I don't know if you guys know this about me (June/Ulte), but I'm pretty obsessed with food. Connie knows this, my husband knows this... my favorite local sushi/Vietnamese/taco stand/korean bbq/thai place knows this. Shoutout to all the peeps who see me and say "Hi, June! The usual?"
I'd like to say it's just purely part of my personality/biology, but I think it's mostly a cultural thing as well. In Thailand, instead of saying "How are you" when you see someone, the first thing you say is "Have you eaten?" Yes. This totally means that my bloodline is from a culture full of crazy food fanatics. Obesity potential is just pumping in my veins!! So, it's not surprising at all that when my husband and I have a date night, it 100% of the time will include eating delicious food.
When I moved out to LA about 12 years ago, I knew immediately that I was going to need to find a good Thai restaurant. I grew up with my mom's delicious, authentic, Thai cooking and, honestly, that was probably the best and WORST thing for me. Best because I was able to grow up eating amazing food from my culture as a first generation kid, but worst because now I'm one of the snobbiest Thai food eaters ever. My mom has ruined Thai food for a lot of friends and family because she is the marker for truly amazing quality food. Anything less is unacceptable!
So today, for FRIDAY DATE NIGHT, I decided to share with you one of my favorite Thai food restaurants in SoCal: Ras Noodle. First off, all of the best places I've ever eaten in LA are absolute hole-in-the-walls. Ras Noodle ain't fancy. It ain't expensive. And it ain't in a great part of town. The only reason why I discovered it was because at one point after grad school I moved to Van Nuys because it was all I could afford, but it was probably one of my biggest gifts in my life here. During my most homesick moments and I was dirt poor, I would look up the closest Thai food restaurants and hope to drown my sorrows in some delicious, and seriously tear-inducing, spicy Boat Noodles. Ras Noodle was absolutely everything I could've asked for and more. Back in the day it was called Pa Ord, but not sure what happened, but that became a popular and now (not as good) food chain. This is why I drive all the way to friggin PANORAMA CITY to eat these noodles.
So here's the skinny about the place:
-It's in Panorama City across the street from a gigantic Kaiser Permanente and is a tiny little shop in a shitty looking shopping corner. It's so tiny it can't even be called a mall. See adrdress above!
-It's so teeny you could easily miss it. I think there are about 12-ish tables that are smooshed together in a long rectangle. Lunch is popular so beware of those hours!
-There's no fancy decor. Just your usual Buddhist shrine, a picture of the Thai monarchy, maybe some random posters. Ambience is not what you're paying for.
-The noodles are SPICY. Like, my dad ordered from them and said "Thai spicy" and they said "Are you sure??" And he said "YES" and then he ended up crying and sweating and laughing... and he eats and loves some of the spicest foods ever. For me, I ask for medium because it is just that hot!!! So be warned that real, authentic Thai food, will make you sweat and cry like you've just done 1000 burpees during hot yoga.
-They don't just make noodles :). For those of you who want some rice dishes, they have that too. I can't vouch for those as much because I drive there for the noodles, but I've had a few. My favorites are Pad Krapow shrimp with a side of fried egg.
-They are cash only! This is the other slightly inconvenient thing. However, worth every penny you scrounge up from your car or atm swipe.
So there you have it, one of my absolutely favorite FRIDAY DATE NIGHT traditions! Somehow my parents have created a monster in my husband because now he eats even spicier than me, but it's one of those special road trips we will take to get some delicious food and happy bellies.
Let us know if you go!
Soma & Ulte