Pad See Ew must be the Thai equivalent of Char Kway Teow (a dish truly deserving of captalisation).
And not having been back to S’pore for nigh-on a decade, this is the closest I’ve had to the magical fatty friedness that is CKT. Unfortunately, the use of broccoli and chicken makes it far too healthy to qualify as CKT. For that, one probably needs full-fat pork lard, cholesterol-laden prawns.
It was Ticketmaster what did us a favour. Their sometimes ridiculous “convenience” charges (ok for a couple of tickets, but not for ten!) forced us to the Hollywood Bowl’s box office last Saturday. By public transportation, no less. It’s one thing to take the Hollywood Bowl Park and Ride shuttle for a hour to get to the Bowl for a concert. It’s quite another to trek out with the Metro bus system for the same amount of time. For one, you could get quite unlucky and get on a smelly one. Which always seems to happen to me whenever we have to venture further east than Westwood. So, a three hour round-trip requires maximisation of our time. While we had some hope of taking in a hike in the Hollywood Hills, it transpired that getting to somewhere fairly pleasant is not exactly easy once you’re actually at the bottom of the hills.
No matter. We have more than one interest. And having been told about Thai Town, we were determined to get some Thai food after. Barcelona FC’s visit to the nearby Hollywood and Highland mall nearly side-tracked us until we realised how long we’d have to wait to catch a glimpse of the second-highest paid (but best bang-for-buck) team in Spain. And the new Beard Papa made a stab at stopping us in our tracks too. A cool cream-filled chocolate eclair definitely makes pushing through the tourist-throng outside Mann’s Chinese Theatre a little more bearable. By the time my lips were licked clean, P had gotten bored of looking at long-dead people’s footprints. And off we set on our hunt for Thai cuisine. Helped by the Zagat guide.
Wee side note: does anyone else find the Zagat restau guide somewhat awkward when looking for food within a neighbourhood? Yes, they have a section at the back with lists of restaus by LA areas. But it’s terribly difficult to wield the book, flip to the relevant page, check the darn address on a map balanced precariously between other hand and lap, give up cos it’s not bus-able or walkable (in the heat, anyway), and whittle out the non-Thai places.
No matter. We found one within a 30 min walk. Palms Thai on Hollywood and Bronson is a somewhat canteeny looking place with an allegedly resident Elvis. But I guess an hour before real dinnertime starts isn’t the best time to catch him. No maatter. That isn’t why we went. We were after the exotics. Well, as exotic as it gets in LA anyway. Palms has a Wild Things menu, which includes raw shrimp, deer and frog legs. I think the only thing on that menu I’d find just beyond my ability is the raw shrimp. That’s just asking for food poisoning, I reckon. In my prejudiced way.
But it was the leg of a frog that I managed to convince P to try. (Quail and deer are somewhat tame when one’s had game all one’s life.) The frog meat was a little tougher than I had hoped it would be. There’s nothing quite like frog legs, French-style: all tender but with a garlicky kick. And I thought it’d be even better in a spicy sauce. Alas. I think our frog legs came out of a freezer drawer. And perhaps had been there a while too. I guess not enough people take advantage of the Wild Things menu to make getting in fresh frog legs economically viable. A shame.
Otherwise, we had pretty good service for off-peak. It wasn’t overly attentive, and our bill (check, D! always ask for the check. no wonder no one understands you…) got a wee bit lost on its way to us. But that’s kinda understandable when the entire wait staff is having their pre-game dinner. (Which looked soooo good.) It’s also a little difficult to judge a restaurant’s atmosphere at 5pm. The only other folk in were mainly small families with kiddies, and the odd tourist-looking couples (like us). Apart from the pad see ew, I enjoyed their coconut juice, which was really coconut water (the stuff wot will splash out if you’re not careful when cracking the but) with floating chunks of coconut flesh. While not having to scrape crazily to get the sweet juicy flesh can be good, having it all in a glass can be somewhat…. mundane.
I think I’d go back again. But without the expectation of the exotic. (Goddamit. It’s kinda hard to find exotic when you’ve grown up with the very cuisine Johhny Foreigner thinks of as exotic.) Maybe as pre-concert fodder for the nearby Henry Ford Theatre. (Did I mention I have tickets for the Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah concert? Yes, I do. Not that I was familiar with their music before coming over.) I guess my search for spectacular Thai food in LA will just have to continue. But next time, I’ll leave the Zagat behind, and take some Santos™ with me.