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Friday, May 7, 2010

Jitlada - Thai Cuisine...a must eat!


Jitlada Thai Cuisine
5233 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323.667.9809
(i found this number on a picture from their awning)
(323) 663-3104
(i tried this number and its a fax machine)

hours: 
monday:  5pm-10:30pm
tues-thurs, sun:  11am-10:30pm
fri-sat:  11am-11pm

they only take reservations for 5 people or more, i suggest you find five people if you don't want to wait during peak hours, or go during off peak times.

i have to give credit to my friend alexis for finding jitlada...thank you alexis!  i love this restaurant...i have to say this is my favorite thai restaurant so far...perhaps one of you might have another favorite...please, do tell...i will try it too.  anyhow, quick note about the phone numbers, i tried calling them to make my reservation, and the number they have listed on yelp and on their website seems to be a fax number, and let me say, when i couldn't reach a human voice and all i got was that ringing/beeping sound of the fax machine, i started getting really anxious because i wanted to, no, NEEDED to make a reservation!  it was imperative...because the first time i went with alexis, marty and paul, we waited for about an hour or more.  the second time i took alison, we went mid-afternoon, around 2 or 3 and it was great because there was no wait. 

since i wanted to go this sunday evening with some friends, i didn't want my guests to wait around for an hour.  anyhow, after frantically looking at different websites for their phone number, double checking that i didn't dial it incorrectly, i finally saw a picture on their website and it showed the awning with another phone number, i tried it and hallelujah!  a human voice!!!  i was like...yeah baby! (no, i didn't say that to her!  i just thought it because i was so happy someone answered the phone!)  so i started to tell the girl on the other end of the line that i needed a reservation at 7pm for four people and then she says, "you need at least five people to make a reservation."  aiyah!!!  i was like...omg, are you serious?!  and i thought, awwwww jimminy crickets!!!  i need to find a fifth body to come eat!!!  so i told a couple of my guests to find a fifth person, but they both said, just make the reservation!!!  what's even better about bringing in another mouth???  we can order more food to try!!!

these signs are all over the restaurant...i believe some comments on yelp saying that the food takes too long may have prompted the signs to be put up, but i can't be certain if that is the case.  the two times i've been here, i didn't feel like the food took an excessive amount of time to come out. 


fried wontons!!! 


can i just say, light, crispy and perfect! this might seem a bit "unauthentic" but growing up, deep fried wontons have always been and will continue to be one of my favorite things to eat!! and they have some of the most delicious wontons i've had! the skin the use to make their wontons is so good!! i could snack on these crunchy packets dipped in the sweet chili sauce everyday like i do chips. in fact, i'm going to order them on sunday too!! 

ok, let's be totally real, growing up, especially in an asian home and asian communities, so many dinners and potlucks always have some type of deep fried dish, and wontons was one of the popular ones that always made an appearance.  lots of times, because they had to be made a little bit ahead of time, we didn't always get to eat it hot out of the fryer, but it was still so good.  my auntie lily and auntie mary would make THE most delicious mini-egg rolls!  holy crap!  i wish we could have a bbq and potluck at either of their homes and cook!  so freaking good!  they'd make thousands of these little egg rolls and freeze them.  i wish i could have some now. i could eat a hundred of those little cripsy babies right now!  ok, it's almost 3 am, i need to go lay down, but i'm almost done with this post.  it might not seem like it to you, since i'm just near the beginning, but i'm just coming back up to make some additional changes. 

thank you alison for picking the next dish, Tod Mun - fried fish cake...


these fish cakes were really good!  i was not expecting it at all...but there was a really good amount of heat in this dish.  there was a hint of curry in the fish cake as well, which was also another pleasant surprise.  the sweet chili sauce with cucumbers was the perfect compliment to the spicy, almost salty fried fish cake.  i'd order this again.

the first time i went to jitlada, i had ordered a chicken dish that was so good and a hit with the whole group of us.  so on this second visit, i was trying super hard to remember which dish it was...and i thought i had it right till the dish came out. 

this is the spicy sugar brown chicken...


stir fried crispy chicken and green beans in a southern curry sauce.  as soon as the dish came out my heart sank, i knew i had gotten the wrong dish.  i thought, damnit!!  i was totally craving the other dish and wanted alison to try it!!  not much we could do but try it...so we dug in.  the curry southern curry sauce was actually quite good and alison really enjoyed it.  the fresh beans and carrots had a nice crunch to it...but the chicken.  *sigh* it had a bit of a slimy texture that we were not too keen on.  how can i better describe this to you so you can understand what i'm trying to say.  it was like it was coated with too much cornstarch or something...it was kind of slippery on the tongue...it was kind of weird.  i wish i could describe this better to you, but you really have to just try it yourself to understand what i'm trying to say.  according to joe (who is the brother of the chef/co-owner tui sungkame) this is just a little different and perhaps not something everyone might like.  but like i said, the sauce had really good flavor and spice.

green curry...


served with bell peppers, thai eggplant, bamboo and thai basil.  even though i don't eat bellpeppers, the red bells in here were sweet and subtle.  the curry itself was so light, not heavy and thick, and was so wonderfully fragrant on the steamed rice.  i love the crunchy slices of bamboo, chunks of eggplant and fresh basil.  one of those staple dishes that so many of you enjoy...made just right! 

spicy mint noodles a.k.a. drunken noodles or pad kee mao...

pan fried flat noodles with chili and thai basil leaves, we added beef.  i don't know about you, but i can't have thai food without getting some type of noodle dish...and for me, its typically flat noodles that i crave!!  i love rice noodles...who doesn't?!  and if you don't, perhaps you have not had the good fortune of trying good rice noodle dishes.  the flat noodles are coated with just the right amount of sauce, lots of great spice from the chilies and again, the fresh basil!!  simple and oh so good!  if i had to just pick one dish...well, you know i really can't, it's too hard!  i love having a variety of foods and flavors while i'm eating!  but this would be definitely near the top if i could only eat one dish...because this is comfort food for me. 
alright, that somewhat slippery brown sugar chicken dish wasn't my favorite and i was really bummed that i hadn't gotten the right dish.  so i had to flag down the waitress and ask her to see the menu again, and with her help, ended up ordering the correct dish.

chili paste crispy chicken...


stir fried crispy chicken with chili paste and green beans. do you see some of the darker looking leaves on top? it's deep fried basil!! don't let the name, chili paste chicken, scare you away, it might be spicy, but it's not unbearable in any way! it has great flavor, tender chicken and the crispy basil adds both great texture and flavor to the whole dish!


talking about spice, alison had introduced me to this little mom & pop thai restaurant in vegas, prommares, right off sahara behind big dogs. the first time we went there, when we ordered our food, the owner asked us how hot we wanted it, on a scale of 1 to 10. al and i looked at each other and decided on 8. well, auntie (i don't know her name so out of respect i will call her auntie) looks at the both of us and shakes her head and says, oh no, you can't do 8. and i thought what the hell? how are you going to tell us we can't handle the level 8 spice!? you've never even met us! so, we again, al and i look at each other, then look up at auntie and ask...7? it was more of a question, and of course she shook her head and said no. basically, it was this, try again look. 6? nope! she wasn't going to let us do a six either...so finally we say 5??? and she nods and says ok. seriously...we must've had this look of amateur written on our faces, though perhaps i was more of the amateur than alison, but come on!

well, let me just say auntie knew what she was talking about, unless she still had her sister make those dishes at a level 8! i swear, i was sweating and i think i had two ice cold cokes and then a pitcher of water (which i made her leave at our table because i was literally dying. i felt like adam in man v. food). my nose was running, and i'm sure plenty of you what i'm talking about...lips burning, nose dripping, trying to find anything that'll cool your mouth off while you keep shoveling that crazy ass spicy food in your pie hole! why do we torture ourselves? because it tastes sooooo good!!

so why am i telling you that story? i'm telling you the story because i feel like i may have graduated from amateur to a more seasoned thai eater. why would i feel that way? well, when we ordered the food, the waitress never asked us how hot we wanted to food, it just came out as they thought it should for us. i felt a twinge of proudness...hehe everything had great spice, without losing the flavor.

joe, was so great...he talked to us about the food and told us that the next time we come...leave the ordering to him. wow, that's a huge commitment for me...to completely submit and allow someone else to order all of my food.(that doesn't make me a control freak!  just a discerning eater who knows what they like!)  i did say ok, but i'm scared he won't include the fried wontons! i think i may have to make a special request...haha damnit!! I NEED THOSE CRISPY WONTONS! 

ok...joe, such a sweet guy, brings out these little cups filled with his sister, jazz's special blend of thai iced tea. some of the flavors were reminiscent to some of the milk teas i've had...but this had a rich creaminess to it. it was really delicious and i can't wait to order it on sunday!! he even cut the straws to fit in our little cups! so thoughtful!!


joe - our wonderful host!  so friendly and helpful.  he was so willing to teach us more about the cuisine that we enjoy, but i love learning more!


not only did joe give us a sample of jazz's special thai iced tea blend he even taught us a few thai words.

i really love the food here, i've eaten here twice and i know that it makes me so happy that i keep wanting my friends to try it too. i think the food "ped mak kha" (very spicy) but was extremely "aroi mak kha (delicious).
so to chef tui, joe and jazz, kob koon kha!!! (thank you!)


i'm looking forward to seeing you all, Joe and his staff at jitlada, and bringing my friends to your restaurant on sunday to enjoy a delicious feast! 

excuse the typos!  the lunesta is fully taking over!!!!

2 comments:

  1. As much I love Jitlada, being one of the first disciples of Erik M's Thai translation menu many summers ago now, I cringe at the thought of ordering fried wontons & pad thai at Jitlada, no matter how good they might be.

    Try the sator bean stir fry with shrimp/pork, etc, try the various kaeng they offer (with cha-om omelette), try turmeric yellow curry with frog leg, etc. The menu is so deep, there's no reason to cheap onself.

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  2. hi sinosoul,

    thanks for the recommendations. we actually let joe pick out our dishes and i'm sure i will get to the dishes you mentioned...since as we both know, the menu is so deep.

    as for the wontons and pad thai, if people like what they like...its not for me to tell them what to eat. as long as they love it, great!

    perhaps we should have a dining experience one day!

    best,
    doreen

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