The Incredible Adventures of Gourmet Gal

Friday, July 21, 2006


So we finally made it to the place. Even before our asses hit the chairs, my loving' hubby J glanced at the menu in supersonic speed and proclaimed confidently, 'I'll have the chicken wings and sweet & sour pork'.


It must be the heat, I thought to myself. So I casually rolled up the menu and struck him in the head, also in super sonic speed. He reacted like an abused puppy. As the kind-faced owner emerged from the kitchen, I quickly reached over and rubbed J’s head lovingly while flashing the owner a ‘We are so totally ready to order' smile.

'Hi, I‘ll…I mean, we'll have
Som Tum (Thai papaya salad with peanut & chili)
Tom Yum Koong (Clear shrimp soup in spicy lime juice, lemon grass, mushroom &chili)
Kang Sub Nok (Fish paste with eggplant in coconut curry paste)
Pad Thai (Sautéed rice noodles with shrimp, bean sprouts, egg, scallion and ground peanut)
Sticky rice
One Thai ice tea and one, what would you like to drink, honey?'

J muttered some artificially flavored beverage and quieted down.

The meal went wonderfully.

'Som Yum' arrived with thinly julienne green papaya laced in spicy dressing on top of piles of iceberg lettuce. The presentation needed some work, but the intense sweet & sour flavor and aromatic fish sauce woke up one's taste buds like a lover stroking your nipples. My eyes beamed. I kicked off the flip flops and searched for J’s legs underneath the table.

'Tom Yum Koong' turned out to be a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a savory broth with freshly crunchy shrimp. Instead, it was an over sour pot of spicy water with some dead shrimp in it.

'Kang Sub Nok' was a surprise hit. The 'fish paste' stated in the menu turned out to be home-made fish balls. They were deeply flavored with a hint of fresh ocean breeze. Floating happily with chunks of Chinese eggplant in hot green curry sauce, the dish made a perfect companion to the nice chewy sticky rice. It was so flavorful that I could not stop kicking J’s shin with each bite I took.

'Pad Thai' was J’s favorite and, surprise, surprise ... Mine, too. These were not the usual limp, suicidal rice noodles you get from other so-called Thai restaurants. They were deeply committed, full of life noodles that literally bounced off the plates and conversed with you like a high-spirited evangelist. The balance of hot, sweet, sour, and salty has truly attained enlightment in this dish. We polished every little bit from the plate and wanted more.

As I sipped my creamy dense Thai ice tea and chatted with the owner who came to deliver the check. I found out that the chef is the owner’s mother-in law and she is from the River Kwai region of Thailand.

'Country people, you know, they like strong flavor', the owner said almost apologetically. I shook my head vigorously, 'No, no, I mean, yes, the food was great. I loved it!' J nodded in agreement, now fully approved of this experience. The owner smiled, like he’s heard this a hundred times before.

As we strolled contently towards the subway, I announced in my professional food critic voice, 'You know what, Thai food is supposed to be intensely flavored. Otherwise, what's the freakin' point of eating them?' J patted her hand lovingly and said, 'That’s right, honey. So, can I get the chicken wings next time?'

Oh, the battle ...

83-18 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Open 7 days!


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