“Sometimes happiness is as simple as getting together with friends and sharing a meal together.”
It didn’t exactly begin as the best of days. Cecile and I had our Typhoid shots for our upcoming trip to Southeast Asia. She awoke with pain in her arm and feeling fatigued and I found myself feeling anxious and sniffly—all side effects from the injections. But, an afternoon nap made it possible to keep our plans for the evening.
Cecile and I had dinner at the Mint Leaf with friends, Mark and Marleen Brodsky and Lori and Rob Chaykin. It was a congenial group, the conversations were fun and flowing—as was the wine. Over the last few years Mint Leaf—which officially Opened for business in 2010—has become one of our favorite Southeast Asian eateries. This storefront restaurant in the historic downtown area of Saratoga has become a popular venue for Thai and Pan-Asian cuisine. Thai owners Mint Sirisawad and Laksana Churangpia struck a chord with patrons by providing an extensive offering of delicious food—including an array of vegetarian options—from different parts of Asia and beyond.
Aside from the exotic food dishes, one feature that draws people in, is inviting them to bring their own wine without charging exorbitant corkage fees. We brought three bottles. The atmosphere has a cozy elegance about it. The decor reminds us of the ornate Thai temples Cecile and I have visited in Thailand and are about to do so again. Colorful silk pillows and tapestries adorn and soften the chairs and wood benches, crimson and gold leaf sculptures catch the eye and draping white banners hang from the ceiling.
Our food servers were Souwani (unsure of the spelling) whose family is from Bangkok and a San Jose State student called “Music,” a nickname given to her partly because she would rock out to music when she was a kid, and; her Chinese name is difficult to pronounce. They were cheerful and attentive. I had met Souwani before and struck up a conversation with her about meditation. I even visited the kitchen where the cooks joyfully flashed me the peace sign.
We began with our culinary feast with Thai style chicken Satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad and Chicken Pot Stickers. For the entrees we enjoyed Spicy Garlic Noodles with New York Steak, and my very favorite Yellow curry with carrots, potatoes, and onion with a juicy filet of salmon. As we left the restaurant I noticed a table with a bowl of plastic wrapped fortune cookies next to the business cards and a vase of red flowers. I took one.
I ate part of it and slipped the rest into my pocket. When I got home I read the familiar white strip which said: "Pack your bags. You are bound for an exciting and exotic destination.”
Hmmm…how did they know that?