I do not know how the lady who owns and cooks at this place found herself living here, but I suspect that it was through some twist of fate she could not have possibly imagined. In any event it redounded to the benefit of local diners. Taking someone from out of town to this place for dinner is a kick. Driving up a typical small city street at night. Lighting a bit limited due to budgetary issues. Textbook urban sprawl. They should ship grad students in Urban and Regional Planning schools here to get a ground level view. You drive behind the airport approach zone. See a large old-time car wash on your left. No turn lane despite the four lane street. Requiring a harrowing left-hang in the face of oncoming traffic. Exciting. But worth it.
Once you are in the parking lot [of the car wash] all is still a mystery. You drive through the deepening shadows and pull into one of several parking places, probably used by car wash employees during the day. There is a little sign showing the entry. As exotic as it gets in this town. Trust me. Once inside, the fantastic service and marvelous food combine with Thai art and music to make for a great (and for the first time guest, surprising) dining experience.
Favorite restaurants often serve as the setting for very special interpersonal moments. We all know this. Have hopefully experienced this. As I did last night. When my son, The Future Rock Star, and I had dinner. Mano a mano.
It was no special occasion. That was the point. We just had the opportunity to sit and take a meal together. And took it. Talked about nothing in particular. Watched TFRS glom down plates of pad thai and spring rolls. And several pieces of distinctly un-Thai Oreo cake. I tell you, this lady knows how to run a restaurant. We had a wonderful time. One that I have the duty to make sure does not become singular. In the whirl of what I call the "parent trying to make a living paradox". That I NEED to make sure does not become singular. And I will.
Afterward, I sat at home and pondered whether I had let an opportunity slip away. To broach deep topics. Substantial issues. Matters of import for the future. No. Later. There is a lot of value to be derived just from spending time frivolously in each other's company. Time perhaps not so frivolous after all.
One lovely part of Thai culture is the Loy Krathong. An annual ceremony dedicated to releasing stresses and troubles and refreshing life. You put small items on a little raft and send it floating away. But you don't need a ceremony. Or a raft. Sometimes just sitting in a booth with an eleven year old is just the thing.