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Dining on a Dime: Tiny Thai in Winooski

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Pad Krapow Moo Grob - SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • Suzanne Podhaizer
  • Pad Krapow Moo Grob
Sometimes, being on a real life "dining on a dime" budget can get a girl down. If you've got the chills and want a little bit of soup, but that means you won't be able to afford an entrée, what is there to do?

The answer: bring a friend. With two people, dining on a dime can feel a lot more luxurious. Order an appetizer or a dessert, a hearty dish and a veggie side, and you can experience a variety of tastes — for less.

Case in point: a dinner at Tiny Thai. For years, I'd been in the habit of ordering the sweet and creamy massaman curry ($12), with potatoes and sweet potatoes, or the spicier pad kee maow — aka drunken noodles ($11). More recently, I'd discovered the selection of dishes on the "Genuine Thai Menu" page, most of which are a little more pricey.
Papaya salad - SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • Suzanne Podhaizer
  • Papaya salad
In order to spring for a more expensive entrée, my companion and I settled on a cup of tom yam soup ($3) and some green papaya salad ($5) as appetizers. And we ordered the traditional pad krapow moo grob ($16) for a total of exactly $24 — or $12 each. Bam! The soup, which came with an ample portion of mushroom slices bobbing on the surface, was less fiery than some versions I've had and a touch sweeter. It was full-bodied and well balanced — great for early fall. Similarly, the vinegary fish sauce dressing on the green papaya salad was just right, and the slivers of unripe fruit were crisp, yet yielding.



Even better was the main course, made of chunky cubes of pork belly, crisped, and tossed with green beans, bamboo stalks, and peppers. This dish was spicy, with slivers of red chile dotting the dish. On top were deep-fried basil leaves, translucent and friable.
Roasted squash with sticky rice - SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • Suzanne Podhaizer
  • Roasted squash with sticky rice
If you're one who finds dessert more compelling than salads, swap out the green papaya, and swap in a piece of buttercup squash ($5), baked with a custard filling, and served with coconut sticky rice.

It's hard to go wrong with any of the food at Tiny Thai. But if you want the best bang for your buck, be sure to share.