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Dining on the Road – Three Thai restaurants to note: Arun’s, Chicago; Sokhothai, Winnipeg, MB; & Siam Thai, Billings, MT

Post 90 of 141

We are vegan and are no longer challenged to find decent restaurants on the road with the explosion of Asian restaurants- particularly, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese. With the exception of East Indian restaurants, most other ethnic restaurants are animal based. Just twenty years ago, there were Chinese restaurants that did not serve “bean curd” – tofu.


A note on reviewing:
Rarely do we discover restaurants worth reviewing. We are not interested in punishing restaurants, hotels, activities, etc. by writing bad reviews. That’s too easy – in fact I used to negatively criticize just because it made me feel better about myself – that I was able to find something wrong with some aspect of some business, event. I felt “smarter” because I could identify someone’s error, poor service. Reflecting on this, I found that I was damaging myself – residing in the negative and, really, in “pride.” Thus, here are some positive reviews:

Last month, while on vacation, we experienced two “new to us” incredibly fine Thai restaurants – Sukhothai Restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – which ranks as the best standard Thai restaurant we have found and Siam Thai in Billings, Montana, the second best. (The consideration “standard” is required to distinguish most Thai restaurants from the artistic Arun’s in Chicago. More on that later.)

At Winnipeg’s Sokhothai Restaurant vegetables are perfect – sauces complex, spicy and yet absolutely flavorful. Service is attentive and knowledgeable. We appreciated the menu’s pricing – animal based dishes are $1 to $2 additional – partially reflecting the greater resource cost for animal foods. (There’s no way to quantify the suffering.) Sokhothai is located at Osborne and Gertrude on the south end of Osborne Village.

Siam Thai in Billings, Montana is in the west end of the city at 3219 Henesta in a small strip mall. Although we only ate lunch, it was remarkable and this restaurant is our second favorite standard Thai restaurant in North America – the first being Sokhothai in Winnipeg. Admittedly we haven’t explored Thai Restaurants in Montreal, Toronto, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc. But we have in California’s major cities, New York City, and Chicago.

And in Chicago is a Thai restaurant that redefines Thai cuisine and is not at all “standard.” In Chicago during the run-up to the presidential elections, Alex introduced us to a remarkable Thai restaurant – Arun’s. The dishes here are incredible. Chef Arun Sampanthavivat is an artist. The vegetables and flavors are just right, the sauces amazing – and the plating – outstanding. Arun serves a prix fixe 12 course dinner and a night at Arun’s is memorable. Each course – six appetizers, four entrees, and two desserts comprise an exquisite evening. Although Sokhothai and Siam Thai’s flavors are outstanding and wholesome, a single dish is a meal where Arun’s tasting menu is twelve dishes tailored to each diner. And Arun’s is in no way “standard”. I know of no other Thai restaurant like Arun’s: it is incomparable and for this reason, perhaps, has received a Five Diamond Award from the American Automobile Association.

Vegan Icelandic? When in Manitoba, we stay in Matlock at Joan’s cottage. Just up the road is Gimli, Manitoba, the largest Icelandic community outside Iceland. Here we discovered another dining “find” in a former jewelry store, Cronshaws. Joan’s oldest friend introduced us – her husband did the extensive woodworking – darkly stained paneling to invoke an intimate British pub. Although in Midwestern Canada, Cronshaws features a menu with dishes created with organic ingredients. The creators of this rural miracle in a fishing village provide a number of vegan items. And they are concerned about health: the bake their “fries” – really potato wedges. They were only able to serve us nine small wedges – because they ran out . Wat we tasted were excellent. They also offer vegan sandwiches, soups, salads and a Turkish appetizer plate with humus and baba ganoush. Cronshaws is truly futuristic…. In the Midwest, in a fishing community populated by Vikings!

In summary – from north to south we recommend Cronshaws Pub in Gimli, Sokhothai in Winnipeg, Siam Thai in Billings, and Arun’s in Chicago.

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This article was written by stanford

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Big River 1 Bedroom Suite


Big River 1 Bedroom Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $360-$440

Expansive and romantic – This original one bedroom suite sits in the middle of the Big River Building affording views sweeping over Big River Nurseries to Mendocino Bay and over Big River Estuary into the historic village of Mendocino … from a private deck. The bedroom has a king size bed and the living room a sofa bed. The fireplace is an Irish Waterford iron stove which provides the smell and crackling wood of an open fireplace in a rare uniquely designed unit. The suite also features a flat screen HDTV, DVD, compact stereo system, refrigerator, coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private deck. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Big River Double Queen


Big River Double Queen Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$289

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with two queen size beds. Each offers a wood burning fireplace or Irish Waterford stove, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Big River Executive King


Big River Executive King Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $221-$299

Bed Sitting Rooms – seating areas with sofas and king size beds. Each offers a wood burning fireplace, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Big River Executive Queen


Big River Executive Queen Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $221 -$299

Bed Sitting Rooms with seating areas with sofas and queen size beds. Each offers a wood burning fireplace, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Big River Garden Level


Big River Garden Level Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$289

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with a queen size bed and/or daybed on our garden level. Daybeds can provide twin bed comfort for up to two additional persons with a pop-up twins under each day bed. Each room offers a wood burning fireplace or Irish Waterford stove, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Big River Top Level with Daybed


Big River Queen with Daybed Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$289

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with a queen size bed and daybed. The daybed provides twin bed comfort for up to two additional persons with a pop-up twins under each day bed. Each room offers a wood burning fireplace or Irish Waterford stove, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Forest Executive


Forest Executive Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $245-$320

Simple elegance – Slightly larger rooms and baths distinguish these accommodations from those of Big River. Each one offers a large wood burning fireplaces, king size beds, wet bars, private decks that overlook Mendocino Bay and the village of Mendocino. The rooms also feature a flat screen HDTV, DVD, compact stereo system, refrigerator, coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private deck. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Forest 1 Bedroom Suite


Forest 1 Bedroom Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $312-$460

Ultimate Mendocino Romance – One bedroom suites offering large wood burning fireplaces; 27″ televisions with DVD; compact stereo systems; wet bars supplied with bottled water and juice drinks; coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee; a sofa bed; decks; Mendocino Bay and Mendocino village views. The bedroom has its own television and a king size bed. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Forest 2 Bedroom Suite


Forest 2 Bedroom Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $312-$460

Ultimate Mendocino Romance – One bedroom suites offering large wood burning fireplaces; 27″ televisions with DVD; compact stereo systems; wet bars supplied with bottled water and juice drinks; coffee maker supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee; a sofa bed; decks; Mendocino Bay and Mendocino village views. The bedroom has its own television and a king size bed. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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Secluded Barn Suite


Barn Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $315 – $390

Peaceful and private – Vaulted ceilings distinguish this large one bedroom suite, equipped with a king size bed and sofa bed in the bedroom and another in the living room. The living rooms fireplace is stocked with firewood, with just outside the door. There’s a kitchen with dining area, and a small yard and garden. The suite is within a barn which is also home to the Stanfords and Dan, a Morgan horse. Flat Screen HD Televisions, DVD, Stereos, and more amenities.

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Garret Suite


Garret Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $239 – $279

A two-story suite with exceptional views – One bedroom suite with kitchen facilities in a 1930’s cottage located just south of Big River Bridge and overlooking the Llamas, organic gardens, Big River estuary and Catch A Canoe. Bedroom has a queen bed and living room a sofa bed. This suite has a deck and a wood burning Buck Stove.

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Canoe Suite


Canoe Suite at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $259 – $299

A magical cottage with Big River views – One bedroom suite with kitchen facilities in a 1930’s cottage located just south of Big River Bridge and overlooking the Big River estuary and Catch A Canoe. The bedroom has a queen bed and living room a sofa bed. This Mendocino suite has a deck and a wood burning brick Heatilator fireplace. HD Flat Screen TV, DVD/VCR, stereo systems and more.

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Big River Petite Queen


Big River Petite Queen Room at the Stanford Inn by the sea, Mendocino, CA

Room Rates $211 -$269

Distinctive Mendocino lodging – Accommodations with queen size beds on the lower and upper floors of the inn. Each offers a wood burning fireplace, views of our gardens and the ocean beyond, Flat Screen HDTVs, DVDs, compact stereo systems, refrigerators, coffee makers supplied with organic, fair trade Big River Coffee and private decks – overlooking Mendocino and the Pacific Ocean. Complimentary organic breakfast served from our menu each morning.

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