last night i went in search of a new thai near the house.
took a look at khao sarn on lunt & western (grand opening 15% off), mainly 'cause that name has come up a lot for a northern thai place in boston, but the menu looked standard - and since i've found out that khao sarn refers to the name of a major road in bangkok. But their credit card machine wasn't gonna be available for a week or so, and the place seemed just not quite ready
drove by opart's in wilmette, recommended once on this board and possibly a sister to a place further south on western that's been recommended a few times, but it was takeout only
finally with family getting cranky and me getting pretty hungry we went to a place i've been a couple times: Desiree in Skokie.
From the outside Desiree looks like a cool old family coffeshop restaurant from long ago. Neon signage (never on) circa the 40's, interior from the 70's looking like it may have been designed by Mr. Brady (well, maybe sam the butcher). Signs out front advertise bacon and egg specials but also thai custard.
The one thing I really like about this place is that they take your request for spicy seriously, real seriously. A ground pork pad kra praow last night may have been one of the spiciest dishes i have eaten in a restaurant in chicago. There was no laughing joking "was it hot enough for you", just a kindly old man who wanted to make us happy and checked to see if we liked the food in halting english. Most of the menu is standard offerings but a couple look interesting -under chef reccomends is a catfish in red curry paste on bed of napa and basil steamed in a coconut. Lunch special on the carboard sign last night was an eggplant pad kee mao
They have a very good thai custard and another dessert that i really enjoyed - "thai pancake, described as "traditional thai pancake served with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder" Traditional thai pancake bears a a pretty good resemblance to the roti in roti canai.
They have a full menu of diner stuff and breakfast served all the time (kids had chocolate chip pancakes during our visit)including thai breakfast stuff, and the folks are just really really nice.
Apparently they also own java thai coffehouse on irving park. Anybody been? do they have a larger range of thai desserts there?
It's also just a block or so away from a very cool old style bowling alley
8000 Lincoln Avenue
close early (8 pm)
4272 W. Irving Park Rd.
Skokie Bowling Lanes
8146 Floral Ave
All games cost $2; shoes $1