Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 14: The Snail

From now on I am never going to say that I am going to Old Town because whenever I say that I am going, I jinx it. Eventually I will go and have a fantastic dinner and get back in the running in the friendship competition, and everyone will be pleasantly surprised.

Today was the last day of my official May Project because I presented this lovely blog to a group of very nice eighth graders. However, since I was in Hyde Park anyway, I decided to use the opportunity to eat lunch in Hyde Park again. Although, sadly I do not have any crazy bus-people stories to tell because I came to Hyde Park in a car. You know, I kind of miss my friends from the bus. I wonder where Jeremiah and Bald Hitler are right now... Anyway, my mom, my mom's friend Robin, and I ate at a Thai restaurant in Hyde Park called The Snail:

The Snail is located at 1649 E. 55th Street and is a favorite of many Hyde Park residents, although I really do not know why it is called The Snail, because snails are not particularly Thai. And other than a few drawings of snails, the restaurant is not really snail-themed:

In fact, I think that was the only snail in the restaurant. In fact, most of the other decorations are sort of random:

Do you see the flying cow in the upper right-hand corner? Why is there a flying cow in a Thai restaurant called "The Snail?" And unless I am very wrong, I don't think Thailand is famous for its cacti:

But I suppose the food made up for it the bizarre atmosphere. The menu is quite large, so even though there were three of us ordering, and three people ordering allows me to try a lot more food than when I eat all by my lonesome, we still did not cover all the types of food that I wanted to eat. For example, we did not order Pad Thai and I was sad. Look at how sexy Pad Thai is:

But I am not complaining. We ate a lot of good food. When we sat down, we were greeted with what looked, smelled, and tasted, like Mexican corn tortilla chips. In fact, they probably were Mexican corn tortilla chips:

If nothing else, I suppose this puts the picture of the cacti into perspective.

First, we ordered a side Cucumber Salad:

This was basically cucumber and a few onions with a sweet and sour sauce dressing. Then, after we had eaten a few bites of the cucumber salad, our waitress came over with our entrees and knocked an entire pitcher of water onto my mother:

She had a puddle sitting at the bottom of her purse, she looked like she peed herself, our cucumber salad had drowned in the deluge, and worst of all, our waitress did not even give us free sexy Pad Thai!

After we were all dried off, we started to eat our food. Even though we shared everything, each of us ordered our own dish. I ordered the Yellow Curry with chicken:

The term "curry" usually refers to a variety of spiced dishes. "Curry" is a Tamil word, usually understood to mean "gravy," not "spices," although typically curry dishes are spiced with cumin, turmeric, coriander, or red pepper. Curry is in many types of Thai cuisine, although curry has become popular in other places like Japan and even Britain. Thai curry comes in three color-coordinated flavors. The curry pictured above is yellow curry, but red and green also exist:

Thai red curry is usually made with coconut milk and/or fish sauce and red curry paste. Green curry typically has coconut milk and/or fish sauce, green curry paste, and pea aubergine. Yellow curry, on the other hand, is usually creamier because it contains both coconut milk and coconut cream in addition to the yellow curry.

My moist mother ordered pork Pad See Ew:

Anybody who is on the Lab School math team has eaten my body weight in this stuff. It is a Chinese-influenced noodle stir-fry dish served with meat (in this case pork), egg, and broccoli. Pad See Ew is typically a street food served in Thailand. Now, don't get me wrong. Noodles, etc. has a special place in my heart. But this pad see ew was the best that I have ever had. I ate about half of this dish by myself, and it was a big dish.

Robin ordered Bamee:

Bamee is the Thai name for a type of noodle called Lo Mian. Lo Mian (not to be confused with lo mein) is a type of hand-made or hand-pulled noodle. This is the type of wheat flour based noodle from which ramen is derived. This bamee contained chicken, garlic, peppers, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, bean sprouts, cilantro, and crushed peanuts. It was a lot less soupy than I have seen in the past and it was really, really good. But I think the highlight was still the pad see ew.

Because the only thing snail-y about this restaurant is the speed of the service (except when they are spilling water on your mother) by the time we had eaten our lunch it was already 1:00 and I had to be at school to discuss this lovely blog to the nice eighth graders that I met today at 1:15, so we did not have time for dessert. But if we had I probably would have tried some sweet taro root with ginkgo nuts. Seriously, doesn't that make me sound super-Asian?

So we had to leave without dessert, but that saved us like $4.00, so I guess it is okay. Our bill totaled to about $33 for three people. Plus, we took home enough food for at least one more dinner. I am beginning to notice a pattern... I think I bring home more food than I actually eat.

I'm not going to even pretend like I am going to have time to post again until this weekend, and maybe not even then. And since May Project is officially over and real life is starting again, my posts will become more and more sporadic. I don't think I will stop posting any time soon because I have received so many recommendations from my gazillions of fans that I will need to at least continue through the summer. And like I always say, I have to eat anyway, I might as well write about it! But there will no longer be a strict schedule for posts. So, keep checking back here every few days to update yourself. OR if you want to make things easier, you can become a follower of my blog, or you can even friend me on facebook (if we are not already friends) and you can receive updates about my blog in your newsfeed. Until next time... happy eating!

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