So, after reading all of the Joey/Blimpie posts I just had to go see for myself. Descended upon it on a Sat. eve @ 6PM -- but the door was locked, though I saw a Thai woman inside who I presumed worked there. I made the 'are you closed' neck slit motion to her through the glass, but she bounded over to open the door and ask me whether I wanted Blimpies or Thai. When I told her Thai, she welcomed me in and explained that b/c business was slow, they had decided to close early (fyi, they are suposedly open 7 days a week from 11:30 to 10:30).
Once inside, I began to explain to her how I'd heard about her place from the site and she grew very excited. She wandered to the back and I heard her tell Joey who practically pranced out of the kitchen with a big, inquisitive grin. Turns out she is his wife. So, I told Joey about the site and how there were threads circulating about his skills and the food he churns out and he was totally blown away. He said that he'd heard that it was mentioned on "the computer" but since he's not one for the web, he hadn't seen for himself.
When I told him that I wanted pork larb, he got fired up and ran back to the kitchen to get going with the fresh prep. He came back out thereafter and we chatted about why it is that people on the site are so keen on having been clued in to what he's doing. He was just beaming. He understood C'hound's need for genuine flavors and and told me with great pride that his establishment is all within the family. He obviously gets the homecooking battlecry loud and clear.
When I asked him whether he could fix me up some banana sticky rice, he lit up. In the meantime, he implored me to try either his taro or pumpkin rice pudding/custard. I left it up to him and ended up salivating over fresh pumpkin shavings that were topping and mixed into about an inch of rice pudding which crowned a portion of custard. It was really outstanding.
Unfortunately, the banana sticky rice was nuked, though still pretty tasty. Although, I was taking it to go, he immediately unwrapped one for me and waited while I tasted it so he could make sure I liked it before sending me home.
I asked him about how he sourced his ingredients, particularly the seafood. He told me that he keeps his purchases/ordering entirely separate from the Blimpies part of the business. He stated that he got his seafood fresh every day, and began to praise his sea bass. Don't know where those aforementioned shrimp are coming from, though.
Anyhow, as I began to pay him he encouraged me to come back with friends and requested that I call ahead to let him know so he would have enough time to make a special meal. Then he stressed to me how much he would appreciate it if I let those of you who have gone to bat for him know that he really is touched by the support and extremely thankful and overjoyed to be the beneficiary.
Finally, he kept reinforcing the fact that if you don't care for what he's prepared, he has no intention of charging you. That said, I can't imagine not paying him for something I ordered even if it fell short -- b/c he is such a nice, warm, positive presence. Interacting with him and seeing how much it meant to him that his name was being bantered about was one of the nicest food experiences I've had in memory. What a pleasure.
ps. Joey lived in Bangkok from the age of ten on, fwiw.
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