Driving the 500 miles between San Francisco and Los Angeles I planned to take my vegan boyfriend to my favorite veggie friendly spot in central California: Thomas Hill Organic in Paso Robles. Unfortunately a private event derailed our plans. Scrolling through Yelp we saw the v-word pop up for Basil Thai and headed that way.
It’s a traditional plastic gilded interior on the Paso Robles square. The staff is friendly and thankfully knowledgeable: Our waitress let us know that EVERYTHING is made with fish sauce. Releasing exacerbated sighs, the kind that only come after hours of highway driving, the waitress leaded in and whispered that there were two things we could order. … Basil Thai (Paso Robles, CA)
“Before we sit down, I’ll be sure to clarify if they can prepare vegan food,” I reassured myself and Co as we entered. A spunky woman eyed us from the register. With my (always) friendly smile I asked “Can you make vegan Thai food? You know, like no fish sauce…”
I’ve dined at Cha-Am for many years, but can’t seem to remember why. Perhaps it’s the whimsical treehouse dining room, overlooking Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Maybe it’s the food, but nothing springs to mind. And so, in this state of uncertainty, I selected Cha-Am for dinner with my Beau’s best friend.
Walking through the door, everything looked familiar—orange walls, bamboo-colored wood, potted plants strewn about. The menu is typical Thai-American fare with plenty of vegetarianoptions. Once the food arrived, however, it struck me. This restaurant is completely forgettable, except for one ‘best of show’ dish: The Cha-Am-Fresh Roll.
My sweet Amanda is dear to me, but the fact that she has a car means I love her a little more than my pedestrian friends. So many prohibitively distant locations become so accessible when you can get to your meals on wheels; so on a lovely weekend she and her man whisked me and mine off to the far-far-away realm of Woodside with the promise of copious consumption of delectable Thai food. We arrived at 5:30, aka Grandpa Hour, and effortlessly snagged a table in the front room (1 of 4 dining areas in this big/small establishment) and perused the novel of a menu – three pages of which are vegetarian, which is thankfully manageable when everything sounds delicious… but is woefully devoid of curry.
Whittling down our food selections, we placed our order with our curt and efficient waiter and soon the dishes began magically appearing on the table. In retrospect I wish I had been a little more diverse in choosing dishes, but I was clearly in an All Fried Appetizers/All Sauteed Entree mood this evening.
My BF fixated on the banal sounding egg roll and was eerily obsessed with consuming these skinny crunchy rolls apparently I’ve been denying him his required dose of crispy fried vegetable products since he plowed through these like there was a prizes at the bottom of the pile.