The Thai joint we ordered takeout from the other night lacks so thoroughly in character that it’s almost anti-fascinating: the only way it could ever possibly distinguish itself is by making an honest mockery of its own mediocrity, say by changing its moniker to Generic Thai Takeout Joint, which is what its former and current names, Wild Basil & Thai Green Chile respectively, translate as anyway—as, surely, will its future name, Sweet Hot Ginger Pepper Brasserie & Curry Hut or some such.
It’s a damn shame, because I could use me some fine drunken noodles from time to time, never mind the hard-to-find-in-the-heartland likes of haw moak, a curried fish (or chicken) mousse steamed in banana leaf I used to order back in Brookline at Khao Sarn:
Instead we were stuck with Thai eggplant without a hint of mint or basil or a trace of funky fish sauce but way more than its share of sugar. (Don’t let the green leaf in the bottom left corner fool you, that’s probably just pastillage. In fact, the whole thing, in all its bland sweetness, could very well have been decorative confectionery.)
The pork with garlic sauce was initially more redolent with basil (as opposed, inexplicably, to garlic)—but ultimately no less coarse & sticky.
Ditto the Singapore rice noodles, although nice fat shrimp & goodly chunks of chicken bespoke a generosity that went a short way toward compensating for the dumbed-down sensibility,
as did a complimentary if weird order of wontons that smacked of nothing if not recycled sopaipillas, with the honey drained out & cream cheese poured in.
I confess I feel a touch guilty harshing on one of my stretch of South Broadway’s few ethnic eateries insofar as it appears, between the name change & the consistent lack of traffic foot or otherwise, to be struggling; I can’t help but picture some graying mom & pop alone behind the counter, chins propped on elbows, no longer focusing on the American dream as they dreamed it as youths by the palm-fringed Andaman seaside but staring silently out the window across the street onto the shambles of the construction site where the Gates factory used to stand.
Then again, if they’d just cook like Thais instead of like Thais cooking like Americans, they might find their little nothing-to-lose risk paying off big as business picked up.
Then again again, what do I know, especially about my fellow Americans’ tastes? I drink pickle juice, which, per none other than Dr. Seuss—secret Jekyll to McCarthy’s Hyde as the mind behind the para-Technicolor, loop-the-loop descent into fascist paranoia that we happened to be taking vicariously over dinner, the cult ’50s flick The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T*—is but the Lethean liquor of commie homos bent on world destruction in the form of musical education as they prance about trilling, “Dress me up in silk & spinach!”
Oh, Dr. Terwilliker the main piano-teaching commie homo villain,
if only you were real, & we could dine à deux on haw moak with pickle juice, seduced by the strains of Chopsticks as pounded out by 500 nubile boys-next-door-turned-pitch-perfect-slaves. Now that’s my American dream.
*Available at Netflix.