The Tay Tah Café is at 1182 Solano Ave. at Cornell Street, across from the Albany post office.
The menu offered “Vietnamese sandwiches,” so I asked the young woman behind the cash register with the extremely quiet voice if it was the same as a banh mi sandwich, but she didn’t know. When I asked her to describe what was on it, she said there was a liver paste and mayo, as well as whichever deli meat I wanted plus veggies. I asked if I could sub in mustard, but the woman who was making the food interjected, explaining that it was just like a banh mi sandwich except that it used sliced deli meat instead of cooked chunks, and she said it was not regular mayo but their special blend. So I decided to risk the mayo but skipped the liver paste.
After the sandwich order was all straight, I asked for a medium iced tea lemonade, to which the whispery-voiced woman replied, “Do you want anything to drink?”
Me: (again) a medium iced tea lemonade
Her: What size?
Maybe it was her first day.
I grabbed a table outside while Dave ordered his food. A car honked at another car turning off Cornell. George and I chatted, and Dave brought out napkins. After a while, one of the customers clued us in that our drinks were sitting on the counter inside, so Dave went to rescue them. (I guess the number we sat on our table didn’t include drink delivery.) A different car honked.
George and I tasted our iced tea lemonades. They were weak, with very little flavor either from the tea or the lemonade. Then George’s combo sandwich and my tofu sandwich arrived. I had thought that the tofu might be cooked or flavored in some way. It wasn’t. The bread was warm, which was a nice touch, but the sandwich itself was pretty boring, nothing like the banh mi at Kim’s just up the street. George enjoyed his sandwich. Poor Dave just kept drinking his banana berry smoothie.
Another car honked.
Finally Dave’s beet salad arrived. It featured canned beets and a sweet Italian salad dressing that Dave was not fond of.
Before we left, a fourth car honked at that same intersection. Not exactly the most peaceful atmosphere in which to dine, I must admit. And it seemed odd for Albany, which I think of as a rather sleepy little town. Oh, well…
I asked what the name of the café meant. Although tay tah literally means “flowing water,” it’s part of a Thai expression that means “good business.”
I wonder if there’s a Thai expression for “okay business”?