Friday, October 31, 2014

You are Here Cafe

I've been big fan of Eat Your Kimchi since I first heard about their videos about Korea. The husband and wife duo, Simon and Martina, moved to Korea in 2008 a year after we did and started making videos for their families back home in Canada. They quickly become so popular that Simon and Martina quit their teaching jobs and now run their "Eat Your Kimchi" enterprise full time along with a small staff.

They opened a coffee shop earlier this year and it was a place I wanted to visit during our recent visit. The name of the coffee shop is "You are Here" and it's off the beaten path but they have great directions on their site.
                  When we visited it had only been opened for a month and it was pretty crowded.
                                                The decorating was pretty cute.
But the line was long and it moved incredible slowly.
                                        The lower level was pretty crowded with lots of foreigners.

The second level was not too crowded so I sat and waited for Rocketman. It was about a 15 wait for him to place our order and then it was another 15 minutes to get our coffees. I think they were still getting the kinks out and that is why the wait was so long. I didn't mind waiting but Rocketman got pretty impatient.
I also left with a souvenir. I was glad we went but with the abundance of coffee shops in Seoul, I don't foresee returning. But it was fun to see it in person. It would have been really cool if we had been there when Simon and Martina were in which they do often I've heard.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Korean Food and City Hall

I will never, ever, ever eat bok-eo. Rocketman has eaten it several times and wasn't impressed with the taste of it. Just to think you could end up on a vent or die from consuming not properly prepared bok-eo is why I will never eat it. Plus it's ridiculously expensive in Korea, really.
         But I would never say "no" to a tabletop full of Korean banchan (side dishes). Oh yeah!
Kimchi - I can't stop eating it and always ask for more. I can ask for it in perfect Korean and no matter what Korean restaurant I'm at, the wait staff never seems understands me.

                                           Samgyeopsal cooking over hot coals. Delicious!
I've always wanted one of these but Rocketman won't even consider it. We would need a larger home to put it in which might may have something to do with his decision. Also, his feelings that we have too much stuff as it is.
                                       We found a group practicing, probably for Chuseok.

One, two, three, four. Reminds me of my freshman year of high school when I was in the marching band.
                                           Our hotel wasn't too far from City Hall.
                    We found these yellow ribbons draped across the rope across from City Hall.

                                            The side of the City Hall building in Seoul.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Insadong and the Discovery of a New Hanji Shop

Insadong is one of my favorite parts of Seoul because of all the crafty goodness to behold. The crowds can be crazy especially on the weekend so we usually visit during the week if it works out. This is one of the many hanji and brush painting supply shops. Can you believe how large some of those brushes are?
                 I was inside this shop picking out hanji paper when Rocketman took this picture.
I had heard about this hanji shop from the gal at Hanji Happenings and I knew I had to check it out next time we were in Insadong. It is on the second floor of a building, right across the street from a Starbucks on the main street of Insadong. They had a beautiful selection of paper and the owner knew quite a bit of English which always makes it easier.
             He had a large selection of everything for hanji and brush painting. I did a lot of shopping.
Insadong is also a great place to people watch. Rocketman got a quick photo of this little fashionista.
And this ajossshi fashionista.
              This is the hanji I purchased in Jeonju. I had not shared this with my Jeonju post.
I bought all this paper at the Insadong hanji shop.
I also bought this paper at another hanji shop in Insadong. This shop is not on the main road.
I also bought some hanji varnish. I've had trouble with American varnish and streaking. I was so happy that it made it home in my suitcase.
                            I also bought this stand to hang my brushes that I use with sumi-e.

I also bought some Korean ink to use in my sumi-e. My chilbo teacher, Nan-Young picked up a set of Korean brushes also for me to use in my sumi-e. I love that I will be using Korean brushes. Maybe it will help me to paint better.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Maedeup Monday!

The nasty bug I've been fighting for the last four weeks finally won and I went to my doctor for help. The last time I was this ill for this long was when I received a swine flu shot in 1976 while I was working at a nursing home. It was required at the time for all health care workers and I was one who had a horrible reaction to it. I was sick for about 10 days then.

I had a really hard time staying vertical at my doctor's office and for the first time in a long time, he was running on time so I was put in a room quickly. I had just seen him two weeks prior for a med check and had lost 10 pounds by eating better. I was down an additional 5 pounds due to lack of appetite and food just evacuating when upright for any period of time. When my doctor entered the room, I was prone on the table in a ball with my mandatory mask flipped up over my eyes. I have always had a problem with wearing masks of any kind.

He was clearly worried with my condition and additional weight loss. He listened to all my symptoms and agreed that the flu shot I had received had definitely played a role in my illness. He thinks I had something brewing unbeknownst to me and the flu shot weakened my immune system enough for it to take over. He sent me home with a script for a strong antibiotic.

It will be a week on Wednesday since I saw him and I was hoping that I would be totally recovered but that hasn't been the case. But I am doing better and I will take that. Before this nasty bug took over, I made a bunch of Korean garakji maedeup necklaces. I showed my sister, Heidi, and she wanted a couple so I was happy to send them to her. The rest you can find for sale in my Etsy shop.
 I told Rocketman I needed some kimchi to help cure me. Did you know that kimchi can cure cancer? I'm not sure that is true but I've been told that when we were living in Korea. At this point, I was willing to try anything. I had heard about this Korean restaurant in the back of a food store that had pretty good reviews on Yelp so I thought we could give it a try. It is located in Columbia Heights, MN which is about 30 miles from us. I was just hoping my body would agree and I could venture out for a little adventure.
 The restaurant opened at 11 am. and we arrived just at that time to find a line already. Always a good sign as far as I'm concerned. They had a pretty big menu to choose from.

 I chose kimchi jjigae and Rocketman chose spicy pork stir fry. We also ordered some mandu (dumplings). I saw that the offered a pajeon but it was seafood so I asked if they had a kimchi jeon and she said no. Oh well.
          They told you a number and the numbers were called as the orders were finished.
 Orders were not complete, but trickled out. We got the mandu first. It wasn't like Korean mandu at all but I thought it was pretty good.
                Then came the banchan (side dishes) and my kimchi jjigae. It smelled soooo good.
                                                            Close up of the deliciousness.
      The kimchi was pretty good!
                                                    Along with the other banchan.
Rocketman's dish did not taste Korean and was not very good. I really liked the kimchi jjigae but couldn't eat much because I wasn't feeling very well. A funny story, we had two Hmong women sitting next to us and they spoke mostly in Hmong except to comment to us about the food. One asked us if we thought the food was not spicy enough and I told her I thought it wasn't quite as spicy as in Korea but that we had encountered that a lot with U.S. Korean restaurants. She told us that she had been in Korea and the food is much better there. We smiled and agreed.
I definitely want to go back when I feel better and really enjoy my food. I was hoping the kimchi would kill the bug I have but it didn't. But I am feeling so much better and for now that's a good thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Insadong Buddhist Temple

I had never seen or visited a Buddhist temple until we moved to Korea and found them everywhere. Since then, they have always drawn me like a moth to the flame. I find them so beautiful and also intriguing especially not knowing anything about Buddhism at the time. There is a temple just west of Insadong in Seoul that is especially favorite of mine so during our vacation we stopped by for some photo taking. 
There are also shops in on the same street as the temple which sell all sorts of Buddhist related items.
                                                              I love the flowers.
                                                    This is at the entrance of the temple.
I could look at all the paintings all day long. They are so beautiful. I love the bright colors.
Then you look up and see all sorts of lanterns. Last time we visited, we saw a lot of lotus flowers. This time it was fish.

                                                I spend most of my time looking up.
                  It was close to Chuseok so the temple was especially busy with worshippers.

But my eyes are constantly looking up.

Rocketman took the following photos.

                                                           I miss these trucks a lot.
                                                    A shop for all things Buddhist.
There is also a shop inside the temple and I always like to pick up bracelets for myself and for gifts. They also do not take a lot of space in your suitcase.
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