Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Grub Club: Aseana

I am in so much trouble it's not even funny.  I could not be in more trouble even if David Duchovny (aka, X-Files' Fox Mulder) showed up nekkid on my doorstep.  Guess what is coming to Ulaanbaatar?
Have you ever had a cinnabon?  This place is more evil than the Evil One.  It is more evil than my Dark Lord and Master.  It is gooey, buttery, cinnamon-y, sugary goodness.  And they are putting it on the 6th floor of the State Department Store.  My mouth dropped open on my way up the escalators today as I went looking for a ink pad (we're trying do-it-yourself fingerprinting this week, since that is apparently the only way I'm going to be able to get my background check...thanks for nothing, US Embassy of UB!)  Did I ever mourn the lack of fast food here?  Lies.  All lies.  It's probably a good thing that I'm going to be eating nothing but rice for the next four months, because I will need to lose some weight before this place opens.  And I apparently need to start doing my stationery shopping elsewhere.
Now that I've got that monumental news out of the way - for our dinner tonight PE chose a restaurant in a ger, Aseana.  I was really glad she picked it - Five and I have been trying to sell it to someone for ages - because it's right next to the church and I've been curious about it.  The owner's a Malaysian guy who just puts whatever he likes to make on the menu.  They just recently opened a second restaurant behind the Chinggis Hotel, and he has homes in a couple of different places, so they must do pretty well for themselves.
It seems like every time we go to a southeast Asian restaurant I regret not ordering the fried rice, so this time I yielded to Five's influence from the get-go, and ordered the Indonesian fried rice and the egg roti with curry (above).  And I was stuffed afterwards, although I wouldn't have minded having a lemon to squeeze over it or something spicy to add to it.
Three of us ordered the pad thai, and that was good, too.  Fearless Leader doused his in hot sauce, but I liked the flavor even without anything extra on it.
We have been deprived of pho for many, many moons, and since PE took the job for next year in Ho Chi Minh City, we've all been talking about how good the food will be.  I believe this had some bearing on why Engrish went with the pho.  She wasn't that impressed by it.  PE had a small family emergency, and had to leave the country, so she wasn't able to weigh in with her opinion.
We always rate these restaurants on atmosphere as well as food quality.  I've got to say, I like the inside of a ger for a restaurant.  It had lots of heaters, and besides keeping us nice and toasty warm (cause guess what, guys?  It snowed again last night!) it caused the most alluring glow on my face, which Domestic Goddess kept exclaiming over, so I had her snap a picture.  Now that I'm looking at it, I kind of think I look like El Greco's Magdalene that's in the Nelson-Atkins.  Okay, maybe not really.

James, the owner, thought we were some of his regulars, and when PE called to make the reservation, he kept this location open just for us, which meant closing the Chinggis Hotel restaurant for the night, since he only has two chefs.  If you take a bus going west toward the airport (12 from Zaisan, or 11, 38, 45, or 51 and maybe a few others from downtown), get off at the second stop on Chinggis Avenue, cross the street, and walk back east about half a block.  This location is only supposed to be open from 11-4, so get there early or miss out.

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