I cannot actually eat at my favorite Thai restaurant in DC. I love the food, the menu, the location. I quite love everything about it except it is the place where dreams go to die. The place is a black hole for happiness and I avoid it all costs. In fact, it’s name cannot even pass my lips as I fear some sort of epic repercussions that are akin to whispering Voldermort…
I have never had a good date there. Not one. Yet one in particular stands out.
He asked me what hair products I used, commented on my purse by brand, ate about three bites of his food, insulted my career, made disparaging remarks about my outfit, and name dropped through out the evening. If this were not bad enough, the night ended with him asking if he could please maybe just stick the tip in. A grown man, in his 30s, said this to me. This is no way to treat a lady. The only response I had was, “Do I look 17 to you?” To this day, my friends mention the man we have deemed “The Tipster” on a regular basis.
You may be asking yourself why I am sharing this indignity. The reason is two fold: it is damn funny and I like to think of myself as a cautionary tale. Ladies, this can happen to you. If you have a man, hold on to him tight. It is not pretty out here. One moment you are enjoying some tasty Asian delicacy and the next moment you are are trying to rationalize with a drunk man who wants to play hide the helmet.
Seriously, Mom, I warned you.
Though the restaurant is dead to me, Thai food is not. I’ve taken matters in to my own hands and found a Thai recipe I can make at home that tastes just as good as anything you can get in a restaurant, better in fact. I found this recipe on Adventures of a Food Slut (great name, eh?) and followed it religiously except for two adaptations: I swapped tofu for shrimp and reduced the amount of noodles. I have made Pad Thai several times and it has always been good, but not great. When I found this recipe, I know the woman had got it right. It is catsupy and pink, slightly sweet and a tad tangy. The sprouts and carrots are abundant and in fairly equal ration to the rice noodles; you don’t have to feel an ounce of guilt while eating this. Also abundant is the amount of food this recipe garners; I ate this for two dinners and four lunches over the course of a week and still had plenty to share with my roommate. I was really pleased with how this turned out…
…and nothing involving any tip happened as a result of making it.
Slightly Adapted from Adventures of a Food Slut
13 oz Thai rice noodles
2 cups mung bean sprouts
6 Tbsp ketchup
6 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 lb cooked shrimp, chopped finely
2 cups shredded carrot
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
chopped peanuts, crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar, if desired (I skipped this)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add rice noodles, and soak 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, place bean sprouts in a strainer in the sink. When noodles are softened, pour over the bean sprouts in the colander. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients: ketchup, lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce. Set aside.
Wipe out the pot, return to heat, and add vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook for several minutes, until just turning pink. Drain off most of the oil, just leaving a trace amount of oil. Whisk eggs lightly and add to pot, quickly scrambling. Add noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, green onions and sauce. Toss several minutes to distribute vegetables and sauce, until heated through.
Serve with chopped peanuts, crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar for topping, if desired.