There is a new place at 2405 Ulric in Linda Vista called Sab E Lee ('sep e lee'). Forgive the spelling. Since the Thai language has 28 vowels and 44 consonants, there is no transliteration, and the owners didn't put an English name on the menu, business cards or the signage. The blue awning outside says 'Linda Vista Food'.
Anyway, it's been open since Monday, and I've eaten there four days in a row. (Yes, I am obsessive.) I love Thai food, and this is the best I have ever eaten in San Diego in a restaurant. Nobody can match my wife's food- she is from Chiang Mai - but she is in Dutch Harbor at the moment, and I must fend for myself.
It's a tiny place with maybe six or seven tables. There are 135 items on the menu, and many I haven't seen in San Diego before, like Northeastern Sausage (#69), Northern Sausage (#70), Catfish Larb (#71) and Spicy Raw Beef (#68).
To me the benchmarks of a Thai place are the Larb and the Som Tum, or the Papaya Salad. Here the bossman Koby scored points when he asked if I wanted my Som Tum Thai-style or Lao-style. I prefer Thai-style; the Lao is a bit murky, or thick for my taste. This was very good. My nose ran, my mouth burned and I was sweating in my hair, so it was nice and spicy. There were more peanuts than I would have wanted, but lots of the chewy dried shrimps.
I had the Larb Beef today. I loved it. Often Larb here in the States is just ground meat with rice powder, lime juice and chiles. A feature of Larb in Thailand is parts. You can be happily eating your meal when you find something in your mouth you can't identify. 'Please let this be from the animal', you think. "Do I pull it out and lose face, or soldier on?' There were no mystery parts today, but I did find nice slices of liver and tripe to mix things up. It was moist, spicy and just about perfect.
My favorite,however, has been #44, or Spicy Mint Leaves with Steamed Pork Leg, another dish I haven't seen in San Diego before. I eat this every chance I get in Thailand. The pork is steamed with cinnamon, I believe, and it becomes so tender you can pull it apart with your fork and spoon. The juice leaves the rice so, so . . , Man, I need to go to Adjective School. I just don't have enough words. Be warned, however. You get just as much fat as meat here. And it's just as tender, and just as wonderful.
I'm getting hungry again. Check this place out. They are open from 9:30 to 9:30 seven days a week. Telephone 858 650 6868.
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