We used to love the food at Thai Garden in Oceanside, but we didn’t keep track of the original owner and original manager, Paisan. Imagine our glee when Paisan appeared at the door at Ricedle Thai Cuisine, an unimposing storefront in the Albertsons shopping center across from Rancho Buena Vista High. Like all sensible businesses, they downsized about eight years ago and hand decorated the small space at 1614 South Melrose Drive, Vista.
“We did the wood cutouts right here, in the back,” Paisan said of the attractive dividers. On the wall opposite the long group of tables is an Indian, and presumably Hindu, wood carving of a battle between good and evil. It’s worth the trip to the place to see it. Paisan said the comfortable plastic chairs came from Pier I and the handsome bookcase with Thai artifacts is sure enough, from Thailand.
But as impressive as the effort put into the décor is, even more impressive is the effort put into the food. All sauces, and they are the backbone of real Thai cooking, are homemade. This is a real badge of honor when so much Thai stuff can be purchased already done at the oriental market.
John ordered a No. 10, orange peel with beef for $6.99. Letty was curious about and therefore ordered the house special for $9. The latter turned out to be celery, onion, and chicken stir fried in a special Mango and Sticky Rice. A traditionally fine and classic Thai dessert did not disappoint us at $4.99.
Full of admiration and Thai food, we picked up a take-out menu and observed that the place was full when we checked in at noon, emptied out while we dawdled, then begin to fill again at 1 p.m. From the attire of the patrons, it seemed to be a businessman’s lunch kind of place. Paisan related that his old Thai Garden friends arrived from time to time from city hall. (I couldn’t tell if he meant Oceanside or Vista.)
It was a thoroughly wonderful lunch with 13 lucky lunch specialties for $6.99 to seafood for $9.99. An equally glorious regular menu was also available, with soups and salads and curries, of course, noodle and Chinese classics.
The unfathomable “Ricedle” name on the marquee was leftover from the Chinese restaurant before the Thai bunch took over. Paisan explained it was a contraction of Rice and Noodle. He said, like us, nobody pronounced it right.
Ricedle is closed on Sunday but open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. They also offer catering. Call (760) 599-9982 for more information.
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