FOREMOST WINE CO. – SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

Last week I assembled a posse and headed for a pre-SLO brew show dinner at Foremost Wine Co. This is a brand new SLO establishment and if our meal is any indication of what the kitchen is capable of, it’s here to stay. It might even be better than Thomas Hill, which is a pretty tall order. In any case, I was deeply impressed with the creative menu options. Foremost, if their aerological-themed menu presentation didn’t give it away, serves strictly seasonal fare and boasts a kickass, international wine list. The actual space is beautiful to behold. Part enchanted forest with lots of cool, dark earth tones, Foremost has an elevated but folksy noir feel that welcomes. Like if Karl Lagerfeld and Malificent had a baby who decided to decorate a restaurant, it would probably look a lot like Foremost Wine Co.

At some point during my visit I remember thinking Foremost Wine Co. is just the kind of place SLO County needed; food that’s not only quality but inspired, and with a casual but distinctly polished atmosphere that serves the food-forward 20-something crowd just as well as it does the 40-somethings. No faux-Italian/French/whatever, no pretense; just balls-to-the-wall creative cooking. I’d highly recommend Foremost and can’t wait to return. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Here are Marianne and I nerding out over the prospect of delish food, as per usual.

2014-11-16 18.05.25 Liquid courage indeed! We all started out with a drink. I was feeling girly and tried their rose by the glass. It was only slightly pink and BONE DRY, which is exactly up my alley. Marianne tried the cava, loved it, and Alex had a drink from the bar but I sadly do not remember its name. 2014-11-16 18.08.27 The menu front page is beautiful. Inspirational quote at the bottom of the page doesn’t hurt. 2014-11-16 18.11.24Spoiler alert: we definitively asserted our dominance as a species with these meal choices, covering both land and sea. We started out with the rabbit mole tacos. This was a rich, spicy mole made with evident care, and the rabbit meat took to it wonderfully. 2014-11-16 18.34.15 We also split the cauliflower fritti, which is curried and served with mint, accompanied by lemon yogurt for dipping. This dish was the only choice I wasn’t so fond of. The deep-fry killed the curry flavor. 2014-11-16 18.34.20 And here is the decided belle of the ball for the evening: the cocoa paperdelle with braised quail. If given the option, I would have put my face in the bowl. This was what I came for: delicious slow-cooked, handmade food with a burst of culinary creativity. The taste was unique, the noodles soft and perfect–not too overwhelmingly imbued with cacao–and the braised quail actually mouthwatering. We split all the dishes but I probably ate more than my share of this one.2014-11-16 18.34.27 This grilled octopus was also a table favorite. Foremost expertly prepares that hard-to-find TENDER octopus that’s still a bit crisp around the edges. It is served in cream corn with chorizo vinaigrette and arugula. This dish should be considered a must for your trip to Foremost. 2014-11-16 18.34.36 Stoked. 2014-11-16 18.35.12The servers also take awesome group shots! I should note that Foremost brings a strong service game. Everyone we came into contact with from servers to hosts was poised, no-fuss and excited to talk about the menu.
2014-11-16 18.36.22The receipt came with kale seeds.
2014-11-16 19.15.33 Must get a seat at this sexy oyster bar next time. Foremost has a full on dining room, an oyster bar, and a lounge.2014-11-16 19.17.43Pretty decor, indeed.
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Hopefully these pictures have persuaded any SLO readers out there to book a table, although you might have to fight me for it. Enjoy your last few days of sanity before Thanksgiving sets in!

Foremost Wine Co.

570 Higuera St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

(805)439-3410

foremostwineco.com

 

[HOMEMADE MANDU BENTO] – SWEET POTATO/KIMCHI/SMOKED GOUDA/GROUND BEEF DUMPLING!

I guess it’s one of those annoying “blessings in disguise” that San Luis Obispo is bereft of a legit dumpling place. As is the case with many finer points of Asian cuisine, SLO residents have to make their own damn mandu. (Aka, Korean-style dumplings!) The least that can be said for this predicament is, with the stern expectations of “authentic” cooking cast on more diverse/cultured pockets of California, at least there’s room to be creative. So, I got creative. This recipe had been brewing in my head for over a week before I finally made some time to execute.

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Mandu filling contains (top row): sweet potatoes roasted in gochujang and chili oil; roasted garlic; kimchi and sesame seeds stir-fried with red pepper flakes; smoked effing gouda cheese; scallions; and lean ground beef. I added a dollop of oyster sauce and drizzled in some soy. Wrappers are store-bought (sorry not sorry, they take FOREVER to make by hand). Over fresh spinach.

Roast veggies (bottom row): broccoli, cauliflower, and kabocha roasted in fermented black bean paste, chili oil, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes. Over raw shredded carrot.

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And they were really, really good. I’m excited to nom on these all week! The great thing about these mandu is that the taste is brash and complex, but they’re still firmly the “clean eating” category. This is lean ground beef, there’s hardly any cheese spread across like, sixty dumplings, and oil was used sparingly. There’s also great-for-your-gut fermented ingredients (kimchi and gochujang). Sweet potato and garlic go a long, long way.

DIRECTIONS: Roast some sweet potatoes in a little less than a handful of gochujang, and roasted a ton of garlic on the side. Super easy step, just put them in the oven at 400 degrees for around an hour. Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl to cool.

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Stir-fry some kimchi and sesame seeds in a little chili oil. Get the kimchi nice and crispy while toasting the sesame.2014-11-15 11.05.32 Chop up some scallions and toss them in a food processor with the kimchi and the roasted garlic. I have a fancy tub-like food processor but I always find myself resorting to this little Ninja! So handy, so easy to clean. 2014-11-15 11.13.52Add the food processed mix, ground beef and shredded smoked gouda to the mixing bowl along with a few dashes of oyster sauce and soy sauce. Time to get your hands dirty and mash it all up! Try to ignore how the ground beef looks uncomfortably like brains…2014-11-15 12.12.34 Set up your wrapping station, pick a dumpling shape and get to folding! I always have a little bowl of water to dampen wrapper edges for easy sealing. PRO TIP: GET A FRIEND TO HELP. DUMPLING-MAKING IS TEDIOUS, DEFINITELY A TEAM SPORT. I had to call a friend over for backup so the meat wouldn’t spoil on the countertop! 2014-11-15 12.19.50 Steam those baddies for eight (8) minutes on the stove. I use a steaming tray and rice paper in a big wok-like pan, but a bamboo steamer with some napa leaves would surely be more effective. 2014-11-16 13.15.14Mixing sauce is up to you and your taste buds. I tend to use soy sauce, chili oil, and chili flakes.

Hope you enjoyed this bento! Get excited for more food soon!

Liz

SAN FRANCISCO EATS – “NEW KOREAN” AT NAMU GAJI, PERFECT JAPANESE AT IZAKAYA YUZUKI [MISSION/VALENCIA]

Um, yeah. I am eating mostly raw, veggie foods this week after going a bit full throttle on everything edible and Asian during my work trip in SF. It was absolutely worth it, and I can’t wait to tell you about the delish highlights from Namu Gaji and Izakaya Yuzuki!

But before we get started, here’s this week’s “RAW-BESIDES-THE-BBQ CHICKEN BENTO.” I was out of town until Saturday morning and spent today out with fam and friends, so no massive batch cooking. That’s ok, because this turned out quite to my satisfaction. (1) marinated artichoke hearts from the Avila Valley Barn (2) simple bbq chicken, slightly steamed (3) cut up carrots (4) blackberries. All on a bed of spinach with some sprouts.

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Work was the focus of this trip, but you can bet the minute quitting time rolled around I was out the door to a carefully researched reservation. SLO county is great, but SF is a safe haven for young, daring chefs and restauranteurs to make it happen, especially when it comes to Japanese and Korean food. My version of dinner hell is a fancy, stuffy French or Italian place where butter is a key ingredient; when I look for “special” restaurants, I’m not necessarily looking for a “decadent” feast. I look for chefs or a group of people who did something adventurous with locally sourced and/or quality ingredients, or design whole menus around one ingredient (like Yuzuki with shio koji), or who generally live for food and a changing menu rather than just bending over backwards to serve sellable “classics.” After a lot of hand-wringing, I decided to hit Namu Gaji on Wednesday night and play it by ear on Thursday, depending on my schedule.

On my way to Namu, I saw these positively titanic avocados at a bodega! I mean, check out the hand:avocado ratio, for scale! I had no idea they even grew this big. Horizons broadened.

2014-10-29 18.04.35 Creeping on the kitchen at Namu.2014-10-29 18.17.25 Namu Gaji is right off Dolores Park in the Mission, around the corner from Bi-rite creamery. Maj score on location.2014-10-29 18.17.45 Here’s a peek at the interior! I loved the natural accents and amber lighting.2014-10-29 18.19.24 They started me off with an amuse bouche. This is kabocha soup, and it certainly tickled my palette in just the right way. I love cooking with kabocha so I can definitely appreciate that the Namu kitchen was able to tease out its best nutty but sweet undertones in this soup. 2014-10-29 18.29.13 My first dish was the BEEF TONGUE. I could not have been more pleased. I was probably embarrassingly high drama after taking the first bite–I’m pretty sure I actually leaned back and raised my hands to the heavens, or something weird–but let me impress upon you how deliciously prepared this actually is. The tongue itself was served in very generous portions. The veggies surrounding the tongue pieces are accents, but the blend of veggie, tongue, and chili oil is perfect after a dip in the shichimi pile at the corner of the plate. The meat had been brined for several days and seared, and the texture was akin to eating a more sophisticated, solid butter. 2014-10-29 18.45.18 Next, I got the napa salad aka napa cabbage, shiritaki noodles, ponzu sauce, nori and some “korean melon” that I thought was a plum. It was a lovely dish, tasty and light, but in retrospect I should have gone for the dumplings. “I should have gone for the dumplings” will probably be written on my tombstone…2014-10-29 18.58.52 After dinner I wandered around Valencia, which was in full swing for the World Series and came across these very choice grouchy cat mugs…2014-10-29 19.36.06…AT THIS VERY FAMILIAR PLACE. I don’t know if any SLO natives are reading this, but do you remember that store that used to be downtown, Therapy? Chalk full of kitsch and semi-affordable boutique fashion? It originated in San Francisco and the mother store is still standing. It even smelled the same.
2014-10-29 19.36.42 Finally made it back to the hotel before full-scale World Series rioting happened. Annoyingly didn’t get to bed until late since some people get slightly too excited about sports. JUST SAYING.2014-10-29 19.58.02 At this point in my itinerant life I’ve gotten pretty good at packing only the necessities. This isn’t all the makeup I brought, but these are the heavy-lifters. Most of it is Korean! All have the Umami Life stamp of approval! Starting on the left, you’re looking at (1) Too Cool for School – Artclass sculpting compact. It’s a nice soft brown gradient that’s not really bronzer and works well for the “makeup no makeup” look. (2) Innisfree eyeshadow shade 39, (3) Too Faced Perfect Flush Bush in Candy Glow, (4) Make Up Forever Full Coverage Concealer, (5) elf Flawless Eyeshadow compact, (6) Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder, (7) Clio liquid eyeliner, (8) cult fav Carbon Black mascara, (9) Skin79 BB Cream, (10) Peripera Ice Jelly Sun SPF30! 2014-10-30 07.03.02 Day two work outfit! West Coast Stepford Wife! I wear more formal stuff in the SLO office, but the litigation team I worked with in SF was a notch below business casual, much to my delight. 2014-10-30 07.37.38 I had walked past Yuzuki on my way home from Namu Gaji the night before and taken a glance at the menu. Immediately I noted (a) they had freaking chawanmushi on the menu, topped with UNI no less, and (b) they were “Michelin recommended.” It was cold, I knew I’d be dining alone the next night, I WANTED SOME CHAWANMUSHI WITH UNI. I made the res and was not disappointed.2014-10-30 18.44.32 The interior is exactly the kind of backdrop one would hope for when feasting on real Japanese: staid and elegant, lighting kept to a decided “glow,” little details that draw the eye.2014-10-30 18.47.08 I started off with a glass of rose sake, which the staff kindly let me sample before moving on to this full portion. It did NOT just taste like sugary sake. More like sake infused with a light floral taste. I liked it very much and finished the glass!2014-10-30 18.55.36 THE CHAWANMUSHI WITH HOKKAIDO UNI. How do they prepare eggs like that? Literally a perfect custard with a slim layer of dashi broth. The uni was a massive treat; this particular uni was a veritable umami bomb of flavor. 2014-10-30 19.09.19 At this point the staff had detected a fanatic and started offering some off-menu options. I LOVE when this happens and am never more flattered then when the kitchen lets me in on their secrets. The dish pictured below is MONKFISH LIVER in a ponzu-y broth with grated pickled ginger and daikon (I’m pretty sure it was a blend), onions, and shiso. The portion was huge, the flavor was unbelievably bright and memorable. I died. And then came back for dessert. 2014-10-30 19.14.41 Dessert was also off-menu. Apparently the owner of the restaurant made a few of these hojicha creme brulees himself. It was worth every rich, pillowy spoonful. I absolutely cannot wait to come back to SF and dine here again. 2014-10-30 19.30.25 2014-10-30 19.31.10 On Friday I was actually excused from work on account of the Giants Victory Parade, so I slept in and trucked over to Chinatown for some grocery shopping. 2014-10-31 14.13.33 2014-10-31 14.24.42 I had gotten a smoothie for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch in an effort to, you know, dial it back after two hearty dinners, but then I saw this frankly alluring sight at YOU’S DIM SUM. 2014-10-31 14.43.57This definitely happened. And for one moment I was the happiest girl in the city. I saw the buns in the window, figured they were either pork or red bean (both would have sufficed) and ordered one to go. It was pork. It was amazing, and the dough slightly sweet!
2014-10-31 14.46.12 I deeply regret not getting more Halloween shots, but here’s one of Priya in the midst of a dramatic reading of the tale of the Blue Lady, the ghost that purportedly haunts the Distillery in Moss Beach. I joined her and some of her friends for dinner at the haunted distillery, followed by a haunted house, and finished the night off on the beach debating whether or not the wolfman would appear and eat us. I’ll have you know I wore normal clothes and mouse ears. Thank you Karen and Mean Girls for paving the way for my ridic costume. 2014-10-31 19.55.47That’s all I’ve got for now! If you’re ever in the Bay area I’d definitely recommend Namu Gaji and Izakaya Yuzuki! Take care and let me know if there’s a place I should hit on my next trip up (which is happening on the 15th so, you know, actually a relevant question).

Liz

[DELUXE BENTO] – LOBSTER CLAW/SQUASH PICKLES/SWEET POTATO/CARROT/SPINACH

This bento is truly for the kitchen-adverse Lazy Sunday Duchess in all of us, aka when stirring, flipping, or doing anything more than pushing a damn button seems to verge on manual labor. It also features freaking amazing, Spicy Cumin Squash Pickles from local food artisan Stormy T’s! I only needed to pack two bento this week since I’m heading to San Francisco for work, so I could afford to be generous with the lobster meat.

BENTO CONTENTS: Roasted sweet potato stuffed with (1) shredded carrots (2) Stormy T’s Spicy Cumin Squash Pickles (3) lobster claw meat (4) topped with pickle brine and Kewpie Deep Roasted Sesame Mayo #thegoodstuff. All on a bed of spinach. 

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How did I make this? Took a massive sweet potato, ratcheted the oven up to 400 degrees, roasted the potato for about an hour on a strip of foil. Put some spinach down in two bento, cut the sweet potato in half, then split both halves. Shredded a carrot, unscrewed the top of the pickle jar, scraped out some succulent claw meat, and shoved it all in the potato. Upended some Kewpie and brine. Easy-peasy with a ton of nutrition and flavor, not to mention LOBSTAH CLAW.

I also want to shine a light on Stormy T’s, a small-batch pickler in San Luis Obispo! I saw his Facebook page and knew I had to get in on this. I mean, CUMIN SQUASH PICKLES? Obviously I need some of those! And they were even more phenomenal than I’d imagined, sweet and spicy with that unmistakable cumin kick. Yeah, I just used the word “phenomenal” to describe a pickle, and I’d do it again. I also picked up a jar of spicy brussels sprouts pickles and will be hitting him up for some gingered golden beet pickles soon!

And you won’t find these magical pickles in stores, at least not yet. I had to contact the food artisan himself and meet up downtown on Higuera to procure the jars. You can get some pickles of your own if you visit the Stormy T’s Facebook page! Stormy offers a big variety of creative pickles, all described and pictured on the website. If you’re into pickles or are looking for an easy way to get more veggies in your lunch box, you might as well do it right and get a quality product, and you might as well support a friendly, creative and clearly talented food artisan.

2014-10-26 11.20.46Here’s a shot Stormy was kind enough to let me take, post street corner pickle deal.
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Speaking of local: Night Riots, a band that started in SLO county but has since gotten all kinds of successful, just released their first music video as a bona fide signed group. It too is phenomenal. I remember when I was a derpy high school student watching them play at the local bowling alley, totally enraptured; I may be a fancy lawyer now but I won’t lie, watching this video took me way, way back. Just wait for the drop at 43 seconds in, it’s pretty kickass.

LASTLY. I made this salad while making the bento. Could not resist posting because I’m a horrible vain kitchen troll. 2014-10-26 12.30.44

IMA LET YOU GO KEEP READING BLOGS, but before you go please please consider leaving a restaurant recommendation for San Francisco! I am familiar with the city but would be eternally grateful for any insider tips! Take care everyone!

Liz

FALL HARVEST STRATA, AKA ROOT VEG, PINOT-SOAKED SALUMI, AND A SMOKED GOUDA TOP- Another Western Bento, and a Weekend Recap

So, I’ve learned that what I’ve been calling a “bake” is actually a “strata.” I’m always down with fancy label upgrades–and let’s be real, this thing is way too hefty to fall into the feeble “fritata” category–so this week BEHOLD a kickass FALL HARVEST STRATA that dare I say is a vast improvement over last week. 

2014-10-19 12.59.49LAYER 1 – beets, golden beets, parsnips, sweet potato, and heirloom carrots from the Templeton Farmer’s Market roasted to a butter-like consistency in evoo, a little honey, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and some garlic salt.

LAYER 2 – pinot noir-soaked cured salumi stir-fried with onion

LAYER 3 – eggs whipped with almond milk.

LAYER 4 – effing smoked gouda from Cal Poly Creamery. 

*oh and I guess there’s a side salad of spinach, shredded heirloom carrot, and honeycrisp apple with Kewpie deep-roasted sesame dressing, aka #thegoodstuff.

Is this very similar to what I made last week?! Not if we get technical. Not if we emphasize that there is SMOKED GOUDA of the HIGHEST CALIBER atop this strata, and not if I can accurately convey how delicious and Fall-appropriate my kitchen smelled after all those root veggies had roasted in that foil bag in a cinnamon-strong mix for an hour.

I promise promise I’ll be back to Asian cooking soon, but for now I’ve just let myself identify with healthy, farm-fresh California food that is the pride and joy of this county. In a way it’s a bit of a coping mechanism to being finally bound to one location, a way to nest. Keep in mind I’ve hardly spent two consecutive years in the US since high school; further, this is the first time I’m not plotting my next *perhaps slightly reckless* leap to some far-flung corner of the world. For now my instinct can’t be to reach for something too distant; I just want to want what’s right in front of me, what I can touch and feel. Like those impossibly vivid beets from the corner cart at the farmer’s market. Those purple carrots that, if you cut them in half, hold a perfectly circular flaxen core.

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Speaking of embracing SLO county, this weekend was Harvest Festival in Paso Robles and every winery was throwing down; it was the perfect time to live it up. I scored a ticket to a release party at Doce Robles, which came with free-flowing wine, jerk chicken, and very very special jerk chocolate.

I mean, just look at that chicken, which I will note could comfortably feed several men. I’m pretty sure it’s actually a pterodactyl. Mine is the wheat-free plate, because that’s how I roll. 

2014-10-18 18.57.45After hoovering our respective pterodactyls, my friend Alex and I actually went on a hay ride through the winery. 2014-10-18 19.55.56 AND I CANNOT RESIST POSTING THESE STRATA PROGRESS PICS. My hope in posting these is to encourage anyone reading this to feel comfortable learning to cook intuitively, and to muster up the wherewithal to comb farmer’s market for something you love, to actively prioritize your body and health. A perfect Sunday in my world involves spin class and then an easy, apron-clad, day in the kitchen cooking for the week. I fully understand that’s not feasible or desirable for most; that said, putting in effort for just one day can keep a person eating healthy for an entire week and it’s entirely worth it. I make more veggies than I need for the strata so I can have leftover roasted veggies for salad dinner bowls, and use beet greens for smoothies every morning; there are ways to use the proverbial “whole hog” that maximizes the money and time involved in eating fresh, local food. 2014-10-19 10.39.34 2014-10-19 11.56.09 *2014-10-19 12.01.32 *2014-10-19 12.01.38That’s all for now! I’m still doing a ton of juggling with this new work schedule, but expect more soon!

xoxo

Liz

WESTERN BENTO – BIG HERB-Y BEET AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE PALEO BAKE + SPRING GREENS/CARROT/POM SEED/KEWPIE SALAD

Oh yeah. There’s a lot of win in this bento, and a veritable truckload of healthy, whole ingredients. I made a big delicious bake on Sunday, my ordained batch cooking day, so I could stuff my bento and face with minimal effort over the week. I’ll get back to Asian cooking soon, but for now BEHOLD:

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SO WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!

(1) SIDE SALAD. Spring greens, shredded carrot, pomegranate seeds and some deep-roasted sesame dressing from Kewpie, aka “the good stuff.”

(2) BIG HERB-Y BEET AND CHICKEN SAUSAGE PALEO BAKE. The Bake was kind of a complicated operation, so I’m going to describe it in layers:

LAYER 1 – Beets and golden beets from the Templeton Farmers Market roasted in evoo, balsamic, sage, rosemary, garlic salt, fresh cracked lemon pepper, and coriander.

LAYER 2 – Purple onion and pesto/sun-dried tomato chicken sausage from Farmers. I ended up chucking the casing and stir-frying the lot.

LAYER 3 – eggs and almond milk topped with parmesan cheese.

So, eggs are kind of an issue in my life. I have spent endless hours googling their overall nutritional impact–because let’s be real, I go through many phases where I’m eating two eggs a day for weeks on end–and I’m still unsure as whether my heart is set to stop at any moment, or if I’m just a bona fide protein monster. When I make something I enjoy this much, I like to imagine it’s the latter.

Another fun fact: those are seeds from wild pomegranates! Deep in the heart of Paso there’s an abandoned lot with a very productive pomegranate tree that has been completely left to fend for itself. And omg the seeds are like DISNEY RUBIES, this unbelievably deep red; I can feel the antioxidants working just by looking at them.

Anyways, I’ve posted some process pics behind the jump in case you’re wondering how the bake was prepared.

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Seoul Was Awesome, Pt. 3 – Adventure Time!

I started work at my new firm and I’m loving it! New crazy work schedule notwithstanding, I’m determined to lay down a new post wrapping up the Korea trip series with some pics of our most excellent adventures in Seoul.

From my perch as a newly functioning attorney, it’s a little hard to imagine that the trip took place and that it made me so sincerely happy. There’s much more to say about the power, grace, and all the difficulties that define Korea, but I’ll withhold my own commentary in favor of sharing these pictures.

OH THE ART. We started our urban canvassing at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

*IMG_1541My favorite work was a big installation piece called “Home within Home within Home.” It was beautiful to behold in terms of scale and detail, but you definitely felt the artist’s loneliness and sense of conflicting identities. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIf you’re on a trip with me, jumping pics are happening.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Poop snacks are kind of a thing in Korea. Luckily they’re full of tasty red bean paste!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES My crazy internal clock and type A personality ensured that I was up by 6:30 am every. One morning I just woke up and went for a walk. As you may know, Seoul doesn’t really “wake up” until around 9am, but this walk proved a lovely chance to see the morning rhythms of the city. Here’s some fresh kimbap in the window.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Sej! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESShopping at Lotte! Don’t worry, I was promptly shamed/chuckled at by several teenage Koreans after taking this selfie.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI expected Seoul to be a bit like Tokyo–aka a Bladerunner-esque mega metropolis–but it wasn’t like that at all. Seoul is large but it’s comfortable and laden with trees, with wide streets that ensure you’re never shoulder to shoulder in a crowd. You can also get to neighborhoods like Buamdong on the outskirts of the city, nearly tucked in the base of the mountains. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES A beautiful chopsticks shop.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES At the movie screening with Sej, Mike, and some of Sejin’s friends. It was an amazing experience and a top-notch film that gave us a lot to talk about over the next few days, especially in terms of bullying in Korea, Korean school systems, and teenage friendships in general.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Garosu-gil! We ate a ton of pork, waded through some very hip designer goods, and generally enjoyed the energy of “young Korea” very fashionably kicking ass and taking names.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Skyline!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES One of my dearest college friends has a cousin in Seoul. He and his friend took me to a very tasty kimbap and tacos lunch!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCheonggyecheon, where I have never felt more conspicuously single in my life.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe most delicious-looking street food I didn’t try. REGRET.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Getting my palace on.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES Yep, I went “full tourist” on this particular day. Please note the tiny earbud that evinces my use of an audio guide. And, yay year of the dragon!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES View from Seoul tower!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
National Museum of Korea, one of the best museums I’ve ever visited.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe did an epic, strenuous hike in Bukhsan National Park. I’d been having some weirdly severe lower back and achilles tendon issues on the trip (lots of walking without proper shoes was the cause? OR GETTING OLD, POSSIBLY?!?!?) and was initially dreading this hike. I’m so glad I trooped through because this ended up being one of the most memorable excursions of the trip. If I wasn’t in love with Korea and Seoul before, I certainly was after reaching the peak.
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Sam, a fellow Michigan Law grad, was randomly in Seoul for his very cool job. It was my last night, so we all went out to Gangnam! Becky, Sej’s friend from undergrad, was also visiting and was an absolute delight to hang out with!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

That’s it for Seoul stuff, at least for now! This adventurer could not be more grateful for the trip!

xoxo

Liz