Behind The Butter

Sea Thai Bistro

Tonight I did something that I very rarely do these days. I got take-out.

It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea of take-out (heck, I practically lived off of take-out in college), it’s more that I’m just cheap. Really, I am. And, take-out in California is ridiculously expensive, no matter where you go. However, after a day spent writing and cleaning I had a hankering for Thai. I researched a little bit on Yelp to find a suitable place and, in turn, found Sea Thai Bistro, which turns out is only about a mile from where I live. So then, in true foodie fashion, I spent about thirty minutes sitting on my balcony with my feet propped up, reading all fifty nine reviews for Sea Thai.
When I was done reading I determined three things.
1.) I must order the Red Pumpkin Curry
2) They use steamed tofu in their dishes, not fried
3) Rice was three dollars extra
THREE DOLLARS EXTRA FOR RICE???? Since when do Thai restaurants charge for rice? I mean, Italian restaurants don’t charge for bread! Who wants to eat their curry without a soft bed of fluffy rice grains to soak up all the delicious sauce?
I whined a little bit to Dexter (he didn’t seem to care much) and then got in my car to go. I would eat pumpkin curry. I would pay extra for rice. I was prepared to not be impressed. But…..I really wanted Thai so I went anyway.
Sea Thai Bistro is located in Montgomery Village, here in Santa Rosa. I believe they have other locations as well but I’m not sure where they are.

Montgomery Village is dreadfully stuck in 1993. I’m sorry but it’s true.
I was pleased though that even at five thirty there was quite a crowd in the restaurant when I went in to pick up my food. I poked my head in the dining room and it seemed pretty nice and cozy.

Right when I walked in, the server greeted me with my bag of food.

Normally this might creep me out. I mean, I’ve never been into this restaurant before. How did they know it was me? I decided to just roll with it though and he was incredibly nice. I guess I just fit the average person who orders Red Pumpkin Curry with a side of brown rice. Who knew?
Once I got home, I hastily unpacked my prize and dug right in. When I called in my order I specifically asked for my curry to be “medium spicy” instead of mild…because that’s how I roll.

Now, like I said, I was prepared to give this curry a bad review. I mean, it was twenty dollars! Twenty dollars for Thai take-out seems a bit ridiculous to me but I guess I need to get out of my hole and in with the times. Plus, I did get a lot of food for twenty dollars. You’ll most likely be seeing this again tomorrow.
The curry was outstanding. Completely and totally delicious. I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it, except for the fact that I wanted more pumpkin, which was undeniably the best part. The curry itself was VERY spicy (I had to turn on my A/C and blow my nose once but that’s what I deserve) and the pumpkin was tender and creamy. I also loved the big fat peapods and the way that the vegetables weren’t cooked to mush, like some places tend to do.
You most definitely needed rice with this dish and while I was still a wee bit perturbed that the cost was extra, I was so infatuated with my food at that point that I didn’t really even care anymore. That’s how they get you!

I still think this place is pretty expensive but honestly, I’d probably pay it again for this curry. It was that good. Next time though, I’ll make my own rice.

You Might Also Like

  • Sana
    August 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    What an awesome meal! Don’t you love it when you expect it to be bad? Heheeh

  • Allison
    August 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Jenna, I just want to tell you I am loving reading your blog lately – your writing is lovely to read, and your topics are about so much more than “today, I had some oatmeal. just like yesterday”, which so many food blogs seem to repeat.

    Keep up the great work! (It’s making me really look forward to your book!)

    Maybe you could come up with a Sea Thai Bistro Pumpkin Curry spinoff recipe? 😉

    • Abbey
      August 2, 2010 at 11:16 am

      I like this a great deal.

  • Stacey
    August 1, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    20.00 for one person for takeout is pretty expensive, so it’s a good thing that you liked it. And if you get two meals out of it, then it’s not to bad.

  • Molly
    August 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    ha I love everything about this post. You are amazing. I would kill for anything pumpkin right now. Does that really mean fall is around the corner? How is that possible?

  • Katy(The Balanced Foodie)
    August 1, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Pumpkin curry? Sounds amazing and apparently it was! I totally agree on the people order meals like that without rice? Especially when it’s so spicy! It should definitely be included. Oh well, a great takeout experience hands down negates everything else sometimes. I’m glad for all you spent that it was tasty!!

  • Kath
    August 1, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Gah I’m totally craving curry now!!!

  • Janna (janna's keeping it real)
    August 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I feel like I need to get in my car, and high tail it the 2 hours to SR just so I can get this pumpkin curry. That basically sounds like heaven…if heaven was spicy.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun)
    August 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I love meals that are so delicious they melt away the worries revolving around their purchase. That looks SO good. I haven’t ordered take-out since moving to California, but when I lived in New York City there was a stack of take-out menus about a foot-high on my desk. I LIVED off of take-out there.

  • Anya @ Fitness & Sunshine
    August 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Interesting review! 🙂 Glad the curry worked out for ya. Pumpkin curry sounds like such a cool flavor combo, I’d love to try it.

  • Ameena
    August 1, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    $3 does seem really ridiculous! I went to a thai restaurant last night and paid $1.50 for rice but I thought that was quite reasonable. $20 for one person’s meal is quite a bit for takeout but I’m glad you liked it!

  • BethT
    August 1, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Every Asian place in SF charges for rice so we always make our own. However…$20 for Thai takeout?! You need to find a new Thai place!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    August 1, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    It looks and sounds good, too. I also look up everything on Yelp and read all the reviews, then justify expense based on things you mentioned, freshness , if organic, if really delicious.

    Am sure that Dexter didn’t mean to blow you off–he probably just had other things on his mind. 😉

  • Courtney (Delightful Devours)
    August 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Wow $3.00 for rice? I think I would have cried. Or ordered it and felt ripped off…
    I love me some take-out though! Good call.

  • Mae
    August 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I love the review… it sounds good! I hate it when ‘grabbing a bite to eat’ turns into an expensive venture, especially when you’re not eating fast food from chain restaurants.
    I love that everywhere offers brown rice. Awesome!

  • eatmovelove
    August 1, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    LOL Take-out for me is usually pizza…your taste are much more refined!
    I was thinking $20 seemed really high – and it is – but then again…that’s what I spend when I order a pizza for delivery…and it’s usually NOT 2 meals …;)

    I think your going to have to re-name your blog – “…because that’s how I roll”. 🙂 Seems to be the saying as of late!

  • Susan
    August 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I love the Street Fair Noodles at Seat Thai! I think their other location is in Petaluma. I also like Khoom Lanna in Railroad Square (I got the pumpkin curry the last time I was there) and Thai Taste behind the Flamingo is good for lunch because you also get soup (LOVE it!) or salad and rice.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    August 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    OOOH WE had thai for dinner last night too!
    Oh and all the asian restaurants in Australia charge for rice! At least you get the option of brown rice!! It seems that is not veen an option here either 🙁

    • Laura (Starloz)
      August 2, 2010 at 3:45 am

      why dont we get brown rice?
      Totally unfair

  • grace b
    August 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Woah $20!? I feel your pain! I remember ordering a small pizza, two eclairs and a 20 oz Cherry coke for $15 once…very happy day!

    But hey, nothing like leftovers to make it worth it, that does look yummy…

  • Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman
    August 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Pumpkin Curry…..sounds scrumptious! I keep thinking about fall when I read your posts…..which is a good thing considering it’s my favorite season. Cheers!

  • Rhew (Greek Feaster)
    August 1, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Homegirl, your camera makes even tar patches in the parking lot look pretty!

    And I want. that. curry.

  • Kerri Beth
    August 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I like it when low expectations are exceeded to off the chart awesomeness.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    August 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Pumpkin curry sounds ridiculously good!! Glad to see that it surpassed your low expectations 😀

  • Anna
    August 1, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Thai curry is my favorite food of all time (and that says a lot coming from someone who likes a lotttta foods). So, needless to say, this post made me DROOL. But you’re absolutely right. Paying for rice? Psh.

  • Jennifer K.
    August 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while, but I had no idea that you lived that close to SEA Thai! I was traveling for work last summer and stayed at the Flamingo in Santa Rosa (maybe you’ve seen that ridiculous hotel?) for 5 weeks straight. During that time I ate at SEA Thai maybe 15 times, seriously. I think I tried every veggie/pescatarian dish. I LOVE SEA THAI! Just had to declare that.
    If you eat there again, order a side of steamed veggies. It’s only $5 and it is HUGE and fresh, and from what I remember, had amazing mushrooms and kabocha squash and all kinds of other veggies.
    Really just made my night to read about SEA Thai again!


  • Tiffany
    August 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    OMG that curry sounds so wonderful! I’m not sure if I’d be willing to pay $20 for that meal, though hehe. In LA county (where I grew up), there are tons of really good (and cheap) Thai hole-in-the-wall restaurants, so I’m somewhat spoiled that way. IN SD county (where I now live), Thai food is out of control expensive (although not $20 expensive), so it’s kind of disappointing. I can’t believe you had to pay $3 for rice!!! That’s pretty darn ridiculous =/

  • Camille
    August 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Glad to hear it was worth the price!

  • Sarah
    August 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    You have to pay extra for rice at all Chinese, Thai, Indian, etc. restaurants in Australia, and most of the ones I have been to in the UK. I don’t want to hear another American complain about the cost of food, I swear! I know it may feel expensive, but trust me, it’s really, really cheap.

  • sarah (this is it)
    August 2, 2010 at 2:42 am

    Maybe you will cook some curry dish in the “what’s for dinner?” section 😉

  • Laura (Starloz)
    August 2, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Is the $3 charge for white rice as well?

    I’m glad you enjoyed the meal though. I love finding a place online & discovering it’s incredible

  • Katie
    August 2, 2010 at 4:23 am

    You don’t pay extra for rice? You don’t pay for bread? You’ve never been to Sydney. Like Sarah said it’s the norm here.

    And why shouldn’t it be?

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    August 2, 2010 at 4:25 am

    I have never had anything curry, except just a bit mildly in Thai food. Crazy, I know!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    August 2, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Yeah, $20 is steep for takeout but when you find a place you like you just have to give in. Those look like nice big chunks of pumpkin. Yum!

  • Heather
    August 2, 2010 at 5:25 am

    yum! i was about to say, it would probably be super easy to make your own rice next time…just means more delicious food for less $$$ 🙂

  • Michelle
    August 2, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Pumpkin curry sounds delicious! It makes me excited for fall 🙂 Also, I totally agree with you about making your own rice next time. $3 is pretty steep!

  • Caz
    August 2, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Seriously, be glad you live in the USA where food is so cheap. All of your food, in the supermarket, in restaurants, takeout etc. is priced UNDER what it really should cost to make it, which is why servers are paid less than minimum wage and why you have such HUGE food problems in the USA.

    EVERYONE in Australia (and Canada) charges for rice. Really. It’s normal. And $20 for take-out, while yes is expensive, is not at all uncommon. Your being charged for the convenience of someone else taking the time to chop the veggies, make the curry paste, cook the curry and the rice, package it, and serve it to you. If you ate in, your also paying for the overheads such as rent, utilities, the bus boy who clears your plates and the dishwasher who washes them. If all of these people were being paid a fair wage (which they DESERVE to -fair being $10+/hour not the $3.25 or whatever that servers get paid) then it costs them A LOT to cook your food. Thus the $20 cost.

    Try going out to eat in Australia where fancy restaurants have mains of $30-50 and entrees (appetisers) of $10-20. A cheap Thai place like you mentioned would easily cost $20 for what you ate.

    You’re lucky. Stop complaining.

    • Abbey
      August 2, 2010 at 11:25 am

      Um. I can get AMAZING Thai red curry with shrimp for $13, no charge for rice. And, it is two full meals for me.

      Jenna has a right to complain as an American, $20 is pricey.

  • Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies
    August 2, 2010 at 6:14 am

    That curry sounds absolutely delicious!! I’ve never seen pumkin curry but …man, if I do…I will jump on it!

  • Stacey
    August 2, 2010 at 6:18 am

    I freaking LOVE Thai food. We have this little hole in the wall place about a half mile down the road and we spend way too much money there, but it’s always so worth it. I try to do Thai at home and it’s good, but doesn’t really compare to take out!

  • MyThy as in "Mighty"
    August 2, 2010 at 6:21 am

    BWHAHAHA! I love that you said Montgomery Village is stuck in 1993! I thought the SAME thing when DF took me to his hometown of Santa Rosa to meet the FIL’s. LoL. They lived on the hill on Holland Dr (the ginormous house w/ the 2 leveled deck) and we could see Montgomery Village. Boy did I feel like Santa Rosa was a small “town” considering I’m from SoCAL and all!
    Sea Thai is good, but Nyah…b/c there’s so much good hole-in-the-wall Thai joints in OC, I thought it was too Americanized.

    If you get a chance, check out Michelle Marie’s Patisserie around the corner. Its a small bakery and her GIANT PB chip cookies/oatmeal cookies are to.die.for! Her signature “Sonoma Scones” and coffee sour cream cake aren’t bad too w/ cafe au lait.

  • anne
    August 2, 2010 at 6:51 am

    $20 for Thai takeout? That is high. At least you got two meals out of it…

  • Lauren @ 40Apples
    August 2, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Looks and sounds delicious! Believe me, living in NYC I know that sometimes you just NEED to throw down a few 10-notes for a bit of take out deliciousness. Good thing it actually turned out delicious! Woot woot!

  • Deborah
    August 2, 2010 at 7:08 am

    I also went to Sea Thai Bistro and got the Red Pumpkin Curry to-go and totally agree. They charged extra for white rice, it was pretty expensive, but the curry was amazingly good and I would eat there again. Glad you enjoyed it too!

  • Paige @Running Around Normal
    August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Yikes that is expensive! But I’m comparing to Illinois prices, so –
    This makes me crave some Thai food like whoa.

  • jenna
    August 2, 2010 at 8:18 am

    pumpkin curry?? yummy! sounds delish.

  • Ashley
    August 2, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I am glad you enjoyed it! $20 is steep for one, it’s usually $20 or so for two here, but like you said, you hardly get take out! YUM!!!

  • Jennifer
    August 2, 2010 at 8:22 am

    I love Thai food…I envy you ‘cuz I’m sure you have a good selection in SF. Unfortunately, we don’t in Spokane WA, you have to drive 4 hours to Seattle to find a good one.

  • Rachel Wilkerson
    August 2, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Mmmm pumpkin curry sounds SO great. If you do make it, please share the recipe!!

  • Caity
    August 2, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Sea Thai is awesome, their other location is in Petaluma. They are a little pricey, but I love that everything is so fresh and delicious. You need to try the little basket appetizer, it is to die for!

  • Natalie (The Sweets Life)
    August 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    wow ridiculous price for takeout, but I’m glad it was totally worth it. And praise the Lord for Yelp, eh? I totally do the same thing and read EVERY review!

  • Alyssa
    August 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    OMG, I love curry!! Great, now I will be craving Thai Food until I get some…thanks Jenna!


  • Amber K
    August 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    lol, I love the last line. Because that was my first thought. $3 extra? I’ll make my own rice! $20 for one person is way too much for me. There better be at least one-two other people with me if I’m spending that much!

  • Jennifer
    August 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    I love your writing style.

  • Jessica
    August 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    I love reading your blog sooo much! I check back about a thousand times a day to see if you’ve written another post!
    I’m having thai food tomorrow for the first time! Any suggestions for a newbie?

  • Lindsey
    August 3, 2010 at 7:04 am

    I expect anything in Montgomery Village to be expensive!

  • Sharon
    August 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    ah, the pricey goodness that is Sea Thai Bistro. Their pumpkin curry is phenomenal. As is everything else I’ve had there…and maybe it’s a California thing because I am totally used to paying for the rice separately. I also really like Thai Taste which is up Farmer’s Lane just a short way from Montgomery Village-I think it’s slightly less pricey than Sea Thai. Give them a try next time you are in the mood for Thai take-out.

  • Kelli Mastro
    December 9, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Hey Jenna,

    I’ve been reading a lot of your blog lately… you have inspired me to start my own blog. Funny thing is I just moved from Santa Rosa… I lived right down the street from Montgomery Village in fact. Santa Rosa was a great town. I’m going back up this weekend to visit all my friends. Whats funny is I always drove by Sea Thai Bistro & never tried it. I NEVER heard anyone talk about it & I never saw anybody enter or leave that place. Glad to hear that it’s actually good.

    Do you have any advice for a wannabe blogger & how to get started? I heard there’s a bloggers convention in San Diego next year that I think I want to check out. Have you heard about it?

    Love your blog Jenna and keep up the great work.


    • jenna
      December 9, 2010 at 11:32 am

      Just be as active as you can in the blogging community and stay dedicated! Make investments when you can afford to do so and stick with it..good content drives good traffic! 🙂