Rose Garden Thai Restaurant - Vacaville, CA

Pasting my HO post here:

This past Sunday was an occasion for a drive out to Napa to visit the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville. Currently on exhibit are two photography collections. One from actor Jeff Bridges, who, since 1984, has been shooting photos on the sets of films with a WideLux 35mm panoramic camera. There are photos from Lebowski, Texasville, Heaven’s Gate, Tucker, Fabulous Baker Boys and more… Some really stunning and unusual perspectives.

The 2nd is from his spouse, Susan Bridges, who has been a professional photographer for ages. She recently unearthed a set of negatives taken on the set of the famous Hollywood financial disaster, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Michael Cimino. The film is most known for bankrupting the studio and being (at the time) one of the most expensive (and most money-losing) films ever made. Time has led to a critical reevaluation of it, and while its length (220 min!) is challenging, it’s undeniably beautiful. The sets and costumes are so stunning that many of the displayed photos could pass for historic snapshots. Worth your time if you’re in the area.

After a lunch of oysters at Hog Island in the Oxbow market and some Dungeness crab sandwiches next door at Gott’s Roadside (they’re on special. not on the regular menu online. Steep ($26) but it’s Napa. That’s what happens) we hit the museum and after, met some friends for dinner in Vacaville.

Forgive the lack of photos. I’m awful at food photography and never remember to take them before digging in.

Rose Garden, like seemingly all the best thai restaurants, is in an unassuming strip mall. Along with all the usual pad thai and drunken noodles and ‘choice of protein’ with red/green/yellow curry, there’s a little more breadth to the menu. The crab fried rice is a nice, simple treat, with generous chunks of crab along with bits of egg and green onions and carrots. The partner’s garlic fried tilapia served over stir fried veggies was flaky with crispy edges and had a great balance of flavors. The Tom Yum soup was rich and creamy with hunks of chicken and button mushrooms.

The fact that the portions were big enough for lunch the next day is a bonus.

One nice little touch, a complimentary basket of the styrofoam-like shrimp chips with a ramekin of peanut sauce for the table. Because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat peanut sauce?

Spice Thai (now closed) in Nut Tree was the only other place outside L.A. where I found crab fried rice regularly on the menu. It’s nice to know Rose Garden is here, both for when we visit our friends, or if we happen to going through on our way to other places. It’s about a 40 min drive from home, but I could absolutely see myself deciding I really wanted that fried rice and making the drive.

I have been advised that Vacaville is apparently just spoiled for Thai. HO user @shrinkwrap recommends Buddha Thai, and Rice Barn ( crab fried rice, among other things, currently on the menu)

So hooray for choices less than an hour’s drive from home!