Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bungalow - Dinner

The other night, to celebrate one of my co-worker's last evenings in town before she escapes and returns to the warmer world of Florida, we headed over to Bungalow, a tropical style restaurant in Itaewon.

Bungalow is an interesting place, full of little side rooms with sand floors and candles all over the place. I was a bit worried about knocking over a candle and either lighting myself on fire or lighting someone or something else on fire. You have to take your shoes off before entering the sand areas, and since it's winter and tights are the norm, it was kind of weird to walk around on sand with tights on. And, the sand isn't heated, so it was a bit chilly. Like walking on a Santa Barbara beach in winter.

Our first round of drinks: white wine, a cosmopolitan, and a margarita. The margarita was tasty, but I really have to remember to ask for it on the rocks and with no salt in the future.

They have a rather eclectic menu, with burgers and satay. We opted for the 30,000 won skewer platter, which came with three skewers with beef, chicken, sausage, onion, green pepper, and pineapple, and a side of tortillas and potato wedges. Pretty tasty. Not sure I'd eat it again -- it was a lot of food, and some of the meat was a bit on the dry side.
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More random Seoul wandering

Every now and again on the weekends, we brave the cold and the riot police and go wandering around in Seoul. Usually I pick a direction and we just go. About two weeks ago (the weekend before Christmas I think), we headed south towards Myeongdong Cathedral and Namsan Tunnel #2. It was pretty cold, near freezing I think. And there were hordes of riot police lined up near Myeongdong Cathedral. I haven't figure out why they were there yet. Although my coworkers say not to worry, foreigners are safe. And there were plenty of other people out walking the streets and ignoring the ranks upon ranks of helmeted and armed police lined up along the street. It was a tad disconcerting, so on our way back, we ducked down into one of the underground shopping plazas that connects several subway stations together and managed to cross several city blocks and pop up on the other side of Myeongdong and closer to home. I'm pretty sure that you can cross huge swaths of Seoul simply by using the underground plazas and subway stations.

View of Seoul tower:

The corner Domino's pizza (note the shrimp on the pizza in the ad in the window) and a car parked on the sidewalk.

Some of the many trees decorated with lights for the holidays.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chinese food - lunch

On Friday, the head of our department took us out for lunch to a Chinese restaurant. The directions said it was the one next to the Crown Sauna Hotel. What the directions should have said is it's the Chinese restaurant on the second floor in the pink building. Then I would have known exactly where it was.

We shared a few dishes, one was a sweet and sour seafood (or what seemed to be sweet and sour seafood, with spiky things in it), dumplings, breaded chicken fried and served with red peppers, and this beef and pepper dish. The round things are rolls/dumplings, and you open them up and put the beef and pepper mixture inside and eat. I actually ended up tearing the rolls into bite sized pieces and using my chopsticks to pick up pieces of roll and then pieces of beef and pepper.

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Morning view

The other morning as I was getting ready for work and running a few minutes late, I took a quick look out of the window to check the weather. I was taking advantage of the fact that I was running late enough that the sun was coming up and I could see out the window. Normally, it's dark when I walk to the bus stop and dark when I come home in the evening. What I saw appears to have been a fire.

I'm not quite sure where the fire was, and I haven't seen any English language newspapers at all in recent times to see if there was an article about a fire.

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Korean BBQ

A couple of my co-workers are heading home this weekend from their month and a half long sojourns in Seoul, so we headed out for Korean BBQ one night this past week to celebrate.

Below is a photo of Cass beer in the bottle.

This is how I ate my bbq... a piece of lettuce, a couple of pieces of meat, a piece or two of cooked garlic, some soy paste, and some shredded green onions from the green onion salad. Roll it up and enjoy! Delicious.
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Buddha's Belly - dinner

Last night we headed over to Buddha's Belly in Itaewon for some Thai food for dinner. As usual, we like to head out to eat between 7 and 7:45, any later than that and most places are full. Buddha's Belly has a row of booths along the walls with tables in the center, all with low, plush seats, about half way between sitting on a regular chair and the ground.

Vegetarian spring rolls:

Panang curry, with chicken:

Pineapple fried rice:
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Traditional Korean Dumpling Soup

One day for lunch this week, several of us went to a traditional Korean dumpling restaurant. Delicious. I've also heard of a dumpling place near our apartment that I want to try and find.

Radish kimchi in a light sauce/water, with a small dish of soy sauce with sliced peppers for dipping dumplings or pancake.

Cabbage kimchi and flat pancake with pork and green onions. The pancake was slightly crispy on the outside, and had bits of green onion and pork.

This is a bowl of dumpling soup with rice cakes. Also in the broth are bits of sliced egg and some beef brisket, and slices of leek and green onion. The white oval shaped items are the rice cakes, and have a slightly chewy texture and a not very strong taste.
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Fall Foliage No Longer

First real snow storm of the year.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

So how cold is it?

Yesterday, it was about -5(C), maybe even -10(C) (in the low 20s (F)). This means, for those of you who live in the warmer climes (where I hope to live one day soon):

  • That at noon, I could see my breath.
  • That my glass of ice for my drink last night didn't really melt at all.
  • That now I know why the store on the corner is selling fur lined gloves.
  • That now I know why Russians wear those funny looking fur hats.
  • That now I plan on stocking up on warm woolly scarves, some thick gloves, and some serious long underwear.
It also means that if I go in to work over the weekend, that I have to be prepared to work in Arctic conditions since the heating or air conditioning is always off over weekends. I end up sitting on my heated chair pad, wearing a thick wool coat, scarf and hat. I have to take the gloves off and live with frozen fingers because I've discovered that I can't really type while wearing gloves. Although maybe I'll get some cheap ones and just cut the tips of the fingers off.

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La Cigale Montmartre - dinner

Last night in our weekly dinner out, we tried a French restaurant called La Cigale Montmartre, in Itaewon near the Hamilton Hotel. They have an outdoor patio area that was protected with heavy duty plastic and had a couple of industrial strength heaters. There was also an indoor area, but there were lots of smokers inside. We opted for the outdoor area, which might not have been the smartest choice, since there were smokers out there, too. But at least the draft from the door could blow the smoke away. It was also rather dark in the outside seating area. The restaurant also provided blankets on each of the chairs (see the red blanket on the chair in the background of the Coca-Cola photo.) We ended up eating while wearing our full winter gear -- heavy wool coat, hat, scarf. No gloves though -- it gets a little messy trying to eat while wearing gloves.

Look! A glass bottle of Coca-Cola:

I wasn't feeling too well, so I opted for a Coke instead of a glass of wine.

This is the salmon served on a cake of green onion polenta, with some sort of relish, and what appears to be creme fraiche on top. The salmon was cooked just right.

This is the beef tenderloin, served with a red wine reduction sauce, sauteed mushrooms with a touch of shallot, and two potato pancakes cooked in butter.

This is the chocolate and caramel pyramid. The raspberries were frozen, however. And not because they came that way, but because it was so cold.
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