Take approximately a quarter cup of leftover soggy leaf lettuce, you know, the kind of lettuce you would normally throw away because it’s turned to algae in your refrigerator. Mix with a sweet/sour Thai fish sauce (nam pla) based dressing. Dump into the bottom of a deep ceramic bowl. Top with a big pile of unsoaked dried rice noodles. Fill the bowl so full the rice noodles are spilling out. Top with shredded carrots, a sprinkling of peanuts, and a sliced skinless roasted chicken breast drenched with a Mediterranean mint pesto. Add one small lukewarm vegetarian spring roll stuffed with an Indian/Japanese curried orange mush wherein the the following two flavors are predominant – tofu and curry.
Serve. Assume the customer will be able to eat it. ‘Cuz duh.
Have you ever seen dried rice noodles? And/or tried to eat them– dried? Go on, I dare you.
In addition to said, cough-cough, noodles, we have separate and unequal flavors– Thai, Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian. I’m a chef. I stop and think for a moment. I ask myself, do these things go together? Depends upon the skill of the chef and the tenor of the dish.
But this was sorta like something on that show– Chopped– minus the hard lemon candies.
The fish sauce dressing might have worked if the noodles had absorbed some of it, but instead they sat on top of the soggy lettuce and they were hard, tasteless and impossible to chew, not to mention the fact that every time I stuck a fork in the bowl the noodles spilled all over the table and my lap. The bowl was so full there was no way to stir the dressing through the dish. My lunch companion kept staring at me. I’m sure it was because I sent noodles flying all over her. What a fascinating lunch companion I made!
A little fresh mint, minus the chicken, might have worked. However, try cutting into a big hunk of chicken stuck in the middle of all those dried noodles. Impossible. I gave up after one attempted slice that resulted in an spray of noodles.
Even the Indian curry would have been okay without the mushy tofu. No. That’s a flat out lie. Forget the curry. It screamed can of curry powder which always contains too much tumeric and fenegreek for my taste. And I hate tofu except when I prepare it for my Thai noodle salad which includes, among other things, tofu, fish sauce, peanuts and mint.
Hint: Never try to disguise old icky lettuce with fish sauce or anything else for that matter. Epic fail. Had I not been the guest of a woman who is pretty much a stranger to me I would have sent my salad back. But since I didn’t pay for the meal and I wasn’t particularly hungry, it was more or less a shrug. I brought it home in its entirety for the hubs to figure out. As my kids say, he’s like Mikey. He’ll eat anything.
I am hard on restaurants. It’s a failing of mine, I know it. I just sorta figure that when you pay for food in a nice restaurant it oughta be edible. And it’s my fault. I ordered the salad. But believe me, had I known how inaccurate the description was I would not have ordered it. (Besides, my companion’s Chinese chicken salad wasn’t any better.)
Okay, rant done. Hubs is working his way through the semi-reconstituted noodles. I shook the container a bunch when I got home 🙂