Monday April 15, 2013

How (Not) to Eat Fried Worms

We discovered a "new" SF Bay Area restaurant today: Coconut Bay Street Cafe (Thai). It's located at 1300 Howard St in Burlingame (CA).

We came in largely by accident; the restaurant we initially planned to eat at turned out to close between 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm. We arrived just at 3pm. Pfooie!.

We had passed Coconut Bay Street Cafe on the way to our original destination. When, disappointed and lunchless, we headed back to the car, we noticed that CBSC was open.

So, we went in.

This isn't a fancy Thai restaurant. There's no carpet, fancy silver & glassware, or cloth napkins. In fact, everything is served on, in, or with, compostable plates, bowls, and spoons! Nevertheless, the presentation values were quite good, the waiter was friendly and knowledgeable, and the food was fresh and tasty.

Coconut Bay Street Cafe serves Thai "street food". Smaller plates; lighter fare. My favorite part of any Thai restaurant menu is the appetizers, so I was very happy.

The menu (in paper form, with photos, as well as written on a large chalkboard) offers the usual standards: chicken satay, Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup, Thai iced tea or coffee. There are vegetarian items on the menu (soups, salads, and sides) as well as the expected chicken beef, and pork options. The Guay Tiew Lord (veg) sounded interesting; it contains rice noodles, fried tofu, bean sprouts, and various tasty-sounding garnishes.

There is also more unusual fare available: the aforementioned Guay Tiew Lord, as well as Chicken Curry Thai Spaghetti, Silver Noodle Salad, Thai Egg Scrambled over Rice... and Fried Worms. (Yes, you read that correctly).

The waiter tried diligently to get us to try the fried worms. He asked if we like exotic food. He said they are very high in protein. He told us they taste like tortillas. (The waiter is from Guatemala, not Thailand. He says he tried everything on the menu when he got the job, so he could tell the customers what everything was like.)

He provided an excellent sales job; however, we did not try the fried worms.

We had the Chicken Satay salad (chunks of satay chicken on lettuce with tomato, cucumber, and peanut sauce on the side), Thai sausage (sliced, served with fresh ginger, peanuts, shredded cabbage, and one small bright red pepper), Joke Minced Pork & Rice (a porridge, like congee, with fresh shredded ginger and cilantro on top and an egg underneath (be sure to stir)), fried chicken with garlic rice (small pieces of chicken, breaded, crispy, with sweet & sour sauce for dipping; the rice was not overly garlicky), and chicken livers & gizzards (one skewer each, barbecued). We also ordered Thai iced coffee. No desert for us on this visit.

The total came to $33.50 before tip. Not bad for a lot food, a lot of variety, and a tasty late lunch.

As it says on the menu:

Coconut Bay Street Cafe brings authentic Thai street cuisine using home style recipes from the owner's mom. We hope you enjoy your meal!

We enjoyed ours.

Note 1: There are _two_ Coconut Bay restaurants on Howard. 1300 Howard (this one) is the address of the "Street Cafe" which sells lighter "snacks" for lower prices. The full-menu Coconut Bay Thai restaurant is at 1107 Howard. We stopped in for a menu. If you want the glassware and table linens (at a higher price), come here.

Note 2: I found a photo series online that does a good job of showing off the cafe.

Note 3: The title of this post pays homage to the delightful "kid's book" How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell, first published in 1973.

How (Not) to Eat Fried Worms ( in category Noteworthy , Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Mon, 15 Apr, 22:43 Pacific | «e»

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