Aside from being one of the fastest, popular, and booming cities in America, Chicago is also a city that is afflicted by the weirdest weather conditions. Beautiful and cloudless during the week, when you have to work, this city succumbs to grey skies, drizzling rain, and high winds during the weekend. I am sure that for majority of the people who like to partake of the outdoors during warm weather — running along the beach at Lake Michigan, riding bikes, jogging, walking, hanging out, or even watching the Chicago Cubs lose yet another game — the frosty wind and rain do not yield a happy crowd. For those of us who have no problem enjoying the great indoors until June arrives and the weather is consistently tropical, let it rain.
While renewing my library card at Harold Washington Library — zealots of the digital age asking the question, “What is a library?” — I had to deal with the monster. Fortunately for me, the Loop, where the library is, has a good selection of eateries from which to choose. The monster had me hankering for some Indian food, but I opted for Thai instead and located across the street from the library at 333 S. State Street is My Thai. I had been to Mai Thai several times and have had a tastefully delightful experience each time. Was I expecting this time to be any different? That would be like expecting the Cubs to play without their jazz hands and win a stretch of games.
For a Saturday, the spacious My Thai was a bit empty. No worries. That meant I would have my pick of where I wanted to sit and it was off towards the window. Usually I would order crab rangoon or petite egg rolls. Instead, I ordered prawn rolls. Shrimp and celery wrapped in bacon, then wrapped again in spring roll skin, and then fried to crispy satisfaction, these wonders were quite a smile-inducer dipped in a spicy plum sauce. For the main entrée, I opted for my favourite: panang curry. However, I ordered it with chicken instead of with tofu. So rich, so flavourful, so delicious that it was wrong, served up with jasmine rice the panang dish went without hesitation. Not every Thai restaurant gets curry dishes right, the curries often coming out thin like broth instead of hearty like gravy. My Thai was a winner with the spice and consistency of the panang.
It may be because I have gone to Mai Thai so many times or it may be that yanking a high-end camera from my bag and snapping photos. The service was fabulous, but it has always been that way, even when I had no camera in tow. The servers engaged me in conversation, inquiring as to where I was from and for what purpose I was taking the shots of the food, the latter being a common question once the camera starts clicking. They even assisted with food styling so that I could capture some good impressions of that which you can only appreciate through taste. Then there was the bill. Yes, there is a reason why I seem to return to My Thai whenever I am in the southern end of the Loop. And it does not have to be a perfect day with blue skies and no clouds either.