If you've always wanted to visit Bangkok, but could never learn the Internet to order a plane ticket, today’s Groupon will get you the next best thing: $40 worth of acclaimed Thai cuisine at Malee’s Thai Bistro for $20. AZ Central, whose readers picked Malee's as Best Thai Restaurant of 2009, describes the intimate Old Town restaurant as a “great place to warm up and chill out after an afternoon of browsing local shops and art galleries.” Malee's food is MSG-free, and if you have special dietary needs, the chefs will happily de-glutenize or vegetablize any order. You can also have any dish custom-spiced to your preferred level of spicy.
Nestle in front of the fireplace with a lover, a spouse, or your high-school guidance counselor and start with an order of spring rolls ($8.50), crunchy pockets packed with egg, bean vermicelli, and carrot with sweet and sour sauce. Despite the name, spring rolls are perfect for dunking during any season, even made-up seasons like playoff season, hunting season, and "two pairs of pants at once" season. Malee’s menu also features soups, salads, lettuce wraps, meat dishes, and noodles. Nostalgic backpackers can try the hippy noodles ($13.65), tofu, broccoli, and egg tossed with black soy and flat noodles. You'll also find classic dishes such as beef and broccoli ($14.69) as well as originals like the Arizona heatwave (red-curry coconut cream with mixed vegetables, $13.65).
Malee's has been serving the area for more than 22 years, long before Thai became the ethnic "it" food, and is open for dinner seven days a week, with lunch every day except Sunday. Buy a few Groupons as holiday treats for friends; Malee's spicy cuisine will help keep their body temperatures up during Phoenix's frigid, 65-degree winters.
- A longtime favorite, Malee's on Main St. gives us Thai cuisine for the American palate, and you can enjoy it all right in the heart of Scottsdale’s art gallery district. – Gayot
- An attractive setting, beautiful plate presentations and, best of all, superbly seasoned cuisine make this a Thai restaurant of distinction. – Phoenix New Times
- If you like Thai food on any level you have got to hit this place. – Food Dude, Urbanspoon
Arizona's First Heat Wave
Malee's Thai Bistro serves a dish called the "Arizona heatwave," named after the mysterious 1910 heat wave in which heat first raised its fist to strike against man. It was a colder time, when temperatures, like the price of candy, were much lower, and the average Arizona summer settled at an average temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit, necessitating the use of warm winter coats throughout the season. Then, in 1910, temperatures began to rise. Arizonians naturally placed initial blame on Secretary of the Interior Richard Achilles Ballinger, whose controversial Spell Things How You Want Campayne was blamed for everything ranging from lice outbreaks to Arizona's then-current inability to join the Union.
Unfortunately, no amount of angry letters directed at government officials or Hollywood scientists could stop the heat from rising. Temperatures soon reached an unheard-of 70 degrees, and Arizona repealed its mandatory "10 Layers of Underwear to Prevent Moral Perversion" statute and became the first territory to make reading illegal for children under six, believing that the brain waves of young readers were causing the heat wave. A delegation of Arizona preachers even visited the equator to yell at the sun, but to no avail. No cure was ever found for the rising temperatures, and today, temperatures in Phoenix rarely drop below 200 degrees.
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