Wednesday, April 13, 2005


E. and I are on a going out diet, which means we can only go out and spend a hundred bucks on dinner once a month. Yeah I know, poor us. But according to my bank, I've cut my restaurant spending in half while keeping the same rate of grocery expenditure.

The long and the short of this is that we get creative with our going out to eat. Something we discovered that we liked in Monterey is the drive-by appetizering. It can be cheap if you give it a shot. Also, if you are not on foot as we were in Monterey, you're encouraged not to spend a lot on drinks.

So, E. and I decided to give the San Pablo Thai restaurant crawl a try, just for appetizers. We thought we'd hit two places, but then I remembered that E's never been to Krung Thep. Interestingly Krung Thep constitutes the first two syllables of Bangkok's formal name, one of the longest place names in the world--I think the longest one is in Wales. Krung Thep at 11224 San Pablo in El Cerrito has been around for quite some time. When I was in college I went there once or twice for the officially-closed-but-we're-open-for-our-regulars $15 all-you-can-eat-and-drink feed, which was great. But I hadn't been there in a very long time so I surprised E. with it.
We ordered two appetizers that were dangerously close together in theme - prawns rolled in egg roll wrappers and deep fried, and prawns and calamari battered and fried. Sure, you could have gotten these types of things at H. Salt or Long John Silver's; but I can assure you these were of haute qualité. We each quaffed a Singha (asked if they had Chang, and they still don't) and headed out, vowing to return for lunch sometime soon.

Next in the sights was Sa-Wooei (10621 San Pablo Avenue in EC ). Sa-Wooei has always been a very warm and friendly place with fake flowers and real smiles. After that fried food, we were in the mood for some vegetables, and had a hankerin' for meang-kum (the Thai appetizer that resembles the Chinese dish "Ants Crawling on Tree"). We make Meang-kum at home, and it is incredibly easy to do. It wasn't on the menu but we thought we'd ask anyway. I've never just walked out of Sa-Wooei before, but the cold, flat 'no' we got when we asked about it was enough to push us over the edge. Put some damned galanga, lime, coconut, peppers, shrimp, onions, and sauce on some spinach already! We would have paid eight bucks for the three dollars it would have cost them to make it. All, however, is not lost. We'll probably try to visit their satellite location on Solano the next time we do the crawl.

Our last stop was Thep-Naree (977 San Pablo Avenue in Albany), or as E. calls it, 'Boobie Thai'. It is boobie indeed...there is a gigantic mural inside featuring Thai demigoddesses that resemble mermaids but their legs are enshrouded in wings instead of scales. The resemblance doesn't stop there...they are each endowed with a pair of mammalian breasts which are not covered. The attention paid to detail on each of the holy racks is impeccable; no two pairs alike. We often comment that the murals in Mexican restaurants such as Gordo's on Solano and El Taco Zamorano on Foothill in Oakland lack detail and the women's breasts, while exquisite, are far too uniform, as are the moustaches on the men and the shingle-like teeth.

At any rate, Thep-Naree is usually our default meeting place for afternoon Thai. They make an incredible galanga-covered roasted duck that is reasonable at 6.95 or so. I was able to identify every ingredient but one in it. The daytime waitress disclosed it to me but on the condition that I not disseminate it. We have never been there for dinner, and are still curious about the karaoke night they have there (Krung Thep is doing karaoke now too-it's spreading like avian flu). So we dropped by for appetizers and Singhas. E. ordered meang kum (now was that so hard?) and I ordered angel's wings, the old familiar chicken wings stuffed with mung bean threads and pork. When I met her, she was a vegetarian. We even did four months of veganism together. But now she is down with the swine, so I thought she would like this dish. She didn't very much, so I got to eat a lot of wing and she got more meang-kum. The meang kum was really nice but it was the already-assembled kind. Whenever I serve it, I serve it unassembled and guests love to put them together themselves.

Having dropped about sixty bucks we figured it was time to head in and did so. I still heartily endorse all three of these restaurants but will probably not be going back to Sa-Wooei soon. I am much more interested to see what Krung Thep has to offer as far as dinner fare goes.


Blogger uncle jazzbeau said...

Dude, and whose uncle invited you to eat at that friends of Krungthep lockout evening in the first place? They've changed hands since then. I miss daughter Melissa in her Doc Martens and Thai ethnic threads. And when are we supposed to go and have sushi at Sugata in Albany?

8:30 PM  
Blogger Dr. Jones said...

Today's menu: all the WHINE you can drink!

3:28 PM  
Blogger bombisrael said...

fuck your shitty fuckin blog bullshit! i fuckin hate your jew fucking face!

1:18 PM  

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