Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tears of Pain or Tears of Joy?

Boy, so much has happened, I barely have time to write everything down. Just when I thought that the new year came to0 fast, I found myself smack dab in the middle of February!

My job has been going well. I'm learning a lot and already feel like I have been in my new position for a month.

Friday was the second week at my new job and a couple faculty members from my previous department took me to eat at this new Indian restaurant near Paradise Road and Harmon Avenue called Origin India.

The exterior of the eatery screamed casual dining with the bright red patio umbrellas and flashy signs hung up along the front of the restaurant was deceiving to the hip interior and fine dining focus of the restaurant.

Inside the restaurant was a different image. White cloth tables with formal settings of wine and water glasses, the chairs were black leather with silver studs, and the square white dinnerware was a nice touch. (I especially liked the bar area--it appeared to be fully stocked!) We could have even sat under a little room with a canopy but we opted for a table in the open area. It was nice to have the entire restaurant to ourselves before the lunch rush began.

From the menu, we chose Murg Makhani (chicken tandoori), Murg Sagwaala (chicken cooked with spinach) and Lamb Nihari (slow-cooked lamb flavored with mild spices) to share family-style.

Each dish came with rice and cucumber salad with the main dish in the middle. Since what we chose had sauces, the food was served in a little bowl with a handle.

We dished a little bit of each item onto our plate. I have only had Indian food once in Burbank, CA and must say I wasn't a real fan of Indian food (or Thai food because I don't like curry) but this was delicious. Everything we ordered was tasty--not too much spices. I especially liked the Lamb Nihari.

The portions were perfect and light for lunch. I would definitely go back there again and I will definitely take my sweetie.

My husband, who normally would not pick Thai food as his first choice when we're looking for a something to eat, decided he wanted to go to our favorite Thai restaurant for dinner.

Bangkok 9 is a hidden little establishment in a strip mall on Stephanie Street. We really like the interior because the decor makes us feel like we're in Thailand. From the red walls to the little Thai statuettes and the silk-woven sarong tableclothes. The restaurant is always clean, the staff friendly and courteous, and the delicious Thai-Chinese cuisine speaks for itself. There is never a wait to be seated (even when they're busy) and the bill is easy to swallow.
The head waitress recognized us and came to our table to greet us. We started a small conversation and this time, Johnny asked the head waitress her ethnicity. We had always suspected that she was Cambodian or Thai but she was in fact Laotian--and she was equally surprised to discover that I was also. (Most people think I am Filipina.)
We chatted in Laotian on and off throughout the night (or shall I say I responded in my broken-Laotian...LOL). It's rare for me to meet Laotians and even more rare in Vegas so I rarely get the opportunity to practice my native language skills.

Even when speaking to my parents, I use a combination of English and Laotian. There are some words I know in Laotian that I don't know in English and many words in English for which I do not know the Laotian translation. Without regular practice of my native tongue, I am afraid I will soon forget how to speak though I will always understand auditorially.

This particular evening, I asked for my Som Tum (papaya salad) and Yum Shrimp and Quid(broiled seafood tossed in a salad of lettuce, scallions, red onions, chili and limejuice) hot. Until tonight, no restaurant--even Thai restaurants claiming to be authentic, has made any dish I requested made be hot, really SPICY. Until now.

I guess the head waitress must have said, 'make it hot--Laotian hot' or something to that effect because my food was SO HOT. The hairs in me ears were on fire, tears rolled down my eyes, and beads of sweat formed on my forehead.

You know the saying, 'hurts so good'? Well I couldn't stop eating despite losing all sensation in my tongue and having to wipe my nose every few seconds. Now THAT is GOOD (and truly hot) Thai food!!

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