Thai roasted game birds and fish sauce wing accolytes (in other words, nearly everybody with a mouth) are a-buzz as Vice magazine's Munchies site debuts Farang: The story of chef Andy Ricker, its hour-long documentary about the Portland chef and the cult of Pok Pok.
PoMo's own Karen Brooks, who has been taste-testing and chronicling the work of the punk rocker turned house painter turned Thai food fanatic for nearly two decades, just penned "Chef Andy Ricker was always Destined for Greatness," a piece explaining a bit of the Ricker magic for the Munchies site this week.
(Bonus: She's actually in the documentary as well, droppin' major knowledge and hefting a three-inch thick sheaf of handwritten notes and printed out menus that chart the chef's rise to bi-coastal prominence.)
It all starts with boozy ice cream at Saucebox in the late 1990s, apparently. She writes:
I first tasted the Creamsicle in 1997 at a Portland bar called Saucebox. Two sips in, the Earth shifted its axis, and a lifetime of ice cream trucks recombusted in a cocktail that drove straight to the brain. I asked the bartender, an itinerant backpacker named Andy Ricker, if he would kindly share his recipe in my upcoming book, Atomic Cocktails. Weeks later, instructions arrived, formulated like calculus down to the suggestion of elongated vanilla bean swizzle sticks, the perfume of which grabbed you at the throat.
... I didn’t see him again until late 2005, when he poked his head out of a strange and powerful vision—an uncompromising Thai food shack called Pok Pok, which he erected, nail by nail, on his front lawn. But I already knew everything I needed to know about Andy Ricker. He was meticulous and driven, with a gift for “taste.” People would surely flock to his doors like a methadone clinic.
Read the whole story and then spend an hour diving into filmmakers Chris Grosso's and Lauren Cynamon's earnest, globe trotting doc on the charmingly foul mouthed chef in and out of his kitchen. Vice is streaming Farang in full at this very moment.