A Facebook friend, who in this case is a verifiable live person that I haven’t seen in a while but know to be real person, did a post about a meal he had yesterday: Basil Leaf Phat Thai, with an order of shrimp and pork stuffed dumplings.
Oddly enough, I had a semi-Thai meal yesterday for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Kool Beanz. I spent $28 on it. Just for me! This was a major splurge for me! But considering the week I’d had…And I almost had the chilled melon soup, which would have been another $7. See, I can exercise restraint.
The cool thing about Kool Beanz is that they primarily use local ingredients. So the meal was basil-lime grouper (the only fish worth writing home about) with a Red Thai curry sauce, cilantro rice, and a veggie mix that consisted of yellow squash, shitake mushrooms, and sugarsnap peas (as opposed to snow peas). And they threw in five mussels they didn’t even mention on the menu. That was okay with me. I like mussels.
I only have a couple of complaints. First, there is presentation. (Perhaps I’ve watched the Food Channel too often.) But Kool Beanz is a one-trick pony there. Everything they describe on the menu is piled up on top of each other like a pyramid. There are the veggies, the rice, the mussels placed pleasingly in a circle around the center, topped by the Red Thai sauce, and topped with the grouper. That presentation gets boring…but on the other hand, at least they have one. And what do you expect when they’re trying to do it in 15 minutes or less? It’s lunch, okay?
My other complaint was the shitakes, which is not something you can blame on Kool Beanz. As far as I know, this is the first time I’ve ever eaten them. I found them to be unbearably slimy. This coming from a person who can eat two dozen raw oysters without blinking an eye. I don’t know what the difference is, but there was a difference. Is it because one is cold and the other is hot? There may have been a slight difference in texture. Whatever it was, each time I ate a slice of shitake, I felt like I was swallowing a live slug. Taste is a very mysterious thing, and it’s intertwined with the other senses of smell and sight. My imagination was possibly the real culprit here.
On to the dumplings…I was with my friend. Seared is the best, out of steamed, fried, or seared. Which is pretty funny. They are all essentially the same. Why is seared best? Possibly the caramelization of the outer dough.
I find that I am more obsessed with food than ever, even though I barely eat. It has to be appealing. I used to say, that will do! (“You don’t have seared dumplings? Okay, I’ll settle for steamed.”) I’m more attuned to nuances in food. If they only had steamed dumplings, I wouldn’t eat them.
But don’t think that I’m a prude about it all. I don’t eat this way because I’m “watching my weight”. If anything, I should be trying to keep my weight up. You might think that’s a better problem to have, but not really.
In any case, I forgot to mention that I had dessert at Kool Beanz, which is very, very rare for me. (I don’t do sugar.). It was peach cobbler. Now is the time when we are just inundated with Georgia peaches (there is a reason they’re called the Peach State). They clearly ran the cobbler under the broiler to heat it up, so the peaches were a little wrinkled. It created a “skin” and sealed in the natural juice and sweetness of the peaches. Then they topped it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I’m sure that food never gets any better than that. I was all prepared to ask for a to-go box–but I didn’t need to.