Posts tagged ‘dinner’

Chocolate, waffles, and awesome times were ALL had!

So I spent the last couple days on the other coast.  I haven’t spent any time in California since maybe a decade ago (ish?), so it was good to go back and see the sights that I’d enjoyed as a kid.

Alcatraz.  In Arabic it means..."The Catraz". (Not really.)

Alcatraz. In Arabic it means..."The Catraz". (Not really.)

Continue reading ‘Chocolate, waffles, and awesome times were ALL had!’ »

Dinner tonight was awesome

It’s a lazy beautiful Sunday.  It’s unfortunate that it’s dark out this early, but really, it’s still February…what should I expect?  It was in the 50s and 60s today though, so I won’t complain about it getting dark early.

Anyway, I spent most of the day studying for the LSAT.  I’m going to take it again in June to raise my score, because frankly it wasn’t good enough to compete with most people.  I scored a 166 on the diagnostic, so we’ll see how high I can go with it (and how high I can keep it)!

After a few hours at the library, I decided that I needed some soy sauce (since my old stuff started to go funny…), so I went out to Super H Mart.  H-Mart (aka Han Ah Reum) is a Korean grocery chain endemic to this area – there are a couple elsewhere, but I think it started in Northern Virginia.  I’m not sure what the difference is between a “Super” H-Mart and a normal H-Mart, but whatever.

Anyhoo, I realized that I had some pork in the freezer, so I decided on a meal for the night.  It was quick, easy, semi-healthy (well, moreso than what I could have eaten otherwise…) and cheap.

Finished product - pork bulgogi on lettuce

The finished product!

The process follows below!

Continue reading ‘Dinner tonight was awesome’ »

Everland and Incheon Airport

Hi there!

It’s 9:35am on the east coast, but it doesn’t feel like that to me. I don’t know what time it really is, but something called “the sun” seems to be out, and it’s in the eastern sky, so therefore it must be morning. Right? Right.

Anyway, I have a few more pictures, both from Everland from my day of travel.

Took a few more pictures of North Korea.

North Korea's right there!

North Korea's right there!

Closer shot of North Korea.

Closer shot of North Korea.

We made it to Caribbean Bay! (Warning: Overly excited English ahead.) It was a water park, mostly indoors. I realize I said “outdoors” before, but there was an outdoor portion of the lazy river part. I had to retouch this photo since it was really really white.

Outside Caribbean Bay! Woo!

Outside Caribbean Bay! Woo!

INSIDE Caribbean Bay! See the difference?

INSIDE Caribbean Bay! See the difference?

There’s a water slide, a few wade pools, the lazy river, a kiddie diving pool, strictly kiddie pools, and a bunch of saunas/spas. It was a relaxing place filled with hundreds of screaming Korean kids.

On the way out, I found a few gifts and took a picture of the theme park’s entrance.

There was also a theme park next to Caribbean Bay. It was open for a "Snow Festival".

There was also a theme park next to Caribbean Bay. It was open for a "Snow Festival".

We took the bus back to Ilsan, and I found the best Billiard Club in the world. Kind of far to travel, but it’s gotta be worth it.

I found the best billiard club in the world, FYI.

I found the best billiard club in the world, FYI.

Dinner was Kimbab, Udon noodles, and Jook. I only got a picture of the Kimbab.

Kimbab! Seaweed, rice, and meat+veggies.No more kimbab!

Kimbab! Seaweed, rice, and meat+veggies.

That was my last day and night in Korea. The next day was all travel.

Woke up early, and headed to the airport. As I said, my complaint letter to Delta got me a free BusinessElite upgrade. A very nice touch for the 13 hour Incheon-Atlanta leg.

Sonia holding the ticket of AWESOME.

Sonia holding the ticket of AWESOME.

This upgrade was key. A 13-hour flight in Coach isn’t too bad – the food’s decent, I had an exit-row seat, and the amenities were pretty good too. But man….BusinessElite is so excellent. If you don’t know, you really don’t know. Take a gander:

The seatback in Business Class on Delta's 777s.

The seatback in Business Class on Delta's 777s.

I sat in one of those seats. They didn’t quite lie totally flat, but reclined maybe to a 30º angle. The footrest also came up to about 75º. They also included a bottle of water, an amenity kit with all sorts of stuff, and a light that you can see on the left side for reading.

Slippers from BusinessElite on Delta.

Slippers from BusinessElite on Delta.

Oh yeah, slippers too.

Business Class also had better food. Dinner...number 1? Pictured: Beef Japchae, Carrot and Ginger Soup, and a Fresh Seasonal Salad.

Business Class also had better food. Dinner...number 1? Pictured: Beef Japchae, Carrot and Ginger Soup, and a Fresh Seasonal Salad.

The food wasn’t bad either. I missed taking a picture of the first dinner (lunch? breakfast? midnight snack? what time was it?), but it was a “Penne Pasta in Vegetable Bolognese Sauce, tossed with arugula, fresh mozzarella, and mushrooms”.

Dinner #2's main course. I chose the Tuk Galbi - "traditional korean beef in spicy soy sauce with mushrooms, pak choi, and steamed rice".

Dinner #2's main course. I chose the Tuk Galbi - "traditional korean beef in spicy soy sauce with mushrooms, pak choi, and steamed rice".

I tried to talk my way into the Delta lounge in Atlanta with my Business Class ticket, but no dice. I paid for it since I REALLY wanted a shower.

The flight after was lackluster, we’ll say, in comparison. But it landed safely.  That’s all I really care about.

Lunch and dinner

Pretty simple day today!

Waiting for the bus, I was struck by how large the roads are...mostly because they're never busy enough to merit their size.

Waiting for the bus, I was struck by how large the roads are...mostly because they're never busy enough to merit their size.

We went to a small restaurant called “Urban Garden“, hidden in a back alley near 서울시청 (Seoul City Hall). It was a pretty nice place, and the food was carefully prepared. Their website is annoying as hell though; turn off your speakers.

Hi Yewon!

Hi Yewon!

We met Yewon for lunch! I hadn’t seen her since October, and Sonia hadn’t seen her since May. It’s good to know Columbia didn’t kill her.

Mmmforklamer

Their menu might need a little bit of work.

After lunch, we traveled back to the house, and got ready for dinner.

Dinner layout! Wrap the eel in the vegetables, add your choice of condiments, and eat!

Dinner layout! Wrap the eel in the vegetables, add your choice of condiments, and eat!

Now it’s off to the water park. Yes, I know, it’s about 10˚F colder here than Jersey. We’ll see how this goes.

Short entry, yes, I know, but I’m excited to swim in really cold weather :-)

~Chris

명동 again, 남산 tower, 남대문 market, and the classy 버거킹

We went out yesterday and Sunyoung wanted me to try a Korean/Chinese/Something dish called 자짱면 (Jajjyeongmyeon).  It is a true Korean dish, invented by Chinese immigrants about a century ago, and historically eaten on highschool/college graduation day.

Jajjangmyeon, a dish with wheat noodles, black soybean paste sauce, some meat, and veggies. Salty but good!

Jajjangmyeon, a dish with wheat noodles, black soybean paste sauce, some meat, and veggies. Salty but good!

The place was huge, and fairly nicely decorated. I won’t attempt to be a judge of authentic Chinese restaurants, but it looked nice inside nonetheless.

After that, Sunyoung remembered that I had to try 두유 (Korean soymilk), so we found a convenience store and asked for directions to the 남산 케이블카 (Namsan Cable Car).  (Note, link to company doesn’t work. Try Web Archive.)

Korean soymilk - with chestnut flavor!

Korean soymilk - with chestnut flavor!

While drinking his soymilk, Chris finds a ridiculous CD rate, and plots to send some money to Korea in the future.  From what I can tell, that's a 1-year CD rate. W. T. F.

While drinking his soymilk, Chris finds a ridiculous CD rate, and plots to send some money to Korea in the future. From what I can tell, that's a 1-year CD rate. W. T. F.

It was a 3 minute ride up the side of Namsan, at which point we could see the Seoul Tower (previously the “Namsan Tower”).

Shot of the city. Higher and higher we go...

Shot of the city. Higher and higher we go...

우리은행, aka "Our Bank". Don't mess with Koreans.

우리은행, aka "Our Bank". Don't mess with Koreans.

Another shot from wayyy up.

Another shot from wayyy up.

The other cable car passed us.  No-one waved :-(

The other cable car passed us. No-one waved :-(

Panorama of Seoul

Panorama of Seoul

After the ride up, we were at the top of Namsan (aka Mount Nam).

There’s a little museum, a restaurant arrogantly called “The Place” (which brought on a lot of bad jokes from me), and a gift shop.

Tree of teddy bears!

Tree of teddy bears!

Wireframe man flying around the Tower.

Wireframe man flying around the Tower.

There was also a demonstration going on.  Apparently the new administration invoked some harsh rules upon the news media, and some of the news unions were protesting in a memorable way:

Up....

Up....

Up....

Up....

And Away!

And Away!

A pretty good shot if I do say so myself.

A pretty good shot if I do say so myself.

We took a few shots of the panorama on the other side of the mountain:

The other side of Seoul. Not in a bad way. Just geographically different.

The other side of Seoul. Not in a bad way. Just geographically different.

We also participated in a tradition on the Seoul Tower; cheesy, yes; but such is life.

Writing on the locklock writingLocks against the mountainlocks down

I think it started from a TV show? Anyway, it was cute, and I have the key. So I can unlock our love if I get tired of it 😛

Namdaemun market. A sea of people and cheap stuff. Oh, and street food vendors.Close up

Namdaemun market. A sea of people and cheap stuff. Oh, and street food vendors.

Namdaemun is an experience. An experience we mostly missed out on since places were closing at the time.

We made it back to Myeongdong to find dinner. At night it's a cornucopia of lights and sounds, quite pretty. And no cars!

We made it back to Myeongdong to find dinner. At night it's a cornucopia of lights and sounds, quite pretty. And no cars!

Dinner was a Korean restaurant, known as 버거킹.

Some things never change, no matter where you go...right?

Some things never change, no matter where you go...right?

You people (Americans) might know it by its traditional name, “Burger King”.

Whenever I go to another country, I love seeing that country’s take on American fastfood. In the same way that Chinese food in America is a perversion of real Chinese food, seeing the Korean version of Burger King was interesting because it’s one of the many impressions that we give off.

Also, it’s interesting to see how Koreans enjoy their food, as evidenced by our dinner.

Honey Potato burger. It was a mashed potato on top of a burger, topped with honey.

Honey Potato burger. It was a mashed potato on top of a burger, topped with honey.

Potato burger + honey = interesting.  It was kind of sweet, but not overly so. Could have done without the mayo.

ANGRY WHOPPER. This was awesome.

ANGRY WHOPPER. This was awesome.

According to Wikipedia, this is already around the world, and not just a Korean thing.  But I didn’t taste the pepperjack cheese or jalapenos. Actually kind of tasted like kimchi. Pretty awesome either way though!

That was my day! Time to wake up and have breakfast. We’re meeting a friend today, and I don’t know what else yet. Rest assured I’ll get pictures this time.

~Chris

Malls, malls, malls! And no pictures because my battery was dead :-(

Yesterday was a looong day!  We went to Sunyoung’s mother’s church where I understood maybe 10 words that were said.  I did sing the song though; “축복합니다”, which means something like “may God bless you”.  I did a pretty good job, but there’s a portion where the singing gets really fast, and I’m just not that fast at reading Korean yet :-)

After church, we went out to meet Sonia’s friends at the COEX mall.  It was a long bus ride + a long Metro ride to Samsung-dong.  When we got there, we stayed underground the entire time – from the metro, through Hyundai department store, into COEX mall, I didn’t see light after about 3:30 pm that day.  We walked around the mall for a while, just looking for a place to eat that wasn’t terribly crowded. On the way, we spotted a Kimchi museum, but didn’t get a chance to go in before it closed. Something for next time :-)

We settled on “Mr. Pizza“, whose slogan is “Love for women”…???  Beyond that slogan, there was nothing terribly off about the place. It was Korean-style pizza, which means…well, dough + stuff. We ended up getting the “Potato Pizza“, an amalgam of potato, mushroom, corn, bacon, beef, and onion.

So good. No sauce, but there was cheese in the crust (Cheese cap pizza).

So good. No sauce, but there was cheese in the crust ("Cheese cap pizza").

After pizza, we met Sunyoung’s friends for coffee and I was interviewed for about an hour. I tried my best to speak and understand Korean, but this language is damn hard. Much respect for those who can actually speak this crazy language… I’m very glad her friends understood enough English.

Jayson, if you’re reading this, remember Sonia’s friend Sae Min? Yeah, she said hi to ya, heh.

Anyway, it’s Monday now and I think the rest of the house is waking up. I’ll probably head upstairs soon when 할머니 (grandmother) calls for breakfast, as per usual.

Today I think we’re going to another observatory tower, and I’m not sure what else. Either way, it’s turning out to be a wonderful vacation so far!

~Chris

압구정동, 서울대학교, and 와플

We went to Sonia’s old school today – 서울대학교 (Seoul National University).

Outside SNU's new art museum, which was under construction when she left.

Outside SNU's new art museum, which was under construction when she left.

They wouldn’t let us take pictures inside the museum.  You can see a few pictures of works here at the Museum of Art’s website.  Click on 현재전시.

So we stuck it to them by taking pictures OUTSIDE!  Ha!

Waffles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  Tasty and only 700 원 (60 cents)!

Waffles with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Tasty and only 700 원 (60 cents)!

Keep in mind we hadn’t eaten anything except for early breakfast.

Sonia's old college at SNU.  There's a newer building behind it but I didn't get a good picture of it...

Sonia's old college at SNU. There's a newer building behind it but I didn't get a good picture of it...

We went to a place called “Mad for Garlic” for dinner, after walking forever and being really lost!

Mad for (at?) Garlic

Mad for (at?) Garlic

Mad at Camera.

Mad at Camera.

Garlic and Sweet Potato pizza.  Pretty interesting.  Arugula was unadvertised.

Garlic and Sweet Potato pizza. Pretty interesting. Arugula was unadvertised. Not Mad at that though.

After dinner we ended up at a Cafe (Cafe Star) for waffles and hot chocolate :-)

A fabled Korean dish known as 바나나카라멜소스 피캔 와플.  Also known as "Banana Caramel Sauce Pecan Waffle".  Yeah.

A fabled Korean dish known as 바나나카라멜소스 피캔 와플. Also known as "Banana Caramel Sauce Pecan Waffle". Literally it says "pa na na ka ra mael so seu p'i kaen wapul". Yeah...

Waffles gone!

Waffle ALL GONE!

Waffle ALL GONE!

A great day in terms of food and walking around :-)

More pictures are up at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2083651&l=ce9dc&id=5400263.

Anyway, time for breakfast and church, then walking around the town!

~Chris

경복궁, 인사동, and MILLER TIME.

We started out yesterday pretty early, and headed to the Jongno-Insadong area.

We saw a palace from the 14th century named 경복궁 (Gyeongbokgung):

Hongremun entrance gate at Gyeongbokgung (palace from the 14th century)

Hongremun entrance gate at Gyeongbokgung (palace from the 14th century)

Geunjeongjeon Ilwon - imperial throne room

Geunjeongjeon Ilwon - imperial throne room

It’s an old palace with a lot of history.  Constructed in 1395 by King Taejo, it was destroyed during the Japanese invasion of 1592, reconstructed in 1868, and affronted by the Japanese Government-General building until about a decade ago, when the building was demolished (much to the happiness of Koreans worldwide).

I’m not going to put up that many more pictures from the palace; just a few.  The rest are viewable here.

Underground heating.

Underground heating.

Throne room in Geunjeongjeon

Throne room in Geunjeongjeon

See?  She has a brochure.  Proves we were really there.

See? She has a brochure. Proves we were really there.

After the palace, we walked to 인사동 (Insadong) for some more shopping and eating.

A Korean restaurant? In Korea? Whodathunkit.

A Korean restaurant? In Korea? Whodathunkit.

Food at 두대문집 (in Insadong)

Food at 두대문집 (in Insadong). We also ordered 해물 파전 (seafood pancake) and 순두부 (a spicy tofu soup)

Make you happy is all you need.

Make you happy is all you need.

We did some more shopping and walking and talking.

I found out that it was in fact Miller Time.

Miller time always seems to sneak up on me.

Miller time always seems to sneak up on me.

…and then we ended up at OMUTO TOMATO (Firefox will probably complain that the site is an attack site, but it seems to be okay…).  Their specialties include the OMURICE – a fluffy egg omelette stuffed with rice, and surrounded with other food (vegetables, meat, etc).  We had the “Golden Roll” – a deep fried beef roll.

Omurice Golden Roll!

Omurice Golden Roll!

Great stuff.  Anyway, it’s bedtime here (11 pm), and I’ll upload tomorrow what I have done today!

오두산 and 삼겹살

Day 2 of Korea!  We spent a lot of time indoors because it was REALLY COLD.  At about 2 pm, we went to 오두산 통일 전망대대, the Ohdusan Unificiation Observatory.  From there, one can see the border of North Korea, and also get a little idea of what life is like over there.  I say “over there” loosely, because it’s about 5 km away from where you’re standing.  Going from seeing the commercial part of Myeongdong yesterday, to seeing one of the most repressive and insular nations in the world, is a bit of a shock – you barely realize that they’re literally next to one another.

There’s something a bit voyeuristic about looking into another country that you can’t physically visit.

North Korea - maybe 4 km away from it

North Korea - maybe 4 km away from it.

North Korea in the background. It's VERY COLD THERE.

North Korea in the background. It's VERY COLD THERE.

North Korean money

North Korean money

5 North Korean won = 3.5 US cents.

5 North Korean won = 3.5 US cents.

Anyway, after that, we went back to her house and headed out for dinner.  We had 삼겹살 (literally, “three layer pig”).  I know that layers one and two were meat and fat, but I’m not 100% sure what layer 3 was.  It looked like more fat, heh.

Mmmmm....honey pig.

Mmmmm....honey pig.

A short day in terms of things done.  But it’s a vacation, not a job :-)  My pictures are also on Facebook, so check them out there!

Korea!

Hi all,

I made it to Korea last night at about 4 pm…waited for my bag, met the lovely 박선영, and headed to her place. Had dinner with her family (probably the most confusing dinner I’ve ever had, since it was partly in Korean, partly in Chinese, and partly in English…), then I passed out at 9 pm. Now it’s 7 am, and I can’t sleep anymore (getting the “too much sleep” headache), so it’s up time for me!

Take care, and have a happy new year everyone!

EDIT: right, no pictures yet…need to find a camera cable…

~Chris