Takeout Thai from Houston’s Street to Kitchen

As this coronavirus crisis continues, we continue to support our local restaurant industry any way we can, including by ordering takeout.

Over in the East End just off Harrisburg sits a takeout spot you’ll want to get to know asap, the sizzling new Thai concept Street to Kitchen. It comes from Thai native and chef Benchawan “G” Jabthong Painter — whose prior work in the kitchens at SaltAir and Theodore Rex put her name on the culinary map — and her husband Graham; and though it’s only had about two-plus months under its belt and it opened in the middle of a pandemic, it has quickly garnered fans across the city.

Consider this writer one of them. I’d been following its Instagram account and it was already on my hit list before I realized I needed to get out of my Friday night pizza or ramen rut (don’t worry Romano’s and Ramen Tatsu-Ya, I’ll be back). So on a recent, rainy Friday, my husband and I finally decided to check it out.

You can pick up chef Benchawan “G” Jabthong Painter's real deal Thai eats straight from the drive-through window.EXPAND

You can pick up chef Benchawan “G” Jabthong Painter’s real deal Thai eats straight from the drive-through window.

Photo by Kirsten Gilliam

The restaurant’s operations are currently takeout and delivery only (with plans to open a dining space in the future), so you can order online and pick up the goods through a drive-through window or get delivery via UberEats and DoorDash. Note: if you order via the DoorDash delivery directly through Street to Kitchen’s website and not from the app itself, it helps the restaurant avoid the large commissions typically charged by delivery services.

We ordered delivery, and around an hour later the eats arrived well packed and still hot. Veggie spring rolls ($5 for four), teeny numbers packed with cabbage, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and glass noodles, miraculously managed to stay crisp on the ride over.

And the pad Thai ($14.99), ooooph this pad Thai...it is easily my favorite in Houston. Here, it’s made with plump Gulf shrimp (not chicken, though a vegetarian version is available), with toothsome rice noodles, a banging scratchmade sauce that rocks a hint of sweetness, what feels like more than your fair share of egg, and little side cups of ground peanuts and dried chiles so you can top and spice as you please.

We also tacked on two orders of Street to Kitchen’s soon-to-be claim to fame, its Thai-style fried chicken ($7.49 for a two piece box), available by the two- or three-piece box and served with fragrant spiced rice and either spicy Thai chili cilantro or sweet chili sauce. That cilantro sauce packed a nice heat and brightness to cut through the fat of the deeply crunchy, beautifully seasoned fried bird.

Turns out I ordered way too much for two people and a toddler, as each two-piece box of chicken rocked a seriously colossal breast and chunky thigh, and the portions of rice and noodles were a nice size.

To be honest I think I plan

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MINA Family Kitchen Serves San Francisco’s Best Takeout Brunch For These Trying Times

Talk about a pivot. The luminous, nimble Michael Mina, one of the country’s most creative chefs, launched MINA Family Kitchen back in April 2020 right after it became clear that COVID-19 pandemic was not a fleeting disruption but rather an unwanted longterm visitor. MINA Family Kitchen is a pickup and delivery service operating out of the Michael Mina restaurant at 252 California Street that offers popular menu items from PABU, International Smoke, and the flagship Michael Mina.

The brilliance of this move was not only its prescience in terms of the subsequent tanking of the restaurant industry, it was also a lifesaver for many of Mina’s employees, resulting in the ability to save some jobs and provide meals for those employees who were furloughed. Every meal purchased from MINA Family Kitchen enables the company to offer family meals to those who lost work due to the pandemic. And the food is fantastic, of course.

My family and I have gotten takeout a couple times a week since quarantine began, mostly as a way of supporting local restaurants, but I’m often underwhelmed by the food after transporting it home, and even more dismayed by the lack of packaging innovation. MINA Family Kitchen gets both of these essential aspects of a good takeout experience just right.

Packaging is sturdy and compostable and our meal arrived having retained its beautiful plating and presentation. It was package up in flat boxes, so it was easy to carry without spilling or moving things around.

The menu is a melange of Mina greatest hits, including black pepper and blue crab udon, fried chicken with honey butter, yuzu kosho honey and jalapeño creamed corn, lemongrass pork bánh mì, and early girl tomato shakshuka. There’s also more traditional breakfast dishes (with Mina spins, of course), like coconut pancakes and breakfast sandwiches.

Dirty Diane’s Jalapeño Mixer is a must-order, a purée of fresh jalapeños, cilantro and warming coriander. You can order cocktail boxes for a group that serve 10-15 people put together by Anthony Attanasio and his bar team, including the bloody Mary mixes, “Little Italy,” and “Bartender’s Friend,” each of which comes with five recipe cards for variations on each theme.

Here are two recipes to get you started, one from PABU and one from International Smoke:

Japanese Negroni (PABU)

Ingredients:

1oz Gin (Suntory Roku Gin)

1oz Sweet Vermouth (Punt e mes Vermouth)

1oz Bitters (Campari)

1 Fresh Orange Peel

Directions:Pour gin, vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Gina Jamaica (International Smoke)

Ingredients:

1oz Vodka (Ketel One)

0.5oz Pisco

1.5oz Grapefruit Juice

1.5oz Cucumber Basil Juice

Top off with Ginger beer

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a

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