I know that with the start of a new year comes change, or the hope for change, but as January rapidly surges forward toward February, I'm realizing that a lot of this change means having to say goodbye to good friends. After living in New York City for as long as I have, I've come to understand its transient nature. The landscape changes in the blink of an eye, and people come and go even quicker. If you've managed to hit the five-year milestone as a New York resident, you might as well etch your name into stone under the heading "Lifer." Yet despite this, I somehow manage to take it for granted that my friends would always be close by. I tried not to sound too hurt or disappointed or jealous when they told me, one by one, that they were packing up and leaving New York behind, to go off and explore new opportunities or to truly begin building their lives as adults.
When my friends Stephen and Melissa (pictured with me, above, at Craftbar) told me last month that they had "big news" to share with me and that we had to schedule another eating adventure as soon as possible, my brain automatically jumped to the conclusion that they were expecting a baby. Although I knew it was highly likely they were moving away, my heart wasn't prepared to say goodbye to more friends, so I tried as hard as I could to convince myself that a baby was the reason for our special dinner at Boyd Thai, one of Stephen and Melissa's favorite restaurants in Greenwich Village.
No such luck.
Over shared appetizers -- Mango Summer Rolls ($4.95, not pictured), Duck Salad ($5.95), and Coconut Shrimp and Avocado Salad ($5.95) -- what began as a discussion of the rationale behind their decision to relocate to Florida morphed into a discussion about all of the fun times we've shared over the years. And, of course, into a discussion about the food we were eating. The duck in the Duck Salad was perfectly crispy and added an excellent contrast of flavor and texture to the chunks of sweet pineapple and the slices of crunchy red onions. There was a bit of heat to the dish, so I was thankful for the pineapple, which is something I generally try to avoid when eating Thai food. (I have a thing against warm pineapple, unless it's in a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.) As for the Coconut Shrimp and Avocado Salad, I think it could have withstood some spice or heat. The sweetness of the shrimp married well with the buttery texture of the avocado, but the depth of flavor was lacking when compared to all of the layers of flavor in the Duck Salad.
With that said, I'd order both salads again. In a heartbeat.
The entrées, on the other hand, were a different story. Based on everything I heard about the food from Stephen and Melissa, I was expecting to be blown away. But Melissa's Pad Thai ($7.95) and my Thai Fried Rice with Chicken ($7.95) fell short. (Stephen chose a curry dish, but I can't remember which one, and there are no surviving photos of his dinner. Oops.) The rice noodles in the Pad Thai were undercooked, and after a few bites, Melissa sent the dish back to the kitchen because trying to eat the noodles required way too much effort. I offered her some of my Thai Fried Rice to hold her over, but I felt badly because I wasn't particularly thrilled with what I was offering her. Yes, there was a generous amount of chicken mixed in and the flavor of the onions and scallions wasn't overpowering, but, overall, it was bland, bland, bland. Eventually, I asked our server for a small bowl of Thai chili paste to add some heat. The chili paste helped, but the dish was never fully rescued.
Even though our meal left much to be desired, I was grateful to have had the chance to gather around the table with Stephen and Melissa one last time before their big move. And, I'm excited for the dining adventures we'll have when I visit them in Florida!
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