PictureKarl & Chantana
When Karl & Chantana Purnell started a Thai restaurant in Lewisburg last year to fulfill their mutual interest in S.E. Asian food preparation, they agreed that Chantana would spend part of each year in Bangkok where she plans to open  a retail women’s dress shop and Karl would handle the cooking chores while she was gone.  His kitchen, called the Galloping Gourmet, features international recipes while she prefers to cook  Thai food only. From November until February, Karl was the chef  while she was in Thailand. 
   This spring, Chantana returns to Bangkok again and Karl will present his Galloping Gourmet menu until her return in June.


 
 
PictureThe 2004 Tsunami in Thailand
 A new  Bucknell Lifelong Learning Course, The Tsunami Principles, will be held at the ChantanaThai restaurant  512 Market St. beginning Feb. 24.   Course leader, Karl Purnell, will present material covering  the principles which survivors follow or in the words of the BILL catalog: In this course, the question "Who lives and who dies?" in a disaster as well as who survives the reversals and misfortunes of everyday living are examined from philosophical, scientific and anecdotal viewpoints. It will be seen that people who utilize The Tsunami Principles engage in rigorous self-appraisal, realistic planning and the taking of action in which compassion for others is a key factor. Anyone interested in this six week course should call Karl and arrange for a sign-up through the BILL organization.

 
 
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Well, it wasn't quite like the picture of our horse Mercedez & sleigh you see here, but our delivery service did start in the middle of a snowstorm on Sunday afternoon.  The word spread quickly among Bucknell students and by evening our trusty Jeep was making its way from dormitories to fraternity houses with Chantana's favorite dishes....spicy Pad Thai was the favorite for a February snowstorm!
   We've started this service for all of you who have requested a means of getting great Thai food without having to brave what is turning out to be a truly severe winter.  There may be a few glitches at first but we really are convinced that a delivery service for Thai cooking (along with other specialties) is a necessity for our Lewisburg customers. Call us at 570 768 6010 and we'll bring your orders to your doorstep ASAP,

 
 
PictureKarl with his horse & sleigh
Many years ago, I was cheated out of an election to the Pennsylvania State Senate and since then I've always been suspicious of the democratic process. Yet, the alternative can be even worse, as we have just seen in Thailand where Chantana could not return to the U.S. because protesters shut down Bangkok in order to overthrow the democratically elected government.  (She'll be back this Thursday)
First my story.  After spending four years as Union County's representative during the 1960s in the state legislature, I ran for the State Senate.  By midnight of election night, I was 400 votes ahead and was clearly the winner.  Then the Northumberland County political machine went to work and by 4 a.m. they had changed enough ballots to win the election.  Angry at the lack of democratic process, I quit politics and went off to Vietnam to become a war correspondent. Perhaps I should have stayed the course.  Bad as our political system is, I have to ask, "What is better?"  Both Germany and Russia discarded the democratic process in the 1930s and looked what happened. Now the elite of Bangkok want to do the same.  They should be stopped.  Democracy is a tough thing and full of imperfections but its the best form of government mankind has yet devised.  We may not like the results, but the alternative is even worse.  After all, Chantana will eventually be able to make a flight home and it will be this week.


 
 
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As of Friday morning, Jan. 31, Chantana is scheduled to return from Bangkok on Wednesday, Jan. 5 and I plan to pick her up at JFK and be back in Lewisburg so we can be open at ChantanaThai on Thursday. 
  However, there's one problem:  Elections are scheduled in Thailand for Sunday, Feb. 2 and that could be a disaster.  The Democratic Party composed of wealthy and middle class Bangkok residents can't seem to win a national election so they've demanded the resignation of ruling Prime Minister Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party and have basically shut down the city of Bangkok.  They may also try to block the polling places and if violence breaks out, there are 10,000 police ready to step in.although the military would probably like a chance to stage a coup d'etat.  All of this makes for a lot of volatility. We'll just have to wait and see if 
our favorite Thai chef can board an airplane and arrive in New York next Wednesday as scheduled!  In the meantime, ChantanaThai will be open for the Ice Festival weekend in Lewisburg.
by Karl

 
 
PictureA recent street-scene in Bangkok
If there is any proof needed that events around the world effect all of us today, its evident in the so-called revolution taking place in Bangkok t his month. With the Thai capitol shut down by demonstrators who don't like their elected government, roads to the airport and passport offices have been closed which prevented Chantana from returning from what was supposed to be a holiday visit with her family. 
   She sends her greetings to all her loyal customers at ChantanaThai and it now appears that she can return on Feb. 5.  In the meantime, we'll continue to be open for all of you who have been ordering from the menu listed on the "menu" page.  In fact, we're going to be offering some new selections this week which rely on Karl's life-long interest in Vietnam.  The  famous Vietnamese "Banh mi" style pulled pork  will be available starting this week.  We'll also begin having  great Tom Kha soup on the menu for those needing to warm up in these cold days. 
by Karl





 
 
PictureProtesters in Bangkok don't like democracy .
As Chantana prepares her return to Lewisburg this week, she's having to deal with a volatile situation in Bangkok where she's been visiting her family over the holidays.
  Thousands of anti-government protesters are trying to shut down the government because they don't like the Prime Minister Yingluk Taksin.  They want to name the new government without interference by voters since they can never win a national election.  Sound familiar, Senator Cruz? 
   Democracy is never an easy way to formulate a government, but if there's a better way,  we have yet to see it! 
     In the meantime, come home Chantana! You are expected at ChantanaThai by Thursday, January 23 after arriving at JFK from Bangkok on Wednesday, Jan. 22.  PS. Don't forget to bring fresh Tamarind sauce directly from Thailand for your famous Pad Thai!
   by Karl.

 
 
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Contrary to our promises to open the restaurant  in the evenings on Monday & Tuesday, as the temperature dropped to below zero, we couldn't do it.  There was no way of getting heat in the kitchen and the dining area was also freezing.  
   On Wednesday, I'll have a propane gas-fired blow heater to give instant heat to the premises which should work.  For those of you who are brave enough to leave your homes and dorm rooms, give us a call to prepare take-out orders or just come to ChantanThai.  We'll be ready this time particularly since the temperature is supposed to rise into the teens and remain in the twenties for the next few days.  Where is the global warming that is taking place?   Karl

 
 
What a year!
PictureKarl taking Miss Pennsylvania, 2013, Annie Rossellini for a carriage ride in Lewisburg.
What a year this  has been....from becoming a full-fledged chef at Chantanathai to driving Miss Pennsylvania around Lewisburg with our  horse and surrey  at the annual Fourth of July Parade. (Note  to our customers:  We'll be having carriage rides in Lewisburg on Saturday mornings as soon as weather permits!) 
       First the chef part!   After two years of helping Chantana cook and "prep" I told her I would keep  the Chantanathai restaurant open while she went to visit her family in Thailand over the holidays. 
       Rarely have I been so terrified of anything, but all of you were most gracious and took a chance on my efforts.  It must have worked because so many customers kept coming back and within a few days I was cooking for the same amount of people who normally came for Chantana's fare.  In fact, I was so exhausted from eight to ten  hours in the kitchen day after day I could barely stand up by closing time. 
   However, it was great fun and I'm looking forward to not only cooking Thai food but adding international favorites to the menu.  More on that later.
    For now, Happy New Year to all of you.  We have some wonderful surprises in store for 2014 and we're looking forward to sharing them with all of you.
  Karl Purnell

 
 
With Chantana on her semi-annual trip to Thailand, Chantanthai will remain open over the holiday season with Karl serving as the chef.  Normally, he cooks in the mobile trailer, which we call the Galloping Gourmet,  when things get busy or when there is a catering assignment.  In addition to the more popular Thai food items, Karl will be introducing some new international  recipes which he has picked up on his travels throughout the world.  Check our website for more on that starting next week. 
 

             Chantana  

        Chantana Chuaipoom Purnell  grew up in Bangkok where she learned the art of Thai cooking as a small child.  
        Twice a year, she returns to Thailand to visit her family and to purchase Thai food ingredients for her mobile trailer in Lewisburg, Pa. She lives in Mifflinburg with her husband, Karl Purnell. Her favorite pastime is shopping for fashion and accessory  bargains in area malls which she then exports to a small shop a friend manages for her  in Bangkok.

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