Saturday, October 25, 2008

Birthday Dinner & Drinks

A group of friends joined me at Buddha Belly, my favorite Thai restaurant, for dinner. I had my typical favorites, a glass of sangria and the Massamon Curry. A Westerner owns the restaurant, and everyone speaks English. We don't struggle much with the language barrior in Itaewon.
In Korea diners do not tip the servers. Instead, the bill includes a service charge. In addition, a tax called the V.A.T. must be paid. We didn't have to pay that tax, though, because Meeran had her embassy tax exemption card!
Our table at the bar didn't come cheap: $270 for two bottles of Absolut vodka, a dish of lemons and limes, cranberry juice, and diet coke. Typically at Korean clubs one must buy an overpriced bottle of liquor for seating privileges.
At least the exchange rate has topped 1400 won per dollar!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sandwich Islands

I'm leaving for a 1-week vacation in Hawaii. If I see any Korean food, I'll take pictures and post. Otherwise, I might not be posting until next weekend. Feel free to leave comments in the meantime!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Korean Ginseng

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Asian ginseng provides energy and stimulates male sexual function. It's a natural treatment for erectile difficulties. Native American cultures used ginseng for similar reasons. It's interesting that ginseng grows naturally in both Korea and the United States. However, the plant root is immensely more popular in Korea. Some stores devote their shelves entirely to ginseng-related products.
Once I tried a microwaved slice of honey-sweetened ginseng. It was delicious! I don't see myself buying one of these ginseng 'specimans,' though, other than as a souvenir. I wouldn't know how to prepare it.

The Anchor Bar Would Not Approve

Eric and I had a few laughs over this sign after his birthday dinner. I hope this "diner" goes out of business soon. It really does a disservice to all the incredible diners in New Jersey and New York. First off, diner food would never be described as savory. Greasy, perhaps, but never savory. Next, as a Buffalo native, I had to laugh at the "wild buffalo wings." Apparently the Korean owners are unaware that "buffalo" refers to a location and not a type of meat! Do buffalo even have wings?
And, finally, a diner is a great place for a cup of coffee but not beer!
We generally avoid American restaurants. Servings are smaller, yet pricier and taste Korean. For Eric's birthday, though, we ate at Sortino's, his favorite restaurant. The food is excellent, but the cost is outrageous. For example, my polenta, the size of two card decks, cost $20! Come on, it's simply corn, water, oil, cheese, and a few spices! Eric usually needs to order to entrees to fill himself.
Yes, I must admit that I like American portion sizes. I love taking home leftovers and getting my money's worth. I understand that portion size doesn't need to be so large, but then again, shouldn't the price go down too?