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Evil Penevil

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About Evil Penevil

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  1. The Hungry Hippo is the most recent of the "big three" budget restaurants to open on a short stretch of Soi Buakhao, the other two being the Chunky Monkey and Cheap Charlie's. It's also the latest project of an experienced restaurateur who had started and flipped the Chunkey Monkey. In fact, he almost replicated the Chunky Monkey (but in smaller premises) a couple of hundred metters down the street from the original. The Hubgry Hippo uses the same menu and the bargain-priced food tastes the same as it did at the CM. If you liked the CM under Robin's ownership, you won't encounter any surprises at the HH. The opposite is also true. If you disliked the old CM, the HH won't change your opinion. One significant difference: the surly service has improved from the waning days before the Chunky Monkey changed ownership. The waitresses at the Hungry Hippo were friendly and attentive. Like its simian predecessor, the Hippo is clean and well-lit; the AC keeps the interior cool but not artic cold. The background music is played at a blessedly low volume. Those are all important factors for me and can't be taken for granted in Pattaya. It's a comfortable place to have a meal. Unfortunately, the meal I had wasn't very good. I tried the Friday daily special for 129 baht: two eggs, ham and a choice of potatoes, British-style chips or bubble and squeak, which is mashed, boiled or roasted potatoes fried with cabbage and other vegetables. It's basically a tasty way of using leftovers. I took the bubble and squeak. The special also came with a portion of raw salad that was mostly shredded cabbage and carrots topped with a slice of tomato and three slices of cucumber. The salad and fried eggs were OK, but the ham and bubble and squeak plunged the meal into the mediocre category. The slices of standard wet-cured ham were commendably large and thick. However, they were served not lukewarm or at room temperature, but straight-out-of-the-fridge stone cold. How much effort could it have taken to have given the ham slices a quick turn on the griddle? The bubble and squeak was in name only; it seemed to consist of chopped leftover fried potatoes or even chopped chips mixed with side vegetables but no cabbage. It lacked the proper flavor and consistency. Much of the flavor in traditional bubble and squeak comes from the fat used for frying, usually meat drippings or bacon fat or duck or goose fat if you want to get fancy. The HH's version had seen none of them. I have realistic expectations about the type of farang food you'll get for 129 baht and am fully aware I won't be scaling any culinary heights at that price. However. cheap dishes should at least be acceptable in terms of taste. This wasn't. I took an order of chilli con carne and rice (109 baht) home with me. It wasn't Tex-Mex chilli con carne by any stretch of the imagination. Remember, despite the name in Spanish, chilli con carne is NOT a Mexican dish. The HH's version lacked any of the spices associated with chilli con carne (cumin, oregano, garlic powder) and seemed to be a mixture of minced beef and chopped onion with a few kidney beans thrown in. It was mouth-blistering spicy do to a heavy dose of cayenne pepper; otherwise, it was flavorless. I couldn't eat it. I had to wonder if anyone in Pattaya could enjoy that concoction. Any dish that's inedible isn't worth the price, it's a waste no matter how low the price. I don't eat a Western breakfast very often these days, but friends who do tell me the 99-baht breakfat special is OK. There are several other cheap breakfast options on the menu as well ... and plenty of specials ... Drink prices, especially bottled beer, are low at HH. Small bottles of beer go for 50 and 55 baht, while large bottles (620 ml) of Singha, Chang and Leo cost 79 baht. That's very competitive, even for the Soi Buakhao area. Bottom line: The Hungry Hippo is a cheap and cheerful place to have a beer and people watch if sitting outdoors. But in terms of food, the only description can be cheap and mediocre or worse. The location, physical setup and prices for booze give the Hungry Hippo a lot of potential. The massive menu needs to be trimmed and the cooks trained in how to properly prepare a narrower range of farang favorites. Everyone loves a bargain, myself included, but the food has to hold a reasonable standard. I've included a few excerpts from the Hungry Hippo's 23-page (!) menu. Evil
  2. One of the best historical novels I ever read is The Long Ships by the Swedish author Frans G. Bengtsson. It's the story of Red Orm and his family and friends, set against events of the late Viking era. Red Orm interacts with a number of historical figures figures, including Harald Bluetooth, Sven Forkbeard, Almunsur of Andalusia, Thorkell the Tall, Ethelred the Unready and Styrbjörn the Strong. Orm takes part in the Battle of Maldon. References are made throughout to Ragnar Lodbrok (literally, Ragnar Hairy Britches) and his sons, who belonged to an earlier Viking era. While Bengtsson doesn't slight the battle scenes, duels, sea voyages and adventures, he is exceptional in his detailed portrayal of Viking family life. He also emphasizes the wise-cracking and fun-loving side of the Vikings that is backed up by the Norse sagas. I recommend The Long Ships to anyone interested in Vikings. I don't know if the record still holds today, but it used to be the most widely read novel in Sweden. Don't be put off by a bad U.S. movie from 1964 that was also called The Long Ships. Aside from the name and Viking setting, it has almost nothing in common with the book. Evil
  3. Most profound insight into the Pattaya experience. "Looks like freedom but it feels like death. Must be something in between I guess."
  4. The ultimate "Thai girl" song.
  5. This should be Pattaya's official anthem.
  6. This is more an informative post than a review. Kilkenny Bar and Guesthouse revamped its restaurant menu about three weeks ago. Here's an excerpt from the new menu: Kilkenny also has great value-for-money daily specials. Today's three specials: and yesterday's two: I've tried and reviewed the beef stew, pork chop and Ozzie burger. All were very good. Most noteworthy is probably the Sunday roast lamb dinner for 199 baht. You won't do better than that for the price anywhere in town. What impresses me most about Kilkenny is its consistency. I've never had a bad meal there. In many farang-oriented places in Pattaya, the quality of the meals can swing dramatically depending who's in the kitchen at the time. Prices are reasonable at Kilkenny but it's 30-50 baht higher for popular menu items compared with the nearby Cheap Charlie's, Chunky Monkey and Hungry Hippo. However, in terms of quality and portion size, Kilkenny wins hands down. Kilkenny also has an extended Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to midnight every day, during which all house spirits and bottled beers go for 65 baht. Kilkenny's is located at the corner of the L on LK Metro, across from the Billabong Bar. It's an excellent spot for people watching on LK Metro. Things can get quite lively at the Billabong. Evil
  7. Prime Burger has taken over the premises of the venerable but now defunct Butchers Arms across Soi Buakhao from the southern edge of Tree Town. As the name makes clear, Prime Burger is narrowly focused on premium burgers. In addition to hamburgers made from 100% imported Australian beef (70% chuck, 30% brisket) ground daily in the restaurant, the menu includes chicken, fish and vegetarian burgers as well as some traditional side dishes and salads. Prime Burger is a good option if you're in the mood for an upscale burger, but not if you want anything else. The interior features booth and table seating. There is a big screen TV on one wall and a pool table in the back section. For those who want to people watch or prefer dining al fresco, there are tables outside. The burgers are named for cities around the world and come in three sizes (single-, double- and triple-patty). Each patty weighs 90 grams. Eight different burgers are available. The New York Burger is a basic cheeseburger, but I chose the Paris Burger with cheese, U.S.-style smoked streaky bacon, tomato, lettuce, Dijon mustard and truffle mayo. On its Web site and printed menu, Prime Burger states "the quality of beef and ingredients" is the key to making the best burger. I certainly won't disagree but add that proper execution by the cook is also important in producing a great burger. Even the best ingredients can be mistreated in the kitchen and result in an unpalatable dish. But the kitchen staff at Prime Burger got it right regarding the basics. Quality ingredients were well prepared to yield one of the tastiest burgers I've had in a long time. Admittedly, I don't often eat hamburgers in Pattaya, so I don't have a large or up-to-date basis for comparison. The owner of Prime Burger is a Swede who opened a Prime Burger in Phuket earlier this year and its Stockholm Burger promptly won the annual Phuket's Best Burger. If the owner isn't doing the cooking himself, he's trained his staff well. A bacon cheeseburger is straight out of Peoria or Omaha; it's the Dijon mustard and truffle mayo that gives the Paris Burger it's French twist. I'm not sure truffle mayo really has a place on a bacon cheeseburger; a more neutral base like pasta, eggs or mild meat and fish is needed for the truffle flavor to shine. A generous blob of Dijon mustard would have been a brilliant addition, as it would have added a contrasting bite to the fatty richness of the cheeseburger. Alas, the cook had been rather stingy with the mustard and I couldn't notice any taste from the mustard or truffle mayo. Nevertheless, as a straight-up bacon cheeseburger, it was very good. The bun, the most overlooked component of burgers, was fresh and light, exactly how a hamburger bun should be. I ordered the halloumi salad at 90 baht as my side. Halloumi is cheese that originated in Cyprus and is traditionally made from sheep's milk. It has a low moisture content that makes it perfect for grilling and frying. Halloumi has a unique taste that's hard to describe; it's sort of like feta, but milder and creamier. I can't even recall seeing halloumi on a Pattaya menu before. In modern times, halloumi has been made from cow's milk and I think (but can't be sure) that was the variation I got. It had a good texture but very little flavor. The vegetables, pieces of vegetables (tomato, cucumber, green and red pepper) were freshly chopped. Black olives provided the accent rather than the cheese. Bottom line: Next time I have a yearning for a hamburger, Prime Burger will be one of my options. I wouldn't say it's the best burger in Pattaya, but it's very good and the location is convenient for me. I also want to try the Tokyo Burger (deep-fried fish). The total cost of my meal (burger, salad and soda water) was 375 baht. I'm not sure about Prime Burger's hours of business. I got there at 2.30 p.m. and the staff was still putting out the settings on the outdoor tables. A "Closed" sign hung on the door, but the waitress told me to go inside and "wait five minute." I believe it is supposed to be open between 3.00 p.m. and 11 p.m. Evil
  8. Cheap Charlie's is one of three low-price restaurants evenly spaced along a half-kilometer stretch of Soi Buakhao in the heart of the LK Metro area. The Chunky Monkey and Happy Hippo are the other two bastions of budget bites on Buakhao, although several restaurants in that area have daily specials that put them in or slightly above the same price level. Competition for bargain baht is fierce around LK Metro! CC's is located about 150 meters south of Soi Lengkee on the east side of the road. I visited on a Sunday at about 2.30 p.m. It had about 25 customers at that time, which was considerably more than I saw at the Chunky Monkey or Happy Hippo as I passed them on the way to CC's. "Cheap and cheerful" is an apt description for CC's. It's open-front, but powerful and well-placed fans keep it cool. There's nothing fancy about the decor, but it's a comfortable and pleasant place for a meal with friendly service staff. I tried the roast chicken dinner for 99 baht. At that price, it can't really be faulted. It tasted fine and the portion was large enough for me. You can certainly find better and bigger roast chicken dinners in Pattaya, but they'll cost three or four times as much. The chicken was a large piece of breast accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, roast and mashed potatoes, gravy and boiled vegetables, mostly cabbage and carrots. The Yorkshire was a bit dense and the gravy slightly too salty for me, but those are minor quibbles. It was indeed good for 99 baht. I had intended to try the roast lamb Sunday dinner, which I had read on a board went for 149 baht. However, when I arrived, a sign out front said the price was 195 baht, but a waitress hauled the sign in moments after I sat down. Sure enough, the waitress who took my order said it was already sold out, so I had the roast chicken instead. I haven't had much luck with roast beef or pork dinners in budget restaurants. CC's has an extensive menu centered on familiar British dishes, but also quite a few internationa (hamburgers, pasta)l, Indian, Chinese and Thai offerings. It's pretty much the standard fare for farang restaurants in Pattaya. Here's an excerpt from CC's menu: The roast dinners are available every day, not just Sundays. There are also daily specials at discounted prices. Drinks are also reasonably priced at CC's: Bottom line: Cheap Charlie's is definitely a competitive entry in the crowded field of restaurants vying for budget-conscious customers who want farang food at a low price. Adjust your expectations accordingly. Evil
  9. Just one US Chromecast for me, but it has always worked well in LOS. Evil
  10. I did several reviews of the Chunky Monkey; the first one covered the pork chop special that cost 79 baht when the CM first opened in October last year (Under 300 Baht  And Good! post #25). If the pic above is accurate, the 99-baht pork chop has gotten a bit bigger but lost the fried onions and applesauce. Some pics from that review: The problem was the food at the Chunky Monkey went down in quality quickly and the next meals I had there were included in the Under 300 baht and Mediocre thread. After a couple of less than good meals, albeit at cheap prices, I gave up on CM. I believe it's a question of terminology. You are giving examples of the markup on the meals at the CM, i.e., the difference in the cost of the ingredients and the price at which the meals are sold. That's not the same thing as the net profit (total revenue minus all costs of running the restaurant) on which the profit margin is based. The markup can be relatively high, but the profit margin can still be razor-thin (or non existent) when all costs are taken in account. The big factor for restaurants, bars and other businesses in Pattaya- and elsewhere, for that matter- is the rent. If it's low enough, the business may be able to survive with a very low profit margin. If the rent goes up, that will often wipe out the profit margin entirely. In the 1980's in Saudi Arabia, I had roast camel stuffed with a roast sheep stuffed with chicken that were stuffed with eggs. The pic is from the Internet and gives a general idea, I didn't like it. The camel meat was tough and gamey, the mutton and chicken were greasy. Evil
  11. Three of the combatants in the Disneyland brawl have been charged with crimes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cTbip8STVo Pink-Shirt is facing five felonies and nine misdemeanors which add up to 7.5 years in jail. In addition to bashing women, he apparently tried to run down a Disney employee with his car when leaving the park. He's being held in jail ahead of the trial as he he was slapped with $1 million in bail. What I find interesting is that NO ONE has come to the family's defense. Thousands and thousands of posters on social media have condemned them and hundreds have stated that family isn't representative of black Americans or that white families have done equally outrageous things, but no direct defense of their actions. Cop killers and sometimes even terrorists get sympathy in the US, but not Disneyland brawlers. :wacko: Evil
  12. Sitting in a motel room at Newark Liberty Airport, watching classic Western TV series from the 1950's and 1960's. Looking at Rawhide right now, the series that led Clint Eastwood to the movies that made him a star. The top star of the series, Eric Fleming, had been offered the role of the "Man with No Name" in A Fistful of Dollars, but declined and recommended Eastwood to Sergio Leone. Not a bad room for $100/night. A spacious room like that with microwave, fridge and big-screen TV with 200 channels would cost $300-$400/night in Manhattan. It was very clean with a comfortable bed, but the furnishings were a bit worn.
  13. Many small businesses fail because they set prices too low. They simply can't generate enough revenue to cover expenses. The budget end of the market is extremely tough. Customers are very fickle. They'll take advantage of the special prices on food, but will drink in a bar where bottled beer is five baht cheaper. And it's a fact of life that you can't make money in Pattaya by selling meals for 99 baht unless the quality is abysmal. Evil
  14. That is very possible, considering how busy the old Food Park always was. But they must be putting some sort of new twist on it; otherwise, it wouldn't be closed for such a long time. Evil
  15. The redone Food Park on the lower level of Central Festival: It's slicker, more comfortable and has a better layout than its hugely popular predecessor. I took these photos at about 8.30 p.m. on Sunday, July 14. The Food Park was busy, but there were plenty of seats available. The old Food Park was often rammed, even in low season. It's also more expensive. I couldn't see any Thai dishes for 45-50 baht; the cheapest seemed to be 90 baht. The space that housed the old Food Park is still under wraps, but the ads that block off the construction indicate it will be food oriented. Evil
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