The rare nondescript Gaslamp restaurant—low overhead and still in business.
  • The rare nondescript Gaslamp restaurant—low overhead and still in business.
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Mint Downtown Thai

732 4th Avenue, Downtown San Diego

Rainy days are bad enough, but when it's both a cold and rainy evening I respond like any self-respecting Southern Californian: by ordering Thai soup delivery. This time I opted for the Horton Plaza-adjacent Mint Thai, which takes orders through eat24hrs.com.

The web ordering worked out pretty well, with relatively easy-to-use click-to-order menus and comment boxes available for special requests on each dish. Mint charges two dollars for delivery, which is peanuts compared to some of the other restaurants working through the site, some charging up to five or even eight bucks. The option to add a tip while ordering sort of defeats the incentive behind tipping, but in this case, with the driver willing to brave elements I wasn't, it was a worthy convenience.

Of course there are unforeseen perils to ordering this way. I decided to try the wonton soup — described on the web menu as featuring "stuffed ground pork wontons, bean sprouts, Napa cabbage, onions and carrots." As with many Thai menus, the price of the dish is determined by which ingredients you choose. For a large soup at Mint, including chicken or pork costs you $10; beef, shrimp or calamari goes for $11; a combo for $15.

Figuring the pork wontons would be enough meat, I went for a $9 vegetables, which turned out to include broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, onions, bean sprouts and mushrooms. However, what the soup did not include were wontons.

A glitch, apparently — when I called the restaurant they sounded surprised, and seemed to think there was some miscommunication taking place between me, the web site and the restaurant. Or that I must have made a special request to leave out wontons (highly unlikely!). Of course, the way the ordering process works is to click on wonton soup, then choose meat or vegetable option from a pull-down menu, so any glitch would have to have required the ineffable human touch.

Here's the thing, though — the soup was pretty good, even without the pork wontons. I would actually eat it again (provided I did order it that way). The clear broth tasted wonderful, the vegetables almost buttery in flavor and texture. I made a good meal of it without having to leave my living room.

However, it's hard to escape the bad taste in my mouth left from adding a middleman to the ordering process.

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