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Crow Boy

Don's Foods

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I'm going out there for lunch with a visiting mate today.

He wants to try the Chili and I'm partial to the tacos.

He'll have a few beers and we'll head west along the river to the Lisu village and have a few leisurely beverages there.

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I rarely get up to Chiang Rai and don't know my way around at all, but I needed to do a visa run and thought this would be a good excuse to try Don's out. I biked up from Chiang Mai on Friday for a late lunch. (And just to avoid the confusion about why I ate so much, "biked up" means I rode a bicycle.)

No disrespect to the prior posters but I tried to follow the directions using the traffic lights but that didn't work at all. Eventually I saw signs to "Rai Mae Fah Luang Park" and "Pha Soet", followed those and had no problems finding it. If anyone needs more help it's about 5km past the Fort Mengrai Hospital. At one point the road is signposted as Route 2014, but that's probably useless info to most people.

Of course, once I was there I couldn't figure out which building it was, which driveway I was supposed to go down and which gate to enter since they were all closed and the place was deserted. It was 2:30 so maybe that was understandable. I opened a gate and went in despite the dog barking. I didn't think the small, one-eyed dog was really much of a threat. After a few minutes, someone came out to tell me that, yes, this was Don's and that they were open.

From that point on, everything was perfect. After the long ride, I was pretty hungry and ordered breakfast and lunch. Service was excellent, but as the only customer, it should be. The waitress brought my breakfast out first -- the "Swiss Breakfast". Those potatoes with bacon and cheese were awesome. Maybe it was coincidence but a minute after I finished, she brought out my lunch -- the ribs with fries and a salad. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender with a slightly sweet brown sauce. I like my ribs a little chewier and my sauce to have a little tang, but if you like these kind of ribs, they were fine. And with Don's homemade Mexican sauces, it was pretty easy to add some bite to the ribs. As the only customer I was expecting them to cook the fries before the oil was hot enough. I was pleasantly surprised when they came out hot, crispy, and perfectly done.

Now that I tried it and know how to get there, I'm sure I'll be back. I'm just not sure I want to do it by bike too often.

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You biked up on Friday and got here in time for lunch? :)

I agree Don's is hard to find, and when you get there it can be confusing, particularly the last time I was there, about 2 weeks ago and the car park was inaccessible and we had to park in the house yard.

The menu was a bit limited also with a number of things unavailable, one of the people I was with ordered three times before he got it right, then found that only icecream was available for desert.

Having said that, we enjoyed the food and spent the evening chatting with a couple of friendly Americans who were staying in Don's house.

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You biked up on Friday and got here in time for lunch? :)

I agree Don's is hard to find, and when you get there it can be confusing, particularly the last time I was there, about 2 weeks ago and the car park was inaccessible and we had to park in the house yard.

The menu was a bit limited also with a number of things unavailable, one of the people I was with ordered three times before he got it right, then found that only icecream was available for desert.

Having said that, we enjoyed the food and spent the evening chatting with a couple of friendly Americans who were staying in Don's house.

I left CM at 7:00am and rolled up to Don's at 2:30pm. Pretty steady headwind for the last 130 km.

I guess I was lucky. Everything I ordered was available. I didn't have room for desert.

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I managed to download Don's product list and saw some items that I would like to order by postal if possible, but when i clicked on 'contacts', I got a blank. Does anyone know if he does mail order within LOS?? where he ships from?? and how to contact???

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I don't have the answers but you can send him a pm.

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I was there last week and the girl said Don was in the States otherwise I'd suggest a personal phone call.

He generally answers emails fairly quickly though.

[email protected]

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......... once I was there I couldn't figure out which building it was, which driveway I was supposed to go down and which gate to enter since they were all closed and the place was deserted.......From that point on, everything was perfect.

EXACTLY my impression when I tried it for the first time yesterday.

I wonder what percent of first time visitors don't bother looking around for a more welcoming entrance, or a safer place to park. To be honest, with wet ground from the almost constant rain lately, I did think twice before risking that steep grass slope down to the "car park" and I left my family in the car while I peered through the half closed gates looking for a sign of life which I wouldn't have bothered doing if I hadn't read very recent posts promoting the restaurant.

Anyway I found life, we went in and had a very enjoyable meal with nothing to complain about.

Being a family of 5 (including a non ordering freeloading baby), we were able to sample a variety of the dishes (rib eye, T-bone, steak and kidney pie, bangers and mash) and all were very good, and reasonably priced, with the english breakfast sausages good enough that i couldn't leave without buying a pack to take away.

This post isn't meant to be critical of Don's and I apologise if it comes over this way, but I feel he is really doing his Chiang rai restaurant a dis-service by not making more of an effort outside. It doesn't need a lot of money spent, just a better shinier sign on the road and another by the gate. Maybe a light or two and a WE ARE OPEN sign might help also.

The outside won't stop me returning, but as I said it may be deterring others.

Edited by Paul888

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Drove out to Don's yesterday to buy a bag of tortilla chips. The bags contained about 50 percent broken chips, so I bought two bags to make one of full chips. 142 baht each bag. Tried them out with some dip this morning. Had big plans. They were soft and tasted ancient. Checked the expiration date. Both were July of this year, one the 7th, the other the 29th. Aggravated. Drove back out there to exchange for new or get a refund. Rang the bell quite a few times; obviously the place wasn't abandoned but nobody would come to the locked gate. Will try again another day. Will have a total of 45 kilometers of back and forth driving tied up in the chips at the point. AGGRAVATION!!!!!!!!!

Edited by kandahar

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I'm sure he's closed Sunday.

Send him an email he's usually pretty reasonable.

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Well, I finally GPS'ed my way to Don's Cafe. Found his place with no problems. Breakfast was reasonable, staff were pleasant, tables were spacious & clean and the view was nice. The fish enjoyed my left over toast. Everything was cooked exactly how I wanted it. I made the mistake of order extra hash browns with my extra bacon; me thinking McDonald's type hash browns. Out come come two monster hash browns....whoops can I eat all this..I tried valiantly though with no success.

All in all a nice first time experience, but unfortunately I never got to meet Don as he had traveled to Bangkok the day before and will be staying for a month supposedly .

edit: just to add google maps GPS references suck...

I used google earth to get the right GPS info for my TomTom: N 19º55"10.26" / E 99º45'56.21" This will take you right to the entrance.

Also it was mentioned limited parking....there is probably enough room to put a dozen cars in the entrance yard. I don't see the problem unless someone was having a huge shindig there. The only thing I could think of was that a small saloon car could bottom out negotiating the top or bottom entrances :D

Edited by Garry

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Thank you all that posted Don's Cafe. Wife and I went, had a great steak dinner (lunch, what can I say?). Met a wonderful couple from the US that live near there, not sure I should post names. First english spoken in a month, quite nice that I still remember it HaHaHa. Steak was excellent, potatoes great and salad reasonable. First western food in Thailand that wasn't a western copy of food, but true western food. Unfortunitly there wasn't any bakery ready, but plenty of meat and others. The couple mentioned a sunday church social in the area but I forgot where? Any help?

Thanks

BobM

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I will be in Chiang Rai about a month this time. Starting July 1 I will stop working in Bangkok and spend most of my time in Chiang Rai taking care of customers and writing a book.

Best wishes.

Don

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