(((Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche)))
About 20 years ago, Telluride, CO mountain runner David Eckley signed up for a 100-mile staged race through the mountains of Thailand. He fell in love with Thailand and eventually made the move from the West to the East. While building a house, he met a local Thai lady named Orn. David returned to the U.S., Orn came to visit, and the rest is history.
The Eckleys bought the lot at the corner of 5th and Holland in Alpine where renowned artist Stylle Read painted beautiful murals depicting Alpine and life in the region. David’s mother was an artist, and so the first chance he got, he purchased the lot to ensure no one built on it and blocked the masterpieces on the walls of the surrounding buildings.
With his wife Orn, mother-in-law Ne and sons in-tow, they’ve recently opened a food truck called Thai-way on that once-empty lot. Orn and Ne run the kitchen and David takes orders and money, and often delivers the food to you while you’re relaxing at one of the many picnic tables under the sunshades. If you sit in the right place, you can see a 180-degree span of the unique Alpine murals.
Pad Thai with chicken.
Green curry with chicken.
He’s currently remodeling a 1962 Airstream to be used as a dining car.
Since moving to far West Texas, I’ve joked many times that the only places I miss in the Hill Country are HEB, Trader Joe’s and our favorite San Antonio Thai restaurant, but I’m really not joking. I’ve learned to prepare a few Thai dishes that fill that longing for Thai food, but me preparing it is not the same as someone who knows how to capture the true essence of Thai food and how to layer the flavors because it’s their native fare.
We tried Thai-way for the first time last Thursday. I ordered the Pad Thai with Chicken, my husband ordered the Green Curry with Chicken. To say that is was delicious is an understatement. While we shared a bite here and there, we finished our entire meals and were completely satisfied.
It’s not often that our conversation on the ride home is about how delicious our meal was, and I think on that 2o-minute drive, I personally said aloud, “Man, that was SO GOOD!” at least three times. It was so good that we went back Sunday for dinner.
On Sunday, I had the Green Curry with Chicken and he had the Pad Thai with Shrimp. We stopped at the picnic area on Highway 118 just before getting into Fort Davis and ate our take-out Thai. Again, spectacular.
Each dish is prepared when ordered, so keep in mind that this is not fast food. David can tell you how much time you’ll have to sit and enjoy the murals up close (since you probably only glance at them in passing) or run a short errand before your meal is ready. They offer gluten-free and vegan options and use organic veggies when available. Open Thursday through Sunday, from 11 to at least 8:30 p.m.
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Thai Chicken Soup
Yes, I made this for dinner 😊
2 T. cooking oil
1 bunch green onions, whites and pale-greens thinly sliced, dark greens sliced 1-inch thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, shredded
1 jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced (or seeded if you don’t want it as hot)
1 cup quartered and stemmed shiitake mushrooms
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 healthy tablespoon fish sauce
salt (I use Himalayan Pink salt)
2 cups thinly sliced sugar snap peas
1 teaspoon lime zest, divided
Fresh basil leaves
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook green onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring often until softened, about 4 minutes. Add carrot, jalapeño, and mushrooms and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook until chicken is cooked through, 15–20 minutes. Move chicken to a plate and let cool a bit.
Add fish sauce to soup and season with salt, taste it and add more fish sauce, if you want. Always taste what you’re cooking! Shred chicken into large chunks and return to pot along with the snap peas. Stir in lime zest. Top with fresh basil and serve with lime wedges on the side. I serve it with organic Basmati rice on the side or with brown rice ramen.