Random eats

Ate quite a lot this past week, but failed to take many photos. Was also working my way through the freezer, so didn’t feel enough pride to get the camera out.

Have also had a particularly sociable life this weekend (as opposed to lying in bed or watching football), starting with a 21st birthday party disguised as a knitting party at a lovely apartment on the border of the Pacific Palisades and Malibu. Spectacular view, great hosts, and super fun blowing up, and subsequently playing with, balloons. Did I mention the great hosts already? It’s amazing how some people can make you feel at home instantly. I wish I had that skill. (But I’m working on it with my monthly lab BBQs… Each time, I spend less time over the BBQ and more with my guests.) I was, however, a little bothered by the behaviour of a fellow guest. He wasn’t particularly offensive, but P and I were left in no doubt that here was a prime specimen of male chauvanism: snide remarks about how much better and faster he could hook up a VCR than a “bunch of girls” (which he failed to anyway), instant assumption that I would know nothing about sports (funny how I was the only member on my team to get all the “Sports” questions right on Trivial Pursuit), and general talking-down to the female members of his team. I hope never to meet him again.

Our other fun of the weekend came in the form of the opening of a photography exhibition, in which my neighbour has a few on display. Although it was all the way at the Metro Galllery in Silverlake (a little north and east of Hollywood), we managed to get there in under 45 minutes thanks to their knowledge of a fast-moving road (and hell no, I’m not telling anyone ‘lest it becomes as clogged as Sunset, Santa Monica or Wilshire!). You know all those well-lit galleries with perfectly mounted displays of art that we mere passerbys feel too intimidated to go into? Well, we went in! (That’s an all-time first for crowd-shy P and I.) It wasn’t too pretentious, and we felt more at home as most of the guests were friends and family of the artists. (It was the teenage in the corner kicking his heels and playing his game-thingy that gave it away.) There may be more yet to come… And we’ll have to try harder to put on the sociable “let’s talk to strangers” facade which comes so difficultly to us.

The evening was finished perfectly by dinner in Korea Town with a friend, who has been telling us about a spicy tofu restaurant for weeks. BDC Tofu House on Wilshire Blvd is open 24 hours, and specialises in… Spicy Tofu (Soon Dubu Chige)! You can have Soon Dubu Chige on its own (choosing the type of meat you want in it), or with accompaniements like Bulgogi or Bibimbap. Whichever you go for, they serve you three types of kimchee (a mild soupy one, a dry medium, and a super-hot miniature serving on a bed of cabbage), some strange but satisfying mashed potato with pickled cucumber in it, and a fried fish. Apparently, there is a lot of competition between the Korean places on the side dishes.

I’m deeply sorry that I didn’t have my camera on me, and can only point you to the soon dubu” tag on Flickr for some pictorial interest. The tofu arrives in a still bubbling spicy soup, and you crack an egg into the soup, either stirring it or leaving the yolk intact, whichever way you prefer. In addition to tofu, the spicy stew contains beef and clams (in this version anyway). Eat with plenty of white rice, and don’t forget to ask for the mild version if you’re not a fan of spice. The “medium” was perfect for me. And while P enjoyed it greatly, his stomach protested later… But that’s wussy Scotsmen for you…

Update: While searching for recipes for soon dubu, I came across the FatMan Seoul blog (one that dropped off my reading list when my last computer died, and has now, sadly, stopped blogging about Korean food), which has an informative post with plenty of photos of Soon Dubu Chige/Jigae.

Cross posted to akatsukieats.

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