Tuesday, August 10, 2010. Sandy's Delight Reprise. Thai Orchid.

Written by Tom Fitzmorris September 20, 2010 17:36 in

Dining Diary

Tuesday, August 10. Sandy's Delight Reprise. Thai Orchid. Despite the collapse of my original vacation plans, I like being sort of off the clock. Not having a radio show to do adds five or six hours to my day. I took one of them in mid-morning, and had breakfast at the Abita Springs Café. Mary Leigh and I used to go there every Saturday for breakfast, but that ended over a year ago, when her new social life ballooned and pushed our old habits out.

Her standard order in the good old days was an off-menu combination dating back three owners ago. Sandy's Delight consists of two small pancakes (they'd be normal-size pancakes anywhere else, but the normal flapjack here is about a foot across), a single scrambled egg, and four slices of bacon. I'd eat the egg portion of this, plus another side dish. It worked out perfectly.

It's been months since I've been to the Abita Springs Café myself. So how could I not get a Sandy's Delight today? I did, and it was great. I can't believe I ate both pancakes.

I can believe that most people make restaurant plans not according to their hungers of the moment, but for geographical considerations. I knew that I wanted to go to Slidell for dinner, but I wasn't sure where. Michael's, Stone's Bistro, and Nathan's came to mind, but all of those would be long meals with a couple of glasses of wine, and I wasn't up for that.

The Thai Orchid was new to me. It's on Robert Boulevard, not far from Young's Steakhouse. Every report from readers and listeners about the place has glowed. Those people were not in a mood for Thai food this night, however. Only one other table was in the place when I arrived at about eight. (Slidell eats early.) And those people were past Eat Club dinner attendees, and recognized me in the usual way--when I spoke.

Thai Orchid.

I spoke to the one waitress, who I think may also have been the owner. They were out of Thai beer, so I had an Abita. The feast began with tom yum goong soup, cloudier than I'm accustomed to seeing. But, contrary to widely-held belief, ethnic restaurants cook no more alike than their local counterparts do. If we can accept gumbos in a thousand different styles, why can't Thai tom yum goong vary from place to place? In fact, this was delicious. So was the single, well-stuffed chicken wing. I eat in Thai restaurants a lot, but this is the first time I've had this dish in years--except for one about a year ago during an Eat Club dinner at NOLA.

Pad prik king.

The name of the entree was familiar, but I couldn't remember having it before. I certainly will have it again. Paht (or pad) prik king is a juicy stir fry of meat (the waitress told me to get pork when I asked her advice) with green beans (a critical ingredient), bell pepper, carrots, cucumbers, and red curry. I've had dishes that fit that description before, but this had a completely new flavor to my palate. I couldn't put my finger on what it was. Recipes I've checked on books and online make mention of ginger, and maybe that was it.

Home to the empty house. The radio in the kitchen plays WWNO all the time when everyone else is gone. The dog Suzie seems depressed. The cat Twinnery is behaving normally. I continue to go to sleep to the sounds of a live radio music show from the 1940s, featuring an orchestra led by Lyn Murray, with occasional performances by a marvelous singer named Audrey Marsh. But I've been listening to these shows--I have about forty fifteen-minute broadcasts--for the past year, and it's about time for me to put them to rest. I won't do it until the Marys come home, though.

*** Thai Orchid. Slidell: 785 Robert Blvd. 985-781-0240. Thai.