Hi, I’m Shani

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that.

I Went To Wayla And The Internet Is Right

I Went To Wayla And The Internet Is Right

I don’t often speak of hour and a half waits with affection, but here we are. My dinner group met last night, it was my friend Kate’s turn. She selected Wayla, a very new Thai restaurant that the internet seems to be raving about because they serve a noodle dish with a lobster coming out of it and also delicious things on sticks. I’m genuinely very comfortable eating anywhere The Infatuation has blessed with its digital artisanal holy water and thus knew I’d be in for a scrumptious night, but holy shit.

There was, indeed, a 1.5 hour wait which we rode out at The Flower Shop (which is a bar) around the corner, and I suggest you do the same. You’ll get cell service in the basement, don’t worry. I too have nightmares of missing that most important of “your table is ready” texts, but you’ll be fine. Tuesday night is trivia night though, I might avoid it unless you like your conversations interrupted by a dude in a gold sequin blazer with a corded microphone. The wait was much longer than I’m comfortable making my 37-year-old body wait for dinner, but with good company and a glass of something it’s really not that bad. I don’t recommend waiting in Wayla’s bar area, it’s mostly actual dinner guests and it’s not conducive to hanging out. The smallness of the bar waiting area is literally the only unfortunate thing about this place.

Wayla Thai Chicken Wings

Hello chicken wings.

To be quite frank, Wayla’s food is outstanding. I’ve slept since I went and I’m still having trouble forming words of adoration suitable. If you’re smart, you’ll begin with Nam Prik that, aside from being delicious, is the ideal way to start a meal with friends. Crudités, dippable delights, and it ‘grams well. But if you don’t also add the chicken wings to your appetizer lineup you’d done yourself wrong, criminally wrong. I don’t know how they’ve sauced these things but I do know I need it by the gallon. Pro tip, drag some of those Nam Prik veggies through the wing sauce remnants. You’re welcome.

Wayla Thai Lobster Noodle

Come to me.

I’d also really like to stress to you the importance of consuming the aforementioned noodle dish that is garnished with a lobster threatening to climb out of the bowl. I wish I could have been left alone in a quiet room with this creation for awhile. Eating it in public required far too much decorum for something so divine. The flavor will remind you of Pad Thai, but this is so far beyond Pad Thai. There’s a richness and a sweetness (that I found out comes from tamarind, which is entirely my shit), and the lobster meat itself has been sauced in a way that makes you wonder why we ever bother with eating things that are not this dish. My apologies that I don’t recall the name of this menu item, but I’m confident if you say “the one with the lobster” you’ll be successful in your efforts.

Also atop our table of dreams were some string beans I’d like to marry in an outdoor fall wedding and fried amish chicken with a herbaceous sauce you drizzle over it and forget why you ever cooked for yourself because these guys are the only people who have any business preparing food. We ended the night not with dessert (we were full of lobster, naturally), with a smokey, coffee-infused beverage that might be the best culinary mic drop that’s ever happened to me in liquid form. There was also a little piece of dried citrus clipped to the glass with a teeny clothes pin so just bury me at this restaurant, okay?


I am a sucker for a teeny clothes pin.

At some point during your meal at Wayla, you’re going to look around at all the flavors, colors, and visual delights on your table and remember how lucky you are to be alive and to have functioning taste buds. That doesn’t exactly happen over a shared three meat/three cheese board at happy hour. Wayla reminded me of my own gratitude which is a remarkable feat to have accomplished with like…ingredients. I go to restaurants all the time, and I eat food in some capacity every day. I don’t always write about it. But after my first experience at Wayla, and there will be more, I had to.

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