Thai Spoon in Loma Linda offers the flavors of northern Thailand

By David Cohen | March 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm We recently visited the third Inland location of Thai Spoon, and it’s definitely a family affair. Daughter Montha runs the Loma Linda spot along with her husband, Nopthared, who hails from the northern region of Thailand where heat and sour flavors hold sway. Since we’ve eaten at the other two Thai Spoon incarnations (in Highland and Redlands), we were looking for dishes we’ve not previously encountered. We began with a couple of appetizers — Golden Triangles and All Wrapped Up. The latter is the more interesting of the two, with plump shrimp and chicken paste wrapped up in egg noodles and deep-fried to a golden brown crispness. The item is served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. More great eats: San Manuel Casino hits the barbecue jackpot with JBQ restaurant Golden Triangles are mainly fried wontons with a dab of spiced ground chicken in the middle, also served with the sweet and spicy dipping sauce. Moving on, the Under Sea salad is a blend of seafood — a few shrimp, mussels, small scallops and mock crab meat minicylinders, plus an abundance of sauteed calamari rings, all bathed in a blend of fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Everything is tossed together with lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions and specks of red chilies. The dish is designated with one chili pepper and unless you’re a hard-core chili aficionado, will provide enough heat for most diners. We also ordered a couple of items listed as “three chilies” on the spiciness scale, but requested they be toned down to the one-chili level. For me, too much forward chili heat can mask the overall flavors of a dish.One of those dishes was kaeng pah curry (also known as Jungle curry), and the other was spicy fillets. Kaeng pah is a classic northern Thai dish made with a clear broth rather than one infused with coconut milk. Pieces of galangal, a member of the ginger family, impart a slight numbing sensation to Continue Reading

Manchester United cashing in on Alexis Sanchez after forward’s arrival sets new record for shirt sales

Manchester City may have pulled out of a move for Alexis Sánchez after baulking at the financial cost of the deal but the Chile international striker’s transfer to Manchester United is already proving a money spinner for the club, according to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. Sánchez moved to Old Trafford from Arsenal in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan last month, with United paying the forward £14 million a year in wages after tax as well as a £20m signing on bonus and around £10m to the player’s agent, Fernando Felicevich. The deal made Sánchez the highest paid player in Premier League history but Woodward insists the Chilean is already proving good value for money. Sánchez’s arrival set a new record for shirt sales in January – three times the previous highest – and also broke a series of records on social media. As well as being United’s biggest ever Instagram post with two million likes and comments, the announcement of Sánchez’s signing on Jan 22 was the club’s most shared Facebook post ever and United’s most retweeted post in history on Twitter. As well as 158,000 retweets, United’s initial post introducing Sánchez generated 211,000 likes on Twitter and 14,000 comments. #Alexis7 was also the No 1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide. “To put all that into context, the announcement posts generated 75 per cent more interactions than the announcement of the sale of the world’s most expensive player last summer, when Neymar moved from Barcelona to PSG,” Woodward told investors on a conference call to discuss United’s latest accounts for the three months to  Dec 31 last year. Woodward had earlier said in a statement accompanying the release of the accounts: “Our solid business model has allowed us to invest in the future of the club with the extension of Jose Continue Reading

Eustis musician Paul De Ritter looking forward to performing in Thailand

EUSTIS — Musician Paul De Ritter’s diverse repertoire ranges from Dixieland jazz to rock n’ roll to classics from the American Songbook. He and his bandmates can go from playing “Sweet Georgia Brown” to “Crocodile Rock” to “Fly Me to the Moon” without batting an eye. At gigs, the 67-year-old transplant from New York state puts out a list of tunes during shows and lets audience members pick their favorites. But there are limits. “I still get occasional request for something that is so far out,” De Ritter, who plays trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet and pocket trumpet in addition to serving as lead singer, said with a laugh. “It’s not like we’re going to knock out Iron Butterfly, some acid rock.” For the next month, he’ll be focusing on jazz and swing music, the specialties of the Amsterdam-based Biggles Big Band. De Ritter will take his horns on a 9,500-mile trip to meet up with the band on its annual Thailand tour with concerts Saturday through Feb. 26. “I’ve wanted to go to Asia for a long time,” said De Ritter, who has performed in Europe — including playing taps at the American cemetery in Normandy, France — and Central and South America. “I’ll be interested to see how the Thai culture responds to American jazz.” Responding to audiences is De Ritter’s mission. Performing with a duo, trio, quartet and quintent, depending on the job, he aims to please the audience. Hence the reason for distributing a song list. “I want to communicate with people, playing what they want to hear,” he said. Music has been his life. A New Jersey native, De Ritter earned a bachelor of music degree from Houghton College in southwestern New York state and a master of music degree from the State University of New York. He taught instrumental and vocal music for 35 years — 33 of them in Franklinville, N.Y., followed by two years in Continue Reading

Is Thailand Safe? Military Ordered To Win Public Support As Coup Threat Lingers

Thailand’s army chief has instructed his forces to do whatever it takes to get the public to recognize the legitimacy of their authority. Chalermchai Sittisat's remarks came while inspecting the 1st Army headquarters in Bangkok alongside the 1st Army commander and other high-ranking army officials Tuesday. The 1st Army is considered to be a significant military power in the country’s central region and the capital city of Bangkok. It played an extensive part in past and recent coups. Thailand has experienced 11 successful military coups since 1932, while also witnessing seven attempted ones. The army plays a vital role in ensuring the government’s power, Chalermchai told local reporters. He urged members of the army to express greater unity so that the public accepts and understand its role. The army will perform at its best if the public sees that it is maintaining order in the country justly and legitimately, he said. "If we exercise our authority justly, the people will eventually accept us," Chalermchai told local reporters. "If we think and act along the same lines, the army will move forward with honor and dignity and will become a main pillar supporting government efforts to run the country." The Thai military had no plans to stage a coup during the general elections scheduled to be held in Thailand later this year, a former commander of the 1st Army said last month. But before becoming the head of the Thai federal government following the most recent coup in 2014, former army chief and current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha similarly said there wasn't going to be a coup. It was only a matter of days after those comments when his military overthrew the former government. Two days of martial law were instituted and a constitution was drafted that political activists in the country said has provisions to keep the current military junta in power.  There was a 12 percent chance for another coup Continue Reading

Thailand’s new labor rules send thousands of migrant workers fleeing

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of migrant workers, most of them from Myanmar, have fled from Thailand in fear after new labor regulations adopted by the military government, immigration officials said on Monday. Industry groups said the exodus was already hitting some companies, which depend on migrants from Thailand's poorer neighbors for manual labor for everything from construction to the multi-billion dollar seafood industry. "The private sector is in shock," said Tanit Sorat, vice chairman of Employers' Confederation of Thailand. "These are jobs that Thais will not do so if there is a labor shortage businesses cannot move forward." Thailand has more than 3 million migrant workers, the International Organization for Migration says, but rights groups put the figure higher. Since taking power in a 2014 coup, Thailand's ruling junta has had varying degrees of success in campaigns to regulate the foreign workforce, spurred partly by media reports that unregulated workers faced exploitation by employers. About 60,000 workers left between June 23 and June 28, and the number has risen since, an Immigration Bureau official said. "They were of all nationalities, but the biggest group was from Myanmar," Deputy Commissioner Pornchai Kuntee told Reuters. "They are probably very scared." Following news of the exodus, Thailand on Friday promised a 120-day delay in enforcing parts of the decree, including fines that can range up to 800,000 baht ($23,557) for employers who hire unregistered foreign workers without permits. Geta Devi, 28, a worker from Myanmar based in Bangkok, said some of her friends panicked over the decree and headed home. Thai government trucks have been taking workers to the Myanmar town of Myawaddy, 246 km (153 miles) east of Yangon, and opposite the Thai town of Mae Sot, a Myanmar official said. It was unclear if they were leaving Thailand voluntarily. More than 16,000 people, including both legal and Continue Reading

Megan Rapinoe kneels again for anthem, defying expectations of U.S. Soccer

Megan Rapinoe took a knee Sunday in Atlanta, just days after U.S. Soccer admonished the World Cup star for refusing to stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem. After Rapinoe, clad in red, white and blue, took a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s fight to raise awareness about racial inequality in the country against Thailand last week, U.S. Soccer said that there is “an expectation that our players and coaches will stand and honor our flag while the national anthem is played.” But outside of the strongly worded message from soccer bigwigs, Rapinoe said Sunday night that she hasn’t heard from any U.S. Soccer executives regarding her position. “I haven't talked to U.S. Soccer outside of these guys, and they're the ones here with me so I expect that would be who I would talk to,” Rapinoe, referencing U.S. Soccer coach Jill Ellis and communications official Aaron Heifetz, told ESPN. “But yeah, I want to keep everybody in the loop. It's sort of an ongoing thought process. What's the best way to handle everything and, for me, what's the best way moving forward? And then, obviously, it affects everyone, so I want to appreciate and make sure I'm keeping everyone in the loop and hearing their opinions and giving mine as well.” Following Thursday’s kneeldown, U.S. Soccer did not say if Rapinoe would be disciplined for her actions. The organization has not yet responded to her actions on Sunday. Rapinoe came on as a sub in the 64th minute of the U.S.’s 3-1 win over the Netherlands, helping on the Americans’ third goal when she chipped it into the 6-yard box, Alex Morgan headed it back across goal and Allie Long knocked it in. Rapinoe told ESPN that she was met with a mixed reaction from the 15,000 fans at the Georgia Dome. “People feel a certain way, and I want to be respected for the way that I feel. I think that's their Continue Reading

As one year anniversary of tragic fire that killed her 3 daughters and parents approaches, Madonna Badger says she has ‘visions’ of her children

A woman who lost all three of her children in a house fire last Christmas says her dead daughters visit her in her dreams. Madonna Badger, whose parents were also killed when the blaze ripped through her waterfront Stamford mansion on Christmas Day 2011, says she has been to three mental institutions as she tries move on from the tragedy. The visions of her children, which come as she sleeps or prays, were troubling at first. “Honestly, I thought I was delusional,’’ she told the “Today” show Thursday. “ I thought I was a little nuts.” Now, visits from her daughters, 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah, and 9-year-old Lilly, help keep the grief-stricken mother going. “Lily came to me very early on and said, ‘Don’t worry, Mommy, I’m right there in your heart and I love you.’ Once when I was having a level 10, the worst sort of crisis, (where it) feels like blood is coming out of my eyes, Sarah came to me in the mirror and she said, ‘Mommy, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Everything is going to be OK.’" Badger and her boyfriend, Michael Borcina, were the only survivors of the blaze that was blamed on a bag of hot yule log embers Borcina left in a mudroom of the house. The fire also claimed the lives of Badger’s parents, Lomer Johnson, 71, and Pauline Johnson, 69, who were visiting for the holidays. Kevin Hagen for New York Daily News Matthew Badger, Madonna Badger and her friend Michael Borcino watch as the coffins are brought in for the funeral for the Badgers' daughters Lilian Elizabeth Badger, Sarah Hudson Badger, and Grace McCarthy Badger at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, NY Jan. 5, 2011. Shortly after the tragedy, Badger, a former Calvin Klein art director, relocated from the painful memories in Connecticut and set up a new home in Little Rock, Ark. Badger said she contemplated suicide, but friends in Little Rock made her Continue Reading

Receding Thai floods reveal crocodiles, poisonous snakes lurking in Bangkok

BANGKOK, Thailand — Murky floodwaters are receding from Bangkok’s inundated outskirts to reveal some scary swamp dwellers who moved in while flooded residents were moving out — including crocodiles and some of the world’s most poisonous snakes. Special teams from the Thai Fishery Department have responded to numerous reports of reptilian menaces, like the 3-foot-long (meter-long) croc that Anchalee Wannawet saw sitting next to the outhouse one morning, its toothy jaw wide open. “I ran away, and it ran into there,” the 23-year-old said, pointing toward the reedy swamp behind the construction site where she works in Bangkok’s northern Sai Mai district. “I haven’t dared to go the bathroom since. I’m peeing in a can.” Thailand has long been a center for the breeding, exporting and trafficking of exotic animals, especially crocodiles. Farmed both legally and illegally, crocs are popular because of the value they fetch for their meat, bones and especially their skins, used to make luxury bags and accessories. This year’s record monsoon rains, which prompted Thailand’s worst flooding in a half century and killed more than 600 people, also swamped some of the country’s estimated 3,000 crocodile farms. Many of the reptiles escaped — though probably not as many as residents think they are seeing around the city. “We get a lot of reports at the Fishery Department, but only about 5 to 10 percent of them turn out to be true,” said Praphan Lipayakun, a fishery department official, adding that many false reports end up being large monitor lizards, which are generally shy and harmless. “We even get reports of people being bitten, but when we follow up, we can’t get in touch with the supposed patient, or when contacted, the doctor that treated the wound says that it in no way resembled a crocodile bite.” Still, officials and volunteer veterinarians have confirmed Continue Reading

Thai PM defends deadly army crackdown on Red Shirt protesters in Bangkok

Thailand's leader defended the deadly army crackdown on protesters besieging the capital's heart, saying Saturday the country's very future was at stake. Protesters dragged away the bodies of three people from sidewalks - shot by army snipers, they claim - as soldiers blocked major roads and pinned up notices of a "Live Firing Zone." "I insist that what we are doing is necessary," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in a defiant broadcast on national television, making it clear he would not compromise. "The government must move forward. We cannot retreat because we are doing things that will benefit the entire country." On Saturday, the protesters launched a steady stream of rudimentary missiles at troops who fired back with live ammunition in several areas around a key commercial district of Bangkok. Army snipers were perched with high-powered rifles atop tall buildings, viewing the action below through telescopic sights. Thick black smoke billowed from tires set ablaze by demonstrators as gunfire rang out. The spiraling violence has raised concerns of sustained, widespread chaos in Thailand - a key U.S. ally and Southeast Asia's most popular tourist destination that promotes its easygoing culture as the "Land of Smiles." "The situation right now is getting close to a civil war each minute," Jatuporn Prompan, a protest leader, told reporters. "Please don't ask us how we are going to end this situation, because we are the ones being killed." Since Thursday, the once-bustling commercial and shopping district has become a war zone with Red Shirt protesters firing weapons, throwing homemade explosives, and hurling rocks at troops firing live ammunition and rubber bullets. The violence ignited after the army started forming a cordon around the protesters' encampment and a sniper shot and gravely wounded a rogue general reputed to be the Red Shirts' military adviser. At least 24 people have been killed and more than 194 wounded since Thursday. Continue Reading

Garcia on a roll

Click here for live leaderboardCARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Sergio Garcia soaked up the scene on a soggy Saturday at the British Open, from his name atop the black-and-gold leaderboard behind the 18th green to an ovation so warm it gave him chills. It felt like a coronation at Carnoustie, even if it was only a dress rehearsal. His game has never been better. His odds of winning a major have never been better. This time, he will be in the final group with a three-shot lead and, best of all, without Tiger Woods. "It definitely doesn't hurt," Garcia said. "But it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, I only depend on myself." Garcia closed in on the kind of trophy he has been chasing since he was a teenager, playing close to perfection for a 3-under 68 that gave him command of the British Open. He was three ahead of Steve Stricker, with no one else closer than six shots. "It's in his hands now," Ernie Els said. Garcia showed no signs of flinching, especially on the final hole. He hit a 5-iron from 220 yards that was so pure he chased after it, screaming out instructions with an intensity that showed he already knew the outcome. "Oh, be good," he said. "BE GOOD!" It hopped onto the green and stopped 12 feet left the flag, and the only disappointment was having to settle for par. "I wanted to make the putt on 18 just for them, and to hear the roar, that would have been just out of this world," said Garcia, who was at 9-under 204 and holding the 54-hole lead in a major for the first time. Stricker might have to match his record round to give Garcia a fight. He ran off three straight birdies at the start Saturday, and was equally impressive with four par saves at the end for a 64, the best score ever at Carnoustie during a British Open."It was just one of those rounds where everything kind of went right," Stricker said. "It was quite a day. It was quite an experience. It was a lot of fun, and it gives myself a chance going into Continue Reading