I love spicy food.
I love it when I eat something so hot that I get a little high from it, or start to hallucinate just a little. I want to sweat and pant as I eat. It may seem sadomasochistic to you, but it’s my kind of fun.
If I eat enough chilies, people seem funnier and prettier and project fuzzy pink auras. I’m not kidding. I do it all the time.
Thai food is my favorite hot-hot cuisine. I love that when you order in Thai restaurants, you can have your green curry mild, medium, hot or “Thai hot.” I love that if a non-Thai-looking person orders their dinner “Thai hot,” the waiter often raises her eyebrows in disbelief. I think that maybe the kitchen probably makes it even hotter than Thai people actually eat it just to prove a point. I don’t care. Bring the heat, I can take it.
I discovered tiny little Thai House on West Street about six years ago. It is a minute little place that only seats 12 people. They mainly do takeout, and that is what I recommend you do as well, as most of the seats will be taken. The food is fantastic, authentic and inexpensive. Everything is made-to-order right in front of you. The family that runs it is friendly, cheerful and helpful, and if the world were right, they’d be millionaires and McDonald's would be out of business.
Their Pad Thai, a dish of chewy rice noodles sautéed with shrimp or chicken and bean sprouts, is showered with peanuts and perfectly balanced between salty and sweet. I think their larb is the best in town-- a warm chicken salad sautéed with lime juice and fish sauce, tossed with mint and roasted rice powder. Their green and red coconut curries are also just delicious-- balanced and rich, but not too thick or cloying. Everything I have ever eaten there was really, really good.
Whether you like your food as hot as I do or not, you can have it mild or fiery, depending on your pain threshold. You will love eating at Thai House, even if you don’t have visions afterward.
This commentary originally ran November 19, 2010