Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mele Kalikimaka from O'ahu

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family!  We hope you are all safe and sound, enjoying the holiday weekend with your loved ones.

Being a northern hemisphere resident, and not normally in tropical locations on December 25th, today was full of firsts for me. I wore sunscreen today. And shorts.

Because it's a holiday, and the normal Honolulu traffic was non-existent, we took a drive up to Haleiwa on the North Shore of O'ahu. We passed the Dole Plantation (closed) and lots of pineapples. (Are pineapples grown in groves or orchards?) We made it up to the Haleiwa beach park with little to no traffic, and saw plenty of surfers out in the water.  It was a beautiful day, warm with a slight breeze.  It most definitely does not feel like Christmas.

There were two sets of surfers. The younger ones in closer to shore, and then the older ones out farther. I can't really tell, but I'd guess that the waves were about 12-15 feet.

We saw quite a few turtles out in the water, plus a few on the beach.

And yes, pay phones do still exist.

After leaving Haleiwa, we thought about heading towards Waimea, but the dreaded traffic appeared heading in that direction, so back home to Honolulu we went.  Where we will have pork tacos with homemade salsa for our Christmas dinner.  Another first for me!  
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving thanks

I am thankful for many things this year, including...

  • being back in the U.S. on Turkey Day
  • having the day off (and Friday, too!)
  • having turkey for dinner
  • having an oven big enough to cook a turkey in
  • The Husband that cooks the turkey
  • Mom who taught me how to make wild rice and gravy

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My current temporary office

The view in my current office. The map on the wall has certainly been a conversation point. Many thanks to my team in Seoul for this wonderful map.

Oh, and yes, my office, is the same size as one of the "holding pens" in Seoul that held 4 people. I have so many drawers I can't remember where I put stuff.

Thanks guys!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Restaurants I miss...

We're now on week 4 or 5 of hotels and restaurant meals.  To be honest, I've lost track of how long we've been eating restaurant meals.  But it's long enough that at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is decide which restaurant I want to go to.  I'd much rather go to my kitchen, open the refrigerator, and pull out some leftovers.  Like Irish beef stew.  Or baked chicken and mashed potatoes.  So as we struggle to decide the eternal question, where are we going tonight for dinner, I've been thinking about some of the places I miss.

Riverside, CA:
Romano's Pizza.  Especially after two years of no pizza (Anthony's doesn't count), this was delicious.  Doesn't matter if it's the thin crust or not.  It's good.
Art's Bar & Grill.  Can't beat the Wednesday or Saturday prime rib special.

Santa Barbara, CA:
Pane e Vino.  Fettuccine ai formaggi.  Still one of my all time favorites.
The Palace.  Good food, good service.

Jacksonville, FL:
Sticky Fingers.  I miss the combo where you can get 4 different kinds of ribs.
Sliders.  The crabcakes.  The beach atmosphere.

Sultan's Kebabs.  Great lunch.
Le Sainte Ex.  Excellent dinners.
Yongsusan:  Only ate here once.  But it's still the most memorable meal I've ever eaten outside of one particular Valentine's Day dinner someone cooked for me.

I know, I know.  At some point I'll have some favorites in Honolulu.  But for now, Waikiki options are over priced.  Or chain restaurants.  There are only so many times I can eat Cheesecake Factory cheesecake before I get tired of it.

So, what are your favorite restaurants?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thank you!

A great big thank you to my team, who treated me to a wonderful dinner at Tang.
It was a dark and stormy night.  Yet we managed to get all the way across the river and to the restaurant in time.  I'm not sure I've seen it rain that hard here before.  And there was thunder and lightning to add some ambience.   So we were all a bit soaked by the time we got there.

We had the fixed price menu, which came with the option of green fried rice or pho as the main entree.  We had some appetizers, but I wasn't fast enough with the camera.  We'd pretty much inhaled them.  The first one had kind of a thick rice paper wrapper and the second was fried spring roll.  Then we had this dish with noodles, broth, and salad with a dish of pork on the side.  You dipped the pork and noodles into the broth.  Salad, too, if you were so inclined.

Noodles and salad with broth

Pork with green onion like vegetable

Pho, with beef, rice noodles, green onions, and sliced onion

Dessert, tomato sorbet (I think)
Thank you to my team for a wonderful dinner!
Posted by Picasa

Seoul at night

I will miss Seoul.  I'm looking forward to our next stop, but I will miss Seoul.  It has been home for two years.  I've figured out the subway and the bus.  I've learned how to squeeze myself into an already full bus or subway car.  My sense of personal space has changed.  I've learned that walking down a crowded sidewalk is a contact sport.  I will miss the lunch options... Turkish kebab, Korean bulgogi, Mexican taco, Austrian sandwich, American burger, Indian curry, Paraguayan empanada, Italian pasta, Chinese noodles, Japanese teriyaki, Vietnamese pho, Thai fried noodles.  

I will miss the fact that there are a gazillion restaurants within meters of the front door of my apartment building.  And the 7-11 right across the street.  I will miss the four different seasons but I won't miss the freezing cold of winter.  I will miss watching Namsan Mountain turning yellow and red in fall.  I will miss watching the ginkgo tree leaves change color.  

But most of all, I will miss my friends.

Looking towards Seoul Tower

Looking east

The Tomgi Hotel starburst sign.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 21, 2010

More lanterns...

Here are more lanterns at a different Buddhist temple in the Samcheongdong area.

Lanterns at night along one of the smaller streets in the Samcheongdong area.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dunkin Donuts Mangosteen Filled Donut

Korean Dunkin Donuts has a wide range of filled donuts.  They each come in a little paper wrapper, with a picture of the fruit.  They have pineapple, and raspberry, and blueberry, and mangosteen.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 19, 2010

dumplings and noodles

Seoul is filled with little restaurants that specialize in one or two items. No matter which direction you go, there are small restaurants with a few tables, a few signs on the wall with the menu with 5-6 items, and self serve water or tea and side dishes.  A few weeks ago, we saw a couple of restaurants that looked worth trying, so tonight we went back. One served dumplings (meat, seafood, or vegetable), and the other served fried noodles, fried dumplings, and a dumpling soup. We saw people with dumplings in the noodle restaurant, and people with noodles and soup in the dumpling restaurant. But we couldn't figure out the magic words to get noodles in the dumpling restaurant. So we had dumplings first, then went to the second restaurant for our second course. Next time, we'll start at the noodle restaurant and have the dumplings second.

Meat dumplings:

You get 6 steamed dumplings per order. Meat is a pork mixture. Vegetable had baby leeks, finely chopped noodles, and a touch of tofu. Next time I'll try the seafood.

Fried noodles (aka yakisoba). Has onion, finely sliced carrot, green onions, and a bit of meat.

Posted by Picasa

Introducing the Park Ji Sung Soccer Donut

In honor of the World Cup, Dunkin Donuts is currently serving the Park Ji Sung soccer donut.

With a cream filling lightly reminiscent of citrus.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Spring in Korea means lanterns!  They're bright and colorful, and fun to see strung up along the streets.  Or at Jogyesa, where they string them all across the open plaza area in front of the temple.

Looking straight up:

Side of Jogyesa building:

Corner of rooftop.  I love the colors!

Statue in a park behind Jogyesa.  I have no idea who this is.

Octopus, it's what's for lunch.  A tank full of octopi outside a restaurant.

Statues outside the arts center.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spring in Seoul

May 5th this year was Children's Day here in Korea.  Which means it was a holiday.  And I had the day off from work.  Early in the day, before the hordes came out, we went for a long walk towards Independence Gate and Seodaemun Prison.  The weather was beautiful.

Independence Gate:

Some beautiful spring flowers in the park.

More flowers.

In the same park as Independence Gate is Seodaemun Prison.  This is where the Japanese incarcerated and tortured Korean resistance leaders.  It is now restored and can be walked through.  Seodaemun Prison is depressing, and full of horrific examples of what people can and do to each other.  But it is worth seeing because of the role it played in history here in Korea.

Outside the prison, in the park, there were more beautiful flowers.

Sign for a coffee shop.

Moving statue.

Posted by Picasa