Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Emerald

The Emerald
5699 Mount Moriah Rd
(901) 367-2827

Warren and I took the monkeys (Satchel, 6, and Jiro, 4) to see Kung Fu Panda on Saturday afternoon. It takes place in China and the main character works at a noodle shop. By the end of the movie I was totally craving Asian food. Since we were out east I suggested we go to The Emerald. It's one of my favorite Thai restaurants, but I hardly ever get to eat there. (I usually skate at East End across the street on Sundays when The Emerald is closed.)

As we pulled into the parking lot, I said, "I think the last time we ate here was when we bought my car." The Emerald isn't far from the strip of car dealerships along Mt. Moriah and Mendenhall.

"Really?" asked Warren.


I was pregnant with Satchel when we bought my car. So over six years! How did that happen?

We arrived around 7:30pm and there were six other tables of people. We were seated at a booth. Satchel and Jiro wanted to sit next to each other, and I let them. For about two seconds. They immediately started wrestling and acting crazy.

I was able to get Satchel to calm down, but Jiro refused. He had eaten the majority of his "goodie bag" full of candy (from Connor's birthday party earlier that day) during the movie and was clearly over-sugared. Eventually threats of no Wii got him to agree to atleast stay in the booth.

The waitress brought us menus and took our drink orders. We looked at our menus for what seemed like a very long time.

"Where is my water?" Satchel asked.

I looked around and saw that the waitress was busy ringing two people up. "Just a minute," I said calmly.

A few minutes later, he asked again.

I looked around and saw our waitress sitting at a table...eating?

"Uh, just a minute," I said feeling a little thirsty myself.

Warren and I continued to try and figure out what to order. I wanted about ten things! Satchel requested soup. "I want soup too," said Jiro. The Emerald only serves Thai food, no Chinese food like Jasmine, my other favorite Thai restaurant. With no egg drop soup on the menu, I wasn't sure what to get him. I didn't know if Tum Ka would be too spicy...or too coconutty for him.

Our waitress finally came over with our water and I asked for her advice on what to get the kids. She recommended Tofu Soup and Chicken Satay. We ordered the Tofu Soup, but passed on the Chicken Satay since we planned to get the Grilled Chicken with Papaya Pog Pog. We also ordered shrimp and pork dumplings, Pad Rah Nah, and an extra order of sticky rice. (The Grilled Chicken and Papaya Pog Pog comes with sticky rice.)

As soon as the waitress walked off, Satchel started asking, "Where is my soup?"

I looked over at Jiro. He was picking tiny pieces of fallen candy bits off of his shirt and eating them.

"Are you guys hungry or what?" I said.

In an effort to keep them calm, I tried to think of a game we could play. "Okay, I'm thinking of a number, what is it?"

"Fifty!" Satchel guessed.

I shook my head.

"Ten!" said Jiro.


"One hundred and one!" said Satchel.

"No, but it has a one in it," I said.

"I know what it is," said Warren. He whispered in Satchel's ear.


"That's it."

"My turn," said Jiro.

"One hundred and one!" said Satchel.

"Yes," said Jiro. "My turn again!"

"No, it's my turn!" said Satchel.

"Let him go again," I said. "Ten!" I guessed.


"Fifty!" said Warren.


"One hundred and one!" said Satchel.

Jiro smiled. "Yes."

Our pork and shrimp dumplings arrived and we attacked them. Very very yummy. I was able to get Satchel to eat one by describing it as a meatball wrapped in a noodle. He liked it, but said it was a little spicy. This, however, did not stop him from eating it. Jiro agreed to the world's tiniest bite and then said he didn't like it. Fine, more for me!

There were little crunchy things on top of the dumplings that Warren and I couldn't identify. "I think it's fried bits of red pepper," he said.

"But it isn't spicy," I said.

I stopped a passing waitress and inquired. "Fried bits of fresh garlic," she said.

Garlic! How could we not know the taste of garlic?

It was now a little after 8pm and the place was getting packed. There were three large groups, two of which had kids. Babies, really. Babies that made LOTS of noise. I actually liked having the screeching and crying--it drowned out the monkeys' loud talking.

The Tofu Soup arrived next. It was plenty big enough for the boys to split and it had lots of cubed tofu and clear noodles. It also had (frozen) peas and carrots in it. Satchel was fascinated by the almost invisible noodles and dug right in. Jiro requested that I remove all of his peas.

By time I was done de-peaing Jiro's soup, our other food had arrived. I was very happy with the Grilled Chicken and Papaya Pog Pog dish. The grilled chicken was basically Satay Chicken minus the skewers and was served with a dish of my favorite sweet and spicy sauce. The Papaya Pog Pog, which is a spicy salad made from shredded unripened papaya and served cold, was separate and came with half a head of iceberg lettuce. Additionally there was a small container of sticky rice. I love sticky rice! As far as I know The Emerald is the only Thai restaurant in town that serves it. (Jasmine makes a dessert dish with sticky rice, but doesn't serve it with the meal.)

Warren and I wrapped the chicken and papaya in the lettuce and dipped it in the sauce. Then we dipped multiple other variations. I could easily eat a whole container of sticky rice dipped in the sweet & spicy sauce by myself, but since the waitress didn't bring the extra order of sticky rice that I asked for, I tried to control myself and shared with Satchel. Jiro, who is usually a big rice eater, wasn't interested in the sticky rice.

"I'm full from the candy I ate at the movie," he said. "Can I have a quarter now?"

"You're full from the candy you ate at the movie so you can't eat your dinner but now you want a quarter to buy candy out of the machine up front? I don't think so. Eat!"

I went back to my dinner. The Pad Rah Nah, which is flat noodles in a light gravy with kale on top, was okay. Warren liked it, but he had never had it before. The flavor of the gravy was not like I remembered. Satchel had a few bites and liked it too.

I had to take Satchel to the restroom and when we returned Warren had eaten all of the papaya and drank all of my water! Jiro had eaten most of his soup and was ready for a quarter. I sent him and Satchel off to the machines while I finished off the last piece of chicken and paid the tab. When I looked up, I saw the monkeys running laps around the restaurant. Warren was quickly deployed to get them under control and we left without incident.

I totally can't wait to go back.

Emerald Thai Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

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