Sunday, April 8, 2012

...The Smiling Banana Leaf [off-topic]

I love my blogger friends.

In my last restaurant post, I mentioned how I had befriended Food Collage after our first meal at Aji Picante, and how we have shared many awesome meals since.  After meeting her there, we shared another meal through a FoodBurgh Meetup at Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen, where I met none other than FoodBurgh himself.

And so the blogger friend circle grew.

Of course, I met James not long after, and we have met many other bloggers through many other events, but I feel that our close circle shares so many similar interests and tastes that going to dinner with them makes the experience that much better.

James had gone to The Smiling Banana Leaf in Highland Park with a work friend one day, and fell in love with the place immediately.  He befriended the owner, Tookie, and made more trips back after the first encounter.  He insisted that our circle of friends had to try it.

Don't be fooled by the outside - this place is amazing inside!
 Well, duh.  Of course the food bloggers want to try a new place!

The weather was warm and sunny, but very windy that night; however, we still decided to sit outside, since the crowd inside was large and loud.  James, Food Collage, FoodBurgh, his friend Julia, and I all sat around the outdoor table, perusing the menu, indecisive, yet eager to eat.

We let James take charge.  The flood gates opened.  I swear we had most of the menu:

Crispy Calamari - not fishy, and not rubbery.  Perfect.

Fresh spring roll - my favorite Thai appetizer!

Thai Samosa - potatoes, carrot, and peas in a lightly fried puffed pastry. Kind of like a fried pierogi, for traditional Pittsburghers.

Papaya Salad - good, but I'm more of a fan of mango :-)

Mango Chicken Salad.  The perfect summer-like salad.

Steamed dumplings. Standard.

Chicken Satay - that peanut sauce (upper right) MADE this appetizer.

Spicy Green Bean. Way better than green bean like, a LOT.

Green Curry with Shrimp and Eggplant. Not my favorite - very lemongrass-y. 

Pad Kee Mow with Vegetables - liked this A LOT. 

Pumpkin Curry - my favorite of the entrees!

Thai Fried Rice with chicken - a good choice for the pickiest of eaters (who may also enjoy Chinese fried rice).

Sweet Mango with Sticky Rice - a light, sweet, DELICIOUS dessert option (necessary after all of this food!)

Fried Smiling Banana with Ice Cream (smiles come naturally after eating this)
 Despite a lot of napkin chasing (due to the wind), the evening was more than delightful.  Good friends, great Thai food, and lots of conversation - some about food, some not, and all entertaining.

Although I haven't had much experience with Thai food (my first was at Nicky's Thai Kitchen), I'm kind of loving it - it's similar to Vietnamese, and so much more than Pad Thai, the most recognizeable Thai dish.

More meals will be had by all of us - some as a large group, some as smaller groups, and some as part of a much larger group - and I'm sure we'll all have more meals here. 

Smiling Banana Leaf
5901 Bryant St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206


Smiling Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon

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