According to Google Reader, I subscribe to over 200 food blogs and have read 2,608 posts in the past 30 days. Considering these staggering numbers, it should come as no surprise that the information I glean online greatly influences my dining choices at home and out on the town. Whether it’s a professional site or an amateur effort, there’s something about the combination of mouthwatering photos and excitable words that sends my cravings through the roof.
The latest case of the blog-inspired hunger pangs occurred after reading The Roaming Belly’s write up on OB Bear. Amy’s potent words and photos left me with an intense hankering for Korean pub grub that needed to be satisfied as soon as possible. After exchanging a few of emails, Amy agreed to accompany me for another greasy, spicy go-round the following week.
My gochujang-covered dreams were realized on a random Wednesday evening. We were joined by The Astronomer, Danny, Hong, Remil, and Amy’s fiance Dennis—we took advantage of our large group to order quite a bit of food. And just in case you’re curious, the restaurant is named after a Seoul-based professional baseball team that was at one time sponsored by Oriental Brewery (OB).
Continue reading ‘OB Bear – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’
July 23, 2009—that’s the exact date when I fell in love with Korean rice cakes (duk). Since that deliciously chewy day at Cham Korean Bistro in Pasadena, I’ve eaten pounds upon pounds of the stuff and even successfully prepared an authentic version at home. Recently, an unofficial duk truck rolled into town. Chef Debbie Lee’s Ahn-Joo brings modern Korean pub grub to the streets of Los Angeles, including some bold renditions of my favorite rice cylinders.
The Astronomer and I chased down the truck yesterday afternoon at the CNN building on Sunset. Chef Lee was on the scene to greet us with a smile and to tell us more about why she decided to take her culinary act on the road.
Following an appearance on season five of The Next Food Network Star, Chef Lee consulted at Culver City’s Gyenari and served “SeoulTown Tapas” at Breadbar. Although both engagements allowed her to introduce her unique style of fusion cooking to the public, the price point was ultimately too high to reach the masses. With Ahn Joo, Chef Lee hopes to spread her “Seoul-to-soul” dishes across the city and to provide an alternative to fast food.
The menu is divided into four parts: Small Grub ($3), Medium Grub ($5), Large Grub ($7), and Sweet Grub ($5). We began with an order of bacon-wrapped duk with jalapeño ponzu ($3). Bacon has a way of making just about everything better, and this was no exception. The smoky bacon and the citrus-laced ponzu provided the oomph that the simple rice cakes needed to shine.
Continue reading ‘Ahn Joo – Los Angeles’
Dwit Gol Mok,* better known as DGM, is literally and figuratively a hidden gem. While its address reads Wilshire Boulevard, the entrance is actually tucked far behind the main drag. The Astronomer and I probably would’ve never found it had our friend Danny not provided us with detailed instructions. “Try to locate parking near Vermont,” he advised. “Then head down Berendo and through the parking lot.” We did what we were told and found ourselves in a dark and unassuming alleyway. There wasn’t an English sign in sight, but we followed the wondrous smells of smoky barbecue and pungent gochujang and made our way through the old wooden building blaring K-pop.
Once inside, we headed up to the second floor to locate Danny and the rest of our party, including the Two Hungry Pandas and the Starry Kitchen duo. Walking through the restaurant, I couldn’t help but notice the artful doodles covering every surface. I was kicking myself for not bringing along my collection of Sharpies to the restaurant. Next time around, I’m totally scribbling ‘Cathy+Vernon 4-Eva’ on the wall, surrounded by lots of little hearts.
The specialties at this two-story graffiti palace are a killer combination of Korean bar food and potent soju. The crowd is young, mostly Korean-speaking, and always seem to be having a rowdy time.
Continue reading ‘Dwit Gol Mok (DGM) – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’
Ever since my first taste of Korean fried chicken (yangnyeom dak) a year ago at KyoChon, I’ve been seeking out these snappy-skinned specimens whenever I’m in the vicinity of Koreatown. While chicken normally doesn’t excite me, the Korean treatment—double frying and potent marinades—seems to bring out the very best in these fine feathered friends.
After previously sampling the wares at three of Koreatown’s most popular yangnyeom dak shops—KyoChon, BonChon, and Chicken Day—The Astronomer and I dined at Hite Kwang-Jang. We had heard through the blogger grapevine that it produced a standout version worthy of the title of K-Town’s top spot.
The sports bar-like space was outfitted with big screen televisions and an interesting collection of nutcrackers. Korean is the primary language spoken at this locals-only joint. Fortunately, there was an English menu for chicks who kind of look Korean but can’t speak a lick of it and their Caucasian male friends.
Whereas KyoChon, BonChon, and Chicken Day specialize solely in yangnyeom dak, Hite Kwang-Jang serves a plethora of Korean pub grub. We started off with a complimentary panjeon (vegetable pancake). Served with a scallion and soy dipping sauce, the pancake tasted simple and had crisped and golden edges. A free starter is a cheap and easy way to get in very good with yours truly.
Continue reading ‘Hite Kwang-Jang – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’