someone in my department had a birthday earlier this week, so we went out to lunch. she had suggested the East-West Cafe in Tacoma.
the last time I went was in the summer of 1996, before I met C. WP took me there for a date, the only time we actually went out anywhere during our 2-week fling that summer. I think it may have been one of the first times I had Thai food, and I just loved it. I remember the place being tiny and charming: a little bitty house converted to a restaurant, and it still felt more house than restaurant. (the location gave it a surreal air, being just a block from the freeway.)
they’ve expanded drastically since then around the framework of the house: it looks nothing like a house from the inside. beautiful elegant decor (too fancy for us, one of my colleagues said), a back garden with a patio & fountain, even a bar.
in a weird fit of nostalgia, I ordered exactly the same meal I had 8 years ago: swimming angel, which I’ve seen elsewhere as swimming rama, and which I make myself as “gai tua.” it’s a bit less peanut-flavored than most places, more curry. but the flavor was what I remembered, as was the entirely elegant presentation.
a strange push-pull of memory and the present, sitting with my co-workers chit-chatting over lunch, overlaid with the memory of dinner with WP.