Monday, September 30, 2013

63 Seaworld

I'm a Seoul girl now!

It was a whirlwind rush and dash, but I am now ensconced in a teeny-tiny Seoul apartment that is mercifully close (walking distance) to the new office. I think the apartment (officetel) is about half the size of my Ilsan place. Since I'm only contracted to be in Korea until the end of 2013, I'll either be moving out of the country or will find another apartment if I continue to live in Korea (much to my mother's chagrin).

It's been gray and gloomy and a bit rainy here, so lots of indoor activities-- I've got my second wind in Korea, since I moved to a new place. I guess I was getting a little too settled down in Ilsan. 

One recent exploration was the 63 Building (63 빌딩), so named because it has (surprise!) 63 floors above ground. We went to see the aquarium, which is, oddly enough, in one of the basement levels. 

The aquarium is called 63 Seaworld, which is ... yeah, nothing like San Diego's Sea World (which I love, of course). It was fun enough, but even with a leisurely strolling speed and frequent stops for picture taking, it only took about an hour to get through the whole aquarium. It's a good afternoon diversion, sure, but it's not an all-day affair, like Sea World.

We also went up to the 60th floor (I think it was the 60th ... might have been the 59th??) to see the art exhibit, which is really just an excuse to see the breathtaking view of nighttime Seoul. I really need to transfer pictures and am just being really lazy at the moment. Moving and such has taken it all out of me.

I'm pretty tired and need a haircut, manicure, and pedicure really badly, but haven't found places in Seoul to try, but exploring and having adventures is a big part of what I find so fun about Korea. Seoul, I'm ready for what you have to throw at me!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Original Pancake House, Seoul

Original Pancake House
523-20 Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul

Telephone: 02.511.7481

서울시 강남구 신시동 523-20

Monday - Friday: 11 am to 10 pm
Saturday - Sunday: 8 am to 10 pm

The Original Pancake House is a restaurant chain that started in Portland, Oregon, which obviously prides itself on its pancakes. It's located in Sinsa-dong (sometimes spelled Shinsa-dong), a dong* in Seoul.

I was in Seoul and have been missing American food something fierce, so a friend took pity on me and took me to have breakfast for dinner, which I always love. I have a strange love affair with eggs, I must say- my best friend hates eggs and refers to them as dead baby chickens, but even that didn't make me love eggs any less.

Wow, weird tangent. This is what happens when I blog so infrequently that I forget how to keep my train of though focused. The Original Pancake House is located just off Garosugil ("Garosu" (가로수) means tree-lined and "gil" (길) means street, which is appropriate because Garosugil is lined with gingko trees; I can't wait to go in the autumn when the gingko trees are all golden and pretty!). It's a bit hidden, but plenty of people were there when we stopped by.

I might have gotten a little carried away when I ordered (my buddy let me order, seeing as how he had no idea what to get), but we somehow still managed to eat everything on the table. The spirit of the food was American, but the execution was Korean- no pools of grease on the plates, the food arranged prettily, overly-attentive servers- very Korean.

An Italian omelette, which had garlic, onions, bell peppers, and ham wrapped around a ton of melty, oozy, gooey mozzarella cheese and topped with olives and marinara sauce. It was really good, though way too buttery for my taste. I guess they used butter to cook this thing rather than olive oil.

As you can see, the omelette was ginormous. There had to be at least six eggs in it, if not eight!

At the edge of the photo are buttermilk pancakes, the traditional Original Pancake House staple. They were good ... I'm not a huge pancake fan, they're just ... cooked bread. I don't know. I don't love them, I don't hate them, they're just pancakes. These were fine, they were cooked well, and I used them as a delivery system for butter and syrup.

Salami hash with two over medium eggs. I've never seen hash made of salami before, just corned beef. It tasted a lot like corned beef hash. I like corned beef hash, so I liked this salami hash, but I wished there were more crispy bits. I like my hash fried a bit more, I suppose. Those crisped, charred bits are the best, but Koreans like perfectly formed hash, I suppose. The eggs were lovely- again with my love affair with eggs!

Potato pancakes. Really much too buttery! I know there's no such thing as too much butter, but there was too much butter here. They need to cook these things in a mix of butter and oil so it's less buttery. It was a shame, because these were otherwise really good. They came with a small dish of sour cream, which cut the butteriness a bit and which I appreciated because I really love sour cream. (The Korean friend was doubtful about the charms of sour cream, which meant more for me!)

Overall, thumbs up to the Original Pancake House for giving me my American grub fix while in Korea. Yum!

There are some big changes afoot for me. I'll be relocating from Ilsan to Seoul, to the Gangnam neighborhood (yes, "Gangnam Style"). I'm going to think of it as an opportunity to explore a whole new neighborhood in Korea. More Gangnam posts to come!

*dong (동), is not pronounced the way it's spelled. The "do" portion is pronounced like the beginning of "dough"-- Korean is such a tough language to Romanize! Dongs are neighborhoods here in Korea, usually about the size of five city blocks. They're the smallest administrative divisions and are used in conversation to refer to location. In LA, when someone asked where a new restaurant was, we'd either use the neighborhood- Mar Vista- or cross streets- Overland and Venice. In Korea, dongs are used in the same way. Whew. Enough Korean geography for now!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sister!

It's my baby sister's birthday!

In continuing my tradition of having a meal on behalf of my birthday'ed family members, here's what I think my sister would have enjoyed had she been in Korea with me (rather than in Brazil on business):

Octopus! 쭈꾸미, which is rather small octopi that, in this case, is cooked in a spicy (spicy!!) sauce with bean sprouts (콩나물), which my sister loves. Yum.

After the octopus, the remaining sauce and bits of octopus are fried up with rice and dried laver and chives, and it's delicious. And there's a little happy face made of octopus pieces!

So, sister of mine, hope you're having a happy birthday in Brazil with plenty of cheese and some cake!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, 아빠!

I'm behind on blogging! There have been a lot of developments, which is why ... not a good excuse, but an excuse all the same. Ah, well.

My father's birthday is the 18th (yes, after my mother's birthday on the 5th and my sister's upcoming birthday on the 23rd, which makes me the only person in my nuclear family with a birthday outside of September), which happens to be the first day of the Chuseok holiday here in Korea. 

Chuseok is pretty much Korean Thanksgiving, and this year, it very fortuitously falls on Thursday, which means that including the weekend, it's a lovely five-day weekend! Hooray!

Anyway. In celebration of Dad's birthday, two of his favorite things- pork and soju:

I miss my family! Hopefully, I get to go to LA in the winter ... we'll see. For now, happy birthday, 아빠!


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Happy Birthday, 엄마!!

It's my mother's birthday today! She's on vacation with Dad; they are the cutest couple that I know. And speaking of cute, how cute was my mother when she was a baby?!

엄마, 생신 축하축하~~! 환갑을 재미있게 보내세요! ㅋㅋ

Though I miss my family constantly, technology is amazing- my mother texts me even while on a trip, my sister and I use Kakaotalk regularly, and we all e-mail each other. Thank goodness for that, or I wouldn't be able to stay in Korea!

Happy birthday to my mommy and her many, many birthdays still to come!