Chicago has some of the most pleasant summer evenings in the world. That is until the humidity bumps up to or above 90° With there being a nice, constant breeze blowing, I decided to walk to a nearby restaurant in my neighbourhood of Logan Square. I considered Italian first, but it had occurred to me that I was not particularly in the mood for a heavy meal on a still-warm evening. So I walked a few more blocks east to a Thai restaurant where I had been ordering take-out a regular basis. Note: for all of the eating that I do, the reason I have retained an athletic physique is by being active, walking being one of my favourite activities.
At 2532 N. California Avenue between Fullerton Avenue and Logan Boulevard is Anong Thai restaurant. Quaint, small, and inviting, this was the magnet that pulled me for some food delight. Knowing some Thai, I spoke a word of hello in the language and was escorted to a seat — any seat of my choice — with a hello and fast, attentive service. I simply cannot grasp complaints I hear and read from people who gripe about customer service being unpleasant at restaurants they visit. I guess it may be unfair that I receive great service instead of leers because of my multi-lingual talents and my knack for being a chameleon. Nevertheless, as I mentioned, I had been ordering from Anong for delivery for quite some time, so I already had an idea as to what I wanted to appease my appetite.
With it being hot, although not scorching outside, I chose something light and familiar. I started with lumpia egg rolls. Deep fried tiny rolls filled with a delectable blend of pork and vegetables, served with sweet and sour sauce were the first appetizer that I ordered. Considering I am primarily vegetarian and mostly because of my blood pressure, pork is a delicacy that I do not entertain. But the amount of meat in the egg rolls was so small that I made a smaller sacrifice and indulged the appetizer. Dipped in a spicy plum sauce, whatever stiff expression on my face was replaced with a thin smile. The smile grew with the crab rangoon. Unlike at many Thai restaurants where the cream cheese squirts out — on your shirt, on your pants, all over the table, and sometimes on the floor — there was enough cream cheese inside the fried crepes to go into your mouth instead of all over the place. Anong ranks top as one of the Thai restaurants where I have gone that prepares crab rangoon with a detail to perfection. For the entrée, it was the comfort of panang curry with chicken. Thai delicious sweet curry with bell peppers and lime leave in coconut milk really brought about a sentiment of wow for my appetite. Yet again, I put my vegetarianism aside and had meat. And I did not die or have fits while ladeling the thick gravy over rice and having my way with the dish to completion. The casual stroll through my neighbourhood on a quest to find a restaurant to satisfy my palate was well received as I heaved a heavy sigh of food pleasure after I was done.
I have always been extremely satisfied with the price, quality of the food, and the friendliness of the delivery personnel. I was even more satisfied with my decision to dine at Anong when the restaurant staff engaged me in conversation, rather than staring at “the dark, exotic man who knew a few words of Thai.” It was very endearing experiencing outstanding service and the same fantastic quality in the food I had come to like a lot. There will be plenty more times that I will order delivery from Anong. There will be many more times that I will find myself having a seat at any one of the tables ordering an appetizer and curry or a traditional Thai dish. There will be no disappointments — par for the course (of food).