i saw this seattle times article about the christopher kong, son of the owners of the italian restaurant perche' no, only a few weeks after i met the kid.
if you've never been to perche' no, then give it a go. it's just south of green lake, and although it's as expensive as you'd expect, i really really enjoyed the food. i can't remember the names of anything we ate except the ravioli, or i'd give you our menu.
we'd gone to celebrate jeanette's birthday, and lily (the mom) prepared a special menu for us that lasted all night. it was friggin awesome. (we started around 7:30 and left sometime after 11 pm.) i should mention that jeanette has been going to perche' no for a long time now and so the owners know her by name. lily made her a sign that said happy birthday, and she took her picture and came out to visit numerous times throughout the evening. she even gave us a tour of the rooftop and sat us down to take a picture up there as well. and this may be what they are best at - lily and david really know how to reach out to their customers. all throughout the night, customers would call to her by name, "hello, lily!" or "thank you, lily!" (her husband david is less-polished and some of his comments bordered on the crass and the uncomfortable, especially there at the end of the night. you can ask our friend laura about this. [laura? did you yelp about our trip there or not?])
before continuing, here is a link to the article about christopher:
so on the way out, lily had mentioned that she grew up in thailand, (so we spoke some thai to each other,) and that her son christopher had just returned from a trip to southeast asia - that morning! he got in at 6:00 in the morning and then turned around and unbelievably came into the restaurant to help cook that evening. i stopped to speak to him about his trip, and about what he'd learned, and specifically about Laos. he was kind of busy behind the counter cooking something or nother, but he conversed with me a bit anyways. they were already planning for their first (or second?) asian cuisine night, and lily had given me a flier about it. well, christopher told me about learning asian cooking in malaysia and then traveling around for a bit afterwards.
"yeah, we traveled all night to get to luang prabang, and stayed there a couple of days before going to vientiane." he told me.
"what did you think?" i asked.
"well, there wasn't anything in vientiane, so we left that next day for thailand."
for those of you have been blessed to go to Laos, insert your own commentary here. for the rest of you, i will insert mine: WTH? if christopher was "eating his way through...Laos," then a few days just ain't doing Laos justice. wow, khao poun, khao soy, tammakhoung, laap, kaeng nommai alone would take you more than a few days. as they say, why eat at all if you ain't gonna eat in Laos? (they do say that, trust me.) but i know that not everybody has the Laos bug like me. (that is figurative, i ain't talking about traveler's diarrhea.) in fact, while at the Lao restaurant in south seattle, a white friend once said to me after i passed them the tammakhoung and they caught a whiff of the padek: "get that away from me! i'm gonna throw up!"
i spent a lot of money on therapy after that one.
but don't get me wrong; christopher is definitely the real deal in how he stuck it out in his homeland... so i might just go to one of these asian cuisine nights at an italian restaurant - just so i can see what all he learned while off in malaysia in that open air kitchen. i'm not expecting much padek in my food though... so imma have to sit at home and eat that all by myself...