Thursday, June 11, 2015

coffee intro

coffee intro
강남구 논현로 164길 26, 압구정동
tel: 070-4121-9898

what was consumed: pour-over coffee

i hear korea went through a sort of coffee revolution. i mean, koreans love their coffee, but were seemingly more interested in the caffeine fix than the complex but subtle flavors of the beverage. i.e., it was all about coffee that tasted like candy.

places like coffee intro are now a regular part of the korean food industry. some deliciously roasted coffees that are prepared excellently. i prefer coffees that are not over roasted, though dark, and prepared via pour over (or aero press, i guess), something with a clean flavor anyway. the downside is that these sorts of coffee shops cost an arm and a leg. sadly.

that said, i also look at the stiff price of my cup of coffee as including the cost of admission. cafe intro included, these cafes seem to pay a lot of attention to decor and ambiance. cafe intro is comfortable, cute, and a place i can't wait to go back! maybe with friends, maybe for some alone time. but for sure for a good cup of coffee.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

sushi shi-ro

sushi shi-ro
208-26 seogyo-dong, mapo-gu
tel: 02) 336-8353

what was consumed: omakase menu!

friend connie was in town with her dude and they wanted to go and eat sushi. i'm in! she did a naver search and said that one of the top suggestions was shi-ro in the hong dae area. thanks for the recommendation! one of my new favorite japanese restaurants.

when at shi-ro, i opt for the omakase menu, aka chef's choice. i like to trust the more knowledgeable (and trained, i will choose to believe) sushi chefs to tell me what is in season and what is delicious. additionally, i'm happy to try variations that come from the creative minds of the chefs.

shi-ro's omakase menu goes through a variety of different dishes, including some sashimi, tempura, and udon. at the end, they ask you which was your favorite and they bring one more of that out to you. YES! and, to top it off, they have a palate cleansing dessert, a sort of cheese tofu that is lightly sweetened. YUM.

shi-ro does 2 seatings: once at 6pm, and once at 8pm. be sure to make reservations because they will usually not be able to accommodate walk-ins (though i've gotten lucky).

can't wait to go again!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

8색 삼겹살

8 색 삼겹살
multiple locations, but i visited the one near 신총 (107-111 nogosan-dong, mapo-gu)
tel: 02) 719-4848

what was consumed: 8 flavors of pork belly!

pahl-sek is a chain (for better or for worse) is probably one of our favorite korean bbq places. they take pork belly and marinate it in 8 different flavors (pine, herb, ginseng, wine, garlic, curry, miso, hot pepper). you have the option of order single servings of all 8 or ordering individual flavors 2 servings at a time. friends and i will usually order the 8 color set and then go back and pick our favorites (mine are garlic and miso, closely followed by hot pepper).

your meal is also accompanied, on your table, by korean style spicy seafood soup (more soup than seafood). be sure to leave some of this, though, so you can order rice that they will sauté with the nicely reduced soup. you can even get it with cheese! or not.

each table is also equipped with a plate of veggies. no need to conserve, though. there's a self-serve bar with all you can eat veggies for ssam, kimchee with bean sprouts, various sauces, etc. i love it.

pahl-sek is also a good place to go with larger groups. they take reservations for groups that are 6 and larger and they are pretty good about respecting your reservation (as long as you respect that they're saving seats for you. i.e., don't be too late!). larger groups also give you the opportunity to try all of the different flavors and decide on which is your favorite without having to worry about having to consumer everything. love it.

yes, there are chain locations in the US (i.e., LA). but still! i will be back at pahl-sek and i will enjoy it, gosh darn it! and let me know if you go - i will join!

Friday, June 5, 2015

burger mine

45-9 yongsandong 2-ga, yongsan-gu
tel: 070-8263-2034

what was consumed: burgers! and chili cheese fries ... 

sometimes, all i want is a good burger. i remember the days when burger king would be my go to burger place partially because i enjoyed their burgers and partly because it was my only option.

now a days, there are ample options when it comes to burgers (perhaps i should engage in a korea burger challenge? i'll think about it). and while i fear that western food will always come out a little sweet (it frequently does, i'm not sure why), i am still on the lookout for my favorite burger in town.

per kenny's recommendation, we head to burger mine in hbc. it was a nice day, so we sat in the seats in the outdoor section of the restaurant which also gave us an opportunity to do some major people watching.

burger mine has quite a few varieties for enjoyment. i'm always a sucker for anything that has chili (such as chili cheese fries), so i definitely got an order of that. you can be sure that kenny and i devoured some major orders of regular and chili'ed fries. and the burgers were good! the patties are nicely cooked (i.e., leaning toward medium and away from well-done). yum.

i love that burger mine does the bottomless sodas. i'm trying to decrease the amount off soda i drink. but when i do drink soda, i want to drink to my heart's content (it's not a lot, but ... it's the principal of it!). they also do an all-you-can drink beer option. they did when i was there anyway.

oh, burger mine. i can't wait to go back. soon please~

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

menya sandaime

menya sandaime 
in itaewon: 서울 용산구 이태원로 206
tel: 02-790-4129

what was consumed: japanese style ramen (spicy or miso). with extra chashu. and gyoza.

it's not just the US that has had an obsession with japanese ramen. it's like that here in seoul as well. i've had ramen at a couple of different places, but friends and i revisit japanese ramen in itaewon most frequently. yes, part of it is the convenience of its location. that said, we return time and time again because it's delicious.

friends first found out about a delicious ramen place near hongik university. it was hard to find as it is in the middle of a block, totally off the regular path. on top of that, the storefront lists the restaurant's name only in japanese. and when you go in, the place seats, like, 12 people (6 at the bar and 3 2-tops. or something like that). we also loved that we could see the food being prepared - the ramen being boiled, the veggies being added, the chashu being flambéed, the bowls of deliciousness being assembled. the broth was so rich and delicious, with just the right amount of saltiness. and the chashu! be sure to order extra - you'll be glad that you did. the pork is deliciously cooked. and then they take a mini blow torch and toast the chashu pieces before they place it atop chewy ramen noodles.

and the gyoza! be sure to put in an order to share. steamed and then toasted on one side, served with some soy sauce for dipping.

we later discovered that they have a branch in itaewon. YES. similarly, it has fewer than 20 seats, but the turnover is pretty quick. sit, order, eat, be full, leave. repeat. frequently. must. nom nom nom ... 

PS double bonus is that they are open 24 hours!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

school food

school food
multiple locations (i went to the one near gwang-hwa-moon: 서울시 종로구 신문로 1가 7-1 tel: 02-722-5454)

what was consumed: 김밥! 국수!

"upscale," cafe-ified korean fast food.

school food take korean fast food (like kim-bahb and dduk-bohk-kki) and creates fusion and/or contemporary versions.

i feel i can never get enough boon-sik (korean snack foods). it's never quite the same when you try to make it at home (on top of requiring a lot of prep work) and it never tastes as good as it does in korea when you eat it elsewhere (and it's so much more expensive!). but here's the thing about school food. they took these snack-y foods and sort of fancy-fied them. delicious flavors and interesting combinations served cafe style (in terms of look and feel). it's obvious who they were targeting (the sophisticated young woman) especially as most of the decor has a feminine touch (and the ads predominately showcase cosmetics) and the food is reminiscent of snacks kids will go to eat after school. in particular, i like the kimbap that has bacon slices or the kimbap that has he marinated cooked squid. see what i mean? but totally delish.

the first time khj and i went to lunch, we went to school food. thank god for her and her taste for yummy things; i've gotten to try lots of deliciousness! khj, where are we gonna go next? i can't wait! hungry ...