Tuesday, September 18

Something Like Korean

initially when Cousin told me she was coming into town, i was a little put-out in that selfish-aww-man-but-i-wanted-to-laze-about-and-do-nothing-like-i-do-every-weekend kind of way. there's always something slightly inconvenient about being asked to deviate from your normal schedule.  but, as with all things, change can be a good thing.

the eating and drinking theme of last weekend definitely took an unintended "korean" turn. it was kicked off by meeting BlackSesame at our usual friday night happy hour at K-town for some 50 cent chicken wings, soju and Hite beer. i'm supposed to be dieting (the result of a "serious" conversation with my Mom) and had had a little Checkers relapse the night before, so i'd abstained from eating all day except for a giant iced coffee (with skim and splenda) and a half of a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese.

so after 2 bottles of soju, 4 beers, and a lot of inappropriate conversations with the bouncer, BS and i headed off to Chinatown before i became one of those "unni" girls in the bathroom. i had intended for us to check out Super Taste so i could cross another restaurant off my list (hey, if i'm gonna fall off the diet wagon, i might as well go down slugging noodles and dumplings). unfortunately, by the time we rolled onto Eldridge Street from the subway, most of the restaurants were closed except for one sole beacon of light: Sheng Wang. and so it happened that BS and i found ourselves sharing a bowl of Fujianese Dumpling Noodle Soup ($5) and an order of dumplings ($3). 

i honestly couldn't have been any happier at that moment. the dumplings were juicy and flavorful with thin dumpling skin, but not so thin that the filling just falls out at the slightest touch.  the noodles were chewy and a great texture.  the only thing that would've made it better was if i had been clear-headed enough to order what i had really meant to order: the fishball noodle soup. because fujianese fishballs are the best little treasure bombs any fishball could have (it's fishball on the outside and meat on the inside. surprise!). but that being said, our order was perfect for the meal we were fulfilling and the shared order was just the right portion so we didn't walk away feeling like fatties.

after dinner i lame-assed it home in order to prepare for my cousin's arrival since she was taking a red-eye from Cali. and by laming out i missed out on meeting Sarah Silverman who BS saw at the bar he went to (Bell House in case you were wondering. they were doing a comedy show there that night.)

This is what happens when you decide not to be lame and go home.
after cursing my bad luck when i woke up the next morning, i diligently cleaned my room waiting to hear from my cousin. but around 12:30 i had still heard no word and was getting stahving. so Kitty and i made plans to meet up at Miss Korea in K-town for some delicious kalbi and  pork belly bbq and dumplings.

Miss Korea supposedly has some kick-ass lunch specials and is generally all-around good. when we arrived at 2 pm on Saturday, the place was packed. however, by the time we finished eating (around 3:30ish), the place had completely cleared out except for a few stragglers. 

we ordered steamed beef and pork mandu ($8.95) to start. being chinese, i'm a big fan of boiled and steamed dumplings. however, to date i have yet to have any steamed korean mandu where the dumpling doesn't completely fall apart. when i'd told Kitty i wanted to order it, he raised his eyebrows in a "are you sure?" look which i had chosen to ignore. lesson learned: when eating mandu, always ordered to fried version.

for entrees we decided to go with straight-up BBQ, so we ordered a serving of thick-sliced pork belly ($22.95) and premium kalbi aka Hang A Ri ($26.95). while the samgyupsal was ok, the galbi was superb. the marinade flavoring perfectly complements and tenderizes the meat and the portion is very generous. and it comes with some interesting vegetables inside the pot which is also grilled with the meat. another perk of Miss Korea is that they allow you to specify which type of rice you want (healthy or white).  the healthy version is the purple rice with various types of beans and oats. very hearty and it fools you into thinking you're counteracting all that dense meat you're putting into you're stomach.

after the late lunch, i was pretty full and skipped dinner which worked out well for Cousin, who had a double dinner at Ippudo and Soba-Ya due to a miscommunication with the hostess at Ippudo. 

the next morning, continuing my korean-themed food-a-thon, we grabbed brunch at Bistro Petit in Williamsburg. hole-in-the-wall doesn't begin to describe how tiny this restaurant is. it has 3 dining counters and self-serve station of fancy sodas and coffee (and no free refills on coffee and no tap water available). we sat at the counter facing the kitchen and helped ourselves to menus. it's a limited menu, with only 1 page of options, but then again, for a place so small, what else would i expect?

we ended up sharing an order of Watermelon Salad ($10)-diced watermelon, pickled watermelon rind, mint, grilled haloumi cheese, and spicy watermelon reduction sauce and the Kimchi Bouillabaisse ($19)-mussel, scallop, pollack, shrimp, fried tofu, rice gnocchi, kombu, white wine, korean chili paste, watercress and kimchi. 

the clear winner was the Watermelon Salad. sweet, refreshing watermelon with contrasting yet complementing flavors of picked rind and salty haloumi cheese. amazeballs. the Kimchi Bouillabaisse on other hand was a little salty. while the seafood was well-cooked, the soup itself was salty. and i kept wishing it had made up its mind whether to be fusion or kimchijigae instead of a wishy-washy version of neither/both.

after our meal, i took Cousin down to Brooklyn Flea in order to walk off some of the food and to check out the wares. it was my first time visiting the Flea since they moved from Hanson Place to the Williamsburg location. the wares were interesting, but a more important food lesson learned: the lines at vendors at Brooklyn Flea are significantly shorter than at Smorgasburg. well, with the exception of Dough.

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