Monday, May 25, 2009

Good-bye at Berlin and B1

Saturday night was ladies' night dinner at Berlin in Itaewon. Sadly (or happily) everyone will be moving soon.

One person received her dish ten minutes before the other dishes. I've noticed that Korean restaurants often serve food with no regard to timing. I don't know how many times I've eaten my appetizer with my main course or while my husband watches me hungrily. The reason? Since Koreans normally share dishes (pancheon, grilling meats, etc.), timing is unimportant. We joked that our friend should not wait for our meals to eat. As the oldest person at the table, she was suppoed to eat first by Korean culture!

We shared two pitchers of sangria. In Korea, the younger person should pour drinks for the older person. You should never pour your own drink. Here is one of our designated drink pourers:
After dinner we strolled to B1 to meet the guys. (They were having their own dinner.) We drank Suburbans (my friend's signature drink from her bartender days) and snacked on a cookie gift box from Shinsegae Department Store:

A few minutes later the guys came downstairs. My husband was carrying his protein shaker bottle! In a bar!?!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Daegu Olympic Triathlon

Despite the rain, we drove to Daegu for an Olympic triathlon. I had a meal of hobak juk:

And a tiny piece of bread:Plenty of beta carotene but not enough calories! Later I bought a red bean bun at Family Mart. We stayed at a love hotel. Usually love hotels charge by the hour, and you have to pay cash. Instead of a key, the clerk buzzes you up. The parking lot entrance is shrouded with a tattered plastic curtain for car privacy. The rooms have always been really nice, though I don't know who would use the community toothpaste and hair brush!
Anyway, the weather was perfect the next morning. I swam and biked just for the chance to run:Every lap I passed a table of choco pies (a staple at Korean races), bananas, gatorade, and water. The race is too short for a choco pie, in my opinion! My SO swears by the Korean cake rolls for his long runs, though.
Every athlete received a meal upon finishing:The meal included seaweed soup, rice, vegetables, kimchi, and breaded meat cutlets. When I briefly walked away from the meals, an old man approached and picked up one of the boxes! I hurried back and grabbed the box from his hands. He looked as confused as I was. Then he used hand gestures to ask me to get him his own box! Mind you, he was not in the race. I pretended I did not understand.

In retrospect I should have given him the meal. I didn't eat it. Concentrated calories and simple sugars are best directly after a race. From what I've seen at Korean races, people either don't know or don't care about optimal recovery. Perhaps the Korean post-race meal is for celebration, not recovery. In which case, the meal was perfect!

Hwaguesa Temple

I spent a Sunday afternoon at Hwaguesa Temple, near Bukhansan: A monk greeted us in French and led us to an eating area for foreigners:

Everyone else ate in the noisy outer area. Our meal included rice and various sidedishes and fruit:
We accidentally sat at the "monks only" table and ate their black bean rice cakes and oranges:
Since you should eat everything you take, I filled my bowl conservatively. Mushrooms, pineapple, tofu, and rice:

The meal was free, so I wondered how many hikers stopped merely for the food. Donations, of course, were welcome. After the meal, we headed upstairs for 1:30 of meditation. Talk about challenging. I much prefer a 4am meditation to a food coma post-lunch one!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Brigade Spring Ball - Hyatt Hotel

Last night we attended a military function:My vegetarian dish was a mixture of mushrooms, pastry, and vegetables: Initially I received the beef plate, which my SO quickly grabbed and scraped on his plate. Actually, he managed to eat double the portions for every course. He even drank two water glasses at a time!
My last military function for quite some time!

Nine Course Chinese Meal

The conference gala included a fancy Chinese dinner. I had hoped for Malaysian food. (I hadn't eaten Chinese food since my trip to Beijing in 2001.) I loved the multiple courses. We had plenty of time to socialize.
In the beginning, I sat at a table of American dietetians. Then I saw the appetizers arrive. Meat, meat, and more meat:
A server dished up our portions for each course:
Soon after receiving this meaty plate, I followed another dietetian to a vegetarian table full of Indian ladies. The rest of our courses contained mock meat. I had forgotten that texturized protein could have so many different flavors and textures (not all good).
Roasted mock chicken:
Wok-fried fresh mock prawns:
Mushroom and vegetable stir fry, the best course:

Dessert was a chilled soup of gingko nuts, red dates and white fungus. Several ladies skipped this course and headed to Hard Rock Cafe instead. Thousands of miles from home, and we still go to American chains!

AODA Conference - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I have been looking forward to the American Overseas Dietetic Association convention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the past two years. I enjoyed meeting American dietetians working everywhere from Venezuela to Thailand. The big buzz words at the conference were vitamin D, probiotics, and prebiotics.
I ate plenty of papaya and red-fleshed dragonfruit. I had red finger tips every morning!

Between lectures we snacked on Malaysian foods.We also enjoyed free food samples, one perk of a dietetics career. Yakult is a Japanese probiotic drink. This weight loss supplement was everywhere. How could you miss the not-so-subtle advertisting?
Malaysians include durian in many products, including chocolate. You can also find durian vendors on the street. If the ground is sticky and the air is pungent, you've reached a durian stand.
A baby pineapple:

A mix-it-yourself beverage with grass-like ingredients at Central Market.
Fruit drinks and fried food. Vendors dunked dough and meat into batter with their bare hands. Messy work!