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Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'VE GONE STIR CRAZY

Sir Crazy is a great name for a restaurant, and even if it is in a mall and part of a chain, this is a fun place to go.

Stir Crazy features Asian cuisine: Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese. It offers a “build your own” meal as well as a menu from which you can select their special dishes. Everything is fresh, and vegetables rule here, so you can be comfortable in making your selections.

The Stir Crazy in the Palisades Mall in Rockland County, NY is a big place, all curves and modern d├ęcor. Paintings of Asian influence line the walls, and the color scheme is black and maple. There’s a nice modern feel. On the tables are bottles of Cholula hot sauce imported from Mexico, the same sauce we’ve seen in Mexican restaurants in Texas and California, and the one that is in our kitchen cabinet because Rob says it’s the best. While tables are set with western utensils, chop sticks located in a holder on the tables invite you to leave your inhibitions behind and get into the swing of things. It’s part of the experience and part of the fun.

We’ve been to Mongolian barbecue before, and we liked it. Stir Crazy works similarly. What’s nice for newcomers is that all the directions are in the menu. First you choose your protein—meat, chicken, vegetarian, or fish. You choose the noodle or rice you wish to accompany your dish. Then you choose your vegetables—from a wide sampling of about 30. Add your spices. Your sauce comes next, and the 12 varieties which are labeled vegetarian, slightly spicy and spicy. You bring your little wok holder to the chef who dramatically cooks up your scrumptious combination, and then you do the best thing—you eat it!

Today, however, we chose right from the menu, and none of us is sorry.

Carol and I chose Pad Thai with chicken, thin rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts, egg and ground peanuts in a classic Thai style sweet sauce. This was Carol’s first taste of Thai food, and she loves it. Everything included is exactly to her liking. I concur, and we munch contentedly. Rob chooses Mongolian Beef with mushrooms, scallions and red chili peppers in a sweet and spicy sauce served on a bed of crispy glass noodles. It’s labeled as slightly spicy. Hmmmmm He loves his too, but as I see him with his hot red peppers, I know I am much better off with Pad Thai.

Carol makes a good observation when she notes that the lack of our usual chatter is proof positive that we three have chosen correctly. Makes sense to me.

To escape the usual mall food, find a place like Stir Crazy. You’ll enjoy! Visit their website for other locations.
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