Anyone who has ever glanced at my blog knows I love cake, but it is probably less evident that my go-to comfort food is Thai food. A pile of noodles is always less photogenic than a cute cupcake, so somehow the photos don't make it to the blog world. But regardless of appearances, something about the combination of sweet and spicy just makes me happy...perhaps not shocking since sugar obviously has an attraction for me, and doesn't spicy food have a sort of mood-altering affect on people?* In any case, Thai food is my first thought on a rough day, so given the proximity of finals at this time, it was an easy choice for dinner tonight.
Coconut soup (above) has had an increasing hold on my attention since I discovered the way each spoonful could feed the burn on my tongue and throat (which is a good thing!) and satisfy with its creamy texture.
Noodles always help me get to a good place, whether it be pad thai, as pictured here, or pad see yew, which always reminds me of my favorite childhood Chinese dish of beef chow fun. Smoky, sweet, mmmmm.
And at least one other spicy dish - cashew chicken, garlic pepper shrimp, panang curry - gotta keep nourishing the happy.
I do go for inauthentic Thai in a pinch, but my favorite for years has been Ruen Pair (can I just say, love that it sounds kind of like "ruined pear" as if a dramatic line in a tragic poem) on Hollywood Boulevard in L.A.'s Thai Town. The same strip mall boasts Thai Patio, which is also quite good and was very welcoming for my birthday dinner of 17 people, but I prefer the food at Ruen Pair (RP is cash only and does not serve alcohol). The restaurants in this area are open and bustling until the wee hours of the morning, so the next time you're out in Hollywood and crave a bite at 3 am, you know you can find something good here.
*According to Wikipedia: "It is common for people to experience pleasurable and even euphoriant effects from eating capsaicin-flavored foods. Folklore among self-described "pepperheads" attributes this to pain-stimulated release of endorphins, a different mechanism from the local receptor overload that makes capsaicin effective as a topical analgesic. In support of this theory, there is some evidence that the effect can be blocked by naloxone and other compounds that compete for receptor sites with endorphins and opiates."