a lovely review of Anya’s Thai Bistro as well as find a true blessing of acceptance in our food by such a great community and all the support of our wonderful customers, locally and visitors of Ashland and the Rogue Valley.

Happy Food

The food at Anya’s Thai Bistro is intended to make your body smile

“Health is inherent in Thai cuisine’s variety of vegetables, their nutrients preserved by quick cooking and flavors enhanced with herbs and spices thought to aid digestion and the immune system.

Happiness, however, is the most redeeming quality of Anya Samlarn’s food.

“If your tummy’s happy, it goes everywhere … and that’s why I love food,” says the Ashland restaurateur.

Customers have found plenty to love at Anya’s Thai Bistro since it opened July 3 in a subterranean space at the edge of Ashland’s downtown. From Portland’s popular ethnic eateries and food-truck scene, Samlarn brought a big-city sensibility to Southern Oregon, along with her Thai heritage.

“I used my grandma and my mom’s recipes,” says Samlarn, who left Thailand in 1990 for a student’s life in the United States.

“I don’t change the way that I cook,” she adds. “I just want to cook the way that Thai people eat.”

A century-old food shop is still in Samlarn’s family in Thailand. After moving to Portland, Samlarn attended culinary school and, in restaurant kitchens, also learned Vietnamese cuisine, which shares many ingredients and cooking methods with Thailand’s.

“I was always interested in food,” she says.

As Portland’s interest in food trucks accelerated, Samlarn, 46, and 49-year-old husband, Todd Tennyson, set up their own truck and operated it for more than two years. The business demands amid close quarters often caused the couple to run out of food in the middle of the day. Or they were left waiting for crowds to brave rain and cold to visit their truck and some 800 others around the city.

“It was so weather-dependent,” says Tennyson.

Looking for a restaurant venture “a little bigger” than their food cart, the couple gravitated to Tennyson’s hometown of Ashland. The Underground Marketplace offered a kitchen just a bit larger than their former mobile digs. The unintended result of so little storage space, requiring Samlarn to shop almost daily, is the food’s uncommon freshness for restaurant fare, say the couple.

“I cook from what I see at the market,” says Samlarn.

Farmers Market in Phoenix provides a variety of produce, some of it local. The bistro buys organic herbs from a local aquaponics operation and receives deliveries of specialty ingredients from Portland.

Among those are young papaya, a key ingredient in a very traditional Thai salad that Samlarn plans to serve in spring and summer. Jackfruit will accompany homemade coconut ice cream in warmer weather, which also will bring fresh mango with sticky rice for dessert.

“Our menu is changing like every season,” says Samlarn.

Also new for spring is squid, a virtually fat-free protein that stays succulent when grilled in the Thai style, says Tennyson. Shrimp is an option for most bistro dishes, and tofu is equally as popular as meat, which was never the case in Portland, says Tennyson.

“We sell a ton of tofu here.”

Vegan meals are the bistro’s most significant challenge, says Tennyson, because there’s scarcely a Thai dish that doesn’t require fish sauce or shrimp paste. Samlarn, he adds, is reluctant to serve modified recipes that don’t taste authentic.

“We’re kind of limited because it’s tradition — because they don’t do vegan in Thailand,” he says.

Yet the couple encourage customers to state their dietary requirements, so they can make every attempt at accommodation. The menu touts all its curries as gluten-free, along with pad thai.

More than Thailand’s quintessential noodle dish, the spicier drunken noodles meet with patrons’ approval, says Samlarn. Curries all are prepared “medium” and simply can’t be mitigated to “mild.”

“We can make it hot,” says Tennyson.

Despite the name, five-spice chicken is one of Anya’s mildest dishes, and it’s unique among local Thai-restaurant menus. The bird’s dark meat is seasoned with the classic Asian spice blend of star anise, fennel seed, cloves, cinnamon and pepper, then braised for the better part of a day and served in its broth with a hard-boiled egg. Once people try it, says Tennyson, it’s all they order.

The dish’s sweet-salty flavor profile is more typical of Samlarn’s native central Thailand. Areas to the south are known for spice; the north for pungent, fermented ingredients. Like the majority of Thai restaurants, Anya’s makes good use of garlic and ginger, both cited in mainstream medical studies for their beneficial properties.

Known for its antioxidants, tea is another bistro focus little seen at other local Thai establishments. Samlarn says she grew to appreciate tea while working in Portland restaurants. Her list of 15 loose-leaf teas steeped in cast-iron pots includes several organic types.

“There’s a lot of health benefit from drinking tea,” says Samlarn. “We sold tons of tea in the winter.”

With winter the slow season for most Ashland eateries that rely on tourists, Anya’s built up its reputation as a favorite with locals. Although Samlarn and Tennyson believed Thai food was underrepresented in town, residents’ response has far surpassed the couple’s hope of support.

“We didn’t expect much,” says Samlarn. “The feedback here has been phenomenal.”

Source : Written by Sarah Lemon, June 17th, 2013 in the Oregon Healthy Living section of the Medford Mail Tribune.

Thank you to everyone for all your support, patronage and cheers to your health!

Bistro Hours of Operation

We have changed our Bistro Hours of Operation and just wanted to make sure our awesome patrons knew about our new hours!

You can see the new Hours of Operation on our sidebar to your right, over here  

We are now closed on Mondays and also we open an hour early every Sunday for everyone’s convenience.

Thank you to all of our great customers!  We truly appreciate your business and all of your kind words!

Speaking of ‘kind’ words, we would LOVE to hear from you about your experience and meal!  So our awesome webmaster can get a sort-of ‘Testimonial’ page going for us.  So when you have a minute, please use our Contact Form and send us your review, rating, testimonial, etc. of your experience at Anya’s Thai Bistro!  It is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

The Rogue Valley Messenger Reviews the Bistro!

Anya's Thai Bistro - Ashland, OregonThank you to Brock Swinson of The Rogue Valley Messenger and the kind review of our Bistro as well as visiting us and enjoying your experience with us!

I walked by the sign for a new Thai restaurant a dozen times before I chose to quit hitting the same handful of locations and try something new. The sign outside always caught my attention but it seemed I was always headed somewhere else with some sort of predetermined agenda to meet or manage. I’m glad I finally stopped. Located in the Underground Market Place, Anya’s Thai Bistro is down the stairs at 33 N. Third Street in Ashland.

Reaching the bottom of the staircase, patrons will notice the hollowed out Underground that is begging for new shops as “For Rent” signs sit in all the windows like pets waiting to be adopted. Walking through what feels like a 1920s train depot, customers will see Anya’s Thai Bistro as the oasis it is in the Underground Market Place.

Chatter is heard from the humble restaurant in an instance as the three-week-old business is already packed with customers. Seating myself, I picked up the single-sheet menu and ordered a Diet Coke and the (medium spicy) Drunken Noodles from the waitress with the kind smile.

In a few minutes, I was rehearsing my chopstick skills while enjoying a great bowl of noodles and veggies. A handful of shrimp were cooked to perfection and sprinkled over pan-friend noodles with spicy chili garlic sauce as onions, carrots, broccoli and bell peppers hid in the noodles and Thai Basil sauce.

Growing up in a family of four sisters, Anya’s family struggled after her father passed when she was only eight. “With no money, we just had the promise of tomorrow,” recalls Anya. Her mother took the reins after she lost her husband and ran a fleet of 7 ships and a 150-man crew. Anya learned how to cook and feed a crew of hungry men and never looked back. “All I ever heard was about food. To us, it’s not just a meal, it is all about how you live your life and how you treat your loved ones with good food.”

Her cooking style comes from the Central part of Thailand. Methodology and food prep is often different despite which part of Thailand the food originated. “The Thai people in the Central Plain prefer food with smooth and lasting taste with a touch of sweetness,” says Anya. Not having had too many Thai dishes myself, the meal was a treat for me and the two asterisk spicy note on the menu was no joke.

Anya’s Thai Bistro began as a food cart in Portland and we’re excited to have them in Ashland. Anya’s is open Tuesday-Sunday and they take reservations and to-go orders by calling (541) 488-0281.

Source : The Rogue Valley Messenger • Article by Brock Swinson

Ashland Daily Tidings Reviews Anya’s Thai Bistro!

From everyone at Anya’s Thai Bistro – We give thanks and gratitude to the Ashland Daily Tidings for visiting us and also writing up such a great review of our Bistro. Thank you!

From the Ashland Daily Tidings Review:

Cuisine and scene: Nearly as cool as creekside dining, this new Thai restaurant situated below street level at the edge of Ashland’s downtown feels like a refuge both from summer’s heat and the tourist season. Food is expertly prepared, service efficiently attentive (even a tad too solicitous) and pleasant atmosphere comfortably anchored in a subterranean space within walking distance of the town’s major attractions. Linger over a cup of tea at the bar-height counter overlooking the Underground Market’s common space.

Recommended: House-made spring rolls are enormous with perfectly crisp layers of rice paper yielding to a light, not compacted, filling of glass noodles accented with a bit of finely diced veggies; pad thai strikes a perfect balance between sweet and savory with creamy, wok-seared tofu; sticky rice with mango is a special, seasonal dessert with generous slices of perfectly ripe mango alongside rice redolent of coconut water and thickly topped with sesame seeds.

Alternative diets: All entrees can be prepared with tofu; ask for gluten-free options.

Beverages: “Bubble” teas, smoothies, Thai-style iced tea and coffee, canned sodas and flavored mineral waters, as well as 15 types of hot tea from white peony to organic “gunpowder” green tea.

Price range: Appetizers, $4.50 to $7; soups, $5.95 to $6.95; salad, $8; lunch dishes, $9.25 to $10.75; dinner dishes, $11 to $13.50.

Extras: Dishes can be customized for preferred spiciness; street parking.

Serving: From 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays, from noon to 8 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to “3:30-ish” Sundays.

Info: 33 N. Third St., Ashland; 541-488-0281; www.anyasthaibistro.com.

— Sarah Lemon

Source: Ashland Daily Tidingshttp://j.mp/RGVpjG