As a parent, I’m a firm believer in fostering independence. When it came time to teach my brood how to swim, I didn’t just throw them in the ocean. That’s silly. I also made sure they went armed with an ice pick. This was so they could not only chip away at the concrete boots weighing them down, but also stab at the hand holding them under. And if they still found themselves buoyant afterwards… congratulations, little swimmers! You’re paddling like a champion and momma saved herself a summer of driving your ass to lessons. The moral(?) here is not that giving weapons to children solves most things (says the mother of a 12-year-old with an air rifle collection), but that life is hard and sometimes you have to ice pick a bitch.
We’re taught that having a gentle understanding of the way the world works is enough to survive. This is true, but it also sets us on a long, arduous climb to the middle. I believe in individual excellence and, sadly, that often means culling ourselves from the herd (says the property manager chained to a desk all day). Now I don’t advocate anarchy, either. There’s a difference between fighting to get ahead and just fighting to have your little way. Too many adults lack the wisdom to understand this distinction—although I hear there’s now a club for people that think they can do whatever they want. It’s called prison or something. Yes, you should always strive to reach your full potential (conformity be damned) but also strive to keep your craziness out of the world.
The owner of today’s ReKimmendation is the epitome of these ideals. I know her as Lee, but whether that’s her married, maiden or Christian name has yet to be determined. She’s a little firecracker (Russell calls her the Thai version of me) and to say she runs Kinaly Thai Restaurant would be an insult to feet and ambulation. From hosting, to waitressing, refilling water, bussing, making minor chitchat, making major chitchat, bagging leftovers and handling the bill, I’ve never seen another employee there and I’ve never seen anyone employed harder. Peek in the kitchen when she disappears and you may even see her cooking.
Aside. I’ve been in real estate (off and on) for over a decade. If nothing else, I’m qualified to tell you that when it comes to running a business… location, location and, oh, location. Lee looked deep into this hackneyed phrase and said shun! Not only is her restaurant inconveniently (and invisibly) located between two awkward off-ramps, it’s in an area of San Marcos so unsavory the strip mall has posted signs informing valued guests that their insurance blanket will not cover vehicle fires. Which is more disconcerting: that they won’t pony up if your ride gets torched, or that it happens so often a sign became necessary?
And, yet, the place is always busy, packed with people that are always smiling. I’ve been there four times in the last month (twice in one day no less) and seldom is there an empty table. Is it the food? Partly. Thai food is like pizza: even when it’s bad it’s still badass. Luckily, Kinaly is total foodie goodness from larb to pad kee mow. It has the best Thai iced tea (which is the milkshake that brings me to the yard) I’ve ever had. It’s also very affordable, which is hard to find in San Marcos with its stupid Restaurant Row prices.
The star attraction, however, is my little Lee. No doubt she’s ice picked a bitch or two and is exactly the type of lovable matriarch I’d want to be (should I ever turn The White Trash Gourmet into a thang). All that hard work has also made her fun-sized, which gives me hope for my widening ass. I realize I’ve mostly reviewed a person rather than their culinary contributions. Well… tough shit. It’s rare to find true providence in this world and we must treasure it whenever we do. Objectivism from Thai food? Yeah, I’m freaking amazing.