Saturday, July 30, 2005

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down: A Few Words On Dating And Rambutan Thai

"We're meeting T for dinner tonight at Rambutan Thai in Silverlake..." said Isaac.
"OK, cool," I interrupted.
"...He's bringing his date with him," he continued.

Whao-kay...this was going to be interesting. A double date. With Isaac's buddy, someone I do know, and his date, someone I've never met before.

They were already there when we arrived, sitting opposite one another at a table for four. Isaac's friend T got up to greet us, give us hugs, and introduce us to his lady friend. She was a cute little thing, perky in more ways than one, and seemed to be already having a great time. But she didn't get up. And he didn't move to her side of the table either. Meaning I had to sit next to her and Isaac next to his buddy. Or me next to Isaac's friend and Isaac next to his friend's lady friend. Of course we chose to do the former, but there was just something very un-feng shui about our seating arrangement. Something didn't flow right. It felt and looked as if these two guys opposite us, probably two stranger guys, had just picked the two of us girls up and were taking us out to dinner, neither of them knowing which one of us they wanted to be with yet and vice versa. Awkward indeed.

Considering the circumstances, I guess the guys picked a good restaurant. Rambutan Thai, although located in a Silverlake mini-mall, is a sexy little place once inside. It's a small, dimly lit space, dark wood tables lining both sides of the dining room along burnt orange dupioni silk covered walls. In the back, a small bar and a gold-leafed wooden relief carving of Buddha. No, not fat, jolly Buddha, but Buddha's other likeness, the more feminine, sexy Buddha. Rambutan's staff is sexy too--a little attitudy at times--but sexy nonetheless, walking to the rhythm of downtempo beats playing in the background.

Buddha there to wish you eating pleasure

So after we ordered, we got to talking a little bit. Her asking us how we all know each other, me asking how she and T know each other, etc. Turns out everyone met through work--she met T at his current job, Isaac and T know each other from one of their former jobs years ago, and Isaac and I actually met though work too. But what I didn't know is that she's not really a coworker of T's; she belongs to another company that just happens to work with his company and she is in town for a couple days on business. Oh, so it's that kind of date. Well, this is gonna be even more interesting than I thought.

Cocktails would help to make the night more fun for everyone. For the frisky couple that was with us, well, you know. And for us, a couple who's practically married, it would serve to loosen us up from a stressful week. Rambutan serves beer, wine, sake and soju, and like most beer and wine licensed only places nowadays, use soju as their non-full liquor license loophole in mixing cocktails. Soju, a Korean vodka-like liquor made from rice or other starches, is allowed at these types of establishments because like beer, wine and Japan's sake, soju is considered a food accompanying drink in Korean meals. Smart, huh? And it allows these guys to put sexier looking and tasting drinks on the table. My "Praying Mantis," a cocktail of soju, grapefruit juice and lime juice in a martini glass, was tasty, though not very strong, and flirtatious with it's big shiny red cherry all aglow from the flickering candle behind it.

Flirtatious soju-grapefruit martini

Because Isaac and I have already been dating for gosh, years now, are living together, and will be married in, oh, some amount of time soon, we're not so concerned about atmosphere and if it were up to us, would much rather go to some cheap Thai place in Thai Town or North Hollywood. But I guess if it were back in the day when he was still trying to woo me, this kind of place would fit the bill. Rambutan's dishes are way overpriced and cost around 50 to 100% more than the same stuff at the aforementioned types of places in Thai Town or North Hollywood. But they're served on sleek, square plates that you can eat out of with lime green colored chopsticks. And despite the higher pricepoints, the food, though not as good as that at my hole-in-the-wall favorites, is tasty.

Rambutan has a whole menu of Thai "tapas"--small plates of Thai or Thai-inspired foods that are perfect for those who will be, or hope to be, getting it on later on. Most of them are bite sized morsels that couples can feed one another from across the table with their lime green chopsticks. I've eaten some of their small plates before--their luscious lime-juiced beef waterfall in cute little cabbage cups, fried shrimp cakes with a sticky honey-like sweet and sour sauce, plump and juicy curry dumplings--and they were all feasts for the senses; just imagine if I were on a real date! Tonight, I ordered a plate of tua kak off the tapas menu, dry sauteed green beans with shredded pickles, Chinese radish and dried shrimp, for everyone to try, and even though it was way tasty, there was no feeding one another with this one...not with the four of us there. I'm just not that type of girl. Ha ha!

Tasty Thai tapas for the senses: tua kak

Our couple, whose loins were probably burning by the time the appetizer was served, split an order of crying tiger beef and panang shrimp--how cute! I didn't want to be too forward and pick off their plates (I have to try it if I'm going to write about it after all!) but fortunately, Isaac ordered the crying tiger beef too and I had actually had Rambutan's panang (but not shrimp) on a previous occasion. Me? I ordered a chicken pad thai, which was balanced well with both sweet and sour flavors--but a little on the slimy side, to split with my man. I could see that the two lovebirds were enjoying every morsel of their dinners, each of them picking off each other's plates, a bite of plump shrimp bathed in a sexy (and spicy!) milky red curry here, a bite of juicy, pink in the middle rib eye steak with a naughty little chili garlic sauce on the side there. Why, they both even ordered brown rice with their dishes. Horny and health conscious? That's a match made in heaven!

Slimy pad thai...not too sexy, is it?

Juicy crying tiger beef

Turn up the heat with some panang shrimp

No dessert for any of us; in fact, we spent just a little while longer chatting, and then they did the "OK, we're gonna go now," and left their half of the bill. Quick hugs and handshakes ensued and off they went to take full advantage of the rest of the evening, to enjoy some sexy LA nightlife or whatever else they may choose to do. *wink, wink* Isaac and I were left sitting there by ourselves. In practically-married boring old couple style we did the: "What do you wanna do now?" "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" "Wanna go home?" "OK." So yeah, we went home. Back to our place, with laundry baskets and dirty dishes and the like. But what we did when we got home, well that's for us to know. Let's just put it this way, the practically- married boring old couple knows how to have fun too. *wink, wink*

Rambutan Thai
2835 Sunset Blvd.
Silverlake, CA 90027
(213) 273-8424


sarah said...

how did you explain to her that you were taking pictures of the food? LOL!

Daily Gluttony said...

Hey Sarah!

I just told her that I have a website. But she didn't ask what it was or anything. I think she was busy thinking about other stuff if ya know what I mean. LOL! Plus I'll prolly never see her again. As for our friend T, though, that's a different story. I don't think he's read this post yet though. Ha ha!

T said...

Pam, I (T) have read the post now. Fabolus! Not only did you encapsulate the night perfectly, you absolutely captured the atmosphere of the restaurant, and the energy of the experience, right down to the nervousness between the 4 of us. Lol (repeatedly). Brilliantly done.

As for the restaurant, despite the prices fellas, I recommend it *wink,wink*.

PS: In the future, remind me not to be such a glutton, that way you can comment on all of the dishes served.