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Lard Prik at Thai Village

I am one of those annoying white people who order the triple-star hot dishes at restaurants and then request that the chef make them mild. When I lived in India, I developed a high tolerance for spice ("Look ma, no raita!"), but six years later I am a giant pussy when it comes to heat.

And because I like the flavor of peppers but not the accompanying burning in my ears, nose, and throat, I asked for "toned down" vegetarian Lard Prik (deep-fried tofu with onions and carrots in chili sauce) when ordering takeaway from Thai Village.

But here's the sick thing. Even though I always emphatically insist on a "mild, PLEASE" version, I secretly hope the restaurant slips up and adds a little spice. (I guess I am a has-been hot food addict hoping to regain her once-high tolerance.)

Thai Village miraculously fulfilled this desire. The waiter graciously acknowledged my request for mild Lard Prik, but the succulent, sweet sauce still had a pleasant slap o' spice to it. A generous side order of nutty brown rice prevented the slap from becoming a full-blown punch. Also helpful in balancing the chili were the robust carrots and onions and juicy tofu: a nice bonus considering the vegetable and protein components of Thai dishes are often just vehicles for the sauce.

I need to stop playing games. Next time maybe I'll have enough courage to order a red bolded and/or starred entree from the get-go.

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Joanna O'Leary