Posted by: Sean Carter | October 30, 2013

#163: Asian Blossom

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After a long non-stop day at work I have to admit I just wanted to come home and take a nap, but I didn’t want to fall behind here either.  I decided I would do an “easy” post and go to Asian Blossom for dinner.  Easy in that I’ve been to this place several times and the experience is pretty consistent.  I actually kind of feel like I’ve been cheating on Eating Through Roseville by coming here, since I only first tried this place well into the blog but never wrote about it.  It was the very first place I ever had a bowl of pho, and that’s exactly what I get every time I come here.  I like to come here alone, listen to music or podcasts and relax while sipping and slurping up the tasty broth and noodles.  One of the main reasons I like to come here for pho, versus the several other Vietnamese restaurants in town is that, because Asian Blossom is not strictly Vietnamese, they have a more diverse menu.  Really what I’m getting at is that they have Thai iced tea.  Anyway, lets dive right in.

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Asian Blossom is located kitty corner from the Galleria in the same shopping center as BJ’s.  I vaguely recall it being some sort of Hawaiian BBQ type place before.  They’ve kept a lot of the styling inside, and somehow it totally works.  I arrived at 5:35PM.  Only a handful of tables were seated, almost all booths as they give the most privacy.  The booths run along one wall and you feel like you almost have a little room to yourself, even though the seat-backs aren’t really that tall.  It’s because of the fake roof that serves as a “hut” type of decoration to fit into the tropical styling.  I took the remaining booth as the server that greeted me gestured for me to sit anywhere I pleased.  As I slid onto the bench seat he left me a menu and headed off to attend to other tables.  I didn’t do much skimming of the menu (Scanned PDF — note that this is pretty old and already out of date since I scanned it after my first visit, they don’t even have the appetizer I ordered today on it, but it should give you a general idea of what to expect) since I planned on getting the same bowl of pho with rare steak as always.  The very first time I ate here I ordered one with the works: rare steak, well-done flank, fat brisket, tendon and tripe.  It was a bit much, and I like to keep it simple now.  I might even drop the steak and just go strictly noodles next time because to be honest the rare beef isn’t really all that great.

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On the first page I saw that happy hour is from 3-6, something I never noticed before.  Even more interesting was that instead of a limited selection on appetizers and/or drinks at a lower price, the entire menu is 20% off, which is a pretty awesome deal, I think.  I’ve never come here during happy hour and I’ve always been pretty happy with the price, so this was a bonus for sure.  The last time I came I ordered the small bowl of pho [$5.50] as well as an appetizer, instead of just a medium or large bowl by itself.  I did the same today, choosing pot stickers [$4.75].  I ordered quickly and within just a couple minutes the server started dropping off items.  First a bag with utensils (fork, spoon and chopsticks), napkins and a fortune cookie.  Next up was a plate of condiments for my pho (thai basil, jalapenos, bean sprouts and lime).  In addition to these were the standard items on the table including Sriracha, soy and hoisin sauces.

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Along with the condiments plate my Thai iced tea [$2.25] was delivered.  I drank most of this at the end of my meal but I did take a test sip after it had arrived.  It was a bit thinner than I’ve had here before, though still quite tasty.  Less than ten minutes after sitting down I had my appetizer in front of me.  These pot stickers are the deep-fried and crisp variety.  I think I prefer them just steamed, but they’re always good either way.  With the soy sauce-based dip these were excellent.  Crunchy on the outside, hot and full of flavor on the inside.  I powered through about half of the plate before my pho arrived, then alternated between the two.  The pho was as good as always.  Upon arrival the rare steak was busy cooking in the hot broth.  It was clearly pink at first and quickly turning to a uniform gray.  A big pile of the thin, translucence  noodles hit just beneath the surface.  I tossed in some bean sprouts, ripped up Thai basil leaves and squeezed a bit of lime to get started.  Today was the day I realized I didn’t even feel like having the beef in there and ate most of it first to get it out of the way.  It’s pretty bland and the texture is not that pleasant.  Once that was out of the way I was able to enjoy the delicious broth, now with a little additional flavoring from the lime and basil.  Eventually I added a big squirt of hoisin sauce.  I like to enjoy different stages of flavor as I go through the bowl.  Often I’ll eat up to a third of it without adding anything, just focusing on the subtle, delicate broth.

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I’ve been very pleased with Asian Blossom since I started coming here.  The pho is delicious and the prices are excellent.  20% off the entire menu during happy hour is a very nice plus.  After tax, this meal was just under $11.  The Thai iced tea could have been a little richer this time, but usually it’s pretty good.  The service has always seemed to consist of a somewhat young staff who are quick, efficient, quiet and polite.  There are always people eating here but I’ve never seen the place busy.  I hope they are able to survive on this busy corner.

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Asian Blossom on Urbanspoon

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