An old friend of mine came into town with his family. This was the first time I have seen him and his wife in 13 years. They now have two sons, Morgan, twelve and Connor, nine. After an exhausting day of sightseeing, we sat down to a Thai dinner at Kou Sumui & The Monkey, which is on Brannan between 3rd and 4th street (415 Brannan St to be exact). The reason we chose this place is because everyone like Thai and it has a different style of Thai than what my friends family is used to.
Kou Sumui & The Monkey is a large open space with an eclectic mix of nick knacks haphazardly place around the room. As you walk in, the bar is to the hard left, along the east wall and the restaurant then spreads, only being interrupted by the display of Thai art in the center of the room. There are a lot of windows and the high ceilings makes it feel like your are outside.
We settle in to a table next to the window. Tanya, Shawn, Morgan on one side and Margaret, myself and Connor on the other. The first order of business is wine. I don’t hang out with 9 and 12 year olds that much but by the end of the day, wine seems appropriate. Looking over the wine list, it’s hard to figure out what is good. So I ask the waiter
Me: “What white wine would you recommend?”
Waiter: “We just got this new one in from Spain. It goes great with Thai food”
Me: “Spain? Is Spanish white wine any good?”
Waiter: “Very good. How about a taste?”
Me: “Free wine. Sure, why not”
The taste of wine arrives. Cold and crisp. It almost tastes like water with a hint of citus. Since this is a major decision, everyone needs to try it.
Me: “Margaret, what do you think?”
Margaret: “It’s clean, crisp. Not bad. Tanya, give it a try”
Tanya: “It tastes fine to me. Shawn, what do you think?”
Shawn: “It should go good with Thai. Light and crisp. How about we get a bottle”
With the wine settled, the next task is the meal. Kou Sumui & the Monkey does a great Pumpkin Curry. So, we have to get that. The Bags of Gold, Pad Thai and Sea Bass Curry are all good as well. Some spring rolls for appetizers as well as some dumplings should be enough. Since Morgan is a finikey eater, we get him an order of Bags of Gold just for his dinner.
Connor, the nine year old, is a bundle of energy that cannot stop talking about this or that. Every other word is “I’m bored, when can we eat” or “Why does it take so long to make the food.” Since Connor is next to me, I try to enterain him to keep him occupied.
Me: “Connor, is that painting over there?”
Connor: “Which one?”
Me: “The one with the Monkey on it.”
Connor: “I see it. That one over there”
Me: “Yup. Count, how many squares it has on it, to yourself”
Connor is silcent for a good minute, focused on counting the squares. It get the knod from Shawn that it was a good idea to but the to yourself clause in since I get the feeling that Connor would start yelling the count out.
Me: “Once you are done, counting, divide the number by eleven.”
Connor: “Eleven, why eleven?”
Me: “Why not. Just keep counting”
At this point, I feel a little bad since telling him to divide by eleven, makes him have to restart counting. I know this is a bit tricky but it keeps him quiet for anothe minute or so. By this point, his brother, Morgan, is counting too. Morgan is on the quiet side and upset because both of them were fighting in the back before we got here. Something to do with a game and a book. One thing led to another and books were hitting heads and games were taken away.
Connor: ” What is 21 + 34?”
Connor:” There are 55 squares”
Me: “OK. Now divide by 11”
Connor ponders this for a minute. Long division for a nine year old, from the look on his face, is not his strong suit.
Morgan: “It’s five”
Me: “Very good”
Connor: “Why did you make me count the squares?”
Me: “Why not. It is something to do”
By this time, some of the food arrives and we start to eat. Connor wanted this soup that when we ordered it, the waiter said was really hot. Shawn, likes hot food but I was not going to be held resonsible for a nine year old waking up at three in the morning with fire in his stomach, so we ordered Connor an American style version.
Connor: “This soup is not that hot. I like it hotter”
Shawn: “What to try some of mine? It’s pretty hot”
Connor, taking a spoon full of Shawn’s soup: “It’s not that hot either”
Shawn: “Take another bite. It sneaks up on you”
Connor takes another bite and his face says it all “Awww. That is hot. Wow”
Shawn: “See, I told you. Do you want any more?”
Connor:”No. I don’t even want mine anymore”
The boys both got a Coke. Dangling from the straw, is a plastic monkey. Connor got a green one and Morgan, a blue one. These guys at Kou Sumui and The Monkey must know how to entertain kids because the monkeys are a source of countless fun. Connor takes his pocket skateboard out and the monkey starts to skateboard. Slow and steady at first but after he gets the hang of it (he being the monkey), he is doing tricks off of the plate, off the glass and along the table.
Our main courses arrives and the skateboarding monkey gets to take a rest. The pumpkin curry is particularly good today and my friends have never even heard of it much less eaten it. We finish the bottle of wine and order another. The same one since it was so good and seems to take the edge off Connor interactions.
Even distracted by food, Connor is still bouncing off the walls and now starts to play rabbit ears. Until today, I never knew what it was called when you put your hand over someones head and made a piece sign. It’s called rabbit ears and Connor and I are trying to sneak them by each other. This goes on for a good five minutes until we get the check. By now, the monkey is fully rested and starts to skateboard again.
With the bill paid, we attempt to walk out without breaking anything or annoying any other diner. The first part was achieved while the second is up for interpretation. For those of you who ate at Kou Sumui and The Monkey on Saturday, I apologize.