Nov. 8 2013 05:39 PM

Food at Oceanside Thai restaurant is familiar and homey, staff kind and warm

Hiding
Someone’s hiding.
Photo by Jenny Montgomery

Exploring the dining scene in my hometown is quite fun. But it's a job that takes some juggling. Sometimes my plans for exploring new and exciting dining spots go awry; instead of sharing the experience with friends (paying their own way, of course) or even blissfully dining alone with a good book, more often than not my dining companion is my post-flu-shot, mid-tantrum toddler. So much for being Ruth Reichl in elaborate disguises.

Although my almost-2-year-old is a perfect child who never misbehaves or picks up food from restaurant floors and puts it in her mouth before I notice, you may be surprised to learn she's not entirely an optimal dining companion. With rare exceptions, my husband and friends don't generally shout things like "Poop!" in crowded restaurants.

But this sometimes-frazzled method of eatery investigation occasionally allows for unexpected and special moments, reminding me that food is about connection, memory and sharing time with others. I had one of those experiences eating Thai food at Rim Talay in Oceanside.

I rolled into Rim Talay (508 Mission Ave) laden with bags: my purse, the diaper bag, my bulky camera that I try to keep hidden (I review anonymously, after all). I was happy to see the dining room was sparsely populated this particular afternoon, enough so that the inevitable noise and mess made by my clumsy companion wouldn't ruin too many lunches.

This is a tiny little place that I've passed dozens of times. We were warmly welcomed, and despite the initial wary glance one generally gets when bringing in a toddler, the staff quickly began to charm and delight little Miss Stranger Danger as I checked out the food.

There are no surprises on the menu; this is tasty, accessible Thai food. The green papaya salad is a crunchy, spicy way to start a meal. I could do without the mushy, out-of-season tomatoes, but the rest of the salad was a refreshing balance of sweet and sour. 

Keeping with the green theme, I dived into a bowl of green curry. The stew was creamy and layered, with just enough heat to warm my fingertips on a cloudy day near the ocean.

I have a thing for phad see-ew. I can't get enough of the starchy, borderline-gummy flat noodles. I'll shovel them into my mouth even when I'm an old lady with no teeth. Rim Talay's version is familiar and comforting—piping hot, with tender bits of chicken (or another protein of your choice) and bright, blanched vegetables. 

My hungry, little child surprised me that day. I watched her shovel bits of crunchy broccoli into her mouth, her aversion to anything green suddenly gone. She was unfazed by the spice in the papaya salad, and she quickly learned to say "Papaya!" to the delight of Rim Talay's staff. 

I expected to feel impatient. I expected a lot of Cheerios on the floor and a bad attitude from everyone by the time the meal was over. Instead, I learned my little one just might be a foodie in the making. And, at the very least, we shared a happy and delicious meal. 



Write to jennym@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Follow Jenny on Twitter @jennymontyinsd.

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28