Well, actually not a galaxy, but nestled along the quaint neighborhoods of our beloved Heights district, exists a different kind of Foreign Correspondent. PJ Stoops transports us to another dimension, where you’re instantly greeted with fragrant spices and enveloped in a cloud of savory fish sauce the moment you enter and are surrounded by lively alien artwork from wall to wall. This installment of the Treadsack Trio, is another homerun for the local rock star restaurant group. With Hunky Dory, Foreign Correspondents, and Bernadine’s all opening within weeks of one another, whiplash is almost imminent with the unveiling of this holy trinity.
Chiang Mai Pork Curry
Executive chef, PJ Stoops, enlightens Houstonians to a whole new side of Thai cooking than what we’re accustomed to. With no Pad Thai in sight, he makes way for more authentic, and frankly more exciting, dishes on his eclectic menu. Chef Stoops is no stranger to changing the game here in Houston. Before his adventure with Foreign Correspondents, he helped influence the use of “bycatch,” smaller fish and catch that were often discarded by fishermen, in an effort to reduce waste and useful ingredients. With Foreign Correspondents, he sources up to 80% of his ingredients from local farms, one of them being Sameth Nget’s farm, south of town. Nget not only supplies an abundance of produce like Thai staple, green papaya, but authentic Thai chickens and ducks as well to help achieve a genuine flavor as well as texture. With all of the careful thought and consideration that went into cultivating the menu for Foreign Correspondents, we can definitely say the excruciating wait was definitely worth it.
Stuffed Sticky Rice
It took twice the time to order (be sure to factor in sufficient “drooling over the menu” time…) because of the amazing selection. The menu was simple and far from overwhelming, but with each item described just as tantalizing as the next, it was difficult to concentrate. As per our waiter’s suggestion, we started with the Isaan Laap, a minced meat seasoned with garlic, an in your face spice blend, and rice powder (and when I say seasoned, I mean SEASONED). The starter was perfectly spicy and equipped with a blend of spices and herbs that worked every part of the tongue. I’m grateful we ordered the sticky rice and sweet potato steamed in banana leaves as well. Soft and delicate, it was a complete contrast to the kick of the Isaan Laap. For our meal, we opted for the Chiang Mai Pork Curry. With reading “curry,” our mind instantly wandered to thick sauces with that trademark Thai curry flavor we all know and love. We were completely surprised by what we received. This soy sauce and yellow curry powder marinated pork belly, braised with tamarind, palm sugar, garlic, ginger, and probably magic was something we could have never imagined. It was so simple, yet everything we didn’t know we wanted. No thick coconut curry sauce, just a beautifully developed broth, delicious enough on its own to be ladled over rice for lunch the next day. We also had to order the Isaan Grilled Chicken, half a farm raised chicken marinated overnight in turmeric and garlic then slowly grilled over charcoal. With countless orders of this fabled chicken rushing past our table, we couldn’t resist getting one of our own. Oh. My. God. Again, so simple, but perfectly cooked. Juicy, charred, and unanimously the table’s favorite of the night. To accompany the genius of PJ Stoops’s menu, be sure to nab one of Leslie Ross’s, Treadsack mixologist extraordinaire, Thai inspired cocktails. I personally loved the Speedboat Panther, a bourbon, allspice, and Holy Basil melody of a drink. You can also check out the Tears of the Black Tiger Makrut Lime Infused Tequila with vanilla-rose syrup, that was just recently featured in Vanity Fair.
Whether it be from local press, national coverage, or foodie friends who can’t stop talking about this other worldly gem, take a hint and make your way over to Foreign Correspondents. It’s undoubtedly an experience for all of the senses. From the art on the walls to the art on your plates, this is a Houston gem that you can’t miss out on!