Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Drunken Poet: Superb Authentic Thai Cuisine

Originally from Bangkok, owner-chef Aporni Punyhotra has made the Drunken Poet Café a downtown Sarasota institution since opening in 2006. The Thai restaurateur is known for her sinful sushi with names like the Sexy Man Roll and Sexy Woman Roll, as well as her outstanding Thai curries and sticky rice desserts. A former pharmacist and world traveler who hails from Thailand, Punyahotra seduces Sarasota locals and unsuspecting newbies with her genuine warmth, beguiling charm and culinary mastery, an intoxicating mix that is hard to resist. Everything is made to order, with highly sophisticated dishes that include Thai Crispy Duck with Panang Curry Sauce, Kang Kiew Wan Green Curry with Thai Eggplant, classic Pad Thai and her phenomenal signature Seafood Homok with jumbo scallops, shrimp, calamari and New Zealand Mussels in red curry which are all steamed in a young Thai coconut, plus a host of outstanding stir-fry creations, tempura, fried rice and noodle dishes as well as an absolutely spellbounding sushi menu. There's also a selection of Thai and international beers plus boutique wines and wonderful sake. The burning question is how did this extraordinary restaurant escape my culinary radar for so many years? I have no idea, but no matter, I have seen the Thai and sushi 'light' and have become a Drunken Poet devoté forever more. Resistance is futile.

Aporni “Oy” Punyahotra has made the Drunken Poet Café a downtown Sarasota mainstay 
since opening in 2006

Open until 2am, The Drunken Poet is one of our more delicious discoveries in Sarasota

A vintage typewriter greets guests as they enter The Drunken Poet

Sushi Bar beautifully designed with stone tile walls and traditional Thai paper lanterns

Chalkboard with special Thai dishes

Sitting area with traditional Thai cushions and mattes with paintings and photographs of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand who recently died at the age of 88 in October 2016

The Drunken Poet menu of fabulous Thai dishes

Floral centrepiece on each table

Creative wall mural of poem by Thai King Rama, speaks of his love of food, and of women 

Glass of cold Thai Singha beer served in an Asahi Japanese beer glass

'Pinky in the Blanket': Fried shrimp in spring roll wrap and served with homemade plum sauce

Full flavoured Miso Soup with tofu, seaweed and spring onion

House Salad with sliced carrot, cabbage, tomato and cucumber with a sweet and sour ginger dressing

Kang Gari with Chicken and Potato in homemade yellow chili coconut milk curry served with Thai sticky rice

Shrimp and Lobster Pad Thai

Seafood Homok with jumbo scallops, shrimp, calamari and New Zealand mussels in red curry steamed in whole young Thai coconut with sticky rice

Closeup of the outstanding Thai Seafood Homok with Thai basil in young coconut

Drunken Poet Pork Satay
Serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Aporni Punyhotra

1 lb pork butt
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 tbsp curry powder
3 tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the pork into 1-inch strips and set aside. Mix the other ingredients together, the add the sliced pork and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Place the pork slices on skewers and grill over medium high heat until cooked through and golden brown. Serve with coconut rice.

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