Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
If you are one of those people who wish to believe that this dish was inspired by the sight of Tatar horsemen placing pieces of meat under their saddles to tenderize it because they couldn’t find the time to stop and do it properly what with their hectic nomadism and all, you would be in the wrong. The Tatars did, in fact, placed meat under their saddles, but it was to help heal and guard against saddle sores for their poor, overworked horses.
Sweat-soaked, sore-healing meat. Sounds delicious.
The first thing you see when you walk into this self-described modern bistro are the sparkling cases stuffed with rich piles of handmade chocolates and pastries. That decadent display alone would be enough to draw one back to Shokolaat, but I was after quite another attraction: a meatloaf sandwich.
Office workers are captive diners. Since people will pay more for convenient bad food in the middle of the day, lunch spots charged with feeding the downtown drones know their registers will ring regardless of how good their wares are. For every self-described foodie frantically mining for diamonds in the roughest of roughs, there are a dozen people who, at least for an hour or so, don’t care.