Rain Thai Bistro – Call The Fire Department!

Friday, April 12, 2013 - by Willie Mae

Well, it is springtime and pollen is everywhere! Those who suffer from allergies may want to read this. Lois and I met up again for a late lunch …or early dinner (you know us old folks eat at odds times) and once again the first place we pulled up to was closed, but I dare not mention its name.

I understand that location has a lot to do with how much business a place does and it isn’t profitable for them to stay open all day, but I must say it makes more work to look up a restaurant’s business hours before you head out. Lois and I like to just drive around and find an interesting place.

No matter. We drove up to a place that I had heard about but never have tried. Rain Thai Bistro on Lee Highway seemed to be a pretty popular place. When Lois and I walked in, I realized we should have been dressed better. We had gone to a deli first and Lois was wearing a T-shirt and jeans and I had on my jogging outfit (though, it has been a long time since I have jogged).

As we were seated by a ‘waterfall’ above us, I noticed the nice atmosphere of this place. When pretty Catharine came to take our order, we wanted something a little spicy so we asked her for suggestions. I had forgotten my glasses so it was helpful to hear what they offered.

Lois got the Hot and Sour soup at $8.00 for a starter and I chose the Lemon-grass and Coconut soup at $7.00. In my younger days, I would have never thought that would sound appealing, but people can put together the strangest things and it comes out tasting delicious!

Catharine had asked us if we wanted medium-hot, hot-hot or Thai-hot. I know what hot-hot taste like and if Thai-hot is hotter … well, I had to try that! Lois ordered Sweet and Sour Chicken for her entrée at $12.00 and I chose the Crispy Duck with Basil at $15.00 also with the Thai-hot sauce. I have only had duck twice before with different experiences - once at a Chinese place and I wasn’t impressed and once at a finer restaurant and I loved it.

When our soups arrived, Lois began first and she got choked. I saw her eyes water and I knew it was the Thai-hot that did it! I always talk about how I like spicy food so I didn’t want to be a baby about it, but I have to admit I was a little scared. I took a sip from my spoon and immediately used my poker-face as if it were no big deal, but let me tell you – it was HOT!

I had ordered bottled water but now I was rethinking things, I was sure I would need refills and a water glass. I wanted to holler to Catharine, “Forget the duck! Bring the fire truck!”

As Lois was recovering and getting used to the spice, I never let on that I was burning up! But it was so good. I have had food so hot that I have called it “show off-hot” because there is no way a person can eat it without misery and enjoy the flavors of the food, but this Thai-hot was wonderful. My soup had tender chicken and beautiful flavors. Lois had whole shrimp in hers. I got tickled when she held up the shrimp on her deep-welled spoon and said, “There is a tail on my shrimp. How am I supposed to eat that?”

I like to pretend I am the expert when she and I are out, but I had no idea. I suggested she just pull it off. She looked around to see if anybody was watching and pulled the tail off. When she had gotten another one she offered it to me saying that she didn’t like it. I didn’t believe that. I knew it was because she was afraid to use her hands to pull off the tail.

We were in the middle of our soup when our meals came. I never like that because something gets cold. I could smell the basil as soon as Catharine placed the plate in front of me, it looked pleasing. I started off with a mushroom but my chopsticks were quite long and heavy and hard to handle. The mushrooms were slippery and cut in halves and hard to grasp.

When I tried the duck, it had a delightful flavor but yes the Thai-hot sauce had me reaching for my water. We had a silver bucket of steamed rice as a chaser for the spicy food and that seemed to help.

I had gotten a fatty piece of duck and wished I could discretely spit it in my napkin, but we had cloth napkins and I just wouldn’t do that. I realized the duck meat that I liked was the center part but I wasn’t as fond of the pieces that had a fatty layer next to the edge with the crispy batter. I am sure the chef wouldn’t like hearing that when it is so well prepared, but that is just my personal preference about duck.

I did get a bite with little bone pieces and I knew I couldn’t avoid spitting that out so I just pulled the bone part out of my mouth and hoped nobody noticed.

This place had wonderful food and I enjoyed the Thai-hot spice and the atmosphere. It is not a casual place for jogging suits and the prices are pretty steep but if you understand that when you go, you will enjoy your experience.

As we finished our meal, I caught Lois eyeing a man in a business suit walking past our table and she caught me watching her watch him (don’t tell Phil). Embarrassed, she looked at my plate and asked “what’s that?” I told her it was a mushroom. She asked to try it and, even though she was using a fork, she had trouble getting the slippery thing too!

If you like Spicy and have never tried ‘Thai-hot’, Rain Bistro is perfect to clear your sinuses. If you are not used to very spicy and you order the Thai-hot just make sure you have 911 on speed dial. 

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