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Week 3: The Return to Wat Mongkolratanaram
January 2, 2011
Back in Tampa after a 700 mile holiday severance. We’ve missed one whole week of Sunday brunch…where to go, where to go. Although the desire to continue with new venues is tempting, I’ve been craving Wat Mongkolratanaram (Thai Temple) since Thursday. The Thai people and their reversible silk robes are calling.
Due to an entire Saturday of absolutely nothing, I woke up refreshed and ready to take on brunch by the horns. I do believe this is the first Sunday I haven’t looked like a diminutive train wreck. My boyfriend however, is a walk of shame. I’ve been holding him captive since New Years Eve—which means his only option for brunch is formal attire. Fitting into my gym shorts is not an option. Hmmm…should I offer to take him home first? Nah, it’s out of the way. It’s New Years weekend and it might rain; we won’t see anyone we know.
Fail. We should have known better. Thai Temple is the Cheers of Boston—but with diversity, picnic tables, meat on a stick, babies, deep fryers (the babies are not near the deep fryers), a Buddhist Temple to pray, a river, a man missing a hand, signs written in incomprehensible Thai, a meditation garden and Grapefruits 6 for a dollar. Now that I think about it, Thai Temple and Cheers have nothing in common. The point I was trying to get at is that it’s a place “where everybody knows your name.” Not only did we see people we know, we saw people from Friday night—that were well aware Ryan had been wearing the same outfit for 72 hours.
We joined a friend (and two new friends) at a picnic table near the water. I’m not sure what sparked our conversation about races— it could have been the diverse crowd, the mentioning of adopting Chinese babies, or the fact that we had two siblings sitting at our table arguing over whether they were Indian or Chinese. I can’t honestly say we added much to the conversation because we had pounds upon pounds of glorious Thai treasures in front of us. But what did stop me mid-chew was a comment someone made: “I’m not white. I’m Polish.” I’ll just stay out of this conversation and continue chewing. It’s probably for the best.
To be honest, Thai Temple isn’t about crazy experiences in an outrageous setting. I’d like to say that I fell in the river, or that the man with one hand sat at our table, but he didn’t. It was a beautiful Sunday filled with beautiful food. After almost a half dozen visits there, we’ve got the vendor lines down to a science. We skip the desserts, flowers, praying and plantains. We go straight for Pad Thai, Spring Rolls, Dumplings, Kabobs, Basil Chicken, Rice, and 2 Waters. We’re guaranteed a fabulous meal every single time, and that’s why we’re faithful patrons. Next week, we’ll be back to venturing unfamiliar grounds.