The experience

It was another on the fly decision for what to eat today.  I had to round this morning.  Ogre doesn’t really like breakfast, so I tell him I’m okay with lunch since I had a pumpkin loaf slice and coffee this morning.  We decide to have Asian food and Ogre heads to The Green Papaya.

The Green Papaya


We drive up and realize that it’s valet only.  Thankfully, it’s complimentary. We walk up and see that they open at 12 o’clock.  Seems that we’re just in time for opening.  We decide to sit inside and have our drink Vietnamese Iced Coffeeorders taken.  Mina frowns at me when I order water for her. Ogre orders a Vietnamese Iced Coffee.  We start looking over the menu while Mina pulls out her trusty bag of markers and crayons and things to color on.  Once again, great idea, Mi, since they don’t have anything for kids to play with here.  I look over to see that it’s a placemat for coloring on from Hooters (Ogre tells her that the restaurant is called “Hoos.”)

Mina Coloring


The waiter comes back with our drinks and talks to each of the kids when he hands them their waters.    Benjamin wants Ogre to blow the straw paper cover thing off the straw.  Benjamin doesn’t understand why that can’t be done over and over again, so he cries.  We are not quite ready to order because most of the time is spent trying to keep Benjamin from crying.  I hand him one of Mina’s markers, but it’s kind of a choking hazard because he wants to put the lid in his mouth.  He is really angry when that is taken away.  I give him a crayon instead.  Ogre asks me what I’m going to order and I am tell him that I’m going to order the “beef cubes” he says he thought that was what I was going to order, which is surprising, because I would’ve thought I’d order a pork dish.  He is still perusing the menu and has made no indication that he has his heart set on anything in particular.  In fact, when the waiter comes back over, I double check to make sure he is even ready.

We order the Green Papaya Sampler.  We also order an order of fried rice for the kids.  The waiter asks me if I’m sure about that because it’s “a lot.”  I tell him that there’s really nothing else to order for the kids, so he tells me he will make a smaller order of the Fried Rice for them.  That sounds great!  I order the “beef cubes, number 50″ (Bo Luc Lac) and the waiter tells me I should order the beef flank steak, #51(Bo Nuong Xa)  because it tastes much better.  He tells me he’ll put the sauce from #50 on it, I agree, sounds good!  Ogre then asks the waiter about some various things and orders the Flat Noodle Plate with Shrimp.  Again, no indication that there are any problems with ordering lunch

As soon as the waiter leaves, I feel a glare coming from Ogre’s side of the table.  What? I ask him.  Apparently, HE was going to order the #51, he says he’s been “dreaming” of the beef with lemongrass and chili sauce and was looking forward to it on the drive here.   I am totally like, “huh?” He never gave any indication of this until that very minute!  And, I tell him, why not just order that then??  Mine is going to have a different sauce.  He says that he thought the sauce would just be on the side and that we “couldn’t order the same thing.”  Uhhh, okay.  Well, what’s done is done.  We have to get back to entertaining fussy Benji.  I try to point out the fishes in the aquarium and have him focus on the misters (which he is calling “buh-bo” (bubbles).  This is only slightly helpful; it’s too the point of misery where I even suggest that we should move outside as the restaurant is getting crowded and as Mina asked me earlier, this is a quiet restaurant.  We also have to remind Mina to be quiet as for some reason she is speaking at the top of her lungs: “MOMMY!  WHAT COLOR DO YOU WANT ME TO USE FOR THE FLOWERS??!”  Jeez.  At some point, there becomes a critical mass in the restaurant that actually makes the restaurant a little louder so that Benji and Mina are less audible.  We decide to stay inside.

Luckily, the appetizer and fried rice arrive.  Benjamin says, “Wow!”  We portion out food to everyone and Benjamin is a little happier.  It’s fun to try the different items on the sampler plate.  Mina likes the crispy spring rolls, but finds the dipping sauces too spicy. 

Mina asks for some ketchup and I tell her that I don’t think they have that here.  She says I should ask the waiter.  We go back and forth on this and I tell her I will ask when the waiter comes by.  When the waiter comes back to ask her how she likes the fried rice I can feel Mina boring holes into my skull with her eyes.  Oh yeah, do you have any ketchup?  The waiter tells me he’ll find out.  He’s gone for a little bit, but when her returns…Ketchup!  I have to look over at Mina again because I can feel the eyes.  “Told you.” She says as she dips her breaded shrimp in the ketchup and takes a smug bite.

Ogre and I each have our favorites from the platter and ones we like less, and not entirely surprisingly, our opinions differ.  Just as we finish up the appetizer, our entrees arrive.  Looks great!  I can feel Ogre’s stinkeye as I bite into mine.  He makes some comments to me about how he should be having that for lunch today.  I tell him that we can switch, but he doesn’t think I’ll like his.  Our little monster continues to eat and fuss and eat and fuss.  He wants “mo mo,” but I explain to Ogre, his plate has to be taken by the rice and he has to see the rice added to his plate for him to be content.  Ogre was trying to just spoon rice onto his plate and in Benjamin’s world that is not the same it just makes things worse.  Mina is requesting to go to the bathroom.  Ogre offers to take her so that I can “enjoy my lunch even more.”  While they are gone, I sing the “Baby Turtle” song four times to keep Benjamin entertained.   

Benji using chopsticks

The waiter comes back to check to see if I like my lunch and I tell him that it is tasty.  Ogre needn’t worry though, I never finish my lunch so he can have my leftovers.  I try some of Ogre’s and, actually, I like it a lot, more so than mine.  He doesn’t believe me, though.  I tell him that we can switch entrees.  Mina is asking me to help her use the chopsticks so I stand up to help her.  Ogre thinks that we are switching seats, and since that is actually a great idea, we switch seats to enjoy each other’s lunch.  Ogre gives some of the beef to both Mina and Benjamin who like it a lot!  Once they finish that up, I tell Ogre to take Benjamin outside because he is still alternating with tolerating lunch and crying about it.  Mina still needs to finish her green beans.  I ask for the check and encourage Mina to finish up so we can leave.  While I wait for her to finish up and get the check paid, I clean up Benjamin’s mess.  Our waiter comes back by with the ticket and tells me that there’s no need to do that, he says, “Mom, that’s why you go out to eat, right?”

Good point.


The food

Green Papaya SamplerI must admit, that I prefer sort of traditional Vietnamese food.  I would classify this as a little more upscale.  Don’t get me wrong, our food tasted great (definitely above average), I just prefer to feel like I’m eating at one of my Vietnamese friends’ houses. From our appetizer plate, I thought the crispy spring rolls were very tasty, but it was Ogre’s least favorite.  I like fish sauce, though -Filipinos eat it as a condiment to many of our dishes and it did have quite the fish sauce flavor.  We both LOVED the fresh spring rolls.  They were very fresh and had a nice proportion of shrimp, bean sprouts and vermicelli.  Neither one of us were able to try the breaded shrimp since we gave those to Mina.  The shrimp toasts put off Ogre just by the description, but when he tasted it, he said it tasted better than he expected.  Again, I liked it, but it did have a strong shrimp paste flavor. 


Beef Flanksteak with Lemongrass and Chili SauceFlat Noodles with ShrimpWe all agreed that the fried rice was very good, not too salty, but definitely flavorful.  The lemongrass beef dish was very good; I bet that it tastes better without the garlic sauce; it was a little on the sweeter side.  This entree comes with rice and steamed vegetables, which is definitely a nice addition to “dilute” the sweetness of the sauce and beef.  Ogre’s entree, the Flat Noodles with Shrimp, was nice and light.  It tasted very fresh.   These two dishes might be fun to share among two people! 

There is no kids menu here, but our waiter was very accomodating for us. 


The service

Our waiter was fabulous.  He interacted with the kids, acted like they weren’t a problem, even though CLEARLY they were kind of annoying today.  He offered up some solutions to feeding them and told me not to clean up after them!  It was overall a very good experience!


The kids

Not outwardly kid-friendly, but seems to be kid accomodating.  There’s nothing to here to help keep the kids occupied, so learn from Mina and bring your own crayons and paper.  There’s not a kids menu, so take a peek at the menu before you come or cross your fingers that you get this waiter!

What did Guidelive say?

Total:  $47.74

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