Tuk Tuk Thai
8875 Pico Boulevard (@ Swall Drive)
Los Angeles, CA 90035
I’ve never read the book – the real book, titled He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys – but I don’t have to read it because I’m pretty sure I know what it’s about. The title alone is enough, and a former co-worker used to tell me all about it, all the time. Like all the time. Leaning over the short wall into my cubicle. Eating Doritos or some other office break room vending machine snack that makes a lot of noise. Dropping half-moist unnaturally nacho cheesy crumbs from his mouth onto my deck...
But I digress into corporate cubi-farm bitterness!
The author of the book (a guy, so he's an "expert") explains in a witty, readable, sometimes slightly harsh way that certain things that guys do, or don’t do, pretty much all point to the fact that he’s not that into you. The first line of Chapter One says it all: “he's just not that into you if he's not asking you out, because if he likes you, trust me, he will ask you out.” You should just stop trying to make excuses for the guy’s behavior. He doesn’t want to “ruin a friendship,” he’s not intimidated by you, he’s not trying to take it slowly, and he’s not a gentleman for giving you his number. He doesn’t want to call you. He’s just. Not. Into. You. Get over him and move on. Period.
I’ve written the same book, though it probably won’t get mentioned on Oprah.
It’s called She’s Just Not That Into You.
I am that She, and the book is a no-excuses guidebook for Thai food about how I’ll never really like it and that it should just move on to someone who will appreciate all those wonderful things about it that it’s giggling Asian girlfriends tell it that it has, but I just don’t see. *shrugs* Sorry. You see, I’m just not into Thai food. Trust me, if I liked it, the whole world would be hearing about it.
Previous dates and things I’ve said before might be mistaken for mixed signals, but seriously, they shouldn’t be used as excuses to keep waiting or hanging on. Thai food will make every excuse a woman has ever made to avoid admitting to herself that a guy just wasn’t crazy about her. But why? Women and Thai food can stop asking the question “What’s going on?” because here’s the answer: we’re just not that into you. Don’t say I’m confused about coconut, because I’m not. Don’t think I’m afraid of commitment. I have made a statement of undying love and adoration for Indian food.
I’ll be honest, I really wanted to be into Thai food so I gave it more than several chances. I thought there might have been something wrong with me because I didn’t love it. But, I felt this way about Thai since the first time I tried it and I guess I just didn’t want to hurt its feelings right away.
Basically, the message is that Thai food deserves a girl who truly loves it and not some alf-hassed sorry excuse for a food connoisseur. Thai food needs to be empowered - find a girl who will really love you for all the nasty lemongrass and cilantro you truly are. Because it sure isn’t going to be me.
I think the message became pretty clear to Thai food and to me, finally, after we went out for lunch at Tuk Tuk Thai, a Thai restaurant on Pico Boulevard in that nebulous area between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that I call Kosherwood (that’s not to be obnoxious, it just so happens that the whole strip probably doesn’t have a slice of pork on it).
The restaurant itself is cute from the outside. In case you don’t know what a tuk tuk is, there’s a little tuk tuk, a Thai version of a rikshaw that’s motorized instead of bicycle-powered, that looks like it’s bursting out of the restaurant over the front door. And by the way, my first guess on the pronunciation, “took took,” and not “tuck tuck” was accurate.
The exterior made me think that Tuk Tuk Thai would be a playful, clamorous, almost cartoonish experience. The inside, however, is different. The space is classy, quiet, reserved. We sat down along one of the side walls in the fairly small dining room well-decorated with colorful artwork that seems to be the hallmark of slightly upscale Thai restaurants. Dark wooden table tops are un-clothed but polished, and each seat has a smart, sophisticated setting with clean white plates and folded cloth napkins. If Pottery Barn ever furnished Thailand, it’d probably look like the inside of Tuk Tuk Thai.
The menu too, is smart and modern. There are dishes that have the typical, familiar Thai names like larb (spicy minced meat), mee krob (crisp fried noodles), pad thai (soft rice noodles stir fried with vegetables and garnished with peanuts), satay (meat on skewers) and panang curry. There are also dishes that look like they are slightly foodie-forward, like a Thai interpretation of salmon – salmon panang.
(Just as a random side note, I will never order "panang" because I refuse to say it out loud because, here, why don't you try it? Try saying "panang" out loud without thinking of...yes I have a dirty, immature mind. Sorry. Maybe I would order "panang" if I could write it out on the napkin and pass it to ther server.)
From what I could tell on the tables around us, the food at Tuk Tuk is cooked and served with slightly more attention to its presentation detail than I have seen at other Thai restaurants.
I found myself wondering what to order and unable to decide for a noticeable amount of time. Nothing sounded good to me. I’ve tried many of these things before in numerous other places and I just wasn’t wild about them. Thai flavors are slightly off for me. Cilantro is never a favorite herb, and with lime, while awesome in guacamole, doen’t do it for me in combination with fish sauce. I don’t love coconut in anything except desserts. Many times, I find myself forgiving of flavors with the promise of spiciness, but the heat level has always disappointed. I’m always
able to find something I can order in Thai restaurants, but I’m usually settling for something that is decidedly not Thai. As I sat there trying to figure out what to order, I think I finally realized and admitted to myself that, Sarah, you’re just not that into Thai. Now it’s just Thai’s turn to realize that, too.
We ordered Thai spring rolls to start. As I expected, they were presented artfully, placed atop a small pile of dark baby greens as a contrast, and cut on the bias to expose the cabbage, carrots and other vegetables inside. I jumped right in, and they pretty much tasted like a Spring roll from any Asian restaurant.
So I stayed away from the typically Thai dishes and went with a simply spicy stir-fry of green beans and tofu. The beans were fresh and bright and looked lovely on the plate. I even saw enormous specks of what promised to set my tongue on fire – red pepper flakes. But the dish, though it certainly wasn’t bland, just didn’t have that spicy kick. No spark. I just -- I don’t know -- I just wasn’t into it.
The other dishes on the table were more exciting to my companions who ordered them. Tuk Tuk Thai’s Bangkok Steak is something that seems to receive buzz out in the culinary underground, and even at our table. I just wasn’t into it.
(As another random side note, I have trouble saying "Bangkok" without giggling like an 11-year-old.)
Does this mean Tuk Tuk Thai was bad? Not at all. Like I said, the restaurant is nice, the staff is friendly, fast, and accommodating, and the food was not bad. In fact, the food might possibly be fantastic...for someone else. But for me? It’s just unfortunate that I’m just not into Thai food. Here’s my number. Call me.
And another thing, don’t think that "prettifying" by working out, wearing more makeup, wearing less clothing, and flipping your gorgeous long, sleek black hair will change her mind, Chan Dara. It’s a waste of time at the salon and energy. You miss the point entirely.
Guys (and Sarah) rarely, if ever, grow to love.
More About Tuk Tuk Thai Around the Web:
~ Tuk Tuk Thai's menu on menupages
~ 84 reviews average to 5/5 stars on Citysearch
~ Only 3½ out of 5 stars from 93 reviews on Yelp
~ AssociatedContent dubs Tuk Tuk Thai the best Thai in Los Angeles
** this post originally published 01.12.2006 **