Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In Praise of Lamai's Pad Thai

I was exhausted and hungry when I drove home last night, when I realized I could drip by Lamai's and fill a container with pad thai and fresh eggrolls from the buffet. That perked me up no end.

Lamai is the best cook in town. But her style is home cooking -- she is free with shortcuts and substitutions, no need for fancy ingredients, only great taste. At Thai Food from Lamai's Kitchen, it's all about feeding you well.

I wil certainly wax eloquent about Lamai's cooking again and again here, but for now I'll just talk about her Pad Thai -- she takes the creamy, chewy rice noodles and stir fries them up with some egg and chicken or fried tofu and some vegetables. Then she throws in a ladle of the sauce--sweet and sharp with lemon and a touch salty with soy or fish sauce--and lets that carmelize onto noodles. Sprinkle on some peanuts, and oh, this is heaven.

The hot sauce is served on the side, so you can have it as hot or not as you want. And best you can have as much as you want -- she always has a buffet going (which is a good thing, because at Lamai's it's all about the food, and not about the service). You can get take out buffet by the pound.

Thai Food From Lamai's Kitchen is at 2033 East Michigan Ave, at the corner of Fairview on the east side. It's where Eddie's Chinese restaurant used to be -- and still has the round red awnings over the windows. Her hours are Monday through Saturday 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. Thursdays have special vegetarian dishes, and Friday has seafood. 267-3888.

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