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|ELVIS STIRS UP THE BEST MEMORIES
April 18, 2017 - By Bianca Quilantan, Correspondent for Oroville Mercury Register / Elvis Express Radio
Elvis Presley always seems to pop up in my best memories.
My favorite memories include watching “Lilo and Stitch” as a child, watching my grandfather rock out to “Jailhouse Rock” under the football stadium fireworks and unexpectedly
winning $175 from a slot machine just because I put a dollar in to see Elvis dance. Anytime I see or hear Elvis, whether it be on a soundtrack or on a slot machine, I know something
good is on the horizon.
My latest spotting of “The King” was at a Thai restaurant about 20 minutes east of Chico in a blue and yellow cottage in Paradise.
Sophia’s Thai restaurant, not the one on Nord Avenue but on Skyway in Paradise, looked empty as April, Kasey and I pulled into their driveway.
Because it wasn’t busy, we were seated at a table in the corner under a blue velvet tapestry with silver sequins and gold embroidered thread in the shapes of puffed-out elephants.
Looking around the restaurant, not a single wall was empty. There were elephants carved from wood, welcoming Thai statues paying respect to customers and a large intricately
cut wooden panel.
What looked like family portraits hung on the wall behind the cash register watching over the restaurant. When I asked the waiter who was in the portraits, he laughed and said it
was actually the beloved late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He also mentioned the third portrait was of the Thai king with “The King,” Elvis. I laughed and knew in my gut then that I
had chosen a good restaurant.
However, the menu wasn’t exactly cheap. For Thai food, it was reasonable, but I knew I was going to struggle to have enough for a tip on my Starving Student budget. After we
looked at the menu for a while, I struggled between ordering yellow curry or chili-garlic basil with beef. I chose the pad kra prao, a beef chili-garlic basil dish with jasmine rice and a
tall glass of free water to accompany it. Luckily, Kasey ordered the curry and I definitely snuck a taste of it, with her permission of course.
As we sat and waited for our food to come out, I noticed the dining room did not have any music playing. So, we sat and listened to the hum of electric appliances during our
conversation pauses. Shortly after, our food came and the hum was replaced with the clinking of forks on our plates.
When my plate was put in front of me, all I wanted to do was waft the smell of basil and garlic. The plate was loaded with vegetables. Snow peas, green beans, zucchini, sweet red
peppers, bamboo chutes and sweet basil were stir fried in a beef, chili-garlic base that brought the dish together. Plain jasmine rice was also the perfect pairing to the flavorful Thai
Kasey’s curry was served in a blue and white bowl in the shape of a fish. The curry sauce was a bit thin, but it had coconut, curry, turmeric and a spicy kick to it that was addicting. I
just had to take one more spoon of it.
After tasting the curry, I couldn’t help but think that the pad kra prao I ordered could have used a small touch of heat.
I sinned by doctoring a small portion of the dish with Sriracha. It needed some kind of spicy kick, but the Sriracha destroyed the delicate beef, basil and garlic balance. Next time, I
will ask for the dish to be made spicy or might even order the yellow curry because of its flavorful kick.
Either way, I will be back soon. “The King” spotting, as usual, did not fail me and neither did Sophia’s.
Bianca Quilantan is a Chico State University student. Each week she is asked to find a meal that costs no more than $10.50 (one hour at minimum wage), including tip, and then
write about it. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.