Showing posts from January, 2008

The Tim Tam Slam

The KSA Redux

Go Zen

Zenkimchi was sited in Seriouseats for his story about Korean Fast food. Awesome job Joe, you are a rock star. Here's the story. The First Korean Fast Food Chain in America Posted in: Out There Asian Week reports that Sorabol, a family-owned Korean fast food chain, currently has 15 stores in California, Nevada and the Philippines while looking into opening locations in Seattle, New York City and Washington, D.C. As of now, they’re concentrating on the food court market, dominated by Sbarro and Panda Express. The difference is that they’re not Americanizing their food. According to them, they serve authentic Korean BBQ, noodles and soups, including Yukejang 육게장. And if their stores typically look like the ones on the web site, they look kick ass. I’d say it’s a welcome healthier alternative to the usual food court findings and proof that you don’t have to drench everything in grease to make it fast food. UPDATE: Asian Week seems to be having a lovefest with them. Here’s another s

Cheeseburger in a can!!!!

Brilliant! Gross! Grossly Brilliant! This is from our fine friends over at gizmodo This is a cheeseburger. In a can. It's a cheeseburger in a can. I honestly can't figure out how I feel about this: is it the greatest achievement of mankind thus far, or is it an abomination of foodstuffs that deserves to be hucked back into the gaping maw of whatever food processing plant it was spewed from? I just don't know what to think anymore. Would you eat a cheeseburger in a can? Keep in mind that it'll look nowhere near as delicious as the example above when you pull it out of the can.

Japanese Hot Beer!

This is from Robyn Lee, who is one of my favoritist foodies of all time. How would you like to gulp down a frothy, steaming glass According to American expat in Japan Peter Payne Japanese beer company Kirin is introducing Hot Beer, beer that is heated to about 120°F and accompanied by a cinnamon stick and sugar cubes. "The heat of the beer is supposed to bring out flavors not present when served cold, including a deep aroma not unlike that of coffee." If you're curious enough, you can try this at home by microwaving your own beer.

Today's Tidbit of Zen

Zoom in to see. Blasphemy ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ Thanks Richard for posting it on facebook.

Hawaii on a Dime by Matt Gross

Here is my friend Matt's Story about how to travel frugally in Hawaii. THE beauty of the Hawaiian islands is hardly subtle. Jungle-smothered volcanic peaks loom around every highway switchback, verdant plants sprout flowers as brilliant and meaty as hallucinations, and surrounding you always is the Pacific Ocean, by turns coral blue, crystalline green or shimmering golden with the light of the setting sun. Hawaii is easy, Hawaii has nothing to hide. Hawaii is, touristically speaking, pornographic in its single-minded baring of its assets .

Getting around on the bus in Seoul

The bus system in Seoul is extensive and very reliable, but- like most foreigners- I was utterly intimidated at first. Here is a website that gives you a grid of the city and then you can click on the starting point and then the ending point and then it'll give you list of the buses you can take. This only works in Internet Explorer and you have to download Twinkle, which is kinda like flash. If you need a reliable subway map here is the link for cyberstation. Dan

Decorated Herb Bread

This is so cool. Bread can be art. You can read all about it at BoingBoing. Dan

How I spent my Sunday

I've had a lot of coffee this morning so I'm getting a week's worth of blogging together in one day. Yesterday, Terry came over and so I made her a lunch of stewed lamb chop. The rosemary in the tomato sauce cut that lamby flavor. I microwaved the potatoes for a bit and then added them to the sauce and threw the whole thing into the oven for about 15 minutes. I'm all about yogurt these days and I am constantly trying for find new ingredients to marry with this bacterial fermentation of milk. I find if I add a bit of lime juice it cuts the dairy-ness and cuts the thickness so it can be used like a dressing. Yesterday I added chopped roasted cashews and cranberries to the yogurt and then tossed in some steamed broccoli. It was alright, but I think it needed some garlic. The Beef Enchiladas tasted great. I bought 200 grams of ground beef and 100 grams of ground pork and sauteed it with white onions and seasoning. The tomato mole was just tomato sauce with added flour, butt

Banned Korean Commercial

I don't know why they would ban this^^ hahaha

The bibimbap song

Silly Weiguk, bibimbap is for kids.

Minimal Techno at Ape with Pipe

Saturday Night I joined my good friend Terry for Minimal Techno and martini's at Ape with Pipe in Itaewon. It was an excellent crowd with a great music. I'm a big fan of the atmosphere at Ape and they added to it with the really cool paintings and photographs on display there. I hope they do their Martini night again at some point. Dan

Australia Day at the Aussie Shop

Tony of the Aussie shop celebrated Australia Day in style and had a turnout of the finest blue blooded Aussies in Korea. I highly recommend his restaurant. It's always a fun time and the food is wholesome and has that homemade feel. In my opinion, he has the best fish n chips in Korea and his meat pie is the perfect food for a stomach full of beer. I have people claim that Tony makes the best burgers in town- I met some guys that came all the way from Daegu just to have a burger. The Aussie shop is on the hill opposite of the McDonalds in Itaewon. Here's the link. Dan

Stump the Chef

two words: watermelon aioli Dan


No, not that Loft but the new one to the left of Rocky Mountain Tavern. It is impressive. It's a beautiful place and I think I'm going to go back there on Monday. The menu had foie gras, lamb chops, pastas, and beef tongue. That's interesting, huh? I'm going to have to go try their food at some point. I went there with some friends for some wine and the wine ranged from 35,000 to 300,000. We had a 2004 Saint Emilion that started off like a nice cognac, but opened up to a nice licorice, herbaciousness. The interior is awesome- and it's going to get even better when they open up the outdoor terrace. Dan

Thai Garden

The jury is out on Thai Garden right now. I'm going to go back in a week or so. The food was good, but it wasn't Thai Orchid good. I understand that it is the middle of winter and getting authentic Thai ingredients is difficult, but there should be an attempt. OK, my major pet peeve is that they didn't use the bright, spicy, citrusy, Thai bird peppers. You know what I mean- the tiny peppers that come in green and red; they make dishes Thai. Also, they didn't use lemongrass- I don't think at all. And while I'm on my soapbox, most of my favorite Thai staff members are gone. I'm going to give them a week and then I'm going to try again- I have to check out their seafood. Dan

Australia Day

Hurry and go to this it's on the 26th at the Aussie Shop. Dan

Toque February events

Dear Toque Friends, Happy New Year!! I hope you are all having a good start to 2008. Toque and our staff had a blast meeting every one of you last year. I hope you enjoyed our food and services and we will be working even harder to make this restaurant a better place for you to come and enjoy and just chill. We have many events planned for this year as well and the first one coming up is our Valentine's Dinner. I know that Valentine's Day itself may be an unwelcoming day for some of you(including me...: ( ) but it doesn't have to be a day just for couples. We have a very special dinner course that will be prepared for just that day. I encourage all gastronomists and food enthusiasts to come and experience a very unique dinner. Our Valentine's Day Dinner will be a 6 course dinner, all consisting of chocolate and strawberries. \40,000 per person(VAT included) 1. Fresh Oysters and Seared Scallop with White Chocolate Champagne Sabayon 2. Roasted Red Pepper-Strawberry Sou

A Blog Post in Five Minutes

Last night I made my lamb chops again with the sweet potatoes and green beans. I added some cardamon, cloves, and dried cranberries to the green beans and they had a very interesting flavor. Next time I think I'm just going to use the cloves and cranberry. I found the cardamon to add a bit of an astringent flavor. Thai Garden- previously Thai Orchid has opened back up and I'll be checking it out later this week. I passed by the Yellow Submarine and pizza place like all the time and I never see anyone in there. Has anyone tried their pizza? Elinza's Carrot Cake will be making it's return to Indigo in Haebangchon- yay! It is snowing in Seoul and nobody knows how to drive. I would recommend you stay off the roads. I'm going back to phase 1 of South Beach today, or tomorrow or the next day. Dan

Zaza's Tea Party

I went to Zaza's wonderful tea party and these are some of the treats I indulged in. Dan

Tidbit of Zen

Hopefully this will help you get through your Monday^^ Check out Cacaoboom and il Cacao's website. Dan

Artisan Chocolate in South Korea

Here's a neat site I found about how different countries celebrate Valentines Day around the world. Interestingly, the custom of Korean girls giving chocolates to men on Valentines day has it's origins in Japan. "Japan In Japan, Valentine's Day is celebrated on two different dates...February 14 and March 14. On the first date, the female gives a gift to the male and on the second date...known as White Day and supposedly introduced by a marshmallow company in the 1960s...the male has to return the gift he received on February 14. Thus, strictly speaking, a Japanese female has the luxury of actually choosing her own gift. Chocolate is the most popular gift in Japan. However, since most Japanese females believe that store-bought chocolate is not a gift of true love, they tend to make the confection with their own hands. Korea The traditional gift of candy takes place in Korea on February 14, but only from females to males. There is another special day for males to give gi

I miss the original Iron Chef

Morimoto- Sushi Battle

My fascination with Korean Pears

Sorry that my last blog post was about the Macbook Air. Well, back to food. Last night I got bored and I got hungry so I decided to make myself a descent meal. So I pan seared a lamb chop and then baked it in the oven with some roasted garlic, rosemary, and lemon zested butter that I happened to have left over from my baked chicken night. I also threw a half a tangerine, green beans and a couple of tomatoes into the roasting pan and popped it into the oven for 10 minutes at 250 degrees Farenheit. I picked up a couple of Korean pears and I wanted to see if I could make poached pears in red wine. I poured the wine into the sauce pan and then made a light roux with butter and flour and popped it in with the wine and let it simmer. Then I threw in half of a skinned Korean pear with a bit of sugar, a cinnamon stick, cardamon, and half of a tangerine. I let this boil and then simmer for 30 minutes- hoping the pear would be soft and silky. The pear wouldn't give into the heat. I eventuall

Macbook Air

I know that this isn't about food, but damn I'm pissed and my friend Jason is right on about his criticisms of their new product. This is from Jason This is what I wrote on one of my favorite forums. I know, I know, it's dangerous to predict that Apple will fail at anything (critics were harsh on the first Ipod, Lolwut). But this, is ridiculous: $700 more for *way* less features than a damned macbook? Oh, and $900 for a solid state drive that's *smaller* than the standard one? This is the first time I've ever seen an Apple product (since I started paying attention to them), and flat out said "no fucking way". The whole damned thing is one big product purchase trap. From the website-- "Ahead of the curve. In redefining thin, MacBook Air has shed something you no longer need: the optical drive. That's because MacBook Air is built for the wireless world. So instead of watching DVDs, you can rent movie

CLOSED Antonio

CLOSED I went to Antonio twice last week and I must say it was a pleasant experience. The atmosphere is quite upscale and quaint and it's food is cooked very well by a real Italian chef. The first night I went with my friend Agnes and we got the grilled asparagus and broccoli salad, porcini mushroom pizza, and the grilled vegetables with scarmoza cheese. The asparagus salad was a bit disappointing- I think they used one stalk of asparagus in the entire salad and the dressing was simply a red wine vinegarette. The pizza was a delight- crisp crust and with plentiful basil and aged, thin slabs of Parmesan cheese on top. The grilled vegetables were awesome. They were thick cuts of squash, eggplant, mushrooms, and sweet peppers. The nicely charred vegetables paired off delightfully with the scarmoza cheese- which is like a smoky mozzarella. I'll tell you about my second visit later. I've gotta go to work. Dan

Macbook Air...meh

Meh. Anti-climatic. No wonder my stock dropped 11 dollars. I should have sold at $200.00. This is a product that's going to take 6 months before it makes an impact. I can see the other products in the line changing to become thinner. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to pay a premium to be an early adopter of a product when the specs are subpar. The regular macbook is looking like a mighty fine bargain right now since it has the same graphics chip and I wonder if I can load an 64gig SSD hard drive into it. And this is coming from one of Apple's biggest fanboys. I put off buying a new Macbook Pro and an iPod touch for this product. Now...I think I'm going to go with the touch. Dan

Bangsan Market

You can find this article with pictures in the new issue of Eloquence Magazine. Dan Just flour, sugar, butter, an egg, a dash of salt, a bit of baking powder can turn your entire house into a time capsule. Baking cookies in the kitchen is almost every child’s first foray into cooking because of height and prior knowledge. Play-dough had trained us in the technical skills of mixing and forming cookie shapes and our height was perfect for peering into television like oven to see our creations transform. Baking is problematic in Korea. Most households lack ovens- and if you do have an oven, you might not know where to get all the proper tools such as pans, spatulas, pastry bags, measuring cups, mixers, etc. Then the price of the ingredients is astronomical and subpar, so baking requires a true investment of your time and money. I posed this dilemma to my friend Elinza Pretorius, who has her own baking company; she pointed me towards Bangsan Market in Dongdaemun. Go to

Tears of God- Wine Manga

Tears of God is a wildly popular manga in South Korea and Japan that deals with the enjoyment and procurement of wine. It's so popular, in fact, that any wine that is featured in its pages usually sells out in Japan in weeks and the prices of the wines reach exorbitant heights. Since the manga needs to be translated into Korean, by the time the manga is released; there is only a short supply of wines left for wine connoisseurs. Wine piracy has been a bit of a problem here. Overall, this comic is doing wonders for the current wine boom. Here's a link from a Pendock Uncorked and an excerpt from their article: Earlier this year I was in Singapore for the Singapore Airlines wine selection process. One of the highlights was meeting Nabi Hashimoto, a Japanese wine writer, who told me how manga, Japanese comics, have taken the cork out of Asian wine sales. Thanks to Melgab International I see that Decanter has now picked up on the story. I attach my April thoughts on the phenomenon th

Chicken and Strawberries


Send Foodie Love: Yakitate

Yakitate is one of my favorite animes and the story revolves around a boy named Azuma Kazuma: the boy with solar hands. What can a boy do with hands that can stay abnormally warm? Make bread of course. He makes the strangest confectionery and bakery delights like melon bread, naan in the shape of a volcano- so the naan is like a bowl that you pour the curry into, kabukinage bread that has a soy sauce and sake topping, and many many other breads. Check out this episode and promise that you'll be a Yakitate addict!

Tahini Free Hummus

The price of Tahini in Korea is outrageous. So much so that I've considered making it myself since there is an abundance of sesame seeds in this country. That'll be a project for another time because I have a dinner party tonight that I need to get prepared for. Here's a no tahini recipe I found from I think I'm going to level it up with a bit of cilantro and some black olives. If I had a food processor I would add cashew butter. Dan Another big fan of Bobbi's Hummus here. I looked at their ingredient list and nutrition information and developed a recipe for humus that tastes very much like Bobbi's MY FAVORITE HUMMUS. 1 15 oz can (~1 1/2 c) chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 2 T olive oil 2 T safflower oil 2 T grapeseed oil (or more safflower oil, or any other mild-tasting oil) 6 T water (just over a third of a cup) 1/4 t lemon juice, preferably fresh 3/4 t salt pepper to taste 2 cloves garlic, add more to taste Peel and crush the garlic.

Flying Pan Blue Review

Here is my review on Flying Pan, you can also find it in Eloquence Magazine. This is my "writer's uncut version." I had only given the restaurant 3 stars on the food, but my editor changed it. A Flying Pan to the Face by Daniel Gray My first year in Korea was spent in Gyeong Ju and the closest thing I could get to breakfast was Isaac Toast. Isaac and I became great friends over that year. Since I’ve moved to Seoul, Isaac and I don’t see each other as much because there is a plethora of breakfast joints. Breakfast is a meal that’s hard to mess up, and so, many places get grouped in that “they make a decent scramble” category. But the one place that stands out in my mind is Flying Pan Blue. Sure, the furniture doesn’t match, there is one big communal table in the center and getting to the bathroom is a bit of a hassle (you have to walk out and around to the back and down a flight of stairs)- but that’s part of the charm. And one last gripe, there are no free refills on t

Good Eats and "W"

I have always been a huge fan of Alton Brown and I was very happy to hear that the Food Network has just given him a contract for an additional 3 years. Now...I only wish I could get the Food Network in my apartment. Check out the top video to see "3 chips for my Sister Marsha" to see one of my favorite reoccurring characters: "W." The second video is about how to make great chili. Just type in Like the Hat into Youtube to find all things Alton Brown. Dan

TasteSpotting Top 100 of 2007

Check this out of 100 great food items of 2007. Dan

Big men banned from buffet

haha...this is just too funny. From When does a person get charged double what everyone else is charged for eating at a buffet? When that person is 6 foot 3 and 265 pounds. A Louisiana man and his cousin have been banned from a restaurant because they eat too much. The two men had been eating at the Manchuria Restaurant in Houma at least three times a week for about eight months. On their last visit, the waitress gave them a bill for $46.40, which is almost double what the regular price is. When they asked why they were charged that much, the waitress said "Y'all fat, and y'all eat too much" (it helps if you picture Paula Deen saying it). Police were called, and though the restaurant changed their mind and gave them the meal free, they still banned them from the restaurant.

Yeon: The Traveler's Cafe in Samcheong Dong

There is more above the river than just Itaewon and Insadong. One of my favorite places to go is Samcheong dong. It is near Insadong, but it's pleasant walk away. You can get directions here. The way I like to go there is by going out Anguk Station exit 5. Then I cross the street towards the Tours de Jours (which is a crappy bakery that makes spongy cakes that taste like sugary Styrofoam). I take the first right and keep walking straight past numerous stores and restaurants such as 목쉬돈나 (723-8089)- a place famous for dukbokki and past 천진포자-a snack place renowned for pork buns and past a strange cafe with pink dogs until I hit Samcheongdong. Samcheongdong is a great cafe street and restaurant street. My favorite place for coffee is Yeon which is on an elevated walkway that has a ancient look to it. It's right near a toy museum. Yeon is the hippie cafe where the servers don't wear shoes even in the dead of winter and the interior has a traditional han-ok style, but like it ha

Gaon and Super Galbi

I went to Gaon today with Basil . Basil is a freelance photographer that is currently helping my friend Matt on a story about the food scene in Seoul. Here's a part of the journey we took today. We started by going to Gaon in Apgujeong and then to the street market in Dongdaemun. We finished our evening by going to Hong-ik Super Galbi.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I hope you achieve all your goals for the coming year. I took a bit of a hiatus, please forgive me but I've been trying to figure out my New Year's resolutions. One of the first resolutions I've made is that I'm going to stop buying junk that I don't need and I'm going to get rid of waste. That's why I was selling my old stuff. I accumulate so much stuff that I don't need that it's simply ridiculous. My second resolution is that I'm going to take better care of my health. I feel that I drink a wee too much and it just keeps on getting me in trouble. I am going to stay away from tequila entirely because I turn into a weeping, petulant child. I'm also not going to drink vodka on an empty stomach either because I simply don't remember what I do. I am also starting the South Beach Diet and I'm going to stick to it. I've been carbohydrate and sugar free for almost a week now and I

Dictionary of Popular Korean Dishes

Here is a Listing of Popular Korean Dishes with a brief description of what each dish is. The dish also has the dish's name in Hangul as well. Dan 1. 비빔밥 (bibimbap)/ Rice Mixed with Vegetables and Beef Bibimbap is a popular, healthy dish that is served in a large bowl with its ingredients arranged by color. The rice is topped with cooked vegetables such as squash, mushrooms, carrots, fern brake, beef, and fried egg. Everything in the bowl is mixed in thoroughly with red chili paste before eaten. Vegetarian Option Available. 2. 돌솥비빔밥 (dolsot bibimbap)/ Stone Pot Bibimbap This is one of the most delectable variations of bibimbap. Rice topped with vegetables, beef, and egg is served piping hot in a heated earthenware bowl. The bowl continues to cook the ingredients at the table and gives the rice a distinctly crisp texture. Vegetarian Option Available. 3. 산채비빔밥 (sanchae bibimbap)/ Mountain Vegetable Bibimbap This type of bibimbap consists of lots of freshly picked mountain shoots and