Monday, April 19, 2010

Just Don't Forget the Wasabi

We're back! The trip was great and all went well, food-wise and family-wise. I didn't post any more food videos because we spent Thursday afternoon at the baths (and I wasn't about to record THAT experience) and were too tired to go out again that night for dinner. Friday morning was spent on last-minute errands and then that afternoon, we went to pick up Little Brother.

Sometime last year, I was telling a friend about Little Brother and how he'd be almost a year old by the time we brought him home. The first thing she said was, Gee, he'll already be speaking/understanding the Korean language. I chuckled to myself because MY first thought had been, Gee, he'll already be eating Korean food. That tells you where my priorities lie.

When I finally got to meet Little Brother, one of the questions that I asked his foster mother was, what does he like to eat? She told me that he drank formula (250 ml every 4 hours!) and had a little rice porridge - jook - twice a day. She also said that she would give him a little of whatever the family was having at mealtimes. I did not get the impression, however, that he usually ate considerable amounts of solid food.

Back to Friday - that night's dinner was takeout sushi and bao from the food halls in the basement of the Shinsegae department store. Little Brother had fallen asleep during the taxi ride back to the hotel, so Paula ventured out to forage for our supper. The Lottle Department store has a food court/food hall in its basement too, also full of wondrous stuff: kiosks with bakery, confectionery, sushi, Indian food, etc. The Shinsegae store has an upscale market within (this was the place where I took photos of seaweed and anchovies on our last trip).

Paula set out the victuals on the coffee table and we tucked in. Partway through our meal, Little Brother roused himself and declared that he was hungry. So I promptly warmed up a bottle that his foster mom had prepared, gathered him into my arms, and prepared for the first feeding/bonding moment with my new son. Who looked at the bottle, looked at me, and then...slowly and deliberately...looked at the sushi. Then he looked back at me. The message was clear: why aren't you sharing?

Since we arrived back in Boston, it's become apparent that Little Brother is, in fact, quite used to solid food. Thus far everything that's been put in front of him has gone down the hatch to varying degrees (mostly depending upon the texture of the food - sweet potato and strawberries tend to slip out of his grasp, whereas green beans provide a more secure purchase). He has no interest in spoon feeding, and while I miss that baby-bird look of openmouthed searching, it is much easier to let him finger-feed on whatever we're having for dinner. Because if I give something to Big Brother and don't put it on little brother's plate too...he notices. Oh yes, he notices.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday's Snack and Lunch

A Tale of Two Toilets

We had an adventure today. We started off by taking the subway out to Suwon where we caught a shuttle bus to the Korean Folk Village. It's kind of like the Korean version of Old Sturbridge Village (or, Williamsburg, for those of you not familiar with O.S.V.): a collection of traditional building with roving re-enactors, craftspeople and entertainers.

I'll post some videos of what we ate today, but first I wanted to tell you about a different sort of experience. Involving toilets. Yes, that's crass, and has nothing to do with food (although I could argue that the topic IS food-related because what goes in...) but it's a good travel story so bear with me. (Or stop reading now - your choice).

Unlike most of the public bathrooms that I've encountered in the US, the restrooms here are pretty darned clean. Even the ones in the train station.So when we arrived at Suwon Station this afternoon, I thought nothing of making a quick stop in the public facilities.

A minor technical difficulty arose: there was no toilet paper in the stall I'd entered. Not an empty dispenser - there simply wasn't any dispenser. Fortunately I noticed this oddity prior to seating myself upon the throne. I left the stall In Search Of...and spotted a giant roll on the wall, next to the entrance. I'm not sure why the restroom was arranged that way (easier to maintain? fewer rolls to change) but, mission accomplished, we went on our way.

My second Adventure in Toileting came later this evening, in a restroom at the Doota Mall. This time it was the toilet seat that took me by surprise - it was warm.Not you-just-sat-down-after-someone-else-was-there-for an-hour warm; that seat was HEATED. Given where I live, this was downright startling. Those of you who have ever used the ladies' room in a Boston restaurant in winter know what I'm talking about: the don't bother to heat the restrooms and the seat are freezing. It's been cool here this week, so I was subconsciously preparing for a chilly voila, a heated seat! Astounding.

Here's a picture of this technological marvel:

Have you even seen a toilet that had its own control panel? I was in awe. When I finished my business, I tried to determine which button was for "flush." My first guess was the big red one: nope. None of the other buttons produced more than a pleasant, but ineffective, beep. Eventually I noticed this sticker posted above the toilet:

The arrow pointed to a plain-old lever. No autoflush, no electronic whizz-bang at all. I was so disappointed.

But at least I had a warm tushie.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday's Walking Tour

A little video of foods at a small, open-air market.

Fancy rice cakes on display in a shop in Insa-Dong.

More rice cake footage...

We stopped for a cup of tea at The Old Tea Shop, a tiny little place that I'd been to on my last visit.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday's Supper

Tonight we ate at the Food Garden within the Shinsegae Department Store: 5 or 6 mini-restaurants within a nice open, seating space. There was a rooftop garden, too, but it was getting dark so we opted to stay inside.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Only Thing I Could Think of Was Tofu Stew

After a long and uneventful flight, we ventured out in search of some dinner. We asked at the front desk for a restaurant suggestion but were unable tosuccessfully navigate through the streets in the dark (yes, we have a map, but still...blame it on the jetlag).

It was ~8pm and most places were closed; those that were open were not very busy. We settled on a small restaurant that looked inviting & was relatively busy. They had an area for the traditional, on-floor seating, but we went to a table. After we sat down we realized that there wasn't an English menu (not a problem) and there also wasn't a photographic menu (definately a problem).

Our poor waiter gestured over to what we think was the menu posted on the wall...eventually my brain woke up enough to realize that (1) the table had one of those gas burners built into it, (2) we weren't really hungry enough for barbeque, but (3) the gas burner would be used for stews as well as BBQ.

Fortunately, I could remember the word for stew (chigae). Unfortunately I couldn't remember the other words to specify what KIND of stew, except for kimchee. So kimchee chigae it was!

(Note: the audio is a little quiet on this video clip. The restaurant was not very nusy, and I didn't want to talk too loudly. Also, we're still elarning how to use the camera...).

In Search Of: Dinner

Lunch on the Plane

Testing 1-2-3

In which we attempt to get all the new electronic gizmos working. And oh yes, we eat lunch.

Friday, April 2, 2010

ND Show #10 - Can You Cook Better than an 8th Grader?

Has Gary made any progress since our last visit? Join us in Gary's kitchen and find out as four young and enthusiastic cooks each teach him a favorite recipe. Featured are: Mac 'n' Cheese, Lime Rickey, Peanut Butter Cookies (with a Kiss), and Pancakes. Can this bachelor be saved?