Day: August 14th, 2006

Lovely Day for Thai

Monday, August 14th, 2006 | All Things, Eats

After spending over an hour calling around to various bakeries in Manhattan and Brooklyn (trying to balance budget with palatability), I finally decided to order SK’s chocolate cake from Fairway Market. After several back-and-forths with Bonnie from the Catering Department, the order was finally confirmed at 8:30AM on Sunday morning. Oof! But at least it forced me to get an early start on the day.

I picked up the cake box from the store on the way into work. The half-sheet cake ended up being bulkier and a lot heavier than I had expected; at that point, though, I had committed to bringing it downtown, so there was no turning back. And I did want to make sure that SK got the proper send-off. I’ll miss having my friend around the office.

I entered the crowded train at the 72nd Street station and was pleasantly surprised when two men stood to offer me their seats. Chivalry is alive and well. Must have been the desperate look in my eye as I tottered precariously into the car.

The cake, I think, was received pretty well: good chocolate flavor, moist with mousse filling and not overly sweet. Good to know about this source for the next time I need a cake to serve 30+ people.


After work, I was treated to dinner at Lovely Day on Elizabeth. Solid choice — and we did get to make use of the Diner’s Deck — but I think I liked the feel of the space more than the (Thai) food, which was pretty standard. It is one of the more economical options in the SoHo/NoLIta area, though I probably prefer the ever-popular Cafe Habana down the block. The wait staff is model-thin and good-looking, and apparently not too shy about expressing affection for one another. My dining companion seemed sad to have missed the display of sapphic smooches I caught from my vantage point, facing the front door. The decor is “American breakfast nook”: red banquettes, vintage-looking flowered wallpaper, marble-topped wooden bar and a chalkboard announcing the day’s specials.

Lovely Day

Good authentic Thai food is not so easy to find in New York City – yet another cuisine in which the Southern Californians seem to have an advantage. On the West Coast, it could be a function of sheer numbers: far more Thais live in SoCal than here, where the Royal Thai Consulate-General in New York puts the number of Thai immigrants in the city at just about 8,000. As a result, most of our local Thai restaurants – in contrast with say, Chinese restaurants – must appeal to a largely foreign/American clientele, which leads many chefs to adapt by adding sweetness and toning down the bright flavors and chili heat that characterize real Thai food.

Still, I like to keep looking. Sripraphai, in Woodside, Queens, is generally considered the best authentic Thai restaurant in the city. And it cracked the top 5 on New York Magazine’s ranked list of Best Cheap Eats earlier this month. In Manhattan, I like the no-frills Pam Real Thai in Hells Kitchen and Land Thai on the Upper West Side. I’ve also had surprisingly good Thai food in Greenpoint (better known for its Polish cuisine) at Thai Café on Manhattan Avenue.

And now I’m hungry.

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