"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I just got here, and there's a line down the street already, and I know we said we were going to have a nice leisurely dinner beforehand, but...how committed are we to having our 13 year-old selves high-five our 28 year-old selves because we finally got to stand up front at a Backstreet Boys concert?"
"Oh...We are SO committed."
And that's how my good friend Melinda and I ended up eating Thai takeout (chopsticks and all) while standing outside in line for two hours at Bayou Center before attending a 90s hit boy band concert.
Because this is what it means to be legitimate. To give your proverbial Teenage Inner Self a break. To say, "I don't care if I have to be on my feet for a total of 5 hours, despite twitching knees and achy back, and be out well past my bedtime of 9:00 - er, I mean 10:00 - on a Wednesday night. I don't care. Darn you adulthood, and responsibility, and significantly less amount of energy! You, my Teenage Inner Self, deserve this. You, who wore out numerous CDs from countless listens, as you feverishly professed your love for Nick Carter in pages upon pages of your diary. You, who studied their dances for hours upon end and subjected everyone around you to attending your 'performances' of their numbers. You, who went to four concerts, and sat so far away you couldn't even make out their faces, but didn't care because just being in their presence (albeit 800 MILLION yards away) was magical. You, my sensitive, unabashed, bright-eyed, heartsick Teenage Inner Self? You deserve this."
But you're also pushing 30, and if you're about to do this marathon of a concert, good God, you can't skip dinner.
Downtown's Padthai Thai Restaurant is perfectly located just a few blocks away from Bayou Place. The inside is minimalist, light, and bright, and the employees are incredibly friendly and accommodating.
Melinda and I both ordered the Pad Se Ew - Hers with chicken, and mine with mock duck. Which, I must tell you, I was beyond elated about. I've had trouble finding Thai places in Houston that offer vegetarian duck. Often when I ask for it, I'll get a blank stare and a "Do you mean tofu?" response (No. I NEVER mean tofu). So even though Padthai Thai's menu does not indicate that they offer mock duck, they do! And I was so happy!
Side note: They also were very concerned with my vegetarian eating habits. When I ordered the Pad Se Ew with mock duck, the woman I spoke with said, "You know the dish has egg in it, right?" "Oh, that's fine - I'm not a vegetarian, I just like vegetarian duck!"
But it was absolutely delicious.
I cannot imagine a better "Standing in Line for Hours with one of Your High School Besties, Anxiously Waiting to see Your Childhood Heartthrobs" meal. The noodle dish was so flavorful and filling, and the delightful mock duck (seriously, you gotta try it) filled a void that had been growing within me since I left NYC (which is abundant with mock duck).
So one day when you find yourself in a similar situation (because, come on, you will), I definitely recommend Padthai Thai. But this would be a good meal regardless. It has definitely been my favorite Thai experience in Houston so far!
You are my fire, the one desire. Believe when I say, I want it thaaaaat way....