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I was visiting a friend in Old Town the other day and did not want tacos for dinner.

I know, right?

I couldn’t spring for Harney, so we popped in to D’O Thai Cottage (2414 San Diego Avenue, 619-683-2506) and got some perfectly adequate noodles and curry. There wasn’t much to say about the meal one way or the other, the tom kha soup ($8.99) in a huge, flaming pot was hard to get out of said huge, flaming pot with the provided ladle, but it tasted alright once liberated from the chafing dish.

Everything else followed suit in being perfectly average, although the “devil duck” ($13.99) used the waterfowl to good effect; smothered in peanut sauce and served over a bed of wilted greens.

The average meal got interesting as the drinking increased.

I know, right? But hear me out.

First, we ordered the “rainbow,” which cost $20 and included seven separate shots of alcohol.

“It will take a little while,” said the waiter, which fueled my excitement. Visions of an exotic array of liquors danced before my eyes. My heart sank as the drink arrived. Six, dishwater gray shots sat on a dirty platter, with one red one lurking at the end. They tasted like pineapple juice and weak booze.

Driven to salvage the drinking, I asked about the “original Thai style vodka shot” for $6. The waiter gave me a confusing story about medicinal herbs, tigers, and six months of infusion time.

Yes! Now you’re speaking my language. A new thing. Bring me this vodka shot, sir, without delay!

It was bright red. A sniff revealed all sorts of bitter, grassy overtones. As I slid the shot down my throat, it painted my tongue with hundreds of complex flavors. The overall effect was bitter and cleansing, like an Italian amaro, but richer and deeper. It impressed me.

A little research after the fact revealed that “Tiger” is a brand of medicinal spirit from Thailand that’s fairly popular there and, as my mom would say, “good for what ails you.” It’s cheap, delicious, and probably the coolest thing I’ve tasted in a while. Whether at D’O Thai or elsewhere, I’d recommend a burning shot of Tiger to anybody!

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Comments

vampiredog April 18, 2013 @ 10:59 a.m.

this article affected me in this manner: I have no desire to visit the restaurant and no desire to read any more articles by the writer.

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Ian Pike April 18, 2013 @ 12:46 p.m.

I suppose that's fair. Any particular reason you say that?

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Ed Bedford April 18, 2013 @ 8:17 p.m.

I'm no expert in Thai likker, except for some terrible memories linked to Mekhong whiskey. (Which I kept coming back to just because it was so...Thai. And I pretty much love anything Thai.) Best thing to cleanse it out has always been a searingly-spicy-hot hotpot (as with your Tom Kha) of Tom Yam Kung, the lemongrassy soup (no coconut milk) with shrimp and peppers galore. It's the pleasure of pain, and you come out (if they really give it heat) reborn a fire breathing dragon. Talking of fire breathing, not sure what Vampire's beef is here.

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