Thai-ed Up at Wattana in West Palm Beach

Categories: Love Bites
thai tea.jpg
Photo by Flickr user daffodilly
Not drinking the Thai tea was the first clue.


Growing up in West Palm Beach, Wattana Thai has long been a favorite of mine, so it seemed a no-brainer for me to meet there with "ÜberJew73." He had already sent off myriad red flags with his pointless texts ("Just woke up. See you Wednesday."), religious zealotry (note the aforementioned screen name), and late-night phone calls that I should've just cut and run but, heck, I figured worst-case scenario was that I'd gather some good fodder for this column. 

Only big enough for about 15 tables and vinyl-covered booths, Wattana and its expected décor (framed Thailand travel posters, etc.) are nothing that would make Kelly Wearstler proud. But the staff has provided my family and me with sublime hospitality over the years, so we forgive the surroundings. 

Now if only I could pardon my date for his behavior.

At my request, the server brought two glasses of swirly Thai tea, a beverage made to be so sweet that it should be followed up with a complimentary dental appointment. My date simply stared at it and said, "Can't. I ate barbecue for lunch." Now I consider myself a smart gal, but that comment confounded me until he patronizingly explained that obviously he kept kosher like every good Jew should and he wasn't going to have a dairy product to chase down the beef ribs he enjoyed prior. 

Thankfully, the ordering process went smoothly as he went for the predictable choice, pad Thai, along with a house salad. I especially love Wattana's salad since they cover it in crunchy fried potato sticks and a creamy, flavor-packed peanut dressing. Just for yuks, I ordered the mee krob, a bird's nest of spindly stryofoamesque noodles tossed in a fluorescent-orange sauce that slightly hardens into a candy coating. Wattana serves it with shrimp, and I was curious to see if my date would recoil thinking that my lips would be touching shellfish.  

massaman curry.jpg
Photo by Flickr user Pabo76
Massaman curry: almost worth an open marriage.
He did. 

Yet I giddily horsed down the entire plate alone, making no apologies, while he dipped the last pieces of iceberg into his second serving of peanut dressing. Soon, our waiter arrived with an aluminum pot of aromatic jasmine rice and generously doled out steaming scoopfuls. I couldn't wait to taste the creamy coconut-milk-based massaman curry sauce atop a mound of it. [Coco Asian Bistro in Fort Lauderdale also makes a mean sauce, so I linked to Chef Mike Ponluang's recipe.]

By the time we had picked through our entrées, my date had already fully turned me off with his political views ("I'm starting a petition to impeach Obama"), sexism ("What's wrong with women who don't want children? Isn't that why G-d made the uterus?"), and so much baggage that even a starving bellboy would turn him away ("I hate my parents," "I think I have OCD," and "I can't imagine I'll ever be out of debt" were my three faves). But it was this final query that really did me in: "So, Riki, what are your thoughts on open marriage?"

Geez! Who asks that question on a first date? I wondered. Then, sensing this was my golden opportunity to finally eliminate this parasite from my life, I threw him a curveball. "What a wonderful concept!" I responded with zeal. 

"Really?" he exclaimed, surely sensing that he'd found the perfect woman, despite my anti-kosherness.

"Sure!" I said, then smiled as I dropped the hammer. "I love the thought of leaving my future husband at home with the kids while I cat around with a young stud." 

That was all he needed to hear. By the time the check arrived, ÜberJew73 had already packed up his leftover pad Thai, pulled out his car keys, and texted some "friend" that he was on his way to Blue Martini in CityPlace. I'm sure he found a nice uterus there. But I bet she didn't know where to find the best Thai in town.

Wattana Thai is located at 7201 S. Dixie Hwy. in West Palm Beach. Call 561-588-9383.

Freelance writer Riki Altman eats everything that won't try to eat her first (with exceptions, of course) and dates younger men, older men, and older men who act like young men, along with locals, tourists, illegal aliens, and just plain aliens. Love Bites is a compilation of what happens when her dining and dating ordeals collide. Sometimes, it just ain't pretty.



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