Sunday, January 30, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie in joke!

I stumbled upon this little bakery in Seoul called Tartine located in Itaewon. I had walked by the bakery late at night and was practically drooling as I looked into the window filled with mini pies. To my shock they had a strawberry rhubarb pie. I knew I had to come back and see if it was the real thing.

This afternoon while Kwang was sleeping off a cold I ventured out of the house and decided to hit up Itaewon for the afternoon. I brought back this amazing looking strawberry rhubarb pie. From Tartine's website they claim that it's the only bakery serving rhubarb in the country and I believe them. I've yet to find rhubarb for sale though just yesterday I did find celery which is also extremely rare. After heating up the pie and wishing I had some vanilla ice cream to dob on top, I finally was able to sample this rarity of home. Nothing beats the tartness of rhubarb with the sweetness of strawberry. If you have a hankering Tartine is a place to go check out. Their window case was also filled with the likes of banana creme pie, pecan pie, berry pie, bread pudding, chocolate cream pie,  key lime pie, lemon meringue pie and butter tarts, some sort of Canadian specialty. 

Violin Ice Cream Treat

I love any ice cream treat where the traditional cone is molded into something else. I think this technique is genius and just not well represented in the western world. It may be winter, but ice cream is still king here in Korea. I found this special treat while pillaging the ice cream freezer at my local grocery store. I love that the cone is in the shape of a violin case. What a convenient vessel for some delicious ice cream.

  Here what it looked like when I took it out of the package. Gobs of caramel and other goodness is already spilling out of the cone case. 

Inside I found creamy vanilla ice cream with thin layers of caramel and peanuts on top and bottom. It was pretty good, though I still think my ultimate favorite is the corn cob ice cream treat.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Songdo City and the Northeast Asia Trade Tower

Awhile back Kwang had to go to Songdo City for a gaming event that he had to attend for work so I tagged along. New International Songdo City as it's called,  is a newly built city that took about an hour and a half to get to on the subway from southwest Seoul. It's built on reclaimed land and is a free economic zone. When we were there from 5-8pm it was a dead land with hardly anyone walking on the streets or even driving around, quite the difference from bustling, elbow shoving, people pushing Seoul.

This is the Northeast Asia Trade Tower that's still being built, but due to be finished in March. It's the tallest building in Korea coming in with 68 floors. From searching on the internet I found out the lobby is lined with Vermont Slate walls. Who would of thought I'd have a little piece of home right here in Songdo. I love the angular design though it reminds me of the World Financial Center in Shanghai without the bottle opener at the top.

An area called Central Park has also been built in Songdo that is sort of a combination of NYC's Central Park and Venice. There is a large water way that appeared to have water taxi's though they were not running at night in the wintertime. We walked along the water though it was a little strange as the place was deserted. 

The city scape is shaping up to look a little like NYC. It will be interesting to go back and see what the city looks like when it's fully occupied.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chagall at the Seoul Museum of Art

 A couple of weeks ago, during my Christmas vacation, I made it to the Seoul Museum of Art. There was a great Chagall exhibit going on so I soaked in some culture and bought a ticket to the gallery. Chagall's classic wedding scenes with the enamored chicken or two were whimsical, but what instantly struck me was the number of people walking through the exhibit at the same time. Besides the Louvre, particularly around the Mona Lisa, I've never been to such a crowded museum before. On the first floor was an exhibit showcasing Korean modern artists. I actually think I enjoyed this more than the Chagall show. I've been pleasantly surprised at the way Seoul supports modern art. It seems to be everywhere.

 This is a picture of a grate outside of the museum. I love the stenciled Hangul writing against the English.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wine Hoodie

The 7-11 around the corner was selling bottles of the 2010 Beaujolais for around $18 dollars. I had a hankering so I went on down and picked up this set. With promotions in Korea you often get free stuff attached to the products you are buying. For instance when I buy tuna, there are often tupperware containers taped on if I buy a pack of three. I say score! However, I had no idea what the soft, pink and white fleece object was packaged with the Beaujolais.

So when I opened the package and found this wine hoodie I was ecstatically surprised.  It's actually two pieces that snap together. The cape like part just covered my shoulders, perfect for laying back and drinking wine. This fleecy cuteness made my purchase just that much better. I think I'll go back and buy more.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Huhh? Desputed Origin of US Lobster

Kwang and I walked past this restaurant in Apgujeong which is one of the fancy parts of Seoul. I had to laugh. I would never want to eat a lobster caught or raised in New York. I'm not sure who didn't check their facts, but Maine lobster is the finest the US has to offer. Slapping a little NY at the beginning won't make it better in this case.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ping-Pong Korean Style

Would you mess with this man? Look at how he's holding his ping-pong paddle. That's skill. See the agile way that he has his feet planted. That's the fierce competitive nature within him. I hate to brag, but Kwang was on his high school's ping pong team. He also hates to loose...would you take him on?
I think not. 

The competition, Alex, Kwang's co-worker. He's also got a mean serve and that same instinctual prowl for the kill. These guys hit fast and will do anything it takes to win a point. Myself on the other hand learned how to play ping-pong in my 7th grade gym class. It was a unit that included shuffle board and some other geriatric sports-like activity. I do not play here as I think I might embarrass Kwang. I'm actually lucky to be allowed into this establishment.

Ping-pong rooms are common here in Korea. You can rent a table by the half hour for about $3. They serve soda, but no beer which seemed like a shame to me. Then again it's considered a sport here instead of a drinking game. There were several other tables around us all separated by green mesh curtains. I was particularly proud of the woman playing in the doubles match behind us, sort of a heroine in my book.