First of all, "Who are the Twits?" you may ask. They are a group of friends I've dined with for years. I've already learned much about International dining from them, because I am the only American born one in the gang. So for this outing, part of our group gathered to meet up at Banana Leaf, which is in Houston's Chinatown or sometimes called "Asia Town".
There is an old Chinatown in East Downtown Houston, but in the early 1980's, Houston area Asian American entrepreneurs began looking for a less expensive and newer area to develop. The newer Asiatown covers a 6 square mile area, mostly lining Bellaire Blvd. (street signs are in English and Chinese) Restaurants serve food from China (Hong Kong & Taiwan) Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam...!
I love visiting Asia Town...2 points for location!!!
The evening atmosphere inside Banana Leaf was energizing! Crowded and lively, we were surrounded by a mostly a younger Asian crowd...seemed to be regulars. The modern, clean decor was a nice change from some of my recent dining adventures. So a 3 point bonus for nice surroundings! William, our waiter was very busy, but spent extra time chatting with us in a playful, bossy manor...telling us what to get and what to avoid. Lilian,(above) is taking the menu seriously. Which is good. I usually sit back with this group and say, "Somebody just order!" Lilian was originally from Hong Kong and knows more about Asian foods than the rest of us. Katharine (laughing) looks like she's had a martini or two...but really we were just sipping tea! Sigi, looks like she might be taking mental notes of the evening. Maybe I should drill her for more details!
We sampled a number of dishes, including banana leaf taro shrimp, beef rendang and mango chicken. All were tasty, but I'll say the mango chicken was my favorite. 4+ points out of 5 for food!
As you can see we are a little squished around our table! That sort of added to the fun of the atmosphere. Almost too crowded for good people watching. I have no reports or encounters, I'm sad to say. Interesting little TV screens on the wall. Not sure what that is for? I should have just taken a trip to the restroom to absorb more atmosphere. Next time, I'll try harder.
Here is William, once again taking time to join in our fun. (3 points for William) I have no idea why I am making that expression? Monica looks poised and content about her dining experience. Let's just say I was reacting to Lilian's suggestion that we visit a little gelato shop 2 doors down, after dinner. Maybe I'm saying, "Awesome!" in a very doofy manor.
All in all I give a grand total of 12 POINTS FOR BANANA LEAF!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.