The lunch destination of choice was situated in Baldwin Village in Kensington Market. Koh Lipe emerged triumphant after a compilation of Insta-research results. It supposedly specialized in Southern Thai food, offering up the fiery plates within a two-story non-air-conditioned building or on a patio deck as steamy as the dishes themselves.
Our patio waitress, on the other hand, did not exhibit the same degree of cheerfulness, and instead expressed confusion when asked about the availability of chilled items on the menu. "All our dishes are served hot." She spat after several attempts of inquiry. "Nothing is served cold. Except for dessert." which, might I suggest, is pretty self-explanatory.
A different waitress retrieved the item from the kitchen, which had transferred the piping bowl to a plastic black tray for portability. Nearing our table on the patio though, she discovered its radiating heat levels, expressed uncertainty towards setting it down safely, but ultimately placed it before me without scalding either of us. The bowl was, without a doubt, far steamier than I had desired on such a scorching day, especially being seated under direct sunlight.
Suprisingly enough, the ceramic bowl cooled quickly, soon enabling us to sample the lime-enhanced coconut-y soup. A tad less viscous and a tad tarter than Jatujak's version, it served as the perfect 2-in-1 solution for rehydration and refueling before proceeding with the rest of the day.
Washrooms were located inside the restaurant on the second floor atop a steep flight of stairs: two stalls that were so compact they questioned user comfort.
We trekked a few steps east to Hattendo afterwards. A peaceful breeze welcomed us at Kekou Gelato's successor.
A few other patrons had filed into the establishment at the same time as us, resulting in the formation of a short lineup in the small space.
Expecting to lay eyes on the more customary cross-hatched cookie covering, surprise was expressed at the sight of the denser almond flour alternative. It was grittier than the typical Melon Pan, and, while still delicious, not exactly my plate of carb. Ringing in at nearly five dollars after tax, it wasn't a particularly budget-friendly find either. In its defense, the matcha choux was delicious, on par with (and possibly even more fragrant than) Tsujiri.
En route, we passed by Little Pebbles, Ding Dong Snacks, and a tea shop that had replaced Kiss the Tiramisu. Colourful ads highlighting promotions on thirst-quenching fruit tea ads drew us in, and, before we knew it, we were taking advantage of the BOGO deal on Monet Garden.
Heeding the recommendation of the cashier, we performed a process of preference elimination from the top threw options. Monet Garden was most appealing with its combination of refreshing watermelon, sweet strawberry, and invigorating citrus components in green tea. Even at levels of zero percent sugar, it was more than sufficient in the sweetness department - an exhibition of ripeness.
I headed north to K-Town, and settled down at the nearby Starbucks - quite uncomfortably, might I add - while in wait for other members of the group.
Eventually, some thirty minutes after the scheduled meet-up time, the remainder of the group waltzed through the entrance. By this time, a few orders of meat had already been put in.
Amusing it was that the early birds were immediately asked for age identification, but the unpunctual ones were not.
The sly felon of a bowl-cutted server threatened to charge three dollars for each additional basket of lettuce, when only partial leaves had been provided to start. I voiced that this was unacceptable, considering that I had received unlimited refills previously without issues.
He responded with a blank stare, "It's not up to me."
"Who is it up to?" I stood my ground.
"Is he here?"
"Ok well then." I looked away, then back at him, a silent indication to bring a member of greater authoritative power forward.
Operating on a foundation of deceit, corruption, and rock-bottom morals is outright revolting, and I'd strongly advise against Mapo unless you'd also like a stab of poor ethics. Goodbye forever.