Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Munch Goes to Apsara Cafe

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Munch Goes to Apsara Cafe

Article excerpt

In my salad days here as an aspiring ink-stained glory hound, a gravel-voiced, straight-from-central casting editor type, who smoked Camel unfiltereds and had all the charm of Dennis Franz on "NYPD Blue," gave me an old-fashioned dose of self-esteem.

"Get over yourself, kid," he barked. "The only person who cares about your byline is your mom, and even she doesn't notice half the time."

He was right. Most people don't care. Not for a while, anyway. Because it's a full four months after the launch of Munch 2.0 -- with bylines! -- and we're only now getting emails demanding to know the identities of these impostors claiming to be Munch.

Well, it's the same four boobs that have been doing it for years. But the cranks aren't buying it. Conspiracy theories are building. Alex Jones calls us a "False Bag." Orly Taitz started a Muncher movement. Wayne LaPierre says we're a cabal bent on taking away your semiautomatic knives and forks.

So depending on who you believe, Munch either was, or was not at Apsara Cafe on the South Side recently, wolfing down some pretty good Southeast Asian cuisine from "Bo" Meng and family, who have brought Thai and Cambodian tastes to Pittsburgh for nearly 20 years, previously with Phnom Penh and the Lemongrass Cafe, Downtown, and for more than a decade with Angkor on Noblestown Road in the city's tiny Oakwood neighborhood near Green Tree.

The BYOB Apsara takes over a gorgeous Victorian building typical of East Carson Street. The interior is a clean, soothing setting of seafoam greens with Asian flourishes, and drawings, paintings and sculptures of the Apsara, which according to Far Eastern mythology is a supernatural female spirit that is youthful, elegant and superb in the art of dancing.

Soups, salads and staples like Pad Thai, Red and Green Curries, and Panang are featured along with items like the spicy house specialty -- Moarn Chha Kroeung (the Original Khmer Dish) -- made of fresh, crispy broccoli, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, onions, snow peas, red and green peppers and water chestnuts in a lemongrass sauce with some nice sized shrimp ($13. …

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