Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Restaurant: Green Papaya (takeout)

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I am sick. I think I brought it upon myself, between the sadness of taking down our Christmas tree, the frustration of having to work an extra six hours last week and this week, and the snow that was so pretty to watch fall is now dirty and melting to reveal brown earth beneath. Today's high of 34 degrees feels like a heat wave, and I wonder if I'm feverish or if it feels balmy since this is the first time the outside air has been above freezing in two weeks.* This might be my least favorite time of the year, and to top it off, I have a cold.

I know I’m just whining. I’m fine. One thing that’s funny about this cold is that it has not affected my appetite at all. If anything, I’m hungrier! Maybe that’s due to me not taking in my beer calories. Maybe.

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I haven’t felt like cooking, or grocery shopping, or going out. So, we are getting take out. I was hungry for – no, craving – the pineapple fried rice from Green Papaya.

I’ve been to Green Papaya several times, often eating there and sometimes bringing it home. I can see that many patrons go to Green Papaya for sushi, and I’ve tried it although there are few vegetarian options. I’ve ordered several dishes there, from the Crazy Noodles to Pad Thai, various Thai Curries, and the “Cheese of Asia” fried tofu appetizer. My favorite, though, is the pineapple fried rice.

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Chunks of tofu, pineapple, baby corn, corn kernels, carrots, red bell pepper, mushroom, onion, snow peas, and cashews are all lightly fried with egg, rice, and curry powder. This is delicious and so unlike what I considered fried rice from the Number One Chinese Kitchen down the street when I was a kid. This fried rice isn’t greasy, or doused in a brown sauce, or scattered with limp frozen peas and cube-cut carrots. This dish is loaded with fresh, tasty goodness. For me, it’s not that I wanted to go to Green Papaya – it’s that I wanted this dish and that’s where I get my pineapple fried rice.

Alex got Pad Thai, which he likes with about 70% of the enthusiasm I show for the pineapple fried rice. The Pad Thai is made of noodles, tofu, peanuts, and a few bean sprouts. I much prefer the variety of veggies in the rice dish. On top of that, the Pad Thai is like most other examples in the city here: it’s sweet. Really, really, sweet. Perhaps if he ordered it spicier, the sweetness would be less overpowering. (By the way, in other cities do they ask you how spicy you want your food, on a scale of 1-10? I’ve only encountered that in Cincinnati, and people seem to be upset if you order and aren’t asked!)

Green Papaya on Urbanspoon

*Disclaimer: I wrote this without checking my meteorological data, but then I decided to do some fact-checking at Today is the first day in 12 days that it's been above freezing.

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