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4.360 Wining (Mimosa) and Dining (Shrimp Cocktail) Mr. Incredible

-Cycle 4, Item 360-
31 (Tue) December 2013

-American-
Wining (Mimosa) and Dining (Shrimp Cocktail) Mr. Incredible

3.0

by me

at HS & YH's

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Wife, Dominic, Ahn HY + Kim IT + JH, Cho JH + Kim KH, Han CY + Hwang SE, Lee HS + Yun YH, Yong I

Shrimp cocktail is an English shrimp dish.  Boiled shrimp.  Arranged along the rim of a large cocktail glass--hence the name.  Dipped in Marie Rose sauce, essentially a blend of ketchup and mayo, sometimes with additional ingredients, such as lemon juice, worcestershire, etc. 

The American version differs in that the sauce omits the mayo and instead includes horseradish.  

Mimosa is an actual cocktail.  1 part champagne (or dry sparkling white) + 1 part OJ.  Usually comes in a flute.  Often served at brunch.  

In the Pixar film The Incredibles--my favorite Pixar film and easily in my top ten favorite films of all time--the villain Syndrome lures the hero Mr. Incredible to the island under false pretenses, wining and dining him en route in a private automated jet.  While he's munching on shrimp cocktail, a computer voice asks "Would you like another mimosa?," which then pops out of the armrest.  


A couple weeks ago, after watching the movie, HS asked me about "mimosa," thinking it to be the dish shown in the scene, not the beverage.  After I'd cleared up the confusion, he was intrigued to try both.

So, when he and YH invited the camping crew over to their apartment for a New Year's Eve party, optional potluck, it seemed the ideal opportunity to introduce him, and probably everyone else, to the shrimp cocktail and the mimosa.  Even more apropos, HS kinda thinks of himself as Mr. Incredible; his secondary nickname within the group is "Camp Shin (신)" (shin = god), because he's supposedly omnipotent/omniscient where camping is concerned, and he sort of is, admittedly.

My first time tasting the two in concert, the pairing now seems so obvious.  I've always liked tomato (sauce) and orange (juice) together, the parallel tang/acidity/brightness.  And with the horseradish, so much better than plain mayo, an extra kick.  Meanwhile, almost on a separate level, the champagne (technically, cheap Spanish stuff) enhancing the sweet brininess of the shrimp, that magical synergy between bubbly and crustacean.  This time, unfortunately, in my eagerness to impress, I overseasoned the sauce, making it a bit too salty--the recipe didn't even call for seasoning.   I'm so doing this again for brunch.

YH made miyeok guk (3.5) and jeonbok juk (3.5), for my birthday--I was quite touched; more important, they were awesome; I was tempted to feature either/or for this post, and the two combined probably would've rated 4.0, but The Incredibles thing just seemed more fun to write about; she explained the recipes, way different in technique and better in result than mine, so I'll be recreated them at home soon enough.

Happy New Year.

5 meals remaining in the cycle.

4.359 Yangjangpi

-Cycle 4, Item 359-
30 (Mon) December 2013

-Chinese-
Yangjangpi

3.5

at Dongbuk Huoguo Wang

-Dongdaemun, Seoul-

with Jang HJ, Kim HS, MtG

In my most recent post on this restaurant, coincidentally on this same dish, I'd noted with surprise that I hadn't been there in over 15 months (see 3.078 Yangjangpi)--that was over 21 months ago.  Talk about TGV (see generally 4.145 The TGV Cafeteria Meal).

Notwithstanding the recent drought, it remains one of my all-time favorite Chinese restaurants in Seoul.  I couldn't leave without saying goodbye.

And the yangjangpi here remains the best in the city.  At least in terms of overall flavor, especially the mustard oil.  I'd like to give it a 4.0 rating, but the shrimp and squid, probably from frozen, this not being a seafood restaurant, fall short and hold the dish back from complete perfection.   


Jingjiu, my favorite bang-for-buck kaoliangjiu; here, 35,000 won for 500 ml.

This is the only restaurant in my experience that uses mustard oil, rather than mustard paste; provided at the table for the customers to add at will based on personal preference/tolerance; the most potent nasal-heat that I've ever encountered--i.e., akin to wasabi or horse radish, in contrast to tongue-spicy, like chili peppers--a mere drop, unadulterated, on the tip of a chopstick, completely arrests the upper respiratory system for several seconds.   

deep-fried tofu (3.0)

stir-fried noodles with seafood (2.0)

mushiu pork (3.0)

stir-fried lamb (2.5)

6 meals remaining in the cycle.

4.358 The Cheeseburger

-Cycle 4, Item 358-
29 (Sun) December 2013

-American-
The Cheeseburger

3.0

at Brooklyn Burger Joint (Galleria Department Store - Gourmet 494)

-Apgujeong, Seoul-

with Family, Folks

The occasion was my birthday dinner, belated.

With full discretion on the venue, I chose Gourmet 494 in the basement of Galleria Department Store. I was thinking about the spread that I'd brought home for takeout once last year (see generally 3.328 P31bO/Mexico...), this time at the source.  Not that the tacos or the fries or the burgers, or anything else there, is all that dear to my heart, but the thought of noshing with a cause in what is arguably the country's poshest food court seemed a fun notion.  And everyone could eat whatever he/she wanted.


Unfortunately, logistics rendered the experience very unpleasant, cost aside.  Even at 17:30, securing a table large enough for 4 adults and 2 kids took over 15 minutes.  Then, ordering various items at different stalls, paying separately each time, going back to the table to wait, hoping that the servers would find our table quickly enough--only in Gangnam would a food court offer table service--what a hassle.  And throughout the meal, other would-be customers hovering by, just as we'd done earlier, some being so rude as to ask if we were leaving anytime soon--"NO, not anytime soon."  Too much pressure.


Vatos disappointed once again.  My satisfaction with the kimchi carnitas fries (2.5), which I raved about the first time around (see generally 3.181 Kimchi Carnitas Fries), dwindles significantly with every subsequent experience.  Same with the chili lime shrimp tacos (2.5).  I need to try them again at the main restaurant for confirmation.

24,000 won for the taco & fries set + 35,000 for the burgers and beers.

On the bright side, The Cheeseburger at Brooklyn Burger Joint was as good as I'd remembered.   Thick patty, the circumference of an actual grown-up burger--not like those dainty semi-slider "handmade" burgers popular these days (see for example 3.135 Bacon Cheeseburger).  Juicy ground beef, no apparent extenders, full of beefiness.  My father initially complained about it being too beefy--having grown accustomed to the blandness of McDonald's and Burger King--but after a couple bites remarked that it reminded him of burgers back in the States, which is a good thing.  Decent sesame seed bun, properly grilled.  The only drawback was the lack of toppings, only melted cheese and sautéed onions, something crisp/fresh would've been welcome, like lettuce.  But way good enough.
  
From Pizza di Buzza, the basic margherita (2.5)
--pretty good, though a bit overburnt around the edges; not a bad value at 9,800 won; I look forward to trying their fancier pies.

In the end, we ended up spending 118,000 won.  Food court, Gangnam style.

7 meals remaining in the cycle.

4.357 Pear & Honey Tonic

-Cycle 4, Item 357-
28 (Sat) December 2013

-Korean-
Pear & Honey Tonic

3.0

by Wife

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

solo

Still sick apparently (see most recently 4.354 Baeksuk + Dak Juk).

While I was wallowing in bed, the wife suddenly walked into my room with a bowl of boiled/mashed pear, laced with honey--a cold tonic, supposedly.  The first time in our marriage that she's made me something by surprise, of her own accord, I was quite touched.

The tonic actually tasted pretty good, too, kinda like apple sauce.

Happy birthday.

8 meals remaining in the cycle.

4.356 Carabao Wings

-Cycle 4, Item 356-
27 (Fri) December 2013

-Philippine-
Carabao Wings

1.0

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

with MtG

From The Adobo Road Cookbook (ARC) (see generally 4.276 Classic Chicken Adobo...), this is the 13th recipe attempted (see previously 4.340 Pork & Vegetable Lumpia...).

What's to say, these were awful: too sweet, too sour, too sticky.

And so, the blog enters the home stretch of Cycle 4.

Looking back at what I ate to close out previous cycles, the general trends don't suggest any apparent effort to finish with a bang, though my birthday and New Year's Eve, as well as the general holiday vibe, during this time, did give rise to at least a few notable meals.

But this year, I'll be dining according to a carefully considered schedule.

I've accepted a three-month contract to work on a project at WHO in Manila.  The contract begins on January 10 and runs through April 11.  Although I'll try to return home on weekends as often as I can, at least once a month, though probably not more than twice, I'll be in Manila for the most part.

As such, from today to the day that I depart, December 27 to January 9, 14 days, I hope to make the dinners count, enough to hold me over for the next few months.  The choices will comprise foods that I love, foods that I won't have easy access to in Manila.  The occasions will involve friends and family.  A farewell fortnight feast.

Pragmatically, however, the first meal began with a chow-or-chuck clean-out of various crap in the freezer, stuff that nobody else would use in my absence.  Like chicken wings.  MtG was on hand to help.

Symbolically, I prepared the wings Philippine-style.

9 meals remaining in the cycle.

4.355 Pan-Fried Samgyeopsal & Kimchi & Soju

-Cycle 4, Item 355-
26 (Thu) December 2013

-Korean-
Pan-Fried Samgyeopsal & Kimchi & Soju

3.5

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

solo

This trio--pan-fried samgyeopsal, paired with kimchi, washed down with a shot of ice cold soju--is the ultimate Korean flavor/texture/food/beverage combination.  The silky/sultry decadence of the pork belly, a touch of salt and pepper for seasoning, cooked to a slight crisp on the edges + the tangy/spicy freshness of the fermented cabbage, literally alive with teeming lactobacilli + the cutting/sobering austerity of the liquor = all synergized to balanced perfection.  While Koreans do exist who don't like samgyeopsal (10%), or kimchi (1%), or soju (30%)--in the same way that some Americans don't like burgers, or fries, or Coke--they would be hard put to deny that the combination, for better or for worse, represents the national cuisine.  

Hallasan Soju, the first that I've ever encountered, tastes like every other soju on the market--yes, ALL sojus taste the same.  

4.354 Baeksuk + Dak Juk

-Cycle 4, Item 354-
25 (Wed) December 2013

-Korean-
Baeksuk + Dak Juk

2.0

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

solo

I've been sick since yesterday, probably contracted pneumonia from the kid (see generally 4.351 Odeng), sleeping through most of today.

When I managed to crawl out of bed late at night, I was in neither the mood nor the condition to do much about dinner, beyond heating up leftovers from lunch--baeksuk + dak juk.  

Merry Christmas.

4.353 Fried Chicken, Original Recipe

-Cycle 4, Item 353-
24 (Tue) December 2013

-American-
Fried Chicken, Original Recipe

3.5

from KFC [Cheongryangri Station] [takeout]

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

solo

KFC, without question, indubitably, bar none, is my favorite chicken joint.  The Original Recipe, neither the taste nor the texture resembles standard fried chicken. The unique blend of 11 secret herbs and spices, probably more like 111 with all the chemicals these days--"Finger lickin' good." The pressure-fried skin, not entirely crispy, which would be considered mushy on any other chicken--"Nobody does chicken like KFC."  Much in the same way that McDonald's burgers stand apart from the rest of the burgers in the world.  That thigh piece especially--"So good."

Surprisingly, this is the first time featuring KFC on the blog.

I did cover "Kentucky" once (see generally 3.093 Kentucky).

After an hour of frenetic last-minute Christmas shopping at the Toys-R-Us in the commercial center adjacent to Cheongryangri Station, I stopped by the KFC for a soda and ended up leaving with a bucket of chicken.  Holiday promotion: 10-piece bucket on sale for 13,000 won.  Couldn't resist.

Unfortunately, the chicken was a bit cold by the time that I got to it.  Cold KFC is still awesome, but a bit short of perfect.

4.352 Chipotle Buffalo Wings (Regular)

-Cycle 4, Item 352-
23 (Mon) December 2013

-American-
Chipotle Buffalo Wings (Regular)

2.5

at Craftworks Taphouse

-Pangyo/Bundang, Gyeonggi-

with Choi NC, Jang HJ, Kim JO, Lee SW

Craftworks Taphouse is a Euro-American-style pub/restaurant chain.  Established in Korea.  Locations include Namsan (Itaewon), Pangyo (Bundang), Downtown (Euljiro 2-Ga), Gangnam (Gangnam Station/Yeoksam).  The menu, which differs slightly from branch to branch, offers generic western fare, such as salads, pizzas, pastas, burgers/sandwiches, etc.  But the star attraction is the lineup of proprietary draught beers/ales, all named after a famous mountain in Korea, as if to prove the brand's local origins.  The brews can sometimes be found at other foreign restaurants, mostly around Itaewon (see for example 3.311 P31bO/SAfrica(11)...).  The prices are mid-range, pints ranging from 6,500 to 8,000 won, most plates around 15,000--Mondays are Wing Night: 12 at half-price for 6,000 won.

In the holiday spirit, the old gang of friends from high school and college got together for an end-of-year party.  By "party," I mean that we ate a few appetizers and drank a few cocktails, home before midnight.  The first such shindig since HJ's wedding in June (see 4.161 HJ's Wedding Buffet Highlight...), we're lucky if we see each more than once a year these days.

Monday, 19:00, the house was packed to capacity (though this photo doesn't really show the main dining hall, off to the right behind the column).

The plan had been to hang out at Chris's Flux Pub (see most recently 4.137 Ziti Rigate with Shrimp...), but I called an audible to start the evening at Craftworks Taphouse when I learned, from Chris, that the Pangyo branch had recently opened a couple blocks away.  Going there was the opposite of what he had in mind when telling me, the purpose of which had been to lament the new competition.

I couldn't make up my mind.

The paddle had labels underneath each glass to show what was what.

My favorite of the bunch was Bukhansan Pale Ale, so I ordered another pint.

Confirming my previous experiences with the brand, the beers were okay across the board but lacked a bit of something.  While fine initially on the nose, perhaps through to the palate, they fell abruptly short on the finish, all traces disappearing upon swallow.  

Same with the food.  Decent but shy of truly tasty.   The wings, for example, not enough hot sauce perhaps, or not enough butter, not enough salt, not enough chipotle--frankly, I couldn't taste a lick of chipotle--they needed a little extra kick.    

After the first round, we settled the bill and went to Flux Pub.

They're actually called "sliders" on the menu, which should please DC to no end (see for comparison, if you dare, comments under 2.054 Mini Burgers, 2.084 American Burger...).

4.351 Odeng

Only the second time in the blog's history that a person
has been shown on the featured photo (see previously
4.227 Köttbullar med Lingonsylt). 
-Cycle 4, Item 351-
22 (Sun) December 2013

-Korean-
Odeng

2.5

from Jaws Food [takeout]

in Ian's hospital room (#564)
(Soonchunhyang University Hospital)

-Hannam, Seoul-

with Ian

Ian was admitted to the hospital today.  His mother had taken him to the emergency room to obtain a prescription for the phlegmy cough, as well as the pimply rash on his face and extremities, that's been plaguing him for the past couple days.  Physical signs and x-rays indicated pneumonia, blood work confirmed viral.  He'll be in for 2 to 4 days.

While I was driving home from the cabin earlier this afternoon (see 4.350 BBCCCC Whole Wheat Burrito Improved), the wife called to break the bad news.  She then instructed me to go home, pack his clothes/diapers/toys, bring something for him to eat--apparently, the cafeteria had already rung the last-call bell by the time of Ian's late admittance--and hurry the hell over.  She sounded urgent--always sounds urgent under stress--making me think that, in addition to the pain from the virus-in-lungs thing, our toddler was also wracked with pangs of hunger, so I was under pressure to act fast.

"Fuck this, I'm gettin' the hell out."

The quickest solution that came to mind was odeng from Jaws Food (see generally 4.049 Busan Eomuk), one of his favorites.  They even have a nifty device that seal-wraps takeout orders.  

It just occurred to me that the onset of Ian's symptoms was exactly 6 days ago, when I'd taken both the boys out for a postprandial stroll and bought them odeng from this establishment, no hygienic defenses in place over the vat of simmering skewers, which could very easily be and probably is a literal hot tub of infectious agents.  

Don't kill him, make him stronger.

What a weekend.

4.350 BBCCCC Whole Wheat Burrito Improved

-Cycle 4, Item 350-
21 (Sat) December 2013

-Mexican-
BBCCCC Whole Wheat Burrito Improved

3.0

by me

at uncle's cabin

-Hoengseong, Gangwon-

with Dominic, Mom

From the burrito wrap 'em pack 'em freeze 'em session a few days ago (see generally 4.347 BBCCCC Whole Wheat Burritos), but with a couple key differences.

SAME--

B: beef.

C: cheese.

C: chili sofrito.

C: couscous.

REMOVED--

B: black beans, which had been slightly bitter, not very helpful, only included in the initial test batch.

C: cilantro, just because I didn't have any more, though I doubt that it would've frozen very well.

INSTEAD--

B: black bean...

C: ...and corn salsa, from a jar, SPIKES brand, the tangy tomatoes adding a welcome brightness to the rich heaviness of the rest.

Thaw on the counter for 1 hour, still wrapped in foil, then place in a frying pan over low heat, covered, leave for 10 minutes, flip, another 10 minutes--the cheese goes gooey, the tortilla gets crispy.

Much to my surprise, people still eat frogs in Korea.  Especially during the winter, when the animals are tasty--because they're plumped up for the long hibernation--and easy to catch--because they're sound asleep.

Last night, we received word from a neighbor who lives in the vicinity of our cabin that water could be seen dripping/leaking/pouring out from under the front door, which he happened to see on a fluke while passing by.  By "vicinity," he lives 2 km away.  And by "passing by," he was poking around the rocks in the adjacent stream bed in search of frogs.  At my mother's behest, he let himself in with a key (he does maintenance work for us on occasion), sealed off the plumbing, and mopped up the floors.

This morning, we arrived to investigate.  I'll skip the details, but the damage is pretty bad.  Fuck.  We just had the floors redone at considerable expense.

Anyway, I'd grabbed a couple burritos from the freezer at home on the way out in the morning, anticipating that we wouldn't be able to cook anything once there.  The salsa was in fridge at the cabin, leftover from last weekend (see 3.432 Modeum).  

4.349 Grilled Ribeye

-Cycle 4, Item 349-
20 (Fri) December 2013

-Korean-
Grilled Ribeye

2.5

by my aunt

at their home

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Family, Folks, and various maternal-side relatives

Same as all of the other spreads at these gatherings, of course (see most recently 4.089 Muu Guk), but this time, for no particular reason, I present the ribeye piled gloriously high before it goes on the grill.

4.348 Wagyu Nigiri Sushi

-Cycle 4, Item 348-
19 (Thu) December 2013

-Japanese-
Wagyu Nigiri Sushi

1.0

at Tuna Momotori Sushi

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Wife, Dominic

After the successful first visit a couple weeks ago (see 4.331 Special Nigiri Sushi Set), Dominic and I had both been itching to go back for more.

This second experience will be our last.  

We had to wait over 40 minutes for our food.  Arriving at 6:30 to snag the last table, the other 3 parties had been seated just moments prior.  As such, we had to wait until all of their orders were filled before the chef--being such a tiny restaurant, the kitchen is manned by a solitary chef, who supposedly doesn't prepare anything in advance to maximize freshness--would begin to consider us.  The server(?)/manager(?)/owner(?) wasn't the least bit apologetic, actually defensive, explaining that it had to be that way to maintain quality.  Even worse, she initially refused to serve us the complimentary salad, not yet being our turn, but relented when Dominic began groaning loudly in hunger, prompting a customer at an adjacent table to plead on my starving son's behalf.  

Having worked for a summer in my uncle's sushi restaurant, I know that efficiency doesn't have to be mutually exclusive of freshness/quality.  Certain components, like the rice, which is just sitting at room temperature anyway, can be formed into individual nigiri balls and laid out in rows and covered with a cheese cloth up to half an hour ahead of an anticipated rush, then assembled quickly with various fish sliced upon order--saves time by half.     

Anyway, the food was also lacking.  The wagyu nigiri sushi, the beef was dry/flavorless and too thick, like leather, but not as good.  Wagyu, really?  The only reason why I bothered to finish the plate--the wife and kid didn't even venture a try, lucky them--was that we were paying for it.  Robbery at 25,000 won for 13 pieces.  If the dish been free, I would've stopped after a single piece.

 The same "special" set came with only 15 pieces, not 16 as before, including 1 less piece of Dominic's favorite engawa and 1 less piece of toro, 1 additional piece of our least favorite hirame instead--I thought about complaining, but I just wanted to finish and get the hell out.  

4.347 BBCCCC Whole Wheat Burritos

-Cycle 4, Item 347-
18 (Wed) December 2013

-Mexican-
BBCCCC Whole Wheat Burritos

2.5

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

solo

B: beef, ground, sautéed with ad-libbed Mexican-style spices (e.g., cumin, chili powder).

B: black beans, from a can, simmered in Corona beer with sugar and bay leaves--the only weak link.

C: cheese, Pepper/Colby/Monterey Jacks, still leftover from the raclette (see most recently 4.345 Fusilli & Cheese).


C: chili sofrito, spur-of-the-moment ad-lib, including minced onion/shallot/garlic/celery/cilantro and pickled jalapeńo chilies from a jar--this was the kicker.

Now established, after tonight's first shot success, as an essential layer in my burritos.  

C: couscous, also 2nd-round leftovers (see most recently 4.346 Fish Katsu with Saffron Couscous...), subbing for rice.

C: cilantro, fresh.

4.346 Fish Katsu with Saffron Couscous in Cilantro Tomato Sauce

-Cycle 4, Item 346-
17 (Tue) December 2013

-North African-
Fish Katsu with Saffron Couscous in Cilantro Tomato Sauce

1.0

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

solo

With the leftover couscous and sauce from last week (see 4.341 Casserole Chicken...), only with frozen/ready-to-cook fish katsu.  

Seemed like it would work, looks in the photo kinda like it did, but it didn't.  

Despite the Japanese centerpiece, I'm still thinking of the dish overall as North African.  They deep-fry fish in Northern Africa, don't they?

4.345 Fusilli & Cheese

-Cycle 4, Item 345-
16 (Mon) December 2013

-American-
Fusilli & Cheese

1.0

by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

with Ian

With various leftover cheeses from the weekend's raclette (see 3.343 Eight-Cheese Raclette Spread).

I made the dish expressly for Ian, who adores pasta above all else (see generally 4.233 Macaroni in Tomato Sauce...).  But this one didn't take.  Too cheesy, I suppose.  Oh well.  

Then again, I didn't eat much more than a few bites myself, not too thrilled with the result.  Surprisingly bad, even though from the same basic mac & cheese recipe that had worked so well before (see generally 4.182 Cheddar-Muenster Mac).  I doubt that substitution of the fusilli for macaroni would account for the difference.  Must've been the weird combination of cheeses, like perhaps smoked gouda and pepper jack don't play together so nicely.  

4.344 Nakji Bokkeum Sari

-Cycle 4, Item 344-
15 (Sun) December 2013

-Korean-
Nakji Bokkeum Sari

1.0

by others

at the cabin

-Hoengseong, Gangwon-

with Family and Shin, Yun, Cho families

5th Retreat with D's Former Daycare Families, Day 3 (see previously 3.343 Eight-Cheese Raclette Spread).

Nakji bokkeum sari, somewhere in the same neighborhood as ojingeo bokkeum, nakji jjim, and golbangi sari.

The ingredients came in a ready-to-cook package that required a quick stir-fry, with the noodles boiled separately.  It was so absurdly hot/spicy that I could feel the perspiration bead on my forehead as I was swallowing the first bite.


According to at least two people at the table, the heat/spice of any chili-based dish will be amplified by the addition of any grain-based product due to a some kind of synergistic chemical reaction between the capsaicin in the former and the gluten in the latter.  Wouldn't it just be easier to think that the noodles sop up the sauce, leading to an increased volume of sauce consumption, which is what ups the hot/spicy effect, a simple matter of quantity?

4.343 Eight-Cheese Raclette Spread

-Cycle 4, Item 343-
14 (Sat) December 2013

-Swiss-
Eight-Cheese Raclette Spread

3.0

by me

at the cabin

-Hoengseong, Gangwon-

with Family and Shin, Yun, Cho families

5th Retreat with D's Former Daycare Families, Day 2 (see previously 3.342 Modeum).

As an appetizer/anju, I prepared a raclette spread.  Unlike my mother's method (see for example 3.346 Raclette), I emphasized variety in the cheeses--8 total, as listed below, though some of the selections happened to be on hand at the cabin--and kept the secondary ingredients to a bare minimum.  An astounding success, everyone oohing and aahing and declaring their desire to purchase a raclette device for themselves (as they often do, though they never actually follow through). A great way to end a day of playing in the snow and kick-off an evening/night of drinking--very Swiss.

The cheeses included (bottom, from left): Wensleydale with fig & honey, Emmental, smoked Gouda, pepper Jack, Muenster, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, mozzarella; the secondaries included (top, from left): mini paprika in three colors, shallots, Spanish salami.

Though not a fan of gimmicky cheeses, or cheese generally, the sweetness of the fig and the honey in the Wensleydale paired beautifully with the creamy base cheese and made it pop--my personal favorite of the bunch, though it was much better as is than melted.

With the kids in mind, I experimented with mini pizzas.  Baguette slices + bottled bruschetta sauce + mozzarella.  Broiled under the coil for a few minutes.  The sauce turned out to be somewhat hot/spicy, despite any indication on the bottle--very unusual for an Italian product--so the first batch went to the adults.  Fortunately, for some reason, my mother had stocked the fridge with a bottle of pizza sauce.  Unfortunately, the cheese was dry, gummy, typical of block moz.  But not too bad overall.

Technically, the cheese is supposed to be broiled on the trays underneath, but the customers soon grew impatient and started to toss the cheese on the wider/hotter top griddle--it's all good.

Better cheese next time.

The pieces looked like they'd been cut specifically with this raclette in mind.

The beef--purchased locally; as mentioned yesterday, visitors to Gangwon can't get enough of local hanwoo--which normally would've been cooked on a grill designed for meat (see for example 4.197 Grilled Salchisal), turned out just fine on the raclette.

Rather than take the kids skiing as before--Oak Valley is 12.4 km away--we went for the easier/closer/cheaper option of the front yard.

Momo, thrilled to touch snow for the first time in his life.

D