Talay Thai – Sometimes, It’s Just One Thing

talay thai restaurant, west los angeles, la, ca - pad thai

Talay Thai
11314 Santa Monica Blvd, (just west of Sawtelle)
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Sometimes, it’s just one thing.

There could be a hundred other perfect things that are right. There could be a hundred other shortcomings, flaws, and weaknesses that are so terribly wrong.

But they don’t matter. You acknowledge them, but they don’t influence you one way or the other, so totally 6’3, dark wavy hair and bright blue eyes with a Colgate smile … perfect.

Or not.

Because the one thing, that one little thing, is the only thing that matters. It’s the only thing you need. It’s the only thing you want. It’s so incredibly amazingly wonderfully fantastically omgitmakesmeshiver fantastic that every other quality, characteristic and bullet point on that unwritten resume pales by comparison to virtually transparent.

Sometimes that one thing that makes you forgive everything else is tangible, ranging from physical characteristics to material possessions. Tall, dark and hot-some. Wears glasses. Reads. Reads books. Has an MD. Or a JD. (But not an MBA. Not one thing can eclipse the evil that is an MBA, and I’m allowed to say that because, well, just because.) Cars. Clothes. Cash. Hey, for some people, any of those superficial things can be the One Thing.

Sometimes that one thing that makes you ignore everything else is not tangible, or rather, it is undefinable. You can’t explain what it is because it’s not a “what” that can be articulated in words, but you know that it’s there. Some people refer to it as “chemistry.” I refer to it as “he’s an artiste.”

Sometimes that one thing that lets you overlook everything else is…

Fried tofu.
talay thai restaurant, west los angeles, ca - fried tofu
Fried tofu is that one thing for which I will forgive every hateful thing about an entire cuisine, Thai. I’m not saying that all of Thai food is hateful — there are plenty of Thai dishes that I can tolerate. I’m just saying that I tend to forget how much I absolutely cannot stand coconut, lemongrass, lime, mint, basil, and sickening sticky sweetness, when there is fried tofu on the table. I don’t know what they do to the tofu before slipping the triangles or cubes into the deep fat fryer that makes the tofu so delicious. Coat the pieces in cornstarch? Leave their silky butts nekkid? If the restaurants cut the tofu into long, thin strips, I think it would be the end of French fries for me – Double Double with a side of fried tofu.
talay thai restaurant, west los angeles, ca - larb chicken salad
The fried tofu at Talay Thai wasn’t bad, though it was slightly soggier than I prefer, as if it had been fried during the first seating of mostly college students and simply re-heated when we sat down, among mostly college students again, for a later dinner. I always forgo fried tofu’s accompanying sauce, some version of sweet and sour laced with crushed peanuts, in favor of a straight shot of chili sauce straight from one of the trio of metal-topped condiment jars that seems to be a tabletop staple in every Thai restaurant.
talay thai restaurant, west los angeles, ca - singha beer
Talay Thai is just another stain on the great big curry-splattered t-shirt that is Thai restaurants on the Westside. I don’t think I need to go back because I wasn’t impressed enough with the rest of the food that I would drive outside the 1.5-mile radius area in which I dine consistently.
talay thai restaurant, west los angeles, ca - tom yum soup
The Larb Chicken Salad was nicely presented, as was Pad Thai. Unfortunately, Pad Thai is never a dish I would order on my own. I will always take a polite bite of the noodles to give it equal opportunity, but no matter how “good” a particular restaurant is, Pad Thai will always be too sticky sweet to be a savory meal for me. Talay Thai’s Tom Yum Soup was not bad.
talay thai restaurant, west los angeles, ca - tofu stirfry
Fried tofu might be the One Thing for which I forgive every other shortcoming in Thai cuisine, but blaspheme that fried tofu with a sticky sweet, cornstarch-laden gel flecked with black pepper to hide the stench of something, and it’s over for Talay Thai restaurant.

Hey, tall dark, and hot-some doesn’t last forever.

** a year ago today, even photoshop couldn’t save la scala’s ravioli **
** two years ago today, i could get a housekeeper to make tres leches cake, or just go to lula, sangria included **

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Craig March 4, 2008 at 7:23 pm

You described me to a T.

Or not.


2 Joy at JoysThaiFood March 22, 2008 at 12:32 pm

They have Singha beer in the USA? I liked your Thai food photos and I’ll be looking more at your blog to see if you have tom yum! I am a cook here in Thailand and I blog too. If you want, please look. JoysThaiFood com. My husband will be happy to know they have Thai Singha beer in America, we are going there sometime soon. :) Joy


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