Curry Up and Thai it
Baby Elephant Thai Cuisine does not disappoint.
Campus cuisine can be a struggle at Mt. SAC. There are basically four options, and the food is clearly designed for quantity over quality, both for the providers and consumers.
The WoW Cafe is about as good as you’re going to get on campus, and it’s hard to get away from there without spending at least ten dollars, and consuming so much grease that you start to feel as though you may be the next to be dropped into a deep frier. That’s not to necessarily intended to disparage the campus cuisine so much as to point out that school food is never as good as food you might find a mom and pop restaurant, such as many of the eateries surrounding the college. One such place is Baby Elephant Thai Cuisine, which is situated on the corner of Grand and Amar on the outside of the strip mall that’s near Burger King.
At first glance, it’s fairly easy to see that this place knows how to cater to the regular Thai food consumer. There are dozens of pictures on the front window that show off their specialty items, as well as a sign telling students of the local colleges that they get a free Thai tea upon showing their student ID. Make sure you order food first, and then ask for the student sized Thai tea with your student ID readily available, as they will check and they won’t give it to you until you order.
Also like many Thai restaurants, they offer very affordable lunch specials every weekday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. With the special it comes with a choice of meat or tofu (I had it with pork), and a side of rice as well as a tiny salad. The cup of soup was also complementary, and they also give you a free eggroll . There are 14 meals in total that come as a lunch option, and at $6.95 plus tax, it is a decent amount of food that is freshly cooked, and tastes amazing. Most of these options are typical dishes you may find in any Thai restaurant, such as pad thai, red curry, and cashew chicken, but there are a few house specialties on this menu that are certainly worth a try.
Pictured below are a couple of the other lunch specials that are available. Again, all come with a choice of chicken, pork, beef or tofu. Shrimp is also available for an extra charge. Everything besides the noodle dishes also comes with a side of rice.
One final dish that was highly recommended by the restaurant staff (and I am more than happy to support that recommendation) is the aptly named amazing chicken. It is part of the lunch menu, and is chicken and broccoli stir-fried in a house-made peanut sauce. The dish is incredibly rich in flavor, and also extremely filling. I couldn’t help but finish it, even though it was hard to move for over an hour afterward. This may be my favorite dish I’ve had here so far, and that is no small statement.
At the end of the day, the two of us went to a restaurant that is easy walking distance from the school, and walked away feeling full and satisfied for 20 dollars after the tip. We spent around the same or maybe even a little less than we would have at many of the places on campus, and felt much more fulfilled upon our departure. On top of all of that, the service is great. An overwhelmingly positive experience to be sure, and highly recommended for anyone on campus who is tired of campus food, and looking for something nearby that is relatively inexpensive, and has healthy options.
Overall rating: 🍙 🍙 🍙 🍙 🍙
This restaurant gets 5/5 in every category. Put simply, they know what they are trying to do, and they are nailing it. Good, inexpensive Thai food that caters to everyone, especially college students. And it’s literally right across the street.