Sometimes a Staycation is just what you need to clear out the cobwebs and jumpstart creativity. I was in a writing funk after committing and finishing that horrible Grey series (bad writing is NOT good for writers, even if it does make one randy). My girlfriend Deb (the Gluten Free founder of La Pizza Senza Glutenata) told me I needed to sample the wonder that is Baywood Park, so we set out of a small adventure in a quaint town.
Baywood Park is on the bay side of Los Osos, an oasis with a gentle lapping shore and the sound of the seabirds resounding at each cove. We started with a hike around the neighborhood with a combination of beach shacks, creative architecture, sweeping colonial dwellings, charming Inn’s and a few eateries, I was enchanted. I toured the Baywood Inn Bed and Breakfast and instantly booked the Quimper room for the weekend to finish a writing project that had been evading my brain. This is a perfect place to escape, unwind and restore with its sweeping views, full breakfast, wine and cheese in the afternoon and such delightful chambers (www.baywoodinn.com).
With a “Sawadee” (hello in Thai) we settled into enjoy Little Noi’s Thai Takeout for lunch. This Thai palace is also an art studio, Zen garden and yoga cottage, using small space to effect large tranquility. As a food-to-go place with a few tables outside and all food served in take away containers, the sheer volume of customers surprised and delighted me. The menu is simple and straightforward with a different curry being made every day of the week.
We started with a set of vegetarian egg rolls that came with a spicy/sweet sauce that I poured over left over rice and devoured. I ordered the Pad Prik King that is a spicy combination of chopped chicken, sautéed with cut green beans, curry and ribbons of lime leaf. I ordered mine “Thai Hot” as there is a difference between American and Thai hot and I prefer the fiery version. Served over jasmine rice gave it the cooling factor to make it complete. My friend had the Pad Thai, a classic dish made different by every Thai cook, but I adored the authenticity of this one with crushed peanuts, small rice noodles, chicken (you can choose any meat or vegetarian), scrambled egg, green beans and onions. Garnished with cabbage to squelch the small blaze, this is a dish I would return for. We also shared the Tofu Stir with peapods, cabbage, broccoli, onions, green pepper, tofu and ginger. The ginger added a real snap to this delectable dish.
I talked with Noi and Ron Miner (the owners, she is the cook) and they told me that they designed the space with bits and pieces of Asian artifacts, art and collectables to enhance the Thai food experience. Their main focus is to serve the highest quality rice and noodle dishes with pride and to foster warmth and good feelings within the diner’s heart and soul. This is rare and wonderful trait in a chef.
After the meal, we strolled the Monday Farmer’s Market (having celebrity sightings of almost every great chef in the area buying delectable vegetables and fruits). I perceived why the food was so fresh and wonderful at Noi’s. This huge market is seeded with amazing farmers offering the best of Central Coast produce, spices and treats. I bought 10 pounds of Empire Apples (the best apple in the world) from Sea Canyon, tuberose soaps shaped like mermaids, a blueberry/lemon custom made peanut butter cup from the Joycup Company and a bourbon/maple salt from Anna’s Spices. Then I had a delightful fresh pressed juice from Heather’s Healthy Living, bought some custom Lemon Pepper spice (which I put it on my popcorn) from Spice of Life and argued over which onion was the sweetest. We ran into more chefs, shared recipes and literally filled my trunk with organic veggies for the week.
I returned with the grandson for a hike thru the elfin forest and to try the Masaman Curry on Thursday. I dream about this bisque and haven’t had it prepared fittingly since I returned from Thailand. Noi’s offers this comforting soup with flawless flavor. Chopped chicken swimming in a coconut milk, tamarind juice with a Masaman curry paste with red potato, peanuts, and onions. We spooned it over brown rice and delighted in this ideal technique of paring food with a serene sense of beauty. The boy impressed them with his proper “kob kun kaa” (thank you) when they brought his chicken and rice kids meal.
If you go to Noi’s, you must be prepared. They only take cash and if you are in a hurry, call ahead as even in this tiny town, this small restaurant has many patrons. I have become one of the regulars. Noi’s Little Thai Takeout is located at 1288 2nd Street, Baywood Park; call them at (805) 528-6647. They are open Monday thru Saturday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.