Friday, March 5, 2010

Thai Food

Sometime yesterday, Farnham decided that tonight we all needed to have a dinner out. This is something to celebrate - money has been so tight lately that I've been contemplating my famous Freezer Scraping Soup as a staple. Hearing the words "eat out" just made my heart leap for joy. There's just something wonderful and special about going out to eat a meal with your family, knowing that you don't have to cook it, and you don't have to do the dishes after, either. Yay!

We originally intended going out for Mexican food at this little corner restaurant that Farnham had heard about at school. We were all fine with that, but when we arrived, we discovered that Friday and Saturday nights require a reservation due to the huge numbers of people who want to eat there. We left, somewhat dejected since the scent of that place was just mouth-watering.

We stood on the street outside the warm, colorful restaurant, contemplating our next move. We couldn't afford anything really nice (cross off our favorite Indian place, and the sushi place up the road), so we were bantying about the idea of going to 99 (a local steak place) or to a Chinese buffet we all like. That's when sis said, "You know, I've wanted Thai for ages. The last time I had Thai was about 8 years ago!"

We loaded up into the two cars, and off we went to the local Thai restaurant. Not only could they seat us, but they did so relatively quickly. We stood in mute envy as each dish passed our table going to earlier patrons. The spicy goodness of the Mexican restaurant was forgotten as the heavenly aroma of coconut milk and curry wafted around us. Even the kids were behaving well, and seemed eager to eat. At four years of age, Thai was a gamble, but we really wanted to be there.

Our waiter was pleasant, humorous, and very knowledgeable. He answered all questions about the food, and though he wrote it down, seemed to remember each and every order. Everyone else ordered things with little red peppers beside their names on the menu, but I ordered something I've wanted for ages: Crispy Pad Thai.

This delectable dish is made with rice noodles that are fried in hot oil until they're slightly puffy and very crispy. They add sliced chicken, massive shrimp, bits of cooked egg, bean sprouts, green onions (large chunks of scallion, oh so tasty), and of course crushed peanuts and a tamarind-based sauce. I cannot adequately explain how fantastic this dish was. I barely talked, and those of you who know me understand how good the food must have been.

I started out with something I'd never even heard of, called Todman Pla, which are these somewhat spicy fish cakes served with a clear sauce that was both sweet and spicy and had peanuts in it. It looked good on the menu, and I was not disappointed. The flavor was awe-inspiring, and even the non-fish-eaters of our household deemed them quite edible. The kids figured it was a bit spicy and so weren't thrilled, but that's okay. I didn't really want to share anyhow!

The kids ordered (get this) deep fried tofu (for the girltwin) and tempura chicken (for the boytwin). They were appetizers, which we figured would be about the right size for the kids. We guessed right on the size, although there was a LOT of food. They gobbled it down! I haven't seen the kids eat like that in ages. I double checked my memory to see if I'd forgotten to feed them or something, but no, they had lunch. They downed dessert afterward, too!

It was a wonderful time. I got to explain who Buddha was to the girltwin, and show her the small but ornate altar with its glass of wine, orange, incense, and rice. The boytwin was fascinated with the carved and embroidered elephants all over. The kids behaved, the adults smiled and joked and said "wow" a lot as we passed tiny bites back and forth.

I feel more at ease. I feel like our family got to spend some much needed "down time" together. We do work together very well, but there's something special and wonderful about being able to just sit down and chat and laugh and relax together.
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