Thai Orchid Garden, 315 E. Foothill Blvd. (at Towne), Pomona
Like an unmarked L.A. nightclub, you have to be an insider to know Thai Orchid Garden exists. Located on an unremarkable stretch of Foothill Boulevard, somewhere west of Towne Avenue but east of Garey Avenue, there is a sign at the curb, true, but the small building is set back from the street beyond probably 100 feet of asphalt parking lot. By the time you see the building, you’ve driven past it.
I ate there once, some six years ago, and had a generally positive impression of the food, and a very positive impression of the decor, which has a lot of ornate teak, and a small shrine, plus booths that feel almost enclosed thanks to a wooden structure around each. For whatever reason, I never wrote about it. Maybe I forgot. The friend who accompanied me says: “I remember liking it and thinking I’d go back. I just never think about it. It’s set too far back.”
An acquaintance suggested recently that we meet up at Thai Orchid Garden for lunch, and I was happy for the chance to try the restaurant I now think of as Thai OG again.
The decor was still impressive, maybe moreso than in my memory. From the extensive lunch specials, 23 items in all, I had the yellow curry, pictured below, and he had the garlic and pepper pork (each $7.75). They came with soup, small salad and rice. Mine was good, and his looked really good. Asked by the server in Thai how we liked our food, he replied in that language, “Delicious! We’re so happy we could die.” He explained: “That’s an idiom.”
The menu has 112 numbered items, plus the 23 lunch specials, plus another 35 special items and desserts. I had a fried banana with coconut ice cream ($5), he had sticky rice with mango ($6). Thai Orchid Garden has been there since 1978, making it one of the oldest Thai restaurants in these parts, if not the oldest. It’s worth a visit, if you can find it. (Offering some assistance, the latitude and longitude are on the restaurant’s website.)