Around Town: Min's Kitchen serves up delicious Thai fare

Now that Daylight Saving Time is here, it’s time to go back to Min’s Kitchen in La Cañada. Our biological clocks need adjusting and the best method is Thai food, which, if well-prepared, is the best cure for jet lag or sleep disruption — at least that’s been my experience.

At lunch, Min’s is full of JPL employees, including many rocket scientists who understand the biomechanics of how home-style Thai food cures all ills. These physicists, engineers and accountants scoot down Foothill Boulevard on the little bus. They dash into Min’s, gobble up the lunch specials, pay the bill, hug Toi Vanasin, the owner, and head east on public transport.

But before they leave Min's, the JPL folks tell jokes:

A photon is going through airport security. The TSA agent asks if he has any luggage.

The photon says, “No, I'm traveling light.”

Or this:

So an infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar.

The first one orders a beer. The second orders half a beer. The third, a quarter of a beer. The bartender says “I hate you guys” and pours two beers.

Or this:

An engineer, a physicist, and a statistician go hunting together. They see a deer, and the physicist decides to take first shot. He calculates his trajectory, aims, and fires, but his bullet lands 5 yards too short. The engineer says, “You forgot wind resistance, let me try.” He fires, but sadly he overshoots and lands 5 yards too long.

Then the statistician yells “Woo! We got him!”

Those of us who work outside La Cañada, in far flung places like Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles, can’t dash back to Min’s during the work week. We are the dinner crew. At dinner, Min’s transforms into a hub where we always run into friends, just like we do at the post office or Trader Joe's.

One local journalist, Jill Weinlein, blogged about how Min’s soup helped her through a six-day power outage. Each year, Jill writes reviews for 52 restaurants, which means that she visits at least 175 restaurants each year. Not all restaurants make the cut. Personally, I no longer have the ability to dine out 175 times a year, but one place that always makes the cut is La Cañada’s Min’s Kitchen. Len likes the sizzling beef. I can’t resist the tofu pad Thai. There are soups, teas, lots of vegetable plates and coconut soups. It’s home-cooked Thai cuisine at its best.

Thai cuisine is complex, aromatic and requires a light touch. Min’s Kitchen does it all.

To quote Anthony Bourdain, “Cooking professionally is a dominant act, at all times about control. Eating well, on the other hand, is about submission. It’s about giving up all vestiges of control, about entrusting your fate entirely to someone else. It’s about turning off the mean, manipulative, calculating, and shrewd person inside you, and slipping heedlessly into a new experience as if it were a warm bath. It’s about shutting down the radar and letting good things happen.”

Good things happen at Min’s. Submit to the experience!


ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @anitabrenner.

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