Local Lunch Gals: Chao Pra Ya via Pony Express

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I know, I know, the Local Lunch Gals dined on Thai food…again. Has anyone ever noticed how many Thai restaurants there are in the Eugene-Springfield area? Without Googling or doing any research, I can think of at least ten just off the top of my head: Mekala’s, Tasty Thai, Ta Ra Rin, Sabai, Ring of Fire, Manola’s, Sweet Basil, Lucky Noodle, Bai Khao, Noodle N Thai, Aiyara, and I can even think of a few more. Eugenean’s must have a proven track record for a love of Thai food.

Our original plan, however, was to order from a sub shop we’ve been hearing so much about: Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop, located on Shelton McMurphy Boulevard in the big red warehouse, behind Imperial Floors. They offer an intriguing menu, one sandwich that caught my eye was Dave’s Choice – turkey breast, spicy garlic oil, bell pepper, onion, pineapple, spinach, Italian Herb Vinaigrette, Parmesan, spicy brown mustard, and a thin layer of whipped cream cheese. Served sauteed and pressed on a hoagie – wow. But, much to our dismay, Not Your Mom’s Sandwich Shop only delivers orders with a minimum purchase of $40 dollars, which we knew we wouldn’t reach with just the three of us. The minimum purchase is necessary because this small operation is run by husband and wife team, Dave and Nicole Stanley, and when we called during a busy Friday lunch rush, time away from their shop would understandably need to be justified – the Lunch Gals get it. We’ll definitely be checking them out soon, their sandwiches simply look too delicious to pass up. Besides, they serve Oakshire, Ninkasi and Blue Dog Mead, and the Gals love local brews.

Since we had already opened up an excellent bottle of Cornerstone Oregon Chardonnay to celebrate my birthday, we were set on kicking back at my house and having food delivered. Lunch Gal Jennifer suggested we try Pony Express. Pony Express is a restaurant marketing and delivery services business. With over 45 different restaurant options, Pony Express is definitely not lacking a great menu selection. As we scrolled through the options, including small locally owned restaurants like Park Street Cafe and Cornbread Cafe, to large chain restaurants like Chili’s and Marie Callender’s, we agreed to go with Thai restaurant Chao Pra Ya because Jennifer’s neighbor has touted their food on several occasions.

We decided to share an appetizer and two entrees, and ended up ordering the Crispy Salad Rolls appetizer and the Crispy Rad Na and Pa Nang Curry entrees. The Crispy Salad Rolls are deep fried egg rolls filled with vegetables and silver noodles served with sweet and sour sauce. The Crispy Rad Na had crispy rice noodles, broccoli, carrots, baby corn and mushrooms in a gravy sauce and we added chicken from a choice of chicken, seafood, beef or tofu. We also added chicken to the Pa Nang Curry, which had the Pa Nang Curry sauce with green beans and Kaffir lime leaves.

We ordered at 1:05 pm, and the friendly gal on the line advised us that it may be an hour before our delivery would arrive, so when the doorbell rang just thirty minutes later, we were more than happy with the delivery time. We were also glad to see that everything was delivered in recyclable containers. The chicken in both entrees was cooked to perfection, and vegetables were fresh, steamed and delicious. My favorite was the Pa Nang Curry sauce – creamy and packed full of flavors, it was really tasty poured over Jasmine rice. We all enjoyed the food and would order from them again.

Again, of the abundance of Thai restaurants we have in our area, most have similar menus with similar tasting foods. It’s difficult to say which one we like best, as they’ve all been good so far. With this in mind, the Lunch Gals have come up with a plan to find out which of the Thai restaurants is our favorite. Our plan is to blind-taste one common item, like Phad Thai, from a variety of Thai restaurants. Whichever common item has the most likes will become our favorite place for Thai food. Of course, this could get expensive for one lunch sitting, so we may need to do this in increments or invite our readers to join us for a Phad Thai Blind Tasting (see below).

On another note, we were incredibly impressed with Pony Express, from beginning to end. The person on the phone was friendly, the options were abundant, the food was warm and steamy upon arrival, and the delivery time was better than expected. So, we highly recommend using Pony Express. Using the delivery service allowed us to have a birthday celebration at my house, where we could kick-off our shoes, put our feet up, pop the cork on some excellent wine and enjoy some good food and conversation without needing to go anywhere.

This cupcake could not go unmentioned – an absolutely ambrosial cupcake from Sweet Life: Blood Orange with Banana Cream Frosting. Yum. Note: Although Jennifer brought this cupcake with her, Pony Express does deliver Sweet Life goodies too!

Pony Express 541-485-2090


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