Walter Mencken 1 p.m., May 1
Lunch at Bangkok West
I'd heard the name, Bangkok West, from my father, usually in passing, as in, "I had lunch at" or "I'm having dinner at Bangkok West." A creature of habit, when Dad finds something he likes, he sticks with it. But, as I've mentioned before, Dad's "go-to" list includes some major chains that don't necessarily appeal to the foodie in me -- I admit to devouring my share of Moons over my Hammies at Denny's, but it's a guilty pleasure, right up there with 2 a.m. drunken Jack in the Box taco quests.
But Dad was right about Long Island Mike's, and this Thai place was his alternate joint for lunch around work; when Dad met up with me after I had my car serviced in the area (Clairemont Mesa Boulevard can be a one-stop shop for errands and meals), I decided to finally give this place a try.
There are few things my father appreciates more than a good bargain. Lunch specials at Bangkok West Thai Cafe average around $10 and include, as Dad says, "everything from soup to nuts." The soup was a Tom Kah, a flavorful version with giant chunks of steamed zucchini and mushrooms. For my lunch special, I ordered Panang Curry (carrot, bell peppers, onion, fresh basil, and chicken). I asked for a 6 out of 10 in terms of spiciness, and it was perfectly in line -- a good kick, without distracting from the savory-sweet curry.
Also on the plate were a salad, spring rolls, curried fried wontons, and steamed rice. Dad was right -- I did not leave hungry. Though I was eager to try a dessert, I just didn't have any room left in my belly. Next time, perhaps I'll start with the sticky rice and mango and then move my way through some dishes with the intention of taking home a bunch of leftovers.