Bring Your Own Pork Rind @ Pa Ord

Pa Ord was my destination on one of those work from home days. It’s a somewhat new Thai noodle restaurant in Thai town, but its owner is definitely not a novice to the area, having previously run Ord a few blocks away before selling it to someone else.

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If you haven’t tried Thai sausage before and you’re a fan of meat in tube form, order a plate of these for an appetizer. They’re slightly spicy, slightly tangy, and full-on tasty. I like having a slice of this and then a slice of the included cabbage for a refreshing palate cleanser. If you’re worried about having major garlic-breath after this, chew on the included slices of ginger.

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I couldn’t come here without ordering Thai boat noodles with everything on it. Yes, give me all that organ meat goodness. Pa Ord luckily has a small and normal serving of the noodles, which meant I could order a small bowl of this and still have stomach space for something different. They also ask you what type of noodles you’d like, so if you’re a fan of the flat rice noodles, you can have those in the broth instead of the usual.

The waitress warned that I should get the mild broth instead of the medium spicy broth but I assured her that I was man enough for the medium. I have to say, the medium is quite a spicy medium. I’d consider it a ‘spicy’ at most western restaurants. The broth tasted a bit sweet, tangy, salty, and had that distinct rich flavor that boat noodle broth is known to have. The noodles were also nicely separated and not one giant clump, which meant that they didn’t sit around for too long. The various meats were all nicely tender, flavorful, and clean tasting.

I did miss the fried pork rind that usually tops the noodles. Pa Ord’s version just has fried wonton strips. Some patrons at the table next to me cleverly brought their own bag of pork rinds to crumble and put into their soup, which is something I’ll have to keep in mind for next time.

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I also ordered a small bowl of the Tom Yum noodles just to have some variety. The broth was sour and spicy, and the slices of barbecue pork were reminiscent of Chinese char-siu. While this bowl of noodles was decent and had nothing wrong with it, I have to say that my favorite is still the Thai Boat noodles. There’s just something addictive about the spicy, bloody broth.

Pa Ord manages to look clean and hip while still looking like a Thai restaurant I’d want to eat at. Most of the patrons I saw while having lunch there were Thai and they all seemed very happy about their meal — always a good sign. It’s a few blocks further than my usual go-to spot for Thai boat noodles, Sapp, but the quality of meat was much better compared to the last time I was at Sapp, so maybe this will have to be my new go-to spot.

Pa Ord
5301 Sunset Blvd. #8
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 461-3945

Jitlada: A Thai Feast

Tony from SinoSoul got a bunch of us food and blog enthusiasts together for a Thai feast at Jitlada in Hollywood. Even though I live only 10 minutes away, it was my first time at the restaurant, so I was grateful for someone else to take the helm while I just ate whatever was put in front of me. Please excuse my Thai food newbness while I try to describe each dish. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch most of the names of the dishes.

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First came the mango salad, which was a refreshing start to a memorable meal.  The mango was crispy and still a little tart.  Next was the shrimp and fried basil, battered in some sort of sweet deliciousness.  Both of these dishes were piquant but still felt good to eat on a hot day.

JitladaThen came the crab salad, which had a mango base much like the previous mango salad, except with some crab legs.  There’s no delicate way to eat this salad, so I just dug in with my fingers when I got to the actual crab.  I wonder if Thai people subscribe to the same theory about qi as Chinese people because this dish illustrates the balance of cold qi (crab) and hot qi (mango). At the same time, the cold temperature of the salad was balanced with the heat of the chili — what an exhilarating combination.


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The next three dishes were less exciting, but still decent.  Initially, I was scared of the sliced beef dish, which I believe is a dry curry, because people were saying it was the spiciest thing they had last time.  It wasn’t that spicy at all. It had a little heat, but nothing to write home about. The ground beef dish had a savory saltiness that probably comes from fish sauce or shrimp paste.  I could see this dish going well on top of just plain white rice — a good comfort food.  The ong tsai/kai xing tsai aka morning glory was also good with the pungent taste of shrimp paste.

JitladaWhat feast doesn’t include a soup?  Or is that only a Chinese thing?  Either way, the ox tail soup was great, even on this hot day.  The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and the soup was hot and spicy with hints of lemon grass and other good Thai spices. It’d be fantastic in the fall because it’s so warming.

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Two of the more interesting dishes of the night came in the form of some sort of curry.  The first was a tea leaf curry, which I really liked despite me not liking Thai curry most of the time.  The tea leaves were tender like spinach, but with a slight musky taste. If I hadn’t known they were tea leaves beforehand, I wouldn’t have guessed.  The next curry was something with dried salted fish and bamboo.  Several people at the table disliked this dish because of its smell, but I love the funky stench of dried fish.  It reminded me of the dried fish Cantonese people use in porridge sometimes. It was salty and lip-smackingly delicious.

JitladaThe next dish was ordered after a bit of confusion because I believe it’s off-menu.  It’s handmade fishballs in a curry-like sauce put on top of rice noodles.  The fish balls were good as far as fish balls go, although I’m not much of a fishball connoisseur.   I think originally, they were supposed to have a salted egg yolk inside, but they didn’t have any that night.  That would have made the dish stand out more for me.

JitladaWe ended our meal with an iced Thai dessert which was basically crushed ice, grass jelly, and mangos in sugar water.  It was cooling and refreshed our spice-fatigued palates — a fitting way to end the meal.

I was sad that I didn’t get to take pictures of my most favorite dish, probably because I was too busy eating it.  It’s a dish with sataw, aka Stinky Bean, and shrimp.  The bean has the same size and appearance as a fava bean, but with a completely different taste and texture.  Its texture is more crispy and the taste is savory, slightly stinky, but delicious.  I definitely need to go back and have this dish again.

Jitlada’s menu is something that intimidates me because there’s so much on it.  I’m glad that I got to go with people who know their stuff.  That’s certainly the way to go there.  Now that I know what types of dishes are good there, I’m definitely going to drop by again.  Good food and good company is such a pleasant way to spend a Saturday night.

Jitlada
5233 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 663-3104
[map]

She said, he said about XIV

Birthday Dinner @ XIV

On my birthday this year, the BF treated me to dinner at a place we’ve been meaning to go to for a while: XIV. The last time we tried to dine there, we were unsuccessful because even though their site said they were open that Sunday night, they weren’t. This time, we made reservations to make sure they were open when we got there.

The decor in XIV was the first thing we noticed. There were highly embellished, antiquated looking furniture, but with a post-modern flair like this weird antler chair in the corner by our table. There were also cow-hide armchairs, roaring fireplaces, and ugly modern art. You could say that the decor is eye-catching.

Birthday Dinner @ XIV

The tasting menu at XIV is broken up into three sizes: 8 dishes, 11 dishes, or a whopping 14 dishes. The BF and I decided to do the 8 dish tasting menu just to see what the kitchen could put out. Even though most of the menu is laid out as if the dishes were served tapas-style, we ran into some confusion. XIV has an entirely vegan, separate menu. We thought that, like at AOC, he could pick 4 dishes and then I could pick 4 dishes and then we could share. Oh, if it were only that easy.

Apparently, the way the vegan menu works is like this: one of us picks 8 dishes, and the other will also have 8 dishes of the same kind. So if I chose 8 dishes, he would get 8 vegan dishes corresponding to the dishes I had. Since I was about to let the chef pick what he wanted to send out, this was a hitch in my plan. In the end, I let the BF choose 8 dishes he wanted off the vegan menu, and the kitchen would send out 8 omnivore versions of what he had.

This confusion wouldn’t have existed if they had just called them ‘courses’ instead of dishes. Since we both got our own plates for each version of the dish, it was more like we were sharing 8 of the same courses.  I mostly stuck to my own dishes and he obviously stuck to eating off his dish. Even though ordering was more difficult than we had initially thought, we both decided it was an interesting way to present each course.

Our thoughts on each course after the jump:
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