Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Food is My Comfort

I think many of us can agree that food is what gives us comfort in times of stress, and that food is what brings us happiness. Of course not entirely, but food is usually a huge part of everyone's lives. As a Korean-American with a huge chunk of Korean culture deeply engraved in my life, I love meat and I love Korean food like no other. I just wanted to share with you a specific KBBQ place that I absolutely love going to.

I can't even remember when this place opened, but I remember my first experience at Kang Hodong Baekjeong to be quite pleasant. I went with a group of people and the adults paid for the meal but I was fascinated by pretty much everything--from the set up of the restaurant's environment to the set up of the table and most importantly, the set up of the grill. I have never seen anything like that before, so it was really fascinating. I went there several times after that, and I had a blast and a party in my stomach every time I went.

I actually went recently with my beloved mother and a brother-in-Christ, Joseph Choi. The photos I will be sharing in this post is from the most recent visit I made. All three of us must've been super hungry because I feel like we barely talked during the meal.

As you can see, their grill is very unique. The yellow soup looking thing is actually egg, that eventually gets cooked. One of the main side dishes at a KBBQ place is Korean-styled steam cooked eggs and it usually comes out in a separate pot. However, they decided that it would be unique to make a grill in which they would pour the egg and the fire that is actually cooking the meat would heat up the egg and cook it. I think it is very unique and very brilliant, but I've been noticing a slight problem about this set up. It takes a really long time for it to cook because the fire isn't directly underneath the egg. One other thing is that when the meat is cooked (especially for pork), the oil ends up sliding into the egg. The concept is a really cool one though. And if you look on the other side, there are other things like corn cheese, veggies, and kimchi. The kimchi doesn't originate there in the set up but I always put kimchi there to cook and eat with the pork belly. It's delicious!

This meat is called the "Hang-Jung-Sal" and the english translation for this is "pork jowl" Hands down, this is my favorite selection of meat from this restaurant.

We ordered a small pork combo, which comes with three selections of meat and either spicy kimchi soup or bean paste soup. Because my mom wanted the bean paste soup, that's what we got as a part of our combo.

This is the second meat that we ate and this is just the regular kind of pork belly with thinly sliced sweet potato and mushrooms.
And as you can see, there is some difference in the appearance of the egg. It's slowly cooking...but kind of too slow.

This is pork belly that is cooked and cut into bitesize pieces. It's so good that just looking at the picture of this as I am writing out my blogpost is making me want to go back and eat some right now.

There is a third selection of meat that I couldn't get a picture of. It was thinly sliced pork belly that is marinated in spicy pepper paste before being cooked and because of the sauce, they cook it inside the kitchen for you. It's absolutely delicious. The spiciness really turns the table towards the end when you are feeling full because that is an appetite grasping factor for most people. And although it sounds like it would be really spicy, it's not overwhelmingly spicy. I feel like it's perfect -- not too spicy but not too bland. 

My experience at this place is always a pleasing one. The only downfall is that the wait time is usually super long because it is a very popular restaurant for not just Koreans but all kinds of people. As more time goes by, I feel like I've been seeing a lot more of Chinese customers and a lot of American customers as well. I guess KBBQ is becoming more and more popular all-around.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Special Moments of November

November is a special month for me, because of the woman in this picture.
She is my beloved mother, who bore me and my brother in her womb. She is also the one that took care of us throughout all of our 21 and 19 years of life. Because of the generation she was born in and the culture she was born into, she has about three different birthdays but we celebrate her birthday on the 20th of November every year. 

Photocreds to my little brother, Il Han Daniel Lee.
(He hasn't been featured on my blog yet, but go check out his instagram: d33le3!)

In celebration of her birthday, we went out to a restaurant that my mom really likes in Koreatown, Los Angeles called Palsaik Samgyupsal (Eight Korean BBQ). <-(Linked is their official website and here is the yelp page: Eight Korean BBQ Los Angeles).

They are known for their eight different flavors of pork belly. The photo above is the eight roll combo, which is the most typical menu that people order. It comes with eight different rolls of pork belly that is flavored wine, regular, curry, herb, garlic, spicy, ginseng, miso. The combo also comes with a pot of spicy soup and side dishes and salad, and it costs $49.99. That wasn't enough for the table that I was sitting in (there were two guys and three girls on our table) so we ordered another small combo that is called Flower Pig Set, which comes with flower pork belly, pork jowl, garlic pork steak, thinly sliced pork belly, spicy kimchi soup and side dishes and salad for $45.99 (photo below).

Photocreds to my little brother, Il Han Daniel Lee.

It was a fun night that was rewarding to my tummy and I'm sure very rewarding to the other people too, including my mother. We celebrated and sang the birthday song for her with a Blueberry Chiffon Cake from Paris Baguette, which I purchased before going to dinner (first picture). I would have to say that Blueberry Chiffon Cake is probably my utmost favorite cake from Paris Baguette, even though they have a wide selection of cakes.

And yes, this was only part one of November birthdays. I have a very close unnie (a Korean term for an older sister, even if they're not blood related to you), Jihee Violet Moon, that had her birthday the day after my mother's. She is currently attending UC Riverside and she wasn't able to come home that weekend because she had exams the week after. Our little posse decided to go surprise her and have a surprise sleep over at her apartment. Interestingly, her roommate Moeka also had the same birthday as her. How crazy is it that your roommate is born on the same day? I have to admit, that to me is pretty cool. With the help of Moeka, we were able to sneak into the house. Of course, Moeka had no idea she would also be one to be surprised even though she helped us with our surprise plan.

We had purchased about 40 pearl white balloons to lay on the floor and 10 violet colored balloons that were filled with helium from a friend's parent's place on Olympic and Gramercy, and we laid them out nicely in their living room. 

We set up the room nicely and surprised them.

Aren't they cute blowing out their candles? 

The five of us then decided to go eat dinner at Asahi Sushi for their all you can eat, which was a pleasant experience for all of us and first time at that restaurant for all of us. And of course, waiting time means picture time. We took selfies with my selfie stick.

And to mention a little of my outfit as I do call myself a fashion blogger, I was just wearing a super comfortable outfit. I had "stolen" my brother's cute orangish red Stussy hoodie and put it together with the usual comfortable outfit of black leggings from Forever 21 and a tight pencil skirt from H&M to cover my butt since the hoodie wasn't long enough. And of course, I put on my favorite pair of comfortable shoes: Uggs. To complete the casual and comfortable outfit, I just carried my current favorite clutch that was featured in Fashion&Food Fusion to fit my wallet, selfie stick and my phone.

Of all the photos I took of the food we ate, this was definitely the best one I took. So this will represent everything else we ate that night.

I took this picture of Hannah unnie and I think it's such a cute picture that I just had to post it here. This was after we came back from dinner.

And Miss Jihee Violet Moon was having the time of her life posing for me with the balloons. Not a bad way to digest a little of the food that she ate.

The morning/afternoon after, we decided to get brunch at Panera Bread. It was actually really exciting for me because it was my first time. I didn't get to take pictures of what we ate but I had a sandwich and clam chowder. Not bad of a choice for brunch.

@ Panera Bread. Photocreds to Jihee Violet Moon.

On this day, thinking it would be cold, I wore this knit sweater.
It's a new item in my closet and I absolutely love it.
I was in Little Tokyo a few days before this day and had stopped by a shop run by someone I know. She was actually getting ready to close down her shop so she had her stuff out for sale.
While sitting there to chitchat, I noticed this knit sweater and I liked it more and more as time passed by. I ended up bringing it home with me, thanks to the lady. I was more than willing to pay for it but she just gave it to me since she was closing down anyways. I love how it's a V-neck (although you can't see it in the pictures) and I love how it's the oversized fit that is shorter in the front and longer in the back to cover your butt.

I wore it with nice sparkly flats from Tory Burch, which I love but I have mixed feelings about. I love the design and everything-- all the more because mine are super sparkly. However, I have wide feet and these flats are not very ideal in terms of comfort for people with wide feet. 

And before I bring this post to an end, I wanted to also post a picture of the nail design that I've done in the spirit of Thanksgiving Day. It consisted of the colors silver, orange and white and I tried getting a little more creative than the usual, which turned out to be fun. I've also been loving midi rings, especially ones that actually fit my chubby fingers and look okay in them. 

These were the highlight moments of my November, and I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving as well. Happy December, everyone!