Saturday, June 30, 2007

Terrific Twisted Noodles

A couple of nights ago, my parents and I went to Thai Cafe and had another excellent meal. They had a new coconut shrimp appetizer special, which was good. It came with a mayonnaise based sauce, which I wasn't as crazy about, because their tangy honey based dipping sauces are so much better. The real excitement of the evening was my parking job. When my dad saw how close I was to the bricks, he repeatedly urged me not to mess with masonry. I, however, was rather pleased with my efforts.

Last night, after guitar practice, I wanted to try out one of the newer restaurants in Durham, so we all went to Twisted Noodles, a new Thai restaurant in one of the strip malls on University Drive, kind of behind Eastern Lights. JA told me that I'd never go to Thai Cafe again after tasting the food at Twisted Noodles. I don't think that's actually true, but I was immensely pleased.

I ordered Pad Thai, since that's the standard basis of comparison for most Thai restaurants. It was excellent and I was pleased to have enough for my lunch this afternoon. Thai Cafe's strikes me as somewhat on the mushy side, while the noodles I had last night had the perfect firmness. I like a little more emphasis on the tamarind flavor, but it was very good and that's just my personal preference. JJ had the duck special, which our waiter described as "the show", because it came out on an almost deafening sizzling hot platter. The bite that I tasted was absolutely delicious.

Dessert was actually the best of all. For $1.95, they have warm crepes rolled in condensed milk and sugar, called rotee. They are simply wonderful and it's a nicely sized portion, cut into six pieces. You can get it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for another $2, but I think it's completely unnecessary.

A restaurant critics, albeit an amateur one, should always go to a restaurant more than once before reviewing it, right? Well, I did just that. I decided that my parents needed to go to Twisted Noodles as soon as possible. We shared the shrimp tempura appetizer. The batter is thinner than Thai Cafe's, so it's not nearly as doughy. Both the shrimp and the broccoli were great. You probably get more for your money at Thai Cafe, since that is almost more than I can eat as a meal, but this was a good sized portion and practical to share. I had an enormous bowl of roast pork wonton and noodle soup, which was delicious. I have more than enough for lunch tomorrow. I'd been looking forward to having a second rotee all day and my second one was just as good as the first.

Some important things to note: They do not have enough wait staff and may not have enough people working in the kitchen. Tonight we observed four people get up and leave, because no one took their order. That said, their staff are extremely courteous and friendly and the food is worth the wait. I have no idea how common this is, but in the two times I've been there, they've been out of several things and have removed some items from the menu. Don't be surprised and just consider it as part of the charm.

Will I quit going to the Thai Cafe? Of course not. I love the Thai Cafe Baskets, the Massaman curry dishes, their coconut soup with shrimp and their potstickers. It's also pretty fast. I am excited that they are expanding and hope that their popularity will continue. No, I am just looking forward to enjoying Thai food even more often now!

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