Toi Rockin’ Thai – Rock and Roll Indigestion

toi rockin' thai, los angeles, ca - tom yum soup
William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Karl “The Mailman” Malone.
Michael “Air” Jordan.
Clyde “The Glide” Drexler.
Jerome “The Bus” Bettis. (Okay, I’ll stop now.)

Toi “Rockin’” Thai.

Hm. Does Toi Rockin’ Thai thinks it’s a star athlete but it forgot its quotation marks?!

I don’t go around calling myself Sarah “Delicious” Manning. Right. What am I? Some kind of fool? It’d be Sarah “The Delicious” Manning. :)

toi rockin' thai, los angeles, ca
“the delicious” goes to “rockin'” thai

Really though, Toi Rockin’ Thai has the silliest name in the world for a restaurant. I take that back. After California Roll and Sushi Fish and all the Pho 1-999 that you think are related but are not, Toi Rockin’ Thai has the third stupidest name in the world. Do they not know that no one would actually ever go there because they feel too stupid to say, “Hey guys? I’m kinda cravin’ Toi Rockin’ Thai?” Because they have to pause after “Toi,” lean their head ever so slightly in for emphasis, lift their hands up and make the two-finger air-quotes, “Rockin’,” pause, “Thai?”

Besides, why must it validate itself as Toi Rockin’ Thai, hot enough to be “woo hoo rocking!!!1!11,” and cool enough to leave off that final “g?” Furthermore, why must every Thai restaurant call itself “Thai?” Why can’t it just be “Toi Rockin’?” Never mind. Why can’t it just be “Toi?”

I feel better now.

But I certainly didn’t feel better after eating at Toi ROCKIN’ Thai (now I just feel like I have to emphasize the Rockin’) some time after we turned into pumpkins. Westside late night dining options are limited, and though the customary choice is twenty-four hour tortilla chips dripping with liquid lard, oozing cheese and doused with two kinds of salsa fire, we opted for something healthier – like greasy Thai food, open until 3 am every day. I suppose technically, Thai food does offer wiser options, like soups and salads, but it was late, we weren’t completely sober, our judgment got the worst of us. I mean, we did end up in a place called Toi Rockin’ Thai afterall.

toi rockin' thai, los angeles, ca
brothy soup for a parched partier
toi rockin' thai, los angeles, ca
wonton “chips” and sweet/sou “salsa”

We weren’t there because we were necessarily hungry. We just wanted to make sure that if our livers were going to suffer the morning after, we should afford our stomachs the same kind of opportunity. More than anything, I was parched, so I was craving a brothy soup. With the tom yum kai, we ordered a plate of fried wontons, qualified by the logic that the oil would dilute any remnants of alcohol in our stomachs, and the carbohydrates would soak it all up. At 1 am, anything is rational.

toi rockin' thai, los angeles, ca
garden lamps to set the rockin’ mood

Toi was nowhere near as rockin’ as it would have us believe. Besides ourselves comfortably crammed into one of the booths along the wall, there was a semi-rowdy motley crew that looked not like a punk band, but the less flashy, not nearly as lip-glossed #1 fan club of a punk band. After we ordered, we spent quite a bit of time admiring the rockin’ decor, for as rockin’ as the place was, the kitchen was slow. Garden/lawn lights have been attached to the wall with what looks like re-worked coat hangers. They light up tabletops that are laminated to protect a collage of rockstar magazine and newspaper clippings. The walls from ceiling to floor are a haphazard montage of band posters, album covers and other rock memorabilia. It’s kind of like the little Thai taxi tuk-tuk that’s proudly on display in the front had just completed 150 laps for the Indy 500 inside a Hard Rock Cafe.

The food was exactly what I expected for Asian late night dining. The soup was red, a thin film of oil shimmering on the surface and clinging as tiny droplets in a halo around the sides of the bowl. It wasn’t too spicy, which was probably better for a GI tract that was walready working overtime. I had to pick out the cilantro, but I didn’t mind. The wontons definitely tasted like they had been deep-fried in oil that had been used all day to make decent-tasting food, and was on its last cycle before it had to be thrown out. I wasn’t even aware that there was any sort of filling, so I made myself feel better by calling them wonton “chips,” served with a sweet and sour “salsa.” I didn’t love it, but forced myself to choke down at least two or three for their medicinal effects.

By the time we were settling our check and were ready to leave, the punk fan club was still in high gear, and probably would be at Toi until the management shooed them out at 3 am. As we stumbled out past the tuk tuk and to our car parked at a meter out front, I could feel something gurgling inside my gut, and was only interested in getting home right away. I’m sure that whatever was “rockin'” in my gut had 90% to do with the earlier antics, and only 10% to do with Toi, but I can’t be totally sure.

Toi Thai
1120 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

** a year ago today, i had my first pizza-gasm and it’s been reckless pizza abandon ever since **

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  • swati

    i saw cilantro in this here soup.
    you ate it?
    or did you just photograph it?

  • sarah

    swati: ate the soup, but picked out the cilantro. haha! though i am becoming more and more accustomed to the taste of cilantro…

  • sarah

    swati: ate the soup, but picked out the cilantro. haha! though i am becoming more and more accustomed to the taste of cilantro…

  • hermz

    Man, you hit a lot of Thai places, even if you were someone who loved Thai food.

  • peachiee

    Cilantro good! Cilantro good!

    This place closes early tho, right? They were dark when I drove by once at 4am. :(

  • jackt

    note to owners/toi’s webmaster: i *really* like thai food. i eat it like 3 times a week. but there’s no such thing as “rockin'” thai food. some things are better left uncool.

  • Skip

    I like Thai food, but I don’t like Toi. I’ve been to the one on Sunset, and everything had a strange taste I can’t put my finger on.

    A few of the noodle dishes were all right, but I’d rather eat generic Thai from a delivery place.


    In other news, my “mr. pibb + red vines = crazy delicious” t-shirt came today. Good times?

    True Dat…Double True.

  • Neil

    I’m liking this “year ago” idea you started. I might steal that from you.

  • Neil

    I’m liking this “year ago” idea you started. I might steal that from you.

  • Maure

    yes, the “year ago” idea/comments are great – now what we need is your “year from now” thoughts.

    such as: “a year from now i’ll be going dutch with tyler florence at inn of the seventh ray” or,
    ” a year from now i’ll put Tampopo
    on my netflix list” – something like that.

    as for Toi – let’s just say i wish it were only indigestion i was served there.

  • sarah

    hermz: how right you are, and i have to say, rockin’ thai will never beat thai elvis ;)

    peach: early!??! 4am is early?!?! are you one of them krazy klUUbkAndEkIdz!?1!!?! ;)

    jackt: you are so funny. “rockin'” rockin’ sarah delicious doesn’t sound cool at all, does it? good thing i didn’t name my blog that.

    skip: nice on the t-shirt!

    neil:if you steal it, you better give me credit, otherwise i’m telling everyone all that bad stuff about you!

    maure: dutch?! going DUTCH?!?! a year from now tyler florence better be bringing me breakfast in bed!!!

  • Maure

    If Toi “Rockin” Thai has the third stupidest name in restaurantdom, then “SmorgaBobs” must be close behind. You’re a Cal grad Sarah, do you remember that place just off I-80 near Pinole?

    Yes, a smorgasbord owned by Bob with mismatching cups, plates , utensils, jello & macaroni salads
    and interestingly sauced “meats” all for one low all you can eat cover charge.
    it was an 24/7 early bird special type of joint.

  • Catherine

    Sarah, if you’ve ever been to the Thai New Year’s Festival in Thai Town, you’ll know how silly the Thai can get. ;) And let me tell you, Toi Rockin’ Thai could’ve been the name of the featured band, with its lead singer decked out in an 80s suit, punk rock wig and a clown face (to match?), while the back up singer was all dressed up in a sequin neon orange spandex halter tutu, sans clown face. Yes, that’s right, I did say spandex.

  • onetomato

    speaking of names of restaurants, i saw, as i was driving on western in ktown, “What the Pho.” that cracked me up for a few minutes. isn’t there some kind of censorship system for naming restaurants?

  • jackt

    “speaking of names of restaurants, i saw, as i was driving on western in ktown, What the Pho.”

    What the Pho – West L.A.
    Pho King – Rosemead
    Absolutely Phobulous – Hollywood
    Pho Kym – Monterey Park
    Hung Far Low – Portland
    Luk Yue & Fu Yue – Monterey Park (not funny individually, but funny if they merge). =)

    S- sorry i will stop hijacking your comments section now.

  • Dr. Duckfat
  • Dr. Duckfat
  • sarah

    maure: i don’t remember ever seeing/hearing about smorgasBob’s! i only remember that i went to pinole a few times to go bowling, of all things (which i hate). oh, and i think there was a place called miss piggy’s for barbecue, which i will never forget because an ex used to call me miss piggy ever since he saw that. yes, it traumatized me. LOL!

    cat: “sequin neon orange spandex halter tutu.” i need one of those!

    lacheesemonger: i like my rut :)

    onetomato and jackt: i’ve seen those! i thought they were jokes!

  • sarah

    dr. duckfat: that second one is naughty. U R a very naughty naughty doctor for looking that up. LOL!

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