The Varsity theater in Seattle is playing the Oscar nominated animated and live-action shorts for one week only. Jim is Oscar obsessed – if it’s nominated he’ll see it and we had fun watching the animated shorts last year so going to this year’s seemed like a must do. Throw in dinner at our favorite Thai in the U District – Thai Tom and we had the makings of a casual date night.
Our planned outing was last Saturday night. Naturally, Saturday night was windy, rainy and cold, a trifecta of miserable Pacific Northwest weather. I was tempted to call the whole thing off and suggest dinner and a movie in the dry, warm, relative safety of our home. But, the shorts are only playing for one week and then there was Thai Tom . . .
Thai Tom is your classic hole-in-the-wall, featuring some of the best and spiciest Thai food in Seattle. Located on University Way, a.k.a. “the Ave”, between 45th and 47th it features an open kitchen and counter and table seating for maybe 15. If you go for dinner there will be a line. If you go in the summer you will sweat. If you order your food 3 stars or above, you will sweat, your nose will run and your eyes will water. It’s that good.
Jim and I made our way through the blustery night to Thai Tom to find a line that was miraculously only about 5 people deep. One good thing about the rain – people don’t like to stand in it. We put our names in and started perusing the lacquered, wooden menu. 10 minutes later our order was in and 5 minutes later we were seated – in the last “table” at the back. 2 low wooden stools and a smaller than a card table wooden table right next to the dishwasher. I was disappointed we hadn’t landed a table with a view of the cooking action, but at Thai Tom, any table is a good table because . . . it’s a table.
We settled in and started to people watch. Moments later our drinks arrived and not long thereafter our food came. We ordered two dishes and each was delivered in a long banana-leafesque dish. Jim opted for the garlic chicken with white pepper – 3 stars and I went for the yellow curry chicken – 2 stars. Both dishes came with white rice. Jim’s dish was spicy! But the chicken was tender and moist and the veggies were crisp so I stole a few bites anyway and managed to clear my sinuses. The white pepper addition to this dish elevated it to a whole new level.
My yellow curry chicken was a saucy delight. The curry had the expected combination of sweet and savory flavors but presented over the rice it became stew-like; a warming meal for a cold night.
Satiated we walked the 2 blocks to the Varsity, bought a big bag of freshly popped, buttery popcorn and settled in for the animated shorts.