let's talk thai food. i've been trying to work on the queens thai pilgrimages (sripraphai, zabb) to find some good stuff. it was good but certainly nothing that came close to the hype. then, when i was in la, my dad told me about a place he had recently be frequenting for lunch. more thai hype. i completely trust my dad when it comes to thai food but after all of the queens hubbub, i had my doubts. my ears certainly started to perk when he told me that the restaurant features a menu with the dishes recommended in gourmet magazine, the la times, and la weekly.
JITLADA! the menu is expansive. but take a look at the recommended dishes, chat with jazz a bit, and you'll be all set. one thing to be aware off: the spice factor. i won't pretend that i'm someone who does spicy food. i like my food with some spice and kick but i refuse to get into any sort of macho argument here. so although at some restaurants i may prefer something hot involved, i don't even start to compete. that being said, i'm going to go out on a limb here by saying that most people here will need mild food. and even then, it might make you sweat.
and now, the meal, blow by blow:
the first dish of the night may have also been the best. coco mango salad: mango salad with shrimp, red onion, cashews, lime, and chili. i love crunchy textures so this really did it for me and the shrimp added some welcome varied texture. it was spicy but also sweet and tart at the same time. the shrimp and cashews added additional flavor and sweetness. a fabulous combination of flavors. a++!
steamed mussels in spicy lemongrass broth were up next. these things were huge and they were big and plump enough to really hold the flavor of the broth. the broth was spicy and full-bodied. can a broth be full-bodied? well this one was, flavorful and rich.
flambe prawns with red curry sauce. the sauce was thick and sweet but also smokey and spicy. the prawns were quite large and perfectly cooked.
basil noodles with fish (not on the menu). this is my dad's "special" lunch dish. recommended personally by jazz. it was good and flavorful with thick, flat rice noodles but quite spicy.
mango sticky rice because what's a thai meal without some of this to finish it off? i really do love this dish and it was particularly good at jitlada. the mangoes were perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy. the rice wasn't overly sweet and cooked nicely so that it wasn't mushy and still had a wee bit of chewy crunch (in a good way).
i was quite happy with our selection and extremely full by the end of it. the only thing i would have changed (if i could have eaten another bite) was to order some of the delicious looking plates of greens i saw going by throughout the course of the meal. so go forth, thai eating friends and experience the ecstasy of jitlada! and if you can't quite make it out to la, head to queens and in between bites of sripraphai repeat after me: "there's no place like jitlada, there's no place like jitlada..."