Growing up in West Palm Beach, Wattana Thai has long been a favorite of mine, so it seemed a no-brainer for me to meet there with "ÜberJew73." He had already sent off myriad red flags with his pointless texts ("Just woke up. See you Wednesday."), religious zealotry (note the aforementioned screen name), and late-night phone calls that I should've just cut and run but, heck, I figured worst-case scenario was that I'd gather some good fodder for this column.
At my request, the server brought two glasses of swirly Thai tea,
a beverage made to be so sweet that it should be followed up with a
complimentary dental appointment. My date simply stared at it and said,
"Can't. I ate barbecue for lunch." Now I consider myself a smart gal,
but that comment confounded me until he patronizingly explained that
obviously he kept kosher like every good Jew should and he wasn't going
to have a dairy product to chase down the beef ribs he enjoyed prior.
the ordering process went smoothly as he went for the predictable
choice, pad Thai, along with a house salad. I especially love Wattana's
salad since they cover it in crunchy fried potato sticks and a creamy,
flavor-packed peanut dressing. Just for yuks, I ordered the mee krob,
a bird's nest of spindly stryofoamesque noodles tossed in a fluorescent-orange sauce that slightly hardens into a candy coating. Wattana serves
it with shrimp, and I was curious to see if my date would recoil
thinking that my lips would be touching shellfish.
I giddily horsed down the entire plate alone, making no apologies,
while he dipped the last pieces of iceberg into his second serving of
peanut dressing. Soon, our waiter arrived with an aluminum pot of
aromatic jasmine rice and generously doled out steaming scoopfuls. I
couldn't wait to taste the creamy coconut-milk-based massaman curry sauce atop a mound of it. [Coco Asian Bistro in Fort Lauderdale also makes a mean sauce, so I linked to Chef Mike Ponluang's recipe.]
the time we had picked through our entrées, my date had already fully
turned me off with his political views ("I'm starting a petition to
impeach Obama"), sexism ("What's wrong with women who don't want
children? Isn't that why G-d made the uterus?"), and so much baggage
that even a starving bellboy would turn him away ("I hate my parents,"
"I think I have OCD,"
and "I can't imagine I'll ever be out of debt" were my three
faves). But it was this final query that really did me in: "So, Riki,
what are your thoughts on open marriage?"
Who asks that question on a first date? I wondered. Then, sensing this
was my golden opportunity to finally eliminate this parasite from my
life, I threw him a curveball. "What a wonderful concept!" I responded
I said, then smiled as I dropped the hammer. "I love the thought of
leaving my future husband at home with the kids while I cat around with
a young stud."
hear. By the time the check arrived, ÜberJew73 had already packed up
his leftover pad Thai, pulled out his car keys, and texted some
writer Riki Altman eats everything that won't try to eat her first
(with exceptions, of course) and dates younger men, older men, and
older men who act like young men, along with locals, tourists, illegal
aliens, and just plain aliens. Love Bites is a compilation of what
happens when her dining and dating ordeals collide. Sometimes, it just