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1.238 Sundae in Ddeokbokki Sauce

-Cycle 1, Dinner 238-
31 August 2010

-Korean-
Sundae in Ddeokbokki Sauce

* * * *

from (unnamed) food cart
(near exit 4 of Oksu Station)
[takeout]

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

They finally raised the price to 3,000 won. It's about time. I'd been wondering, seriously, how they could afford to sell it at pre-millennial prices (see 1.048 Sundae with Ddeokbokki, 1.161 Sundae with Ddeokbokki).

1.237 Oyster Sauce Noodles with Stir-Fried Pork Bellies and Bean Sprouts

-Cycle 1, Dinner 237-
30 August 2010

-Japanese-
Oyster Sauce Noodles
with Stir-Fried Pork Bellies and Bean Sprouts

* * * *

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

Admittedly, this is the exact same basic recipe as my other Chinese-influenced oyster sauce dishes (see 1.010 Oyster Sauce Chicken, 1.077 Oyster Sauce Chicken, 1.189 Oyster Sauce Chicken, 1.203 Oyster Sauce Clams, 1.220 Shrimp and Squid Chow Mein), but the particular combination of ingredients here is something I learned at Japanese izakaya here in Seoul. I've discussed the dubious authenticity of these izakaya in a previous post, so I can't say for sure whether this dish is really truly Japanese, but I suppose it is as much as my oyster sauce is really truly Chinese.

1.235 Barbecued Flank Steak

MEAL 1.235
28 August 2010

-Korean-
Barbecued Flank Steak

at Daegal Jip ^

Seongsu
Seoul

* * * *

After nearly an hour of meandering the streets like zombies in search of brains, we happened across a small neighborhood barbecue joint packed with customers. Outside of Gangnam, where patronage is likely/probably be based on hype, a full house is usually a good sign. In this case, it was.

1.236 Spice-Rubbed & Pan-Grilled Lamb Chops


-Cycle 1, Item 236-
29 (Sun) August 2010

-Sui Generis-
Spice-Rubbed & Pan-Grilled Lamb Chops

* * *

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

Having recently prepared a few lamb chops to great success with just olive oil, salt and pepper (see 1.226 Grilled Lamb Chops), I was hoping this time to do one better by giving the remaining chops a spice rub. I should've left well enough alone.  If something works just fine with olive oil, salt and pepper, leave it that way.

1.234 Chicken Fried Rice

MEAL 1.234
27 August 2010

-Pan-Asian-
Chicken Fried Rice

by me

at home

Oksu
Seoul

* *

Sometimes, for some reason, it just doesn't work out.

1.233 "Home-Style" Tofu

MEAL 1.233
26 August 2010

-Chinese-
"Home-Style" Tofu

at Dongbuk Hweogweo Wang ^

Dongdaemun
Seoul

* * * *

I guess this is how the Chinese do it at home, or so the name (가정식 두부) would suggest. Like mabo tofu but the tofu is deep-fried. Incidentally, they also have mabo tofu on the menu, though a small complimentary plate of it will eventually be given out to all customers sometime during the evening.

While this is my third post on this restaurant (see 1.037 Yangjangpi, 1.136 Mushiu Pork), I regret that I've now only showcased three dishes, a limitation resulting from a habit I've developed in taking a photo of just one main item to represent each meal. The fact is, every meal I've had here has usually consisted of least 1 dish per person. I'll just have to keep coming back, for the sake of coverage.

1.232 Noodle Soup with Napa Cabbage and Shiitake Mushrooms

MEAL 1.232
25 August 2010

-Korean-
Noodle Soup with Napa Cabbage and Shiitake Mushrooms

by me
(based on instant package by Nongshim)

at home

Oksu
Seoul

* *

1.231 BBQ Pork Ribs

-Cycle 1, Dinner 231-
24 (Tue) August 2010

-American-
BBQ Pork Ribs

* * * * *

at Sam Ryan's Pub

-Itaewon, Seoul-

This didn't turn out quite as I'd expected. Upon getting the call from my friend Hong-Shik, who suggested we meet up in Itaewon, I decided on 3 Alley Pub as the venue. On Tuesday nights, most joints in the area have some sort of special going on to up midday sales. 3 Alley offers 250-won (about 20 US cents) chicken wings, minimum order of 10. I had an incident at this place over a year ago with the bastard manager, a story that I'll save for another post. Although I'd sworn never to go to 3 Alley Pub again, and even made my friends make the same oath, I went there this evening just to have an excuse to share that story here. However, as usual, it was packed beyond capacity. Hong-Shik and I went upstairs to Sam Ryan's, which is pretty much the exact same place, with the same menu cooked in the same kitchen and managed by the same bastard. My oath regarding 3-Alley Pub should extend to Sam Ryan's, I suppose.

But that's just been rendered extremely difficult after tonight's experience. Instead of wings, Sam Ryan's had 500-won ribs, minimum order of 10. 5,00o won, what the hell. They're not the small, juicy, tender baby back ribs that sell for 20,000 won at Tony Roma's and other overpriced hellholes. Just your ordinary meaty spare ribs in BBQ sauce. Done quite well. Very well. Very nice. Especially for the price.

1.230 Grilled Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms and Saffron Risotto

MEAL 1.230
23 August 2010

-Italian-
Grilled Chicken
with Shiitake Mushrooms and Saffron Risotto

by me

at home

Oksu
Seoul

* * * *

Not much that can go wrong with saffron and rice, even with dried mushrooms and frozen chicken breasts. The fresh parsley helped.

1.229 Samhap


-Cycle 1, Item 229-
22 (Sun) August 2010

-Korean-
Samhap

*

at Jang Won (장원)

-Sincheon, Seoul-

Bossam (보쌈) is one of my favorite dishes, one that I've discussed twice before in this blog (see 1.157 Bossam; 1.214 Bossam).

But hong-eo hoe (홍어회) is another thing altogether.  Though the name of the dish literally means "raw/sashimi" (hoe) + "skate" (hong-eo), it's not raw.  It's rotten.  The science, history, culture, and even fanaticism behind this so-called "delicacy" are far too complex, deep, and way over my head me, so I won't attempt to describe it in any detail.  When done "right," the smell of ammonia (think industrial-strength Windex) produced from the fermentation process is so intense that one literally has to hold one's breath while chewing and even for a few seconds after swallowing.  That's one of the draws, supposedly.  On the bright side, the ammonia masks the putrid odor of the decomposing flesh.   And there's an anesthetic effect, the tongue and throat left numb, but not enough to kill the rancid aftertaste.

For some reason, bossam and hong-eo hoe are often served together on the same plate as a combination called "samhap" (삼합).  Despite the wall of kimchi and other accompaniments separating the two, cross-contamination somewhere in the plating process had transferred traces of the ammonia over to the pork--effectively killing the meal for me.

A 6-hr bus ride, and our camping expedition found ourselves back at Lotte World, where we had gathered about 68 hours for the trip to Ulleung-Do.  Not quite ready to part ways, we set off in search of dinner.  We walked, with all our gear, towards the Sincheon Station area bustling with eats.  The others seemed to enjoy themselves.

1.228 Chicken Karaage


-Cycle 1, Item 228-
21 August 2010

-Japanese-
Chicken Karaage

* * * *

by Kim IT

at Naribunji (나리분지)
[campsite]

-Ulleungdo, GyeongsangBuk-

Camping Day 2. Yet another smorgasbord. I sampled most of it but chose this as my official meal for the day.

Chicken karaage is simply Japanese fried chicken, boneless and seasoned with soy sauce. A popular item in izakaya and other drinking establishments.

Here, Iktaek bought them pre-made, frozen, and bagged from a restaurant supply store that services Japanese joints too lazy or incompetent to make their own. Usually quite good--as good as in a restaurant, no doubt--but on this occasion Hoseop, who for some reason took it upon himself to cook them, had difficulty adjusting the oil temperature on his MSR Reactor, leaving the chicken somewhat greasy.

1.227 Cabbage in Sesame Oil Drizzle and Salt Sprinkle


-Cycle 1, Item 227-
20 August 2010

-Japanese-
Cabbage in Sesame Oil Drizzle and Salt Sprinkle

* * * * *

by Cho JH

at Naribunji (나리분지)
[campsite]

-Ulleungdo, GyeongsangBuk-

The name of this "dish" is kind of a joke, deliberately over-fancy to compensate for what is nothing more than raw cabbage leaves with sesame oil and salt. But seriously, it's amazing. The first time that I had it, on another camping trip with the same group, I literally yelled in surprise. Some kind of synergy between those 3 simple ingredients, it takes the cabbage to a whole new dimension of flavor. Jinhee said that she'd discovered it at a restaurant in Japan; surprised as well, she asked what was "in" it, but, when the server explained the 3 ingredients, she was skeptical, thinking that some secret ingredient had been deliberately left undisclosed. At home, she attempted it--and lo and behold.

It deserves 5 stars for how unexpectedly it delivers such powerful flavor from such a simple package.

1.226 Grilled Lamb Chops

MEAL 1.226
19 August 2010

-American-
Grilled Lamb Chops

by me

at home

Oksu
Seoul

* * * *

In preparation for my big trip to Ulleung-Do this weekend, I went to the Islamic corner of Itaewon to score some lamb. I'm planning on making lamb skewers, which are cheap and easy and growing in popularity among the locals, particularly in the northern Chinese style (see 1.218 Lamb Skewers). The store that I usually go to, unfortunately, was sold out of the boneless lamb steaks that are best for skewers. Thinking that I had no choice, I bought the bone-in lamb chops that were available, even though they're significantly pricier and absurdly heavy to take on a backpacking trip. Then, as I was driving away, I noticed a small halal meat market that I'd never seen before. This place had the goods, which I bought. Which left me with a lot of surplus lamb on my hands, never a bad thing.

All I did was rub them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook them to medium rare on my grill pan. Awesome.

1.225 Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

MEAL 1.225
18 August 2010

-Korean-
Kimchi Jjigae
(Kimchi Stew)

by Nanny 5 at home

Oksu
Seoul

* * * *

And now, as I enter late August, and the opening day of the fall semester looms ahead, and my days become marginally more busy, I will find less time to cook at home. I will sometimes have to come home late at night and eat leftovers from whatever our nanny made for dinner earlier in the evening.

There is absolutely nothing more Korean, nothing more basic hard-core down-to-earth bare-bones essentially Korean than eating a bowl of cold rice with kimchi jjigae (김치찌개), which I've described in more detail in a prior post (see 1.027 Kimchi Jjigae, Sauteed Hairtail). I don't know if other cultures have a similar thing, a single dish that simultaneously represents both haute cuisine served at high end restaurants and comfort food made with leftovers at home, enjoyed equally by both the richest and poorest, on any given day, at any given meal.

1.223 Chicken Tandoori


-Cycle 1, Item 223-
16 August 2010

-Indian-
Chicken Tandoori

* * * *

at Everest

-Dongdaemun, Seoul-

For my second review of this establishment (see 1.049 Dal Makhani), I still maintain that it's my favorite Indian (and/or Nepali) restaurant in the city. I don't mean that it's the best Indian (and/or Nepali) restaurant in the city, just that their food and prices and service considered together are unbeatable.

I even mentioned in my prior review that some of their dishes leave a bit to be desired. Case in point, the chicken tandoori this evening was a tad dry and a bit bland. But it's still tastier and cheaper at 10,000 won (about US$8) than most chicken options in most other joints of any kind. I usually stick to the curries, but a dining companion wanted an "appetizer," so I had to oblige on this occasion.

1.224 Bibimbap


-Cycle 1, Item 224-
17 (Tue) August 2010

-Korean-
Bibimbap

* * * *

at So-Man
(Ddukseom Station)

-Seongsu, Seoul-

Sometime in the last month, or so it really seems, the riverside park by Ddukseom Station has transformed into quite an impressive display of proper urban planning and worthwhile tax money spending.  The station, which is part of the green subway line (line 2), is located on the Hangang Bridge on the north side of the river.  Part of the attraction, apparently, is sitting beneath the bridge and watching the trains rumble overhead.  In addition to the subway, another transportational draw is the Han River Cruise Ship &C, which stops at the dock just below the park along its way between Jamsil and Gangnam.  The park is immaculately groomed, with grass fields, expansive shrubbery maze, brick walkways, stone steps leading directly to the waterfront. It has badminton courts, a playground for kids, and a 30-meter rockclimbing wall.  But what stands out is this odd futuristic tube-like stainless steel structure adjoining the subway station and giving absolutely no indication as to its function or contents.  Turns out to be a 3-story building: a cafe on the top floor, a Korean restaurant in the middle, and an art gallery on the bottom.  Despite the throngs of tourists (likely for the cruise ship), college students (probably from nearby Hanyang University), and couples holding hands, it was still peaceful and pleasant.

I was there this evening because my boy had been begging to ride the cruise ship all weekend.

After taking the cruise and returning to the dock, we went to explore the tube and discovered the restaurant, which actually wasn't too bad considering that it's somewhat like a cafeteria with quick, easy-to-serve items on the menu.  The bibimbap was decent, promptly served, and reasonably priced for a tourist trap at 8,000 won.  In a prior post, where I defined and discussed the basics of the dish, I noted that no two recipes are ever alike (see 1.146 Bibimbap); here, the restaurant added a healthy scoop of sesame seeds and shredded dried laver into the mix--unusual, but not bad.

1.222 Happy Family


-Cycle 1, Item 222-
15 (Sun) August 2010

-Chinese-
Happy Family

2.5

at Hwanggeum Ryong

-Seongsu, Seoul-

Happy Family is a Chinese seafood dish.  It consists of various seafoods (e.g., squid, octopus, shrimp, sea cucumber) along with a few veggies, in a garlic sauce, a bit spicy.  Here in Korea, it's called "palbochae (팔보채)," broken down as pal ("eight"), bo ("treasure"), chae ("sliced").  I suspect that the name, in China, refers or once referred to a vegetarian dish but underwent a semantic mutation when Koreans got a hold of it, much like "samseon (삼선)" (see 1.117 Seafood Jjajang-Myeon).  In any case, it's one of the Top Five most popular non-noodle dishes in the Korean-Chinese tradition.  For some reason, when the dish is served over rice as a meal, and not on a large platter to be shared by many, it's called "japtang bap (잡탕밥)," which loosely translates to "hodgepodge" (japtang) and "rice" (bap).   Good stuff either way.

- - - -

ADDENDUM
22 (Sat) January 2011

I was wrong about this dish being Happy Family, which is a different dish (see generally 2.017 Happy Family).  This dish is in fact palbochae.  

1.221 Bulgogi with Egg Noodles

-Cycle 1, Dinner 221-
14 August 2010

-Korean-
Bulgogi with Egg Noodles

* * *

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

Using left-over noodles from last night's dinner (see 1.220 Squid and Shrimp Chow Mein), I tried a slightly new take on the old classic. The idea isn't without precedent: variations of bulgogi with more broth and sliced vegetables, somewhat like a stew, often include traditional glass noodles made from potato starch, which some people seem to appreciate more for their slippery texture rather than for any flavor, which is nil. For this dish, I liked the chewiness of the egg noodles but found that the strong egg flavor was a bit offputting.

Although beef bulgogi has appeared twice before on these pages (see 1.003 Bulgogi, 1.014 Bulgogi), this was the first time that I've made the dish completely from scratch. I won't provide an exact recipe here, as I'm still playing with the ratios, but the marinade is basically a puree of the following ingredients: soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, pepper, leeks, onions, garlic, ginger...and Asian pear, the not-so secret component for most Korean barbeque recipes that not only adds a bright sweetness but also tenderizes the meat; some variations include fruit extract (e.g., apricot), rice wine (e.g., sake), or other additional flavorings. The marinade is then combined with thinly sliced beef overnight. I've discussed the pros and cons of different cooking methods in a previous entry (see ). It's all very simple in theory. In fact, anyone with a decent sense of salty-sweet-savory can create something close, something pretty good, just by tasting the marinade and adjusting the soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil, the three main ingredients. But getting it just right, that eludes me.

1.220 Squid and Shrimp Chow Mein

MEAL 1.220
13 August 2010

-Chinese-
Squid and Shrimp Chow Mein

by me
at home

Oksu
Seoul

* * * *

In my first post concerning my version of Chinese oyster sauce (see 1.010 Oyster Sauce Chicken with Bokchoy and Broccoli), I discussed technique in Chinese cooking. In particular, I mentioned timing as an essential key in getting it right. That thing the pros do--one hand tossing a wok full of the ingredients, the other simultaneously coordinating seasonings with a giant ladle--it's not just for show. Seconds make the difference between undercooked, cooked, overcooked, burned. And because each ingredient finishes at a different rate, the order of inclusion is crucial.

I mention timing again because this was my first attempt at chow mein, the success of which seems to hinge even moreso on timing. Another variation of my oyster sauce dish with a handful of egg noodles tossed in, it ended up tasting okay but didn't quite feel right. I'd included the noodles perhaps a few seconds too soon, allowing them to soak up the sauce and become soggy. Not a bad effort though.

1.219 Barbecued Freshwater Eel with Perilla-Cabbage-Chive Wraps

-Cycle 1 , Item 219-
12 August 2010

-Korean-
Barbecued Freshwater Eel
with Perilla-Cabbage-Chive Wraps

* * * * *

at Il-Mi (일미)

-Seoul Station, Seoul-

While eel isn't a common item in Korean cuisine, it's prized here among those who believe it endows "stamina" of a certain kind. While the saltwater variety is cheaper and more common, usually marinated in a spicy sauce and grilled, those in the know swear by grilled freshwater eel with a touch of salt and pepper.

The first 11 days of August had been mediocre at best with respect to this blog, none of the ratings exceeding 3 stars. I'd been desperate to break out of the rut. And so, I was simply hoping for something decent. If the rest of August plays out in mediocrity, this one meal will have made the month worthwhile.

Upon the recommendation of MtG, along with a group of buddies from my camping club, we made our way to Il-Mi (일미), an old school eel restaurant near Seoul Station. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, won't allow a party to be seated until everyone is accounted for (no late arrivals permitted), has exactly one menu option, limits the booze to one bottle per customer (presumably so as to prevent loitering and drive quick turnover), closes at 9PM, and rests on the weekends. That's confidence.

They didn't disappoint. For 20,000 won (about US$16), the customer gets 1 whole eel, minus the spine, which has been removed and deep-fried for an appetizer, a pot of spicy shrimp stew, a bowl of rice, and an assortment of traditional sides. The eel itself was the most succulent specimen that I've ever had, perfectly seasoned and perfectly balanced with the perilla leafs, lightly pickled napa cabbage, and spicy chive salad served on the side.

1.218 Lamb Skewers

MEAL 1.218
11 August 2010

-Chinese-
Lamb Skewers

plus mabo tofu and Korean-Chinese sides

at Gyeong-Seong Yang-Ggochi ^

Kangnam Station
Seoul

* * *

A curious phenomenon, Chinese lamb skewer joints have been popping up all over Seoul in recent years. It's pretty much the same drill everywhere: small bits of lamb rubbed in a spice mix, grilled over charcoal on stainless steel skewers, served with typical Korean-Chinese sides, and often rounded off with steamed dumplings or other simple Korean-Chinese dishes. Considering the composition of the spice mix, a cumin-based recipe with anise seeds and other components commonly associated with Central Asian or the Middle Eastern fare, and the use of lamb, not the most prevalant meat in Cantonese, Mandarin or other mainstream Chinese styles, I suspect that the basic idea comes from the northwestern Xinjiang region of China, which borders India, Pakistan, Kirgizstan, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, where such spices and lamb are quite popular. I discussed this briefly, tangentially, in a previous post about my favorite Chinese restaurant in Seoul (see 1.037 Yangjangpi), which may be affiliated in some way with northeastern China. Anyway, at around KRW8,000-10,000 per serving, which appears to be about 150 g (approx US$6-8 for 5 oz), it's not exactly cheap. And whether it's the cut or quality of the meat, I haven't been overly impressed at any of these places by the lamb itself, which is probably my favorite when done right.

1.216 Tuna Sashimi

MEAL 1.216
9 August 2010

-Japanese-
Tuna Sashimi

at Uleung-Do Cham-Chi

Dongdaemun
Seoul

* * *

The choice to eat tuna sashimi that evening was the confluence of three factors, none of them planned. After shopping at OK Outdoor, the largest purveyor of camping goods in the city, MtG and I began encountered Uleung-Do (울릉도 참치), a new tuna sashimi restaurant announcing its grand opening. A woman, who could've been the owner or manager or waitress or hawker, stopped us in our tracks and invited us in, promising great things. Most restaurants are eager to please when they first open their doors. Second, I'd been craving tuna sashimi recently, which I hadn't had since March (see 1.074 Tuna Sashimi). Last week, I'd even offered to spring for my camping cohorts, who then accepted the offer but then steered the meal to a Japanese izakaya instead (see 1.212 Octopus Salad in Soy Vinaigrette). And finally, next week, my camping group is scheduled for a trip to Uleung-Do, a big event that is to feature a side trip to Dok-Do. Thus, we couldn't resist.

At KRW17,000 per person for the standard order, it wasn't too bad, a respectable start. But to have a truly good meal at such a place requires building a rapport with the sushi chef, as I'd mentioned in the previous post, who reserves the better cuts for preferred clientele, so a final verdict would be unfair after a single meal.

1.217 Beef Shabuki


-Cycle 1, Item 217-
10 (Tue) August 2010

-Korean-
Beef Shabuki

* * *

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

An old go-to, usually reliable (see most recently 1.008 Beef Shabuki), and yet the first good meal of August still eludes me. It could've been the beef, which was cheap American ribeye from a local butcher, but I've made this dish with much worse and with better results. I'm beginning to suspect that it's not the food but my mindset, something internal that's distracting me from enjoying the meal, however good.

1.214 Bossam with Kimchi

-Cycle 1, Dinner 214-
7 August 2010

-Korean-
Bossam (보쌈) with Kimchi

* *

at Nolbu Bossam (놀부보쌈)

-Seongsu, Seoul-

In a prior description on the basics of bossam (보쌈) (see 1.157 Bossam), a key component that I failed to explain is the type of kimchi usually/ideally served with the pork. It's similar to standard Napa cabbage kimchi, but it's slightly sweeter and includes raw oysters. I'm not sure how the science works, but the fermentation process of the kimchi also preserves the oysters, even though they maintain certain qualities of rawness, like being all slimy. And something about the brininess of the oysters, even if one doesn't eat the oysters themselves, balances well with the fat of the pork bellies, especially with the kimchi's sweet spiciness.

(Just to make things confusing, "bossam kimchi" refers to an entirely different kind that consists of sliced cabbage and radish pickled/fermented in a lighter whiter salad-like style that's wrapped in a whole cabbage leaf like a pouch and traditionally served in a porcelain pot.)

Another thing about bossam is that its simplicity in preparation doesn't allow for any off-flavors of the meat to be masked. Here, for example, the pork was just a tad too porky.

1.213 Krab Rolls


MEAL 1.213
6 August 2010

-Japanese/American-
Krab Rolls

by me at home

Oksu
Seoul

* * *

No big deal here, just some imitation crab "meat" mixed with mayo, like in a California roll, but without the avocado and cucumber.

My kid is going on a field trip the following morning, and kids going on field trips here in Korea are culturally required to pack kimbap (see 1.200 Kimbap) on field trips, and I hadn't made rolls of any kind in years, and I wanted to make sure I could still do it decently, so I tried a test run the night before. If I'd added some sriracha sauce to make them "Spicy Krab Rolls," it actually would've been pretty good.

1.211 Baked Beef-Pork Cannelloni with Mushrooms in Marinara Sauce

MEAL 1.211
4 August 2010

-Italian-
Baked Beef-Pork Cannelloni with Mushrooms
in Marinara Sauce

by me at home
Oksu, Seoul

* * *

1.212 Octopus Salad in Soy Vinaigrette


-Cycle 1, Item 212-
5 (Thu) August 2010

-Japanese-
Octopus in Soy Vinaigrette

* * *

at Kinaru

-Sinchon, Seoul-

This wasn't the original plan. Originally, I'd invited a camping buddy out to dinner to thank him for finding my wallet, which I'd drop at the ferry terminal on a trip to Jangbong-Do last month (come to think of it, Jangbong-Do also hadn't been the original plan). Then, on the news that my member status in my online camping club been promoted, I'd decided to invite several other camping friends to mark the occasion. In the midst of the Korea's worst heat wave in years, I had the brilliant notion of going for something that didn't involve heat, like sashimi. But meeting in Sinchon, everyone (by which I mean everyone but me) seemed to agree that no sashimi restaurant in the neighborhood was worth a damn, so we ended up at an izakaya, presumably as some sort of compromise to the original plan. I was pretty sure that any izakaya in that same neighborhood wouldn't be worth a damn either (see 1.099 Ankimo). I was right.

1.210 Pork Schnitzel with Tomatoes and Black Olives in Balsamic-Basil Vinaigrette

MEAL 1.210
3 August 2010

-Austrian/Italian-
Pork Schnitzel with Tomatoes and Black Olives
in Balsamic-Basil Vinaigrette

by me at home

Oksu
Seoul

* * *

A few months ago, I noted with some regret that my attitude toward this go-to dish of mine appeared to be slipping somewhat toward complacency (see 1.126 Pork Schnitzel), compelling me this time to demonstrate the respect it deserves by doing something special, like say giving it a long, pseudo-fancy name. Unfortunately, though topping the deep-fried cutlets with a bright salad was a good idea in general, something here didn't work out quite so well. Maybe it was the basil. Or the balsamic.

1.208 Veggie Soup with Shrimp and Orecchiette

MEAL 1.208
1 August 2010

-Mexican-
Veggie Soup
with Shrimp and Orecchiette

by me

at home

Oksu, Seoul

* * *

After patting myself on the back after taking this photo, I paused for a moment to look at it and took stock (pun intended) of the absurdity in minimizing the broth of a soup dish for the sake of presentation. It was actually cooler at first, more artsy with an amoebic puddle of orange before spreading out in a circle.

More important, it's too bad the soup didn't taste as good as it looked, even with a full ladle of broth.