Friday, February 28, 2014

Grub Club: Tashkent

As you go toward the Peace Bridge into downtown Ulaanbaatar, there is a shopping center.  There are a variety of businesses in there - our buddies at The Moose and a company that sells products from my old visa sponsor, RAK Ceramics, among other things.  At the top of part of the building is a sign that says "TAWKEHT" and "Snooker" (I'm not sure why Tashkent is in Cyrillic and Snooker is not - perhaps because of whom each is marketed to?)  I've often wondered about the place - Tashkent is one of Uzbekistan's old Silk Road cities - but never had much reason to go up and check it out, because for as much as I knew, it was just a pool hall.
Well, Wednesday had us finding out.  Blondie asked her PA (whom I will be referring to as "Wild Ass") to make a reservation for us at Gangnam Style, which got her A Look.  When asked where we should be going instead, Wild Ass suggested Tashkent, so Blondie went for it.  After all, Wild Ass is the person who told us about and purchased the tickets for last Sunday's concert.  I got there before everyone else - I was trying to make it to the State Department Store, but traffic was bad and I ended up getting off and walking back over the bridge.  I was a little worried because at first glance it looked (and sounded) like an 80's Soviet-era front for the mafia (or, as Squeaker put it, "My Uncle John's living room."  And that's her Uncle John, not mine.)
However, they finally came and I relaxed a little.  The food sounded delicious, and turned out to be amazing.  Blondie ordered the carrot salad in the top picture.  A whole salad of carrots seemed ridiculous, but it actually tasted nice.  I went for the Greek salad instead, and even though the dressing didn't have any hint of balsamic vinegar and there was no feta cheese, I really enjoyed it.
The biggest hit, though, was their shashlik (listed as Uzbek barbecue).  The chicken was SO juicy and tender, without even a single gristly bite.  I don't know what it was marinated in, but it was divine.
Squeaker and Geek went for this noodle dish instead.  It was filling - neither of them actually finished it, although they both took the egg off - it was a little too uncooked for either of them.  Blondie got quite a few tens for her pick, so she's made Wild Ass her ace in the hole - she was really excited to hear how "we" did, and already planning which restaurant we should go to next. 

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