My brother and sister-in-law have been here visiting for almost three weeks, and we have been eating pretty much nonstop the entire time. I’ll try to write up a few more posts soon about some of our activities (bibimbap cooking class, baseball game, N Seoul Tower, Secret Garden tour, Trickeye Museum, Han River ferry cruise, Banpo Bridge rainbow fountain, monstrous hike in Bukhansan National Park, and a jimjilbang visit), but I thought I’d just share some of why I’ve probably gained ten pounds in September!
I may have forgotten some restaurants, but we had:
- Korean barbecue at Busan Galbi
- Sandwiches at Rye Post
- My favorite soft serve at Softree
- Fried chicken at Kyochon
- Macarons and other delicious baked goods at Amandier
- Bibimbap that we made ourselves in cooking class
- Delicious brunch at Flying Pan Blue
- Myeongdong street food
- Indian at Chakraa (despite the buffet being disappointingly cold, the food was still excellent)
- Churros & soft serve at Street Churros
- The most garlicky kimchi ever at Myeongdong Kyoja (along with their fantastic kalguksu)
- Burgers at Left Coast
- Nutella waffles at our favorite little joint in Itaewon
- Texas barbecue at Austin: The Smokehouse in Hongdae
- Ethiopian at Club Zion
- Thai from Buddha’s Belly
- Jordanian from Petra
- Brisket lunch sandwiches at Linus’s (Alabama barbecue)
It’s been so much fun having them here, and we’ve loved sharing some of our favorite Seoul restaurants and sites with them. We have perhaps gone a little overboard on the eating out front, but I’ve enjoyed feeling like I’m on vacation, too! Back to reality next week, including extra workouts and a more subdued eating plan.
The Bird and the Sword, by Amy Harmon: Fantasy novel about a girl who grows up mute after her mother is killed in front of her. Lark is actually a very powerful witch, but she doesn’t know it until she learns to read and write, at which point she can make things happen by thinking them. The kingdom is at war, and has been routing out its own gifted magical citizens for many years, but Lark is able to lend her efforts to the war by fighting at the king’s side with her magical abilities. Continue reading
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I love jag – jagacida – a Cape Verdean beans and rice dish that I learned from my mother-in-law. I make a batch of it once a week and my husband eats it for lunch pretty much every day. I decided to try to come up with a healthier version, subbing out the linguiça sausage with chicken, adding more beans, and subbing brown rice for the original white rice. I have to say I’m very pleased with the results on my first try! Here’s the altered recipe if you’re interested in making it for yourself: Continue reading
There is a fabulous Joan Miró exhibit currently at the Sejong Center for the Arts in Seoul titled ‘Miró in Mallorca: A Wild Spirit.’ It will be there until September 24, so if you’re in Seoul, I highly recommend that you make the time to go see it. The exhibit features 264 paintings from Miró’s last years of his life in Mallorca.
I’ve been pretty lax with my blogging as of late! To be honest, the heat here in Korea is just so miserable that it’s hard to work up the energy or enthusiasm to do much exploring. I’ve just been plodding through the month, teaching my students, trying to do my P90X3 workouts when my back or hip doesn’t go wonky, and keeping up with my practice club. Also, I’ve been revamping and updating our retirement spreadsheets. At some future point, I do plan to write about my approach to retirement planning. It feels like a million years ago that I took and passed the CFP exam, even though it’s only been five months! Continue reading
Earlier this week, my friend Nopa and I visited the Hello Kitty cafe in Hongdae. I’ve never been a huge Hello Kitty fan, but it was still one of those places I wanted to see while in Seoul, and it did not disappoint! We were there on a Tuesday afternoon, and it was pretty crowded – I can’t even imagine the scene there on a weekend. They must be pulling in profits hand over fist. Continue reading
Yesterday, we went to Alma Restaurante in Hongdae, near Sangsu station. We had the place to ourselves, since it was late afternoon and before the dinner rush. We did notice two of the tables had “Reserved” signs on them, so if you want to go at a more normal time, you might want to make a reservation. The restaurant was small and very nicely decorated with blinds and shades painted with Spanish city names and pictures of Spain.
Stiletto, by Daniel O’Malley: Finally, the follow-up to the fantastic novel The Rook, which came out in 2012. It took me a while to get into the book, but once I settled in I tore through it. The Grafters and Checquy are forming an alliance after centuries of hatred and war. Although Myfawny, the star of The Rook, is in this novel, it mainly centers around a Checquy Pawn, Felicity Clements, and Grafter Odette Leliefield. Loved the book, could have done with fewer long forays into Grafter history. I think tighter editing would have helped. VGR Continue reading
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Saturday night, we finally made it to a Korean baseball game. The Doosan Bears were playing the Kia Tigers at Jamsil Stadium, and the fabulous 8th Army Band MPT Spartan Brass were providing musical entertainment.
They started out entertaining fans just outside the stadium, putting on a great show despite the stifling heat.
Sunday morning the predicted rain was still holding off, so Domingos and I decided to try a local hike. After doing a little bit of quick research, I chose Inwangsan Mountain as our destination – easy to reach by subway, and not quite as popular as many of the other hikes in and around Seoul. We took the train to Dongnimmun Station, and it was a short walk from there to the start of the trail at Inwangsan Temple.
Gate at the entrance to the temple.
Instant Mom, by Nia Vardalos: This memoir is primarily centered around Vardalos’s struggle with infertility and then her eventual adoption of an almost-three-year-old from the foster care system. She does give a brief background of her life and career, but that’s not the focus of the book. Vardalos is very open about her struggles and emotions, but I related so little to what she went through and her approach as a mother (although I am not one, and not planning to ever be one, I think I would be a very different type of mother than she is) that I found it hard to really engage with the book. Continue reading
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I have promised to write about how I use credit card rewards for maximum effect. I am not an expert at this and I’m sure I miss out on some opportunities; if you want to wring every last bit of value from your credit card rewards, do a quick web search and you will find many websites dedicated to the process. But before I can talk about rewards, I have to talk about a few other things first.
My friend invited me along to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at Dongdaemun Design Plaza one night last week, and I’m so glad I was able to go! Anyone who knows me knows I’m no fashion maven in any way, but it’s so much fun to look at haute couture, especially the eccentric and outlandish Gaultier creations. Apparently, Seoul is the last stop on the Gaultier exhibit world tour, and the last day to see it is June 30th. So if you live here and want to see it, make plans ASAP! Continue reading
Here it is, my final post from Tokyo! For our last night, I had booked us in at a restaurant with great reviews, Seryna Shinjuku, that was a short walk from our hotel. We found the building that the restaurant was located in and eventually figured out where the elevator was – the restaurant is situated on the 52nd floor of the Sumitomo building. When we arrived, we were greeted and shown to a reserved table right by a window, with fabulous night views of the city. Continue reading