Monday, July 27, 2009

korean food!

a wealth of Korean food. Flores

For years we've been talking about going out to Flores (a slightly-off-the-beaten-track barrio of Buenos Aires) and searching for Korean food. Apparently there's been a Korean community in Flores for decades, but it isn't a touristy destination like Chinatown; it's totally the opposite. Most of the restaurants are not well marked, most of the neighborhood's signage is only in Korean, and we heard that outsiders are not overly welcome and restaurant owners are reluctant to unlock their doors for non-Koreans (in Buenos Aires most restaurants are locked and you have to ring a doorbell to be let in). Apparently there is a notoriously impoverished and dangerous shanty-town right next to the Korean neighborhood, which means it's not the safest area to go wandering around aimlessly. Additionally, it's a long-ish trip to get out there and we didn't even know exactly where to go, so it's been hard to get motivated to make the trip out there, knowing that we might never find a restaurant, or might get turned away hungry. Then a few weeks ago my friend Heather mentioned she'd had a good meal in Koreatown and gave me some directions for how to get there.

So, Saturday morning we did a bit of online research (see helpful links below) and we set out with high hopes and only a bit of apprehension. It turned out to be an easy and DELICIOUS trip! We took the A line of the subte (blue line) out to the end of the line, the Carabobo stop. We walked down Carabobo towards the autopista 25 de Mayo and crossed under the highway, and soon started seeing signs in Korean and a few restaurants with their doors open! The neighborhood was definitely quiet and felt kind of deserted, but there were delicious lunchtime smells wafting about. We ended up at Han Gu Kuan, 2135 Saraza just around the corner from Carabobo. The old guy at the door gave us a bit of stink-eye (perhaps because we arrived at 2:00, which is a bit late for lunchtime) but he let us in, and the friendly waiter immediately started bringing us food! They have a set menu, which makes it easy, no decisions to make! We started out with a bowl of medium-spicy soup with tofu, then came a plate of deep-fried sweet potatoes, a small iceberg-lettuce salad, a platter of delicious rice noodles with beef and shredded veggies, and the usual huge array of small dishes with kimchi and Korean tapas-style snacks: eggy potato salad, fried fish, spicy bean sprouts, VERY spicy watercress salad, mysterious fishy things and oniony things and savory things and spicy things, plus a large bowl of cold, cloudy liquid with slices of giant-radish-like things in it. I probably should know what that was but I have no idea. THEN arrived the MOUNTAIN of marinated beef! I honestly think they gave us lunch for 4 people, even though we were just two. There was SO much food and a WEALTH of beef. They put a bucket of hot coals into our tabletop grill and we spread our own raw beef strips on there and it was SO DELICIOUS! the other Korean restaurants we've been to in Buenos Aires gave small portions of beef Gulgogi and we always leave wanting more beef! This time it was difficult to finish all the beef, but it was so so so delicious we managed to eat it all. Finally, they brought a few mandarin oranges for dessert. All this, along with a half-liter of Quilmes beer and a huge bottle of Sprite, turned out to cost $100 pesos even. Not terribly cheap, but totally worth it. We kind of had the feeling that we got the old "Gringo Tax" (that is, the same meal would've cost less if we were locals!) but it was still a great deal. I really want to go back again, like, tomorrow! I could totally see myself going back every single weekend, it was soooooooo good. Definitely even better than Bi-Won, which was previously our favorite Korean place in Buenos Aires.

Korean feast. Flores Korean feast. Flores Koreatown. Flores

here are a few relevant links we came across:

We were advised that Avenida Castañares is the avenue that divides the Barrio Coreano from the nearby villa, so one might want to think twice before wandering further in this direction.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

knitting a blanket.

here's the progress on my blanket so far:

my knitting project my knitting project

i'm thinking about dropping out the palest pink color, and I'm adding in a dark brown color, and more red squares.


cooking class

for my birthday present, Mike gave me a vietnamese cooking class! it was fun and delicious!! we made sweet potato fritters, spicy sweet dipping sauce, pho (that's the delicious beef noodle soup), and coconut sticky rice.

vietnamese cooking class with Thuy! pho

YUM. I will definitely use these recipes in the future!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

winter at home

couch snugglz emmylou & inga

it's cold here! while all my northern-hemisphere friends are hooting and hollering about their sweaty carefree summers, we're bundled up in sweaters, hovering over the gas heater and staying indoors, snuggling with the pups to keep warm. we did a ton of traveling during the summer and fall, and now we've used up all of our vacation time and travel budget so we'll be at home for the rest of the year, and right now it feels nice to be at home, nesting and working in the studio and knitting up a storm. I'm trying to knit a blanket to keep me warm on the couch, hopefully I might even finish it before summer comes! aside from knitting and watching tons of movies, these are fun things we've been up to recently:

• using my handsome new red silicone(!) mini-muffin tins to bake cupcakes and muffins. apple-carrot-chocolate chip muffins were the best so far.

• discovered a cute place called La Castorera right around the corner from our house (thank you Dirk for bringing us there), it's an upstairs space with a nice old-time vibe in the bar and they have bands and music and project movies on Wednesdays, I hope we'll be back there again soon.

• started yoga classes. they're small classes with a nice teacher named Ines who lives in our neighborhood. we use a lot of equipment: pillows and nylon straps and wood blocks and stuff. in that aspect it's different from any other yoga classes I've taken before, but we also did lots of normal yoga stuff. seems great so far, I love being in a small class and getting more personal instruction.

• had a fun dinner with Annie & Matt and friends at a cute and very informal "closed-door restaurant" in Almagro called "Donde Me Trajiste" (where have you brought me?). The food was really not exciting but the whole experience is fun, it's like being invited to dinner at a friend's house, the hosts serve you dinner in their own home. It's a pretty, historic PH house with a bit of a hippie onda, and they perform live music for you while you eat. The "house band" did some fun tango music and later a solo artist played some traditional Argentine folklorico music. Also they served us a delicious mystery cocktail which had pear and basil in it, appropriately called "Que le pusiste?" (what did you put in it?) because they wouldn't reveal what else was in it.

• had a great bike-riding Saturday, rode over to Chacarita and bought tons of fresh veggies & super awesome cheeses at the organic farmer's market El Galpon and then took a break at home, warmed up and did a bit of knitting, then biked over to MALBA, the modern art museum, and looked at the art. Mike had never been to MALBA before! they had a good exhibit of Argentine art from the 1990's, I liked a lot of the work although it did seem weird (given the title of the show) that most of the pieces I liked were made in 2003-2008. Had submarinos (hot milk with a bar of chocolate: you drop the chocolate in and mix it up until it turns into hot chocolate) and pain-au-chocolat and a game of cards in the museum cafe. Perplexingly, a museum guard knocked on the glass wall and scolded us for playing cards in the museum cafe! wtf? we ignored him and kept playing until our submarinos were gone and biked back home, then cooked a delicious pot of hot & sour soup with our farmers-market veggies.

• knitting and more knitting. i made this hat for a craft swap, and now i am working on a slightly-more-subdued version of this blanket (using solid-colored blocks rather than striped blocks, if that makes any sense). I'll upload a picture soon.

• I've been making some new designs for wedding invitations. I've gotten lots of inquiries about custom work for weddings, but I find that mostly people like to "shop" from a variety of available options, rather than inventing something totally new from scratch. So I'm putting together a repertoire of wedding invitations, I'll keep adding more as I have time.

• starting a new website/blog to post pattern and textile designs. This is still in the idea phase, and it's a collaborative project with my friend Julia. the idea is we'll both post pattern/textile designs, sketches, etc. For years I've been wanting to assemble/develop a real portfolio of textile and repeat designs so hopefully this will be an incentive to start pulling them together and developing more work in this vein. I'll post a link as soon as we have something to share!

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