My sister Stormy is running for freshman class president at Galena High. Being the student government veteran I am, I volunteer to assist with the campaign. I enlist younger-sister Molly (12 and ambivalent about her political aspirations) and my boyfriend, Brian, to assist in the production of campaign posters, and after a long Saturday of work, we are starved. We deserve something special: the Thai Royal House.
The décor is very comfortable and yet swanky—I notice a small glass cabinet that contains tiny bowls full of miniature fruits and vegetables. “They’re so cute,” we squeak. Four pink lotus blossoms float in a Thai dish on a small wooden table. We’re in the mood for Thai.
“Are you from Tahoe?” asks a friendly man who is the proprietor of this fine establishment (the recently-returned-from-military-service Tom Lim), as we are seated. We aren’t, but he continues the conversation, paying special attention to my sisters. “Have you tried Thai food before?” he inquires through a grin. They answer shyly in the negative, and he is careful to point out the possible spiciness of Thai dishes. “We have excellent Spring Rolls,” he boasts. We order them without the chicken or shrimp ($3.50). Fresh and crisp but not fried, they are yummy as promised.
There are so many choices—appetizers, entrees, soups, vegetarian items, desserts and two pages of special items. My sisters talk about how pretty the interior is, what a nice restaurant this is, and it makes me glow. They will remember this meal forever. It’s that kind of night.
“You have to say how cozy it is in here,” Stormy orders. It is very cozy in here. It would be downright romantic—dim enough to sneak a few modest pecks—if the girls were missing.
Brian’s stomach took a serious beating from a Chinese restaurant yesterday, so spicy is out. He has one of the specials—stir-fry pumpkin with chicken ($8.95), which turns out lovely. The pumpkin is tender and harmonizes well with the chicken and the peanut sauce Brian covers it in.
Stormy keeps it simple and has the barbecue chicken appetizer ($7.95), pieces of chicken with a special, spicier peanut sauce for dipping. It’s Pad See Ew (rice noodles stir fried with broccoli, egg, beef and sweet black sauce, $8.95) for Molly. I love yellow curry ($8.95) and order it with tofu. My curry is smooth, mild as requested, full of sizeable tofu chunks, and the best I’ve had in a while. We all trade bites and decide we ordered well. The girls tell me in that serious teenage way, “This is so good.”
We need to get back to party headquarters.
“Next time, bring Mom and Dad," says our new friend, Lim, on the way out. We might. We will definitely return to the Thai Royal House. The food is excellent, the atmosphere just right, and the service could not have been more friendly and welcoming, especially for Thai food virgins. Thank you, and welcome home from National Guard service, Tom Lim. My sisters, destined to be famous in their own ways, will remember you and your kindness for a long time.