So I said to the oriental guy, the one with the cruel mustache and spiked hair, “Get me a tiger.” His eyes widened: “A Tiger?” But then “OK.” Outside, the skateboard careened downhill, death and the law waiting.

Bana Leaf Restaurant in Vancouver

What happened was, my mother-in-law’s in town, so we took her out to the excellent, wonderful Banana Leaf for dinner. Let me start with a gripe: the place is a little too loud for quiet conversation. Everything else is outstanding: it’s an attractive comfortable room, the service is efficient and super-friendly, you can usually get a seat, and its prices are mid-range Vancouver, which means an unbelievable bargain by world standards.

And the food; I’ve taken a lot of people there over the years, and it’s still fun when they take the first bite and stop and get a surprised expression and say something along the lines of “My God that’s good.” They make the best satays I’ve ever tasted anywhere including Singapore and Penang, their Gado Gado is right up there, and the Sambal green beans are just totally to die for. Roti Canai, the various Gorengs, Hainan Chicken, it’s all good.

Big Rock Traditional Ale

Oh, the tiger. Well, they had a special on “McNally’s Irish Style” from the usually-excellent Big Rock brewery, one of our superb local brewers even if they are one province over. While I’d recommend their Traditional Ale to anyone, any time, and others rave about the Grasshopper Wheat, this McNally’s stuff is really a failed experiment, I was in Ireland just now and I know what “Irish style” is supposed to mean.

So I got the pleasant, polite, well-groomed waiter to fetch a Tiger beer, it’s out of Singapore and goes well with the food. I checked out the Tiger web site to grab the picture below, while it’s mostly egregious Flashturbation, it’s good egregious Flashturbation if you know what I mean. Doesn’t work in Safari, though.

Tiger beer flash movie

The Skateboard Punk · Post-dinner we were ambling up-hill car-ward, a taxi creeping up the middle of the same street with no concessions for where the lanes might be or who else might want to use it, and then came a stylish, very accomplished dude on wheels hurtling down. He had the hair, he had the duds, he had the image right down and he could kick some serious ass on the skateboard; he took a couple graceful sharp turns—one lethally close to the front of the taxi—and slapped its windshield as he went by. The taxidriver hollered at him, he hollered back as he shot on down the hill. The driver lost it, pulled a screeching three-point turn, and went after him. A moment later, the taxi is sideways across the street a half-block away, the driver is out and chasing the skateboard punk round and round it. They’re hollering, the punk is waving his board, he’s younger and the taxidriver isn’t winning the race.

Right away the cops arrived, rubber shrieking (they must have been driving by); in seconds one of them had the punk kneeling in the street and the other the taxi-driver bent over against his chariot. Of course, we’d stopped, along with all the other right-thinking citizens nearby, to watch the fun. I had to feel sorry for the cops; by this time both the taxidriver and the punk were livid with fury, each berating his respective cop about the other’s iniquity. Actually, I thought it was pretty efficient policing, they were never going to establish the rights and wrongs of the matter but they’d dealt with a nasty public disturbance quickly and coolly.

So, as I explained to Alison, you come to town from the farm to visit, not only do we get you a damn fine meal, we lay on dinner theatre.


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November 12, 2003
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