Thai Spice is irrepressible. The oldest and most established local chain of Thai restaurants is to OC like Ray's Pizza to New York--there was once an original, but with so many restaurants emblazoned with that ironically bland name, it's easy to lose track. As of this writing, the loosely-linked pad Thai conglomerate boasts more than a few stores in Costa Mesa, Irvine and Santa Ana. If one fails, it's only a matter of time before another reappears somewhere close. Some will offer lunch combos offered from steam table trays. This should be avoided as dreck. Whichever Thai Spice you end up in, always demand the freshly-cooked-to-order meals, like the pad Thai done to the spice level of your requirement, from mild and you-might-as-well-eat-sulfuric-acid hot. Other dependable constants include the yellow curry with potato and chicken, which will make a whole pot of rice disappear; and the Dynamite Wings, a sticky, sweet, spicy-glazed deep-fried chicken wing thing that all Thai Spices, no matter their affiliation, seem to use as its calling card.
Illustration by Bob AulThere's some speculation that hot foods were once (we're talking centuries ago, and certainly not in the Weekly's experimental test kitchen because we never, ever dabble in the psychotropic) closely related to the pursuit... More »
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