Oh man that looks so good! Prior to 1999 I had never eaten any Asian food other than Chinese and Japanese (barely any Japanese), and basically as a typical American there were only a few dishes that I ever even tried. It wasn't until the summer of that year, when I met my wife, that I was introduced to a whole new world. Why you say? My wonderful wife, who happens to have been born in Hong Kong, is Chinese, and she took it upon herself to show me the so-called ropes when it came to Asian cuisine. Great I thought, someone to guide me thru it and someone who was pretty darn cute to boot! A win win as they say. You see the Chinese think we are all a bunch of whimps when it comes to eating certain foods. I for one am a huge whimp and am not ashamed to admit it (my wife makes fun of me all the time), and man do they eat some scary looking stuff, but I won't really get into that. On one of our very first dates that summer she took me to a Malaysian Restaurant called Nyonya on Grand Street, I certainly didn't know what to expect, but the place was packed with non-Asians...good I thought. Let's just say the most memorable part of the meal was the pink sweater she was wearing (she looked fabulous btw), because I try as hard as I can to block out the food that I saw that night. They were serving up scary looking creatures with lots of bones sticking out in all directions (ok thats a bit of an exaggeration but like I said I've blocked it out), suffice it to say I went home really hungry. Then she introduced me to Dim Sum which was a smashing success. Lots of tasty little appetizers filled with Pork and Shrimp and other stuff, it was really fun, but to this day I still get hung up on her eating Chicken Feet in front of me, gross. Anyway then came a broadened Japanese palate and even a dabble into Thai food which she never really had eaten either. However it wasn't until she brought me to a Vietnamese place that I finally found my calling...eating Vietnamese, it was meant to be. Above all others I truly preferred the variety of flavors and dishes at our favorite place Thai Son at 89 Baxter Street, and quickly we became regulars, frequenting the place three times a week. I couldn't get enough. I really enjoyed the way that they brought everything out in a jumble, sometimes the appetizers coming after the main course, and the general disinterest the servers had for the customers was always a real treat! Seriously though the food was great and it was really cheap. Sadly all good things must come to an end as they say. In 2001 we moved out west to Phoenix, due to a job transfer, and we had to say goodbye to our favorite place...a sad day indeed. Time passed very slowly indeed but as luck would have it the winds of change would find us again and return us back home in 2007. Back where we belonged, even if it was to New Jersey (sorry Jersey you ain't NYC), but back nonetheless. Fast Forward to a couple of weeks ago.
Of course time changes everything including habits, so it should come as no surprise that since we have been back we have only gone to Thai Son twice, a shame I know. So the other day while working downtown, my stomach grumbling as usual, I thought why not eat there? So I ran over to Baxter Street (the man punted Baxter! Anchorman reference) and ordered a few things to go. It was actually really cool to be back there but I wasn't used to standing there without my wife...weird. Anyway back to work I went with my delicious meal in a plastic baggy and all I could think about was how good it was gonna taste and if I should tell my wife that I ate there without her (tough one). First up were the Vietnamese Summer Rolls filled with Shrimp, Pork, Rice Vermicelli, Cilantro and Lettuce (I think) with a side of Peanut Sauce. Mmmmmm good! For my main dish I chose the Grilled Pork and Spring Rolls over Rice Vermicelli with a smal cup of the Vietnamese National Fish Sauce...better tasting than it sounds I promise. It's always better to sit and eat at the restaurant and I certainly didn't want to do that alone, but taking it to go was better than nothing. Thankfully it was still as good as I remembered and gave me more than enough reason to come back sooner than later. Besides there are like five other dishes that I need to make sure still taste like they used too...can't wait.