The Smiling Elephant

We have a restaurant here in Nashville known as The Smiling Elephant. It’s a great place to eat and relax.

I was obliged to eat lunch there the other day while my pet Guinea pig was at the vets down the street being neutered.

I’m not adverse at trying new places to eat but I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know a damn thing about Thai food. I was pleasantly surprised.

For my drink, I ordered Lemon Grass tea. That sounded pretty straight forward to me—might taste like funny lemonade, and I thought it was worth a try.

The tea was almost to my liking. It tasted more like grass than lemon and could have used a sweetener, but what-the-hey, I was savouring the experience by putting-on-airs at a fancy restaurant while my Guinea pig was being “altered”.

I ordered the special. I can’t pronounce the name of the dish but it had a couple of “moo’s” in it. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me because the dish was mostly curried pork over rice. Why would a pork dish have the word moo in its name? Pigs don’t moo, that would be a cow, or beef–not pork.

The K-something moo C-something moo came with half a barbequed egg. I’m not kidding, the description of the dish included one-half of a barbequed egg. I asked the waiter which half of the egg they used. He replied the right half. I then asked him what they did with the other half. Sensing that he was on the spot here to come up with another witty answer, a glint came to his eye and he came back with “we use it in another dish”.

He was on a roll and I was too, so I asked him, “How do you barbeque an egg?”

“At night,” he said. “That way, it won’t slip through the grill.”

At this point the conversation was getting a little too weird for me, so I just let his last comment slide. If I made him mad by saying something I shouldn’t, he might consider spitting in my moo moo pork and half a barbequed egg on the side, dish. I didn’t want to take the chance.  There are a few people in the world you don’t want to make mad and your waiter is one of them. Your barber is another. I could think of a few more——–but someone would have to buy me a beer, first.

If you’re ever in Nashville and want to “Thai-one-on” so to speak, The Smiling Elephant is your place.


C. Allen Benson

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