Sunday, April 28, 2013

Burgers at Salt and Butter on Apgujeong's Rodeo Street

I rate burgers in four categories: bun, patty, toppings, and sauce.  Recently I visited Salt and Butter on Rodeo Street in Apgujeong.  I ordered the Dallas Burger and the Spicy Chicken Burger.  This is how they did.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bacon Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

This post is for my brother who got engaged recently - very happy for him and his soon-to-be bride!  Hey Linde! I have a cute little story to tell you about Peter from his grimy school days.

My heavily whiskered brother and his fiance
Peter read a lot of books growing up.  Actually, all of us Kong kids did, but while my sister and I would yield to our bodily needs (like, ya know, going to the bathroom and eating), Peter was a complete literary ascetic.  Sound noble?  Ermm...I'm not saying he got to the point of storing jars of urine around his room a la Howard Hughes, but god help anyone uninformed enough to open his bedroom door.  I think my college gym, gone unrenovated for 15 years, smelled about the same.  Perhaps prison gym wouldn't be too far off either.

Things got especially dire during summer vacations when the structure of school life collapsed into one lazy river of days melting into days.  Peter would disappear into his books, which was fine for me and my sister because, if it's not already obvious, Peter was not much fun to be around during this particular phase of his life.  Anyway, a few days into his hermithood, Peter's bedroom door would violently bust open, and rattle-boned Peter would come stumbling out muttering, "Food.  I need food..."

He'd hobble determinedly to the kitchen, and I am not exaggerating when I say I've seen placenta-covered, newborn giraffes have it more together more than Peter in this state.  But somehow he'd manage to throw together one obscenely large stockpot of mac and cheese.  As children, we didn't have the most discerning palates, and my younger sister and I would actually sit there puppy-faced, hoping to score just a wee bowl to share.  Surely skinny mean older brother would not eat all of it?  Oh, we were naive, little babies...Peter would chew down every last elbow noodle as our eyes grew wider and wider in heartache wonder.  Had I known people made money from eating weirdly large amounts of food, I would have told my mom she can save the college tuition on that one 'cause he is the next Kobayashi.  But I was ten and knew nothing of the colorful pockets of culture America had in store, so just like that, Peter would retreat back to his kingdom of books for another few days.

So there you have it.  Peter and his bounties of mac and cheese with the lowly younger sisters hanging onto the bottom rung of the cheesy pasta ladder.  The moral of the story, Linde, is that little sister and I should have overtaken starved and feeble older brother and had ourselves a mac and cheese feast!  I encourage this behavior from you should any mac and cheese materialize in your marriage.

Anyway, story time over.  Fast forward to today, and I am making my own mac and cheese.  What's more, I loaded it up with bacon that used to be a slab of pork belly which I marinaded and home-cured to elevated bacon status.  Hopefully, I can get going on a post about that soon because it's not hard except for finding a chemical plant that would sell me sodium nitrite, and it tastes better than any bacon you'll find in Korea...or wherever.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MangoPlate - New Restaurant App in English

For the past 7 months, I've been trying out this thing called working.  By trying out, I mean that there's been zero room for anything else in my life, and this includes this blog and my poor cat who now hates me and tried to piss on me the other night.

My terribly mannered cat trying to filch a cube of chicken.
So my current job stems from annoying experiences as an expat, namely eating.  Is anyone surprised?  I mean...I do like to eat.  What I always found frustrating is the path of discovery for restaurants.  Most good meals I've had in Korea found their way to my face through haphazard happenstance.  There's never been one single way, or even a few solid ways, of discovering a good restaurant.  A Facebook post here.  A magazine article there.  A random conversation.  With no organized method of how I came across these tasty tidbits of info, I felt something like an ant feeling around without antennas.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pizza alla Norma (Eggplant Pizza)

When I was little, I used to make my own pizzas.  Slap me some tomato sauce on a slice of sandwich bread.  Sprinkle on some white-colored cheese.  Toast it.  BAM!  Pizza.  You're welcome.

Actually, things got pretty bad with my "pizza-making."  Think ketchup on Wonder Bread with a yellow square of American cheese on top.  I made this as breakfast on Mother's Day for my dear, sweet mother.  Even brought it in on a lego board breakfast tray accompanied with a Capri-Sun and package of Fruit Gushers.  I know we expats think we have it bad in Korea when we find corn sprinkled in our pizza, but my mom nearly vomited when she ate my rendition of "pizza."  This is when I first learned the prudence of Papa John's maxim: better ingredients, better pizza.

Like anything, master the basics before stretching the boundaries.  Have you seen Picasso's earlier works?  They actually look like something.  So he showed everyone he can paint, then he went crazy and showed them what painting is going to be from now on.  I am not a Picasso of paint or pizza, but I don't make pizza with squeeze bottles anymore.  To a degree, I think I've graduated to a level where I can be somewhat interpretive with pizza.


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