Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Boodle Fight!

OODLES OF BOODLE: Ria, Josie (who comes from the delightfully named Sama, which 
rhymes with summer) and proud pop Michel

I don't want to  make anybody jealous, but two days ago my wife Helena, my son Michel, my daughter Ria and I ate dinner at a Filipino restaurant that's a 15-minute walk from our place and it was among the most memorable dining experiences ever. And not very expensive. 

The restaurant's called iSLAS, which is Tagalog for island. 

We were celebrating Ria becoming a licensed psyschotherapist, and Michel entertained us with stories about his visit a week earlier to see his handsome eight-year-old son Mateus, who lives in Nova Scotia.

 And who knew Filipino food would be so tasty and exotic? I don't even know what all we ate; just that there was fish and chicken and pork bellies and noodles and rice and plantain and it was all served on one giant plate made of banana leaves. I will even admit that I enjoyed a non-alcoholic cocktail called an Ubu Latte, which was cold yam juice and tastes way better'n it sounds. I'm talking spices and sizzling stuff everywhere. But one of the coolest things about the visit was that the menu was first recommended to me by a friend who lives in Manila Philippines and who has never been to Toronto.

HANDS DOWN GOOD FOOD: Hands up, actually
because Kamayan means "eat with your hands"

"Make sure you have the boodle fight!" is what Aian Nuestro told me, two years ago, when he and I first talked about this restaurant. 

"It's something that started on army bases, a long time ago. You don't use knives and forks, you just use your hands to fight for the food." Sounds to me, I said, like the 11- or 12- Carter household I grew up in.

I bet you're thinking: "But you've never been  to Manila, Peter. How can you have a friend there?"

And I'm glad you asked. 

One of the best things about my job is that I get to talk to colleagues around the globe, all day long, about anything I want, via Microsoft Teams software. Our company has something like 35,000 workers, and we're all just one click away from each other.

AND-EAT GUY: Aian, whose name means "He of good taste."
 I just made that up.
For the record, I am not required to talk to anybody outside the dozen or so Canadians I work directly with, but, frankly, what's the good in being able to connect with the rest of the planet if you're not going to meet people? 

So I do. Via  computer. People from South Africa. The Philippines.  I've even got a workplace pal in--I hope you're sitting down--Carleton Place Ontario.
As my sister Charlene puts it, "Nobody's safe from you Pete."

But never mind her.

Manila and Toronto are on opposite ends of the clock so when it's midnight there, it's noon here. When I started my shift at 8 a.m., Aian'd be starting his at 8 p.m.. and because he likes trucks and motorcycles and his family and his job and joking around, well, having him helped make logging on every day all the more enjoyable. 

He's also Catholic, funny and a real stand-up guy. Which is a joke. Aian is not only a trustworthy chap, he knows a lot about stand-up comics and in fact turned me on to his fellow countryman Jo Koy and when he saw my daughter Ewa's  most recent 10-minute stand up routine, Aian responded with "Wow! She's a natural. She could give Dave Chappelle or Jo Koy a run for their money. She's good! I'm laughing like a proud uncle!" (That was the correct response.)

He also taught me a few tagalog words and laughed when I told him I wanted to tag along to some language lessons.  

And is his English good you ask? 

Get this. At one point about a year ago, the dog who shares his, his wife Sophia's and son Aori's Manila home, gave birth to a litter of pups. 

I told him I trust he was going to name one after me and Aian's response was, "I already did. The dorkiest looking one."

If you don't think that's the kind of thing a person who loves you says, you don't have any brothers.

And p.s. Sorry if I made anybody jealous. But jeez, sometimes I make me jealous. 

And another p.s. Check out  iSLAS, featuring the charismatic and informative Josie, here


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