First report on my attempt to eat at every restaurant in Thai Town.
I will actually attempt to give the overall experience a number, because numbers are funny, and because it might actually be worth something since I'm eating at the places relatively close together. And because it will piss everybody off. Remember: you can't put a number on love.
Meter standard: Let's say 1 to 10 for every restaurant. I'll call Palm Thai in its current state a 5 (it used to be maybe an 8.) Ruen Pair is a 9. So is Renu Nakorn - it's a 10 at its best, but the food varies widely from visit. Samnaluang Cafe - an 8 on soups, and a 5 in general. The better of the crappy blandified places that aren't actually inedible, like TokTok or whatever the hell that place on Pico is, and Chandara, get a 3. Also authentic but essentially boring places - like Sunshine - get a 3.
All right, first experience. I can't remember the name, but it's in the same minimall as Ruen Pair and Palm Thai, and it's directly north of the dessert shop. The one with the cheap lunch special. Ganada? Ghandi? Something.
Dinner. Larb was kind of not good. Cheap meat, greasy and chewy, flavored competently. Vermicelli soup with beef balls was pretty good, but not even close to the near-holy version across the parking lot at Ruen Pair. And then: chicken pad kee mao: awesome. Very slightly greasy, but the noodles were supple and gentle and soft (frequently they get screwed in the stir fry), the egg distinctly eggy and firm and full of various sauce flavors, the chicken surprisingly tender and delectable. Sauce was balanced and tasty as hell. A dish that hits not any conscious awareness of complexity, but the "mmm this is damn good eat more" center in the brain. Provokes the inner lizard into devouring. Dish was fought over by my companions. Ara claims that this is almost as good as The One Great Pad Kee Mao - the one served by Samnaluang Claremont branch 5 years ago, that they have sinced stopped making well.
Score: 5 on average. Larb is down in 2 territory, but pad kee mao is in the 8 territory. That one dish is good enough to make me a regular here.
This makes me happy, because Ruen Pair, which I love for salads and soups, falls flat in the stir-fried-wide-noodle category.
Damn, giving numbers is fun. I'll probably forget it all and make up a new metric next time.