there's always room for another serving
Ever since I lived in Evanston in the late 90′s and discovered red curry (panang), I’ve been addicted to Thai food. My young palate saw it as kind of a bridge between Indian and Chinese cuisine – all the aromatic fragrance and complexity of Indian with many of the vegetables and meats I’d grown up getting delivered to my house in little white boxes with metal handles.
Truth be told, I never ventured too much past the red curry dish. I loved it so much I thought about carrying it around in a thermos and drinking it like coffee. That, alas, was when I was 20 years old, and couldn’t get past 145 pounds if you had me hooked up to an IV filled with brown butter. Today, I have to be a little smarter.
Jessy and I live close to a little place called Cozy Noodles and Rice – on the corner of Sheffield and Cornelia, just a few blocks south of Wrigley Field. There’s also one in Evanston, though I don’t think I ever ate there. Not only is the Wrigley restaurant itself unique, but they make incredibly good Thai food that’s also amazingly cheap. And they deliver. I’ve expanded my love affair with Thai food and found the menu items that are a little less filled with coconut milk, sugar and vegetable oil and a little more filled with fresh vegetables and proteins.
The entire restaurant is painted a bright yellow color and is filled with a mix of mid-century toys and kitch. Even the tables are converted from old sewing machines!
My new go to dish is the Pad See Ewe with Tofu (pictured left). Even though this is the “health section” of the blog, I will say that there’s a decent amount of oil and simple carbs in this dish. That being said, there’s also a ton of fresh broccoli and tofu, along with some of the chewiest noodles I’ve eaten. I’ve had this dish a number of places and Cozy does it best. Another dish we discovered is the Dumpling Noodles (pictured right). These thin egg noodles are submerged in a aromatic broth filled with shrimp dumplings, broccoli, bean sprouts, and topped with a nice portion of “chinese style” BBQ pork. I recommend eating the Dumpling Noodles in the restaurant, while the Pad See Ewe tastes just as wonderful when delivered.
Overall, I’ve tried about a dozen dishes at Cozy. Many of their dishes are lightly pan-fried and are packed with spices, veggies, and, if you chose, lean proteins like chicken or tofu. Most of their appetizers, which are also great, come both deep fried or steamed – and the steamed versions are always mildly flavored with the familiar notes of fresh Thai basil, bean curd and peanut.
My days of weekly panang Consume.ption are probably gone. Luckily, with Cozy Noodles and Rice, I don’t miss it one bit.