This month, we threw caution-and dining preferences-to the wind and employed the help of the Urban Spoon iPhone application to make our dining choices. The program works much like a slot machine, with three reels that spin to generate a random combination. One represents a neighborhood, one a type of cuisine and one a price range. Give the phone a shake, and the reels start spinning. When they stop, the result generates a restaurant suggestion.
We locked in specific neighborhoods to ensure geographic diversity and spun again if we came up with a chainrestaurant or a place we’d reviewed before.
Siam Square (936 Virginia Ave., 636-8424) was our first stop-Fountain Square-Thai-$$, just for the record. Fate may have directed us there, but food will be the reason we return.
Everything we tried was excellent, from the flaky goodness of the chicken-stuffed Curry Puffs appetizer ($6.50) to the buttery sweetness of the Roti Rolls dessert ($5.50).
And there was plenty more to like in between.
We ordered from the $7.99 lunch specials lineup, a standing array of popular dishes that come with a small fried spring roll and a cup of spicy soup. The spiciness of each meal can be customized based on the diner’s preference. We like it hot.
Classic Pad Thai was the obvious choice, and a good one. The dish-fried rice noodles mixed with bean sprouts, scallions, peanuts and chicken, for the uninitiated-delivered the expected cornucopia of flavor.
We picked the other meal much like wepick the ponies come Derby time-based entirely on the name. Really, who can pass up something called Kapow? True to its name, the stir-fry (available with chicken or tofu) packed a punch. The peppers, onions and mushrooms were obviously fresh, and the black licorice-like basil was evident without being overpowering.
All in all, it was the best spin of the wheel I’ve had in a long while. And unlike most of my slot machine experiences, I certainly came away feeling like a winner. •