Photo by Matt OttoWhat is it about physicians? The chaps always want you to shed tonnage. Why, I was on a routine trip to have my fellow Dr. Leo Grossfinger refit my truss when that old quack had the gall to suggest I take up some sort of aerobic activity!
"You look like Sebastian Cabot," he said, chomping on an unlit stogie. "And you've got breasts like a woman."
Sebastian Cabot, I'll grant him. Mr. French on Family Affair always was one of my heroes. But breasts like a woman? With all this hair? Not to mention the tattoo of Olga Korbut in a red leotard over my heart. Criminey, I sweat enough getting out of my car. Ten minutes of Tae Bo, and you might as well measure me for a pine box, I cried. That's when Grossfinger suggested a round of golf.
Ah, the gentleman's game: 18 holes. Doglegs, double bogeys and all that. I must say it appealed to my latent Scottish heritage. And I knew just the course: Boomers in Fountain Valley. Quite a rigorous series of par-three holes, I assure you. Why, by the time I'd made it through the Dutch Windmill, the Eiffel Tower and Captain Hook's Lighthouse, I was famished! I then hopped in my jalopy and made my way to Sweetee Thai Cuisine in nearby Cypress.
Thai food has become so common in the Southland that I've found memorable meals in this particular culinary genre difficult to come by. Sweetee Thai is the exception. A step above the ordinary, they provide alimentary excellence in an elegant atmosphere that belies their otherwise banal surroundings. The interior offers a combination of soft lighting, tastefully chosen Thai antiques, and an attractive staff dressed in silk grays of a vaguely Asian cut. A well-kept aquarium with blowfish and other colorful critters is the centerpiece. During my recent visit, a jazz stylist sat at a piano, riffing off standards such as "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Generally, the food is equal to these romantic environs, especially the superb appetizers. I had two: first, the Golden Nugget Dumplings (ground chicken in a tender dough skin). A dumpling's a dumpling, but what made these nonpareil was the dip. My server assured me it was simply garlic and soy sauce, but it was sweet with something that tasted like bits of dried fruit.
The second was the Spiral—long, skewered shrimps swathed in a swirl of soft bacon, accompanied by two orange dips: one hot, one not. There's something about wrapping bacon around almost anything edible that's as sinful as an evening in a Sultan's seraglio. It's an old trick, but here as elsewhere, it works.
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My main portions were engrossing, if a little less notable than the starters. I could have done with more ginger in the ginger semang, which was basically a stir-fry of chicken, black mushrooms and veggies in a tart sauce. I'm so fond of that golden root I eat it raw sometimes, so perhaps my critique is unfair here. The pad Thai, which I had with pork, was better, with oddly orange noodles. At least, I don't recall them being orange elsewhere.
For a Sweetee treat, I selected their iced rambutans with pineapple. A rambutan is a small white fruit that tastes a little like a cross between a plum and a pear. Stuffed with pineapple chunks, it made an unusual yet satisfying dessert. Actually, I think I enjoyed the iced water they came in better than the rambutans themselves, as it had been flavored by the syrup. Rambutan sorbet, wherever they have it, must be delish!
My Thai feast ended with this less-than-svelt scribbler waddling forth heavier than before my miniature golf expedition, man teats and all. (Sigh!) To paraphrase the inimitable Benny Hill, they're a lovely pair of coconuts, or at least I think so.
Sweetee Thai Cuisine, located at 10557 Valley View St., Cypress, is open Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 4-10 p.m. (714) 828-7371. Beer and wine. Dinner for two, $36, food only. All major credit cards accepted.