The Tillie Exotic Experimentation Express keeps on rollin’! And lucky me, I get to go along for the ride!Hey there, Clinton Hillers, it’s Van, and that epicurean adventuress Tillie, with this week’s Lunchtime segment. For our latest neighborhood food stop, we decided to stroll on down to Myrtle Thai, located on Myrtle Avenue. (I didn’t really have to give any direction indicator there, did I?)
My own past with Myrtle Thai used to only consist of ordering pad Thai while I was hanging out across the street from it at Rope bar, back when Myrtle Thai was at its old location between Vanderbilt and Clinton. Tillie’s mom kind of changed my train of thought on the restaurant, though, with her serious Thai background. After college, she joined the Peace Corps and went to a village in Thailand for a couple of years. She still speaks Thai pretty good and makes some delicious dishes: not bad for a gal from Maine!
As I realized there was more to the menu than noodles with peanuts, I’ve grown to become appreciative of the wide variety Myrtle Thai has to offer. Probably now my favorite dishes are the red and green curries. And I always get chicken with the red and shrimp with the green: I don’t know, those options just work out for me, I guess!
Strolling by the new spot one particular day, I decided to stop in. And since I had Tillie with me, too, I figured she should come along as well! This was my first time going there for lunch and what really struck me was the menu: in particular, the price! The lunchtime deal is $5.95 for the entrée, a salad and a spring roll. In these days of joblessness, I don’t know how it could get much better than that!
We went in and were pointed to a seat by the window, which seemed to be the best spot in the new location for a high chair. This seemed to work well with Tillie as it appeared she was completely captivated by the people walking along the sidewalk. But I had to pull her back to attention: Didn’t she know she had Thai food to try?
The waitress came by to take my order, and I decided to go for the green curry with chicken. If you noticed earlier, I said I usually have the chicken with the red, but this time I decided to switch it up. What can I say? I’m a wild and crazy guy! Plus, in consultation with Tillie’s mom, we determined that the green was the milder of the two sauces. I asked if I could hold the salad and instead get an extra spring roll because I saw the salad of our table neighbor and it looked pretty unappetizing to me—just some iceberg lettuce, a couple of tomato chunks and a whole mess of thousand island dressing.
While I’m waiting for my food to come out, I broke out with Tillie’s. I packed her some pureed carrots and grapes—two great dishes that go great together as far as she’s concerned. By the time I gave her a couple of bites of the carrots, my food arrived: a pretty big bowl of the curry, a mound of steaming rice and two spring rolls with a spicy dipping sauce.
After taking a couple of bites for myself, I determined that the spice level was definitely low and enough for the Tillster to handle, so I set aside some of my rice and put the merest essence of curry upon it. Initially, I was worried about my own curry-to-rice ratio because it seems whenever we get delivery from Myrtle Thai, the amount of rice sent along is always skimpy. But I had plenty of grains to spare this go-around!
I paused in the carrot feeding and gave Tillie (who happens to love rice, by the way) a bite of her special treat and she really took to it. She first gives you that look of curiosity, like “What the…?” but if it’s not trickling out of her mouth after the first taste, then you know you’re good!
So after some rice, I was struck by a moment of inspiration and thought, “Why not put a little dab of curry in her carrots? You know, jazz them up Thai-style!” That was a hit, too. I held back from dipping her grapes in the sauce, but only just!
And thankfully for me, my curry-to-rice ratios held up despite Tillie putting a dent in the dish. The food was excellent: chicken and bamboo shoots galore, which I enjoy as it gives the food a nice textural contrast. Plus, the spring rolls were cooked to perfection and the dipping sauce was a nice complement.
Myrtle Thai ended up being a great choice for us. We were the only adult and stroller rider in the place, and it seemed to be a tight fit in this new spot. I’m sure if more people came, they would figure out a way to accommodate the extra load. With the amazing food, great prices and wonderful service, it’s worth trying!