Monday, May 4, 2009

I Couldn't Take the Fire

Nestled in a strip mall, lies Jitlada, spice and all,
Nondescript and sort of hidden, just a yellow sign.
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Jazz says, "Welcome," gives a smile, "Have a seat and stay awhile."
You sit down and flip your frown. You cannot wait to dine.
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I couldn't take the fire.
Yeah, my mouth was burning,
And my butt was yearning
For relief from pain so dire.
Oh, I tried to hide it,
But I couldn't fight it.

Apologies to Billy Joel, but that pretty much sums up my first time meeting other food bloggers at the critically acclaimed Jitlada (5233 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles).

I felt so weaksauce. To my credit, however, even Mr. Monkey (a.k.a. The King of Hot) admitted that he found a number of the dishes a bit challenging.

Puu Plen Pla -- raw blue crab salad with fresh lemongrass, mint, and chili.
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Tender and refreshing with quite the kick.

Crispy Morning-Glory Salad -- battered and fried ong choy with shrimp.
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Very tasty dish. Ong choy is one of my fave veggies, and this ong choy was fried!

Kung Phae Chup Krung Thawt (Koong Pear) -- fried shrimp marinated with Southern spicy curry sauce topped with fried basil.
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Fried, fried, fried. Is there any question that this was droolworthy?

Sup Hang Wua -- mild and sour oxtail soup.
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Pleasant and enjoyable. Not spicy. A welcome respite amidst the flames.

Black pepper drumstick -- fried tumeric-marinated chicken drumstick with green mango salad.
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Fried chicken in any culture is yummy.

Papaya salad -- a Thai staple laced with peppers and cashews.
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Cold and tangy with, yes, quite the kick. Again.

A woven canister held the sticky rice that helped me power through the spice.
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Phangga jungle curry -- pork spare ribs with Thai eggplant in spicy jungle curry.
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Gah! This will result in your needing a fire extinguisher shoved up your ass. That is all I have to say about this dish.

Phat Luuk Taw "Meung Khong" -- Nakhon Sri Tammart-style stir-fried sator beans with shrimp, ground pork, and squid.
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Also quite spicy, although I'm not quite sure what it *really* tasted like, as my mouth was still numb from the jungle curry.

Behold! Cool soothing crudite! Cucumbers never looked so good. I wanted to eat them and put them on my eyes to quell their puffiness from overwhelming spice-induced crying.
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It was around this time that I finally capitulated and asked for a creamy iced Thai tea to help ease my suffering.
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Basil frog legs
-- stir-fried frog legs with garlic, chili, and basil.
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Boing! Boing! Boing! I love frog legs. They're like a bouncy crab-chicken hybrid.

Mango soft-shell crab -- deep-fried soft-shell crab with spicy sweet mango salad.
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Adored this. Crunchy, sweet, delicious. And not sear-your-intestines-spicy.

Weirdo random salad.
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I didn't eat this. It was so out-of-place and pedestrian. And it had Pringles in it.

Khua kling salmon -- tumeric-flavored Southern-style dry curry with green beans.
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Eff. EFF. Fire! Fire! Fire! Sound the alarms! Dying! Help!

Kaeng Jeut plaa meuk yat sai -- soup with squid stuffed with minced chicken.
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Help arrived in the form of this lovely light soup. The chicken-stuffed squid is like the seafood version of turducken. Or something.

Kaeng tai khai "Mang Kon" -- Southern-style curry with jicama and homemade fishballs stuffed with duck eggs.
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Very nice. Smooth. Creamy. Not spicy. Ahhh.

Kaeng leung "Thalaa" -- signature curry sans coconut milk with catfish and fermented bamboo.
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Stinky. Like literally smelly in the same vein as Taiwanese stinky tofu. If you can get past the stench, it actually tastes rather yummy.

Narathiwat green curry -- steamed rice noodles topped with coconut milk green curry and chicken.
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Great mild end to a fiery meal.

And, in case you happen to be an alien from Planet Poocano, here's some more spice if the dishes weren't hot enough for you, you crazy mofo.
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Thai Syrup
-- shaved iced with chickpeas, bread, grass jelly, and jackfruit.
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Sorry, but yuck to the max. This was a disgusting mix of things that just didn't go well together at all. It was like cough syrup meets Pepto Bismol meets gag-me-with-a-spoon.

Much better was Monkey meeting Oishii Eats and Rants & Craves née Daily Gluttony. How excited do I look to meet L.A. food-blogging royalty?
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I was like Wayne and Garth meeting Aerosmith. Seriously dorktastic.

A list of bloggers who burned their asses with me:
B-Side Blog [his hilarious take on the night here]
Delicious Coma
Eat Drink & Be Merry
Food, She Thought [her rundown of the night here]
Food Woolf
Infinite Fress
Kung Food Panda
Life With a Whisk
Oishii Eats
Rants & Craves [her awesome photos and wit here]
Sassy Flashy Classy
Starchy Marie [her Cliffs Notes of the night here]
Teenage Glutster
Wandering Chopsticks
Special shout-out to, Kung Food Panda, Starchy Marie, and Wandering Chopsticks, who sat closest to the Monkeys and shared food and fun with us. It was a pleasure dining with you guys!

Extra-super-special thanks to the mastermind behind this event, SinoSoul.

Finally, before I composed my ode to Billy Joel, this post was originally called "Poocano Time!" and then "Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot" and then "Spice Spice, Baby."

I'm glad I went with Billy Joel.


  1. I would have died! I am such weaksauce when it comes to spice. I don't even want to know what your poocano experience was/will be.

    I'm snorting at the pringles in the salad (WTF?) while simultaneously gagging at that "dessert."

  2. that song = me cackling as I avoid getting ready for work. i want all that delicious fire in my

  3. Whoa. Look how nice your photos turned out. Makes mine look pathetic.

    Stop! I don't want an earworm!

  4. The pleasure was ours! Dining with the Monkeys was, well, more fun than a barrel!

  5. note: the pringle salad was NOT on my order list, but it was gratis so... I took it

  6. OMG, how did you survive? I can feel a heartburn coming on. But everything looks so good.

  7. I'm sorry, see, I thought you said shaved ice with chic peas.

  8. "This will result in your needing a fire extinguisher shoved up your ass." OK seriously LMAO! (But SO true!)

    And girl, you are too funny with the "wayne & garth meeting aerosmith" line! It was SO awesome to finally meet you! We need to plan something so we can get together again soon--and hopefully chat more!!!

  9. Why do I keep torturing myself by reading your blog when I'm hungry?

  10. I'm LMAO at your Billy Joel lyrics. And I'm with AM, and should not read your blog when hungry...

  11. You had me at spicy frog legs!

  12. Such a thorough and well-documented write up! I had a lovely time enduring the spicy pain with you!

  13. As usual, it all looks delicious, except for the curry--I don't like curry.

    To answer your questions:

    1) yes, I've seen that show. Aziz is the funniest part, and I think it would be better if they never explained why his name was Tom Haverford.

    2) Yes, I do remember that t-shirt. Yet another reason Abercrombie is one of the most loser-ish companies ever.

  14. i can just picture the playing of 'musical chairs' so the LA Food bloggers could take a picture of each dish!! that's a fierce list of food bloggers.

    i could just hear kermit screeching that he wants his legs back

  15. So mad at you for facilitating the invasion of my shower this morning! As you know, that is normally where I do my best "thinking," but this morning the following kept piercing through my solicitude:

    "Na, na, nanana,
    Na, na, nanana,
    Na, na, nanana,
    Mar-o-lyn Man-roe!

    Na, na, nanana,
    Na, na, nanana,
    Na, na, nanana,

    For future reference, please refrain from facilitating the invasion of my tranquil solitude with excrutatingly annoying songs that get stuck in my head. This includes such 80's hits as, "Pink Cadillac" and "I Love L.A." I can give you the full list today over lunch.

  16. ditto ssinca. i'm horribly wussy when it comes to fiery food.

    but yay for meeting other food bloggers!

  17. Oddly enough the curry spice levels was just right and the soft-shelled crab was OMGWTFMYMOUTHISONFIRE hot when I went, so wonder if Jazz tweaked with her heat levels (then again, most in my party were repeat customers and bonafide chili-heads, so that may have been it.)

  18. I was so bummed that we were sitting so far away!

    BTW, I am watching Weezer in Japan and I totally thought of you. I love Weezer. And, my husband does not like Sugar Ray. He was being gross.

  19. Ooooh! This looks like a meal (and event) that is completely out of my league but perfect for you. Glad you had fun, totally your element!

  20. If you couldn't take the heat, then my poor head would have combusted. :/


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