Since June of 2005 I have enbarked on an ongoing documentary project encompassing the U Street Corridor, the 14th Street Strip and the surrounding Logan Circle area. In recent months and particularly, at night, when passing along 14th Street just south of Rhode Island Avenue on the west side of the street I have sometimes observed a crowd or a line in front of Thai Tanic. And even when I have not observed a crowd standing outside a quick glance through the window has usually revelaed that the establishment is a very popular place.
Though I normally would have stayed in and fixed dinner at home on a Monday night, after a weekend of being on 'community watch' which is something that I experience, each weekend, as a black man ... I simply had to get out of the apartment. Reflecting on a conversation that I had on Friday evening with a friend in NYC and who called again this afternoon, regarding a rhetorical statement that he had made on Friday in which he implied that I "needed to be watched" to which, this evening I would demand 'Please explain to me, a 52 year old black man, exactly why it is that you or anyone else find the need to spend your lives watching me?". And I would then ask "And what affect do you think that that has had on me ... a black man?".
I left my apartment much later than I had planned, arriving at the Waterfront Station sometimes between 8:30 and 8:45 PM. It's a damn shame when a man does not feel comfortable nor safe in his home. I'd deboard the green line at the Convention Center on 7th Street hoping to find the new restaurant on 9th Street that everyone is talking about and that several of black church leaders are in opposition of. I walked over to 9th and L Street which is where I thought it was. While I did see a coffee shop and cafe it had already closed for the evening.
Not feeling too safe walking up 9th Street in search of the new restaurant which must be at O Street I decided to walk over to 14th Street and perhaps visit Dakota Cowgirl. Which I've eaten at a few times before. Several times when it was Hamburger Mary's and twice since it has been Dakota Cowgirl. Always in serach of something new I decided to check out Thai Tanic.
I walked in side and asked the hostess if I may take a look at the menu. After a quick glance I asked if I may be seated. She led me at table in the center of the room just a few feet from the entrance way. I'd sat with my back to the entrance and facing in the direction of the bar and kitchen area. Which would be the back of the establishment.
With a bar to the right I could now understand why, perhaps, there is often a crowd outside. Not a big bar nor hufe room but just right for a neighborhood place to hang out for an eclectic and diverse crowd. Which is what I have often observed standing outside. Waiting to get in. Or, taking a smoking break.
Always wanting to try something new, a few days ago, Martha Stewart featured several soup recipes consisting of coconut milk. Whch is something that I have always steered clear of since I do not like coconut. While I can not now remember who the guess was, when she told Martha that she did not like coconut, Martha would say "O' you don't have to like coconut to love coconut milk." She'd then say to the guest 'Try it! Trust me, you love it."
So, tonight, when I saw several items on the menu consisting of coconut milk I decided that ... that is just what I would do. I would trust Martha Stewart and try it.
First deciding on the Chicken Pad Ka Pow as an entree I would then choose a seafood soup which was the Tom ka Shrimp soup with mushrooms in lemongrass and galangal broth with coconut milk. And an iced tea with lemon.
I would then inquire of the waitress if there were any issues with me photographing my food when it arrived. She said that it would be OK. Waiting for the first course to arrive I'd fetch a copy of The Washington Blade from the entrance way which I would flip through until the soup arrived. At which time I'd put the Blade on the seat of the chair that was facing me from the other side of the table. Pick up my camera and take a few photos of the soup.
From the first spoonful I was pleasantly surprised and, as Martha Stewart had said, I now love the taste of coconut milk. Rarily will I order seafood 'anything' from restaurants. But, when I return to Thai Tanic again, I'll again order the Tom ka Shrimp soup. Or, if I'm in the mood for 'something new' I'll try some other seafood item and probably one that contains coconut milk.
While I did enjoy the Chicken Pad Ka Pow entree, perhaps, because of the heaviness of the coconut milk which preceeded the entree, the hot chili inspired sauce that flavored the chicken entree was a bit too spicy for my stomach. It is not that I do not like hot chili because I do but it following coconut milk did not go well, in my stomach.
It is not unlike when I drink orange juice after drinking milk. Some people can but I can not drink orange juice after milk. Nor milk after orange juice.
So, when I return again to Thai Tanic unless I'm in the mood for 'something new' I definately would consider ordering the Chicken Pad Ka Pow.
The price for the meal was $20. I left a $5 tip.
When in town or the Logan Circle, may I suggest that you visit Thai Tanic which is located at 1321-A 14th Street in NW WDC. You'll love it! Or, at least, like it! And the coconut inspired Tom ks Shrimp soup is not bad either.
Try it! You'll like it ...!