Our little university town sports a surprising variety of foreign restaurants and eateries including Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and American* cuisines (*if you'd call KFC and Mister Donut a "cuisine").
My absolute favorite "foreign" restaurant, however, opened up a couple years ago about two miles from my house. It's called "The Living Room," and does a perfect job at creating a nice American-style living room atmosphere; complete with sofas, coffee tables, American movies on the big LCD screen (satellite Star Movies), and soft jazz playing in the background.
Half of The Living Room restaurant is furnished with living room settings where you can sip a nice beverage and snack on appetizers (tempura, buffalo wings, etc.), and then later move to the large dining tables for the feast.
The menu is eclectic (Thai, Isaan, Japanese, Italian and American) with only the best of ingredients used by a very well-trained Thai chef.
My favorites are:
- BBQ Ribs (the Texas BBQ sauce is a dead ringer for anything you could get in San Antonio!). The rack of ribs is huge and very meaty.
- Giant New Zealand mussels (I mean they are BIG, with just a touch of mozzarella cheese on each one before they are put under the broiler),
- The huge "Deluxe Ceasar Salad" with deep-fried shrimp buried among the grated Parmesan cheese, croutons, and zesty blue cheese dressing
- The Japanese tempura (delicately batter-dipped onions, carrots, shrimp, potatoes, broccoli, and asparagus)
- And, the Italian Calzone (like a pizza made into a turnover). Full of ham, cheese, onions and peppers.
Background: The owner also runs a successful British Pub in downtown Bangkok, and has really duplicated an authentic English atmosphere there. Last month on a trip to the Big Mango, stopped by for fish & chips and watched the British soccer matches on the seven or eight huge LCD screens surrounding the dining area. Just like lolly-gaggin' in Brighton, Old Chap!
Of course, after visiting this successful restaurateur's Living Room here in Isaan, I have to double my exercise routine and live on water for a couple of days to counteract the calories and cholesterol, but that's the price of a real treat. Yep, living in a remote location in a foreign country is especially nice when you know the comforts of home may be only five minutes away!
Thai Proverb: The poor dancer always blames the dummer.