A workout friend and I agreed a while back to look for a Pad Thai that would be worth returning for, though he is not interested in venturing far — or maybe that’s At All — beyond his usual La Cañada-Pasadena axis. So we started with his longtime favorite, up the hill, and it was bad enough that I still can’t mention it without his apologizing at length. We have made two visits each to Saladang Song and whatever the place is next to Von’s across from Huntington Hospital, plus a few other reasonably good sources around the area.
Today, however, Mrs. O and I went down to Chinatown to pick up some art she’d bought and get a late lunch somewhere. We had decided on Blossom in Chinatown proper, where we’d had some tea a month or so ago, and liked the looks of the menu. Well, their doors were wide open, but whether they didn’t want to deal with the CicLAvia mess (which we didn’t either) or had some other issue, though their doors were open they had pulled up pipe barriers and declared themselves closed. Okay, so they’re jerks. Anyway, we had come in via Alpine, and I’d noticed a placard by the entrance to the renovated Alpine shopping mall that SalaThai, a Chinese/Thai noodle place we used to frequent, had re-opened, so we went there. The multipage photo-menu is gone, replaced with a briefer and better organized one, and Pad Thai was the first thing I noticed. Short version: we ordered spring rolls, a Pad See Ew with tofu for Ms. Veggie and Pad Thai with shrimp for me, plus Thai iced tea just because. After the proper interval that told us someone was really cooking instead of re-heating, we got five seriously hot and perfectly crisp little cylinders and an equally perfect honey/vinegar sauce to dip them in. A few beats later came the Pad Thai and Pad See Ew. Now, I made a pretty decent Pad Thai a few nights ago, and prefer to err on the side of simple and not too sweet. This was cooked a bit more, was more heavily sauced than mine, but it was just sweet enough to balance the sour, and vice versa. The peanuts had been ground almost to flour and stirred in generously, the sprouts cooked enough to be tender without losing all their crunch, and the shrimp frankly much more interesting than my quickly-thawed Trader Joe’s specimens. My taste of the Pad See Ew, which I’ve always found a bit too sweet, was not at all like that here, but much more like the Pad Thai, only with wide noodles and no peanuts.
The new room is smaller and very nice, pretty spare but attractive. Service sharp and friendly; tab just shy of $27 plus tip, and we took a good fat lunch’s worth home. And so far this is the best I’ve had on our quest.