Thursday, February 28, 2008

Magic markers, American chains, and a reason to go to Boston

While I was coloring in the lines like an eager camp-bound 5th grader last night, I decided to show off my handiwork to a few slackers some of my wonderful buddies who gladly pushed off very important Wednesday morning office work JUST FOR ME. ^^ My four man sample size suggests general US sentiment may begin with "fob shock" but will gradually soften into cute, happy thoughts. Results are not statistically significant so I welcome any additional feedback.



It spells...

We came in 4th place, out of 20 teams. ^^ It wasn't a t-shirt design contest.

But it might have something to do with this.

Right... what you really want to see... food! I'm afraid it may be a little... familiar.

When they first mentioned grabbing a quick bite at a good sandwich place nearby... I didn't realize they were referring to Quiznos and it was too late to change my mind. ^^

I've officially visited Outback Steakhouse more times in Korea (twice) than in the States... come to think of it, have I ever been to one in the US? We went here b/c it's apparently a good place to study... meaning they don't kick you out after 3 1/2 hours of loitering. ^^ The pasta wasn't bad either.

And who knew that you could get your bread served with chocolate?! Y'all better try that in the US sometime. And if the waiter gives you a funny look, just say, "They do it in Korea!" Apparently, the bread is pretty popular here, and they'll happily package it up for you (with some butter) to go. Come to think of it, it really tastes like the stuff at The Cheesecake Factory.

Saved the best for last. It may not look all that appetizing, but this was my first time eating samgyetang (삼계탕), and it was pretty darn fun. It's like knocking open a pinata (in this case, a whole chicken) to find lots of little goodies (rice, chestnuts, garlic, dates, ginseng) stored inside.

Anyway, for you Bostonians, check out this NYT article - Frank Bruni has O Ya listed as a top 10 (non NY, non previously reviewed) restaurant, in the company of Guy Savoy. Now, according to, O Ya has the power to make you cry, moan, and hold future booty callers to higher standards of satisfaction and imagination. So what are you waiting for?!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

'07 Highlights

First off, I'd like to extend apologies to the anyone I've encountered (this is all inclusive: in person, phone, email, text msg, Skype, AIM, MSN, GTalk, Facebook, etc. haha) in the past 2+ weeks. I got lots of, "You look/sound tired," remarks, and it's probably because I was. Also, in response to the variations of, "What the ____ are you doing up right now?!", thank you for your concern. ^^ I successfully slept the day away and am looking forward to recharging some more this week. I didn't realize I was signed on to Adium, hence the reason for being MIA, but thank you for all the random messages, really, it gave me the warm and fuzzies inside. (And no, I didn't just say "warm and fuzzies" - it's my exhausted sub-conscious talking.) Hopefully by Monday, I'll get back to feeling "normal" and won't seem so disoriented. ^^ Props to you if you're still reading!

Anyhow, lying in bed and feeling poopy (for lack of a better word) contributes to blogs like this one. I actually meant to post this in...uh, January...but never did, so here you go, a little tribute to 2007.


Home sweet home.

Please direct your attention to the top left corner - this is the night I called it. Can you see the 2 would-be lovebirds obliviously standing next to each other? ; )

Ro - I miss our sushi nights.
Betty - I miss the spunk. ^^

Bottom right corner. White board question of the day: What is the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? Amidst responses like a quarter, kangaroo, snake, alligator - "Cheri's food" made the list. : (

There's not much else to do in Holyoke except go to Stop & Shop... ^^

Left to right, top then bottom -
a) 32nd Street, enough said. ^^
b) Dave, look at Grace's Yan Yan stick.
It's destiny. ; )
c) S, I bet you guys didn't know this photo existed? Your kitchen will forever hold memories of hard, stir fried kimbop and steel-bowl-whisked-yogurt-soju.
e) I really miss cooking.
f) Something must have been funny. Maybe it's because we were wearing the same shirt. Aiya.

We met Morimoto, and I still think about his toro to this day. ^^

Toronto = fun. I mean, not since London were we reunited with Kinder Bueno, the best candy EVER!

Quite possibly took more Polaroids than digitals?

San Francisco... always makes me happy.

Mendocino vacation, thanks to Onni. ^^

Then there was Korea.

Who knew a few months later I'd end up back here? ^^




Lastly, some memories are best told on tape, like when you jump out of a plane. ^^

And of course, it was one of the best musical years EVER...

Darren Hayes...


Cary Brothers...

Priscilla Ahn...

Rachael Yamagata...

Ingrid Michaelson...

Kate Havnevik...


Time flies!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

American movies and Indian food

The Oscars are coming up, and like the SuperBowl, I won't be watching this time around.

Once my dream to write and direct...
It's disappointing to say I've seen just one of this year's five Best Picture nominees.

In Korea, they make these nifty four sided 8x11-ish programs to help you determine what to watch upon arrival at the theater. Makes for a pretty good souvenir if you like the flick too. ^^

Apparently the subs were a tad off, as we were the only ones letting out a chuckle at moments like...

"You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events."

Besides Juno (which I loved), I also recently saw Jumper, which got me thinking... If I had such superhuman powers, where's the first place I'd go?  My initial thoughts screamed "London." So cliche, eh.

Speaking of which... Indian food! Ok, that doesn't entirely deserve a "speaking of which," but when you say "London," Indian food definitely comes to my mind, and we were reunited last night! (Thank you, SJ.^^)

We went to a place in Apgujeong (압구정) called Ganga and it reminded me of the time we went to The Cinnamon Club in Westminster. The decor couldn't have been more different, and granted, both restaurants serve Indian food, but I couldn't quite put my finger on the reason... perhaps it was the company. Anyhoo, we had rice and garlic nan with vegetable shashlik and chicken makhani (pictured above).

Also checked out City Hall (시청), to find that the prettily lit ice rink seen last month had been taken down. Does this mean winter's ending?!

Here's what it looks like in the day...

Across the street stands Deoksugung (덕수궁) so we decided to check it out. It wasn't as beautiful as Changdeokgung (창덕궁), but it's still a trip to be in a royal palace, only to look out and see its walls surrounded by Citi and SK high rises. ^^

A chair fit for a king.

A relatively recent vice has got to be frequent trips to the coffeeshops! I think today was my first time alone in one (in Seoul), and I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. My sweet potato latte and I bonded over people watching and pensive thoughts.

I had intended to study there, but it turned into a one-man lyric-writing and doodling fest. ^^ Case in point - 

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's all a blur... are you hungry?

Does this blog make it seem like my life revolves around food?

A few recent munchies for your viewing pleasure... I wish the Smell-A-Net existed but until that glorious day, you'll just have to live vicariously through my stomach.

Onni, top left corner! You would have loved this gutchuri (것철이).

I devoured everything in the collage below. 

Left to right - sizzling chicken sprinkled with cheese and marinated in what we'll call "yummy mystery sauce" since the name of dish slips my mind... sweet potato and pumpkin omurice in a cream sauce (yes, who would have thought!)... "genki chicken" (tasted like Hawaii)... gyeran jjim (계란찜) made by the one and only Jae-Hak Samchon, who incidentally, last week, made the best non-spicy soondubu I've ever eaten... and last but not least, some sort of magical-chicken-on-a-stick covered in powdered cheddar cheese, a bunch of mystery sauces, pumpkin seeds, and almonds!

This one's entitled "다이어트 해야 돼." >_<

Nuff bout food... Here are some photos I took the other day...not too shabby for a point n shoot? Lately, I've been toying around with the idea of entering the world of DSLR... thoughts? 

Also, here are some random pics from our (window) shopping trip around Apgujeong (압구정)... for some reason, the concept of Banana Republic in Korea just seemed a bit off at that moment. Oh and Ro, I thought of you that day, can you see why? ^^

Time to cure the sleep deprivation,

Friday, February 22, 2008

To Mom & Grace (from Jung-Jei)

Special present from 정재 to you, 엄마 and 언니 ~

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Food and karaoke, then hit repeat

Seafood shabu shabu...

Emily, I will take you here when you come to visit ^^... beats Kaze and the meat hot pot is <$6!

Greasy, cheap, surprisingly not bad...

$30 in NY, $9 in Korea...

Celebrating with 선생님!

I can hear the snickers guys, but I swear, the V sign just pops out of nowhere, it's unintentional...

Typically in the US, karaoke is to alcohol like restaurant is to food. Here, you usually can't drink in the norebang (노래방), and who would have thought, people still go in broad daylight, completely sober. ^^ It's also a lot less expensive, and if you go to the "luxury" ones... they make you take off your shoes.

If you're really lucky, you get to sing in Pooh's presence. ^^

It makes me wonder how we have shows like American Idol when really, all you need to do is come to Korea. I feel guilty just holding the mic in their presence. Seriously, sooo good. It's like going to a free concert. ^^

Norebang at night...

Doing her thing on stage...

We even sang along to the Wondergirls... that is a concept I cannot understand.

And yes, I have tape of 선생님 in action! ^^

<3 Day... Yeouido... too much food!

Me: Happy Valentine's Day! *hands heart shaped box filled with little cousin's favorite Ferrero Rocher candies*
Little Cousin: Thaaaaank youuuuuu. ^____^
Uncle: Wow! What did you buy for Nuna?
Little Cousin: Eh... girls are supposed to give boys something on Valentine's Day.
Uncle: Aiii, you little...
Little Cousin: Don't worry, I'll buy Nuna something on White Day!

In Korea, girls customarily do the giving on V-Day, while boys return the favor exactly one month later on White Day (March 14). A month after that, there's Black Day (April 14), for all the lonesome to chomp on jajangmyun (black bean noodles) with their other lonely single friends.

The secret to my heart... ^^
(Hsieh, I thought you'd enjoy this picture the most... see anything familiar?)

My little cousin eventually softened up and bought me some chocolates while I wasn't looking. He also taught me the 486 code for 사랑해 (I love you) - 사 has 4 strokes, 랑 has 8, 해 has 6 - and tried to get me to text it... mmh-hmm.

We took a little trip to Yeouido (여이도) for a ride down the Han River (한강). It was muuuuch warmer than my first trip there a couple weeks back. Can you tell the difference?


Yes, I still make excuses to take photos like this (though nothing can quite top our Kung Fu Panda pics, eh, Grace?) Luckily, when I hang out with 12 year olds, they gladly partake in the randomness with no, or very little, resistance.

Here's a view of the 63 Building which was once the tallest building in Asia... back in 1985.

But I'd rather show you pictures of one of the most adorable little kiddies on the planet! 

Seriously, don't you just want to adopt him?! ^^

Now... onto foooood. Went back to this yummy chicken kalbi (닭갈비) place...

Just kidding. But we really did see a bunch of birds on display at Yeouido. Why, I couldn't really tell you. I suppose it's educational to look at chickens in a cage. 

It starts out like this...

Then turns into this...

And when you think you can't eat anymore, you discover that you really can! Why waste the sauce... add a little bit of this and that... and you're good for a second meal of fried rice!