Mot Hai Ba's Coconut-Lemongrass Panna Cotta Will Sooth Your Soul

Coconut-lemongrass panna cotta: your new comfort foodEXPAND
Coconut-lemongrass panna cotta: your new comfort food
Kellie Reynolds

Your soul needs soothing. You stumble into East Dallas’ Mot Hai Ba for dessert because: donut holes. Donut holes served with condensed milk ice cream adrift in a toddy coffee. Face-stuffing works so much better than “being honest with your feelings.” Stupid therapist.

But on a cloudy afternoon that threatens rain, the dough won’t rise and neither will your serotonin levels. Stupid 80 percent humidity.

When the server humbly explains this and offers alternatives, you’re convinced a coconut-lemongrass panna cotta isn’t going to cut it. Cold food doesn’t chase away the blues or the mean reds. You need the warm hug of a sugar-rolled donut hole. That, or you’ll be forced to actually discover that the things you hate in other people are the things you actually hate about yourself…Noooooooooooooo.

You’re too tired to fight it, so the panna cotta arrives, but (for a hot minute) you’re skeptical. A few spoonfuls in, you feel your mood lifting. First, you try a bite of just the silky panna cotta, with its light, subtle hint of lemongrass and coconut. Then, you try the crunch of the peanut crumble. Next, you try the raspberry sorbet, letting its bright tartness melt on your tongue. Finally, you take a spoonful of all three components at once to observe how beautifully the flavors play together. You sit on your tapestry-covered toadstool at the low table and scoop contentedly. Wilco serenades you. The womb-like shelter of the tiny restaurant calms your senses.

Turns out, the friendly server at Mot Hai Ba has the medicine you need.  Sometimes you don’t know what’s best for you until it happens. 

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