Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Cake 2015

It's Christmas Eve here in the Seoul Patch, and I am enjoying one of the peninsula's holiday traditions, the Christmas cake. While nicely decorated, this one is less ornate than some others I've had over the years (links at bottom of post). It is a Choco-crunchy-saeng-creme cake (the saeng technically means 'fresh', but really means 'imitation').

I've always got mine from Tous les Jours or Paris Baguette, but as I mentioned a couple of posts down, the new bakery in the neighborhood is called Napoleon:

You can learn quite a lot about the Korean tradition of baking, Christmas, cakes, etc, and view previous cakes, all different, by clicking on the years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lovely Beef Restaurant in Guro Digital

The Stumbler and I were turned away from our usual beef place in Guro Digital Complex, on account of it being packed full up on a chilly Tuesday night,so we made our way around the corner to a newish place called 산더미, which transliterates to Sandeomi, and sounds rather similar to a naughty sexual practice.

It appears very similar to most "Korean BBQ" places, a butcher at the front, exhaust hoses dangling over charcoal table grills, lots of people.

And of course, Korean meals come with 반찬 banchan, side dishes, including usually kimchi, "wild sesame" leaves, sprouts, onions, and lettuce for wrapping the meat in. You can also see some garlic, peppers and samjang on the right in the first pic:

But the key thing is the main course, the meat. Here we have 1,100 grams of sirloin and "rib meat" for 48,000 W.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Homemade Brunch Cafe

I'm not sure what the 37.5 in its name means, but that's only part of the reason I was intrigued by this new restaurant that opened in my neighborhood. Well, not merely my neighborhood, but my building, around the corner from the 7-eleven.

Who even knows what 'brunch' means in this country? Well, they do have it: 늦은 아침밥, meaning a late morning meal. But this cafe takes the more American meaning, serving light fare: soup, salad, omelettes, French toast. I was also intrigued by who would dine in a place so clearly non-Korean. Mok-dong, for all its virtues, is a very traditional area--most of your dining out choices in my neighborhood are sit-on-the-floor traditional or chicken hofs. Although that is changing. McDonald's won the Lotteria-Mickey D's battle here, even if I suspect that is because they have a rare drive-thru; one of the kimbab shops was replaced by a churros stand; and the Paris Baguette was kicked out by the swanky Bakery Napoleon.

I enjoy Korean food as much as the next guy. Actually, probably considerably more than the next guy, if the next guy isn't Korean. And not just so-called Korean barbecue, either: soups, stews, pajeon, kimchi, anything except octopus and stewed fish. However, the Korean flavor spectrum is rather like Mexican food: a limited number of ingredients, combined in lots of different ways. A man wants cheese and bread sometimes, too.

Therefore, I have eaten my "brunch" at 37.5 on successive Sundays, when 75% of the tables were filled. I first had the ham-cheese panini set, which included soup and salad for 10,000 W. It was quite good, although it had, dare I say it, one more slice of melty cheese that was strictly necessary. And that's real-and-true balsamic dressing for the salad.

Today, I went back and tried the ham-cheese French toast: the ingredients were in total balance, and the salad had more fruit and a nice dollop of cream cheese. Yes, that's a raspberry jus. Delicious. 12,000 W, a bit pricey.

Being a cafe, it offers a variety of coffees, a number of "ades" and fruit drinks, and an unexceptional list of beers, but I opted for something called a Godiva Oreo chocolate frappe. Wow! Perhaps the richest milkshake I've ever had. Pricey at 6,500 W but yum!