Yearning for something special around lunch time today, I stopped into a Thai and Vietnamese Bistro, The Lotus Leaf Café (in Cary, North Carolina). Nestled in the corner of a shopping center, on the crossroad of Harrison and Maynard I found a lunch that provided something exciting and exceeded all of my expectations. Sitting on the patio with a co-worker, drinking Japanese beer in the midst of a sunny day, I began to snap photos of the dishes as they were presented to us.
Wanting to experience several different dishes, we began with the Thai Spring Rolls and the Vietnamese Fresh Summer Rolls. The two sets of rolls couldn’t have been more different from one another.
The Thai Spring Rolls were filled with a slew of chicken and cabbage, with cellophane noodles, carrots, scallion, and cilantro in the mix. These rolls were served with a light, homemade sweet and sour sauce that complimented the crispy fried treats.
The Vietnamese Summer Rolls were wrapped in a transparent piece of steamed rice paper, which let you observe the contents with ease. I could identify shrimp, lettuce, rice, cucumbers, mango, cilantro and mint resting inside of the translucent wrap. A perfectly fresh treat, served with a side of the house made peanut sauce.
The next dish set before us, presented itself as a small bowl with big flavor. A few shitake mushrooms hovering around the surface of a powerful broth. Garnished with a few thin slices of scallion, a bit of lime and submerged chicken bits, the simple vegetable and chicken soup was vastly cherished; even in the presence of a bright sunny day.
The Main Event
The entrees were showcased as the pinnacle of our meal. The Drunken Noodles lay before me in a giant pile of succulent rice noodles stir-fried and littered with pieces of chicken, bell peppers, carrots, onion, scallion, tomatoes, and lettuce, garnished with fresh basil and dressed in a garlic-chili sauce. The word satisfaction in an injustice to my feelings while devouring my monthly allowance of carbohydrates.
Across the table
I see my comrade, embarking on his own adventure in the form of a traditional Pad Thai, consisting of thin rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, bean sprouts, and egg, garnished with scallions and roasted peanuts. On the side of the plate he has a serving of fresh lime and a Thai chili powder.
We sit in silence while partaking in the onslaught of eastern delicacies that lay before us. We finish the meal with a simple slice of watermelon, the crisp piece of fruit refreshes my palate and leaves me felling grateful for such a perfect lunch. The Lotus Leaf Café becomes an instant favorite in Cary.