Dining Out Blues

mongoliangrillEvery Friday night I always eat out with the family. It’s my own little way of contributing to the economy πŸ˜‰ Last Friday we decided to drive to a town about 20 minutes east along the highway. The weather was great and for a change, I wanted a place not as congested as the city. Mind you the town isn’t as multi-cultural as the city but the people are nice. We went to a strip mall with a large cinema surrounded by a bunch of restaurants. Of the Asian variety, our choice was between Thai and Mongolian. This time around we went Mongolian. Strangely, other than the standard make your own stir fry buffet offering, this Mongolian restaurant also served pasta ala carte which was kinda good because it meant that my daughter could eat πŸ™‚ As soon as I got in, I sensed place didn’t have any semblance with anything Mongolian at all. It looked more like a high end pub, with large flat screen TV’s on the walls showing sports games. The only thing Mongolian about the place was the large slab of hot iron where freckle faced high school students on summer break were stir frying, often chatting with their friends who drop by the restaurant for a bite. In fact, I got the impression the whole joint was in some Eastern European township conquered by the Mongols, whose people were serving Mongolian stir fry to pay homage to Genghis Khan πŸ™‚ Far cry from the largely Asian section of the city where their Mongolian joints have authentic looking cooks garbed in Mongolian attire handling their stir fry sticks so adroitly which made you think that they actually cook and cared about how your food looked when they finally slide it in your bowl. Heck, I can almost hear hoofs of horses pounding the ground in the background when these Mongolian looking dudes do their stick work on my concoction.

I’m a pretty flexible guy so I can spare the authenticity part – just cook my noodles properly – no burnt noodles please. I also didn’t care too much about the rice and tortilla side dishes which were delivered at every table. I know the mighty Mongol warriors of long ago cut their meat into small pieces with their ultra sharp scimitars and cooked them on their thick iron shields over fire but heck if you give me a tortilla, I can turn Mongolian into Mexican anytime. Just hand me some guacamole, tomatoes and jalapeno pepper to go along with it πŸ™‚ The choice of the stir fry sauce was a bit over the top hence overwhelming – more than a dozen of them in jars each labeled on metallic sliver plates which to my dismay, were barely visible because of the light effect.Β Β Did Genghis Khan have 24 choices ofΒ sauce on his stir fry ? Β The risk of dumping the wrong sauce on your meat, fish and veggie concoction was high. You can’t back out once you’ve spilled your sauce on the bowl. My wife’s first bowl tasted sweet, sour, spicy hot and fruity at the same time. Between me and my wife, our dinner experience turned into “what’s your sauce?” game πŸ™‚ You can be totally experimental to the max and throw in all the dozen or so sauces into your bowl and blog about how it tastes.

Okay, so I had my fill of two trips to the iron skillet watching the freckle faced dudes burn my noodles, paid up and was ready to exit the place and head to Starbucks for some genuine, soul satisfying coffee. I head out to the washroom and guess what I discovered – a frigging salad and soup bar ! Believe it our not, no one will ever get a clue that that salad bar ever existed because it was entirely in a different section of the house. Whoa, our freckle faced waiter didn’t even tell us that there was a salad bar which was part and parcel of our buffet deal. What a dork 😦  No offense but at this point I thought the restaurant was being ran by Mongoloids and not Mongolians πŸ™‚ But you know what, in retrospect, I didn’t mind missing it because the stir fry buffet had an abundance of veggies and my nutritional requirements were amply satisfied. My wife on the other hand was pissed because she wanted the soup. Now,Β  if your restaurant experience ends with a trip to the washroom, then in this place you’d probably end up on a positive note. This joint had 5 private unisex washrooms instead of the usual common toilets for men and women. In short, you go in, you get the place for yourself. Yeah, quite roomy, dimly lit, silver sink and faucet knobs, a little dark but soft, contemporary colored walls. No pressure – you can undress naked while you pee or even sing with your portable karaoke πŸ™‚ Not bad at all. Funny how washrooms can redeem your dining out blues. In my case, it did. How petty am I 😳


P1000758 I hate Boston, especially the Boston Red Sox. It is in the American League East, the perennial arch-rival of my Toronto Blue Jays. And of course, the hatred multiplies when I throw in the Celtics and the Bruins. How I relish the idea of the Raptors slaughtering the Celtics and the Maple Leafs beating up on the Bruins πŸ™‚ This was my third visit to the Beantown. On my two previous trips, I didn’t get a chance to see the city. My first one was many years ago for a one week seminar at a conference facility an hour from the city and the second was a same day business trip ( about an hour by plane) which ended up in me checking at an airport hotel with no sleeping clothes because the darn airport closed due to heavy snow. This time I came back just for pleasure and you know what, the city isn’t that bad. It is quite vibrant, very historical and possesses a very mature and developed harbor front . This time I learned the reason why people call it Beantown. In the early days of the colony, the very Victorian settlers prohibit working on Sundays so people would bake their beans on Saturday evenings and the whole place smelled of beans. We took the city and the harbor tour on the DUCK, an amphibious vehicle similar to our HIPPO in Toronto. I wanted to take the historical tour of the city but time was very limited. Maybe next time πŸ™‚


45 Responses

  1. LOL. I can’t imaginemissing the salad bar. You should have asked for a rebate haha πŸ™‚

    the Duck looks so cool. I would love to take the whale tour.

    • too late, I already paid up πŸ™‚ I didn’t want to make a scene – it’s just food anyway πŸ˜›

      It’s quite cool but a little noisy when running on the street πŸ˜‰

  2. The restaurant might be a franchise. Sometimes these summer students have no customer service skills. They just don’t get trained enough.

    I like the sewer picture. Pictures speak louder than words πŸ™‚

    • you bet. The staff lack customer service skills. Oh well, I’d rather see these kids work than be on the streets doing nothing – you know what I mean πŸ˜‰

      I took that pic while I was sitting bored and doing nothing hehe. So you reckon I disdain Boston with that pic? hehe πŸ˜†

  3. Moral of the story: don’t forget to pee whenever you visit a lousy restaurant. You’ll never know what surprises await you in the restroom! πŸ˜€

  4. Mongoloids and Caucasoids…When we rode to Alaska 3 years ago, we stopped by a small town for respite from the cold rain that came down on us while on the AlCan Highway. The caucasian lady at the visitors center mistook us for locals and the greetings went farther into a conversation about our heritage when we told her that we were Pinoys. The talk led to Mongoloids in Alaska and Asia and Caucasoids coming in from Europe. This was when my Chinese/Cebuano riding buddy pulled me to the side and whispered to me in that he didn’t appreciate the caucasian lady calling us “Mongoloids”!..He said, “Di ba mga kulang -kulang yung mga Mongoloids? After explaining to him what the lady was refering to, he quickly changed his mood.

    When you fly over Daly City in norhtern California in the late afternoon, the (joke) question is why is it always foggy over this part of California all year round? And the (joke) answer is: Fog is not what you see but steam from all the rice cooker coming out of the majority Pinoy household in Daly City!

    Beantown, now just imagine the flatulence methane gas that the city can collect for energy source from the bean feasting going on in this town!

    Not to get all riled up with the Boston Celtics, they’re not going to do harm your Raptors anytime now.

    • That’s exactly what I meant but Mongoloid referring to people with Down’s Syndrome is considered offensive nowadays. It’s an effort to maintain political correctness. πŸ˜‰

      they say the fart of cows collectively all over the world produce methane gas like you won’t believe hehe πŸ™‚

  5. I think there is always something way more to eating out than just “eating out”. Funny story.

    I went to a supposedly “authentic” Indian restaurant. A Mexican was cooking 😦 Went to a an “authentic” Turkish restaurant, a Mexican was cooking. Even at Yan Can Cook’s restaurant, a Mexican was cooking. So I just go to a Mexican restaurant, at least that’s authentic πŸ™‚

    I would love to see Boston someday and take their foodie trip.

    • eating out is a whole exprerience I agree. Sometimes, It isn’t just the food but the other things that go with it. It is known that people like restaurants with nice and clean toilets πŸ˜‰

      That’s the effect of globalization hehe. It’s everybody’s game nowadays but the so called fusion of foods is also a fad, where eastern dishes are modified and blended with western ingridents and vice versa.

      yep, I crave for Boston clam chowder all the time πŸ™‚

  6. […] Continued here:Β  Dining Out Blues […]

  7. hahahaha…I enjoyed your story of the Mongols… πŸ˜‰

  8. Wow, twenty-four sauce choices. That’s way too much.

  9. There’s this small chinese resto in Santa Rosa, Northern California which, to me serves the best mongolian chicken. Need to peep thru their kitchen one of these days and see if they’re mongolian cooks, at least if would be authentic.

    Bostonians are not bad at all, there is just this weirdoness in them. And their accent sucks! Paul and I were talking one day and he keeps saying Aat several times in our conversation; I was so annoyed and asked him who the “f**k” is Aat! He was referring to one of our friends named ART. Cheers!

    • Chances are the cook will be Chinese.. which means its pretty close πŸ˜‰

      The Boston…. or Bwoston accent is quite amusing..I hate the Red Sox but love their accent πŸ™‚ Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are Boston boys who made it big at the silver screen.

  10. I never did that … think that I was contributing to the economy by eating out. Thanks for that angle. I wonder if that will make me feel more purposeful next time I go to a restaurant. hahaha Eating out somewhere new and unrecommended can really be fraught with surprises — pleasant or other. Kahit dito, sa dami ng choices, eenie meenie mini moe talaga. Reading blog pieces like yours would help, of course.

    • never thought of that too until this wicked recession came and a Nobel laureate in economics came on TV and said that saving money doesn’t do good to the economy in a recession hehe πŸ˜‰ or perhaps.. it’s just another way of justifying our little whims πŸ™‚

  11. I haven’t eaten Mongolian food yet. I’d like to do so in the near future.

    Gosh, I miss this kebab place in front of our school, which was beside UE. They’re cheap and they serve the best yogurt shake ever.

    Hmmm, (drooling)….

    • I also love yogurt shake. I always thought that shish kebab was Arabic but when I went to Turkey I tasted the most succulent kebabs. Little did I know that kebabs is of Turkish origin πŸ™‚

  12. During the Bird-Magic era, I was a Boston Celtics fan while my brother was a Lakers fan. I think I just wanted to have a team against my bro. hehe

    Those amphibious vehicles are cool. πŸ˜€

  13. weird. i suddenly remember Boston Rob (Rob Mariano) of Survivor because he loves Boston Red Sox sooooooooo much. hehe

    • I tell you there are real crazy fans out there πŸ™‚

      Ben Affleck, an avid Boston Red Sox fan said that he’d rather go out with a guy than wear a New York Yankees hat. ugh 😦 Now that’s a real die hard fan. He must have been kidding πŸ™‚

  14. “Ambiance” lang pala ang gusto mo. Sana sa Hooters ka na lang pumunta. Sabi nila, maganda daw ang tanawin doon. : D

  15. Hmm, I highly doubt if the so-called Mongolian dishes are really authentic. Parang gawa-gawa lang yan, hehe. But I do like their buffet style.

    As for Bostonian accents, I remember reading a joke about a homeowner showing his friend from Boston around his house. The guy proudly announced that the house was perfect and has no “flaws” whatsoever. And this surprised the guy from Boston. “My God” he said. “No flaws?? What will the people on the second flaw step on??” πŸ˜€

    • yep, they just did some tweaking of the setup to make ignorant folks feel like they’re really eating Mongolian food. There’s another restaurant here call Stir Fry where you make your own stir fry concoction and Chinese looking cooks do it in front of you on really hot woks – which I think is more authentic 😎

      LOL. that’s a funny joke πŸ™‚ Our Super Duck driver who was born and bred in Boston, said on the mic – “welcome to the “habah” tour” hehe πŸ˜†

  16. finding authentic cuisine these days can be a challenge, what with branding and marketing of restaurants that overpromise but under-deliver.

    at least now you know what resto not to come back to next time. sometimes, we just have to see for ourselves how some service sucks so we can be more informed customers next time.

    i wonder if there’s an authentic mongolian restaurant in Manila. hmmm..

    • yes, mostly they’re franchises and an in such a case, authenticity is never to be expected. I would go back to the restaurant to have a beer and watch a sports game πŸ™‚

      Well, you know Pinoys are great copy cats. Remember that Pinas episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation TV show ? The first thing this Pinoy guide offered to Bourdain was to take him to the Manila Chinatown. huh??

  17. ” I got the impression the whole joint was in some Eastern European township conquered by the Mongols, whose people were serving Mongolian stir fry to pay homage to Genghis Khan”

    Har, har…this really made me laugh bro, funny funny…or you should have been warned that Mongolians could be so atrociously cruel when they were conquering in the past.

    Now it seems they can be cruel in serving food…harharhar… πŸ™‚

  18. meron ditong isang kainan sa aming lugar na “smokin’ toppings”. reminds me of it when i saw your yummy photo here. ang sarap talaga kapag umiinit pa habang sini-serve. hehe..

    “Between me and my wife, our dinner experience turned into β€œwhat’s your sauce?” game ” haha!made me laugh..marami din ganyan resto dito.:D

  19. now i’m craving for mongolian food

  20. tama dapat sa hooters na lang where the ‘materiales fuertes’ are ha ha

    what can we expect from those young staff? it’s better still to see them work, i agree. i also like (not love) mongolian food.

    • yes, the materiales fuertes women are in a more fun environment πŸ˜‰

      That’s also my point that even if they burn my noodles, that’s better than doing silly things like drugs hehe 😯

  21. that photo is very interesting. however i am not sure if i want to eat in there LOL i haven’t tried mongolian food except maybe for ‘mongo turon’ LOL cool naman ng sauce galore LOL kaso i am not a big fan of things like that masyado akong takot magexperiment LOL i think i should be more adventurous with food!

  22. “No offense but at this point I thought the restaurant was being ran by Mongoloids and not Mongolians πŸ™‚ ”


    There was a mongolian restaurant near my sister’s place and they serve siomai.

    • well that’s nice. A Mongolian restaurant here offers Chinese food on the sides and at the dessert area they have make your own leche con hielo which I thought is great πŸ™‚

  23. “the restaurant was being ran by Mongoloids and not Mongolians” LOL

    It’s very nice of you to dine out regularly with your family. That’s good bonding time. The boyfriend and I are all about food, so we’d probably do the same in the future.

    There’s only one Mongolian place I go to here in the Philippines, and it’s called, well, Mongolian-something. Hehe. I like the freedom to dump whatever I want in my bowl. The sauces, however, are put by the staff. You just tell them whether you want sweet, or spicy, or a combination of both.

    • I eat out every weekend and lately my wife doesn’t like to cook anymore. She just goes to a Pinoy store an buys food for the entire weekend πŸ™‚

      Interesting that the staff have to put sauces – maybe tinitipid nila ang sauce? πŸ˜‰

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