NOTE: At one point when I was mulling over what to say in this post, I initially had a lot to say...but I decided it against that same post I had originally thought.
So here's the revised version of my thoughts!
The past week I spent a good amount of time wandering about Akron. When you live so close to it but never actually take a time out to look at it, you would forget this place is still essentially a city. Full-fledged baby city, complete with homeless people and a good healthy amount of broken businesses and equally broken buildings. I took this time out because I wanted to see if there was something worth investing in this city. Is it worth my time and effort. On that front I haven't decided, but I did decide to explore it further. Specifically I am exploring our Ethnic Offerings.
Now anywhere in Akron you can find a cheap Chinese takeout place, that much is true, but what about the other Asian offerings. I was determined so to speak. In my exploration though I headed off slightly north, where I find the ONLY Korean restaurant south of Cleveland and North of Columbus...it makes me sad. You just can't find the good Kimchee I require for sustenance. Speaking of which I've been contemplating buying a giant jar for a while now to last me a bit. I saw it at walmart and nearly passed out. I remember seeing it and just standing there staring for a good ten minutes, scaring small children in the process. I mean I can't find it at a lot of Asian food stores here and then I go to Wall-mart of all places. Twisted Reality, man. If you care very little about food I have formated this differently so you can skip down to the rest of the entry.
Seoule Garden - As the only Korean Food Source within an hour of Campus, this one very small and slightly out of the way establishment is known to every Korean International Student on Campus (one of the ways I found this out) and resides in the Under tapped Ethnic Resources of Cuyahoga Falls. When you enter you hear what can only be known as the fluffiest music in the world and are visually attacked by the contrasting bright stickers serving to brgin the only real color to a very dull interior all the while advertising various dishes in Korean and English. Prices are as can be expected from a minority in ethnic food, but from what I've seen will get you a lot either way.Oh dear god I think I just reviewed a restaurant...there is no hope for me. I had another review, but I think I'll save that for later and get back to life. I've been wandering about a bit really, religiously and I promise that isn't as bad as it sounds. It means, in short that I have been re-evaluated what I knew about God and the bible. I found I was annoyed at a recording simply because I disagreed with the fact that he put so much faith in the bible as word...yes I did just say that. I was shocked with myself. "What the hell was I thinking?" was the phrase of the day after that. No worries, it was a temporary lack in judgement and I'm trying to remedy this by reading more of the word. Again I am attempting to work my way through Luke, albeit slowly, but surely.
Initially I didn't have the most positive reaction to this place. I had visited it a first time ordering a lunch special (which was fine, but rather minimal) and was treated to sitting in a very empty room with a very lonely Korean man lacking true English skills. The second visit (which is usually where the cracks are seen more visibly when visiting a restaurant) was actually what made this a good place to visit. There were people there! *gasp*ed! I was shocked but not really, and you could tell the owners where in an infinitely better mood. This time around though I strayed away from easy for American fare and delved into the more traditional bits.
WARNING...VERY FOOD CRITIC-ish FROM HERE ON.
I was ordering for two but was still shocked at the amount of food. I had ordered relatively basic dishes, one of which came with sides (five kinds of kimchee!) for two people. The first dish---Bibim bahp or Mixed Rice Dish---consisted of a base of rice and a generous heaping amount of hot pepper paste (the Korean ketchup, yay for spiciness) and topped with a melody of bahnchans (prepared veggies and sometimes meat and tofu, in this one meat) all of this is topped with either a large fried egg or an egg that is scrambled, cooked paper thing and julienned. Personally I require the Fried Egg because it's the mixed yolk that really gives this dish it's signature texture.
I felt with this dish you could see that the cooks, two very straight-faced korean women ( I think mother and daughter) really put a lot of work to make use of what's available in the Ohio area. The banchans were well seasoned and each added a new depth of flavor. Most you would expect (Zucchini, Carrots, Soybean Sprouts, mushrooms, kimchee, and others I don't remember) but there was also a twiggy looking brown thing (which was surprisingly good) that I haven't seen in this dish before. Apparently this root only grows in Korea and is usually picked by wandering old ladies on their daily walks to use in everyday food, in America's case it is dried and shipped. This reconstituted root had some tooth and fibrous texture to it, and I felt it helped give an unsually earthy (yet still pleasant) undertone to the whole dish. As a whole when I ordered this it was like I was no longer the annoying American and the owner seemed to perk up. Flavor was magnificent, if I haven't mentioned that, especially the fried egg which was heavenly fried with added sesame.
The second dish was Tak Bulgogki (Chicken!) and came with sides which are typical when ordering in at restaurants. In this case I had asked for extra kimchee the owner promptly gave me a good amount of every kimchee offering he had available (radish, something else rooty, cucumber ---also called Oi, traditional, and I think...onion) as well as a fish-flavored tempeh (texurized soy protein). After much debate I decided I like the Radish Kimchee and it's sweet flavor. As for the dish, seasoned and barbecued chicken with extra peppers and spices in an almost barbecue sauce wasn't as sweet as I'm use to, but that may be due to a fact I've eaten dumbed down Korean when it came to Bulgogki. It was flavorful, yet not too much, still though it was worth the higher cost and very filling (enough for two easy) I could see myself eating this again.
The overall experience was a very positive one, with a more warm reaction and the chance to watch those crazy koreans interact in such an animated matter while they eat, I would do this again. It's amazing how it seems all Koreans need to feel at home is food and a good conversation, just watching them alone was worth the cultural experience. Just stay away from the lunch specials.
Total Price for Two (and my dinner as well) = $17.83
Seoul Garden Korean Restaurant
2559 State Rd
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223
I'm still thinking about doing a DTS, but was wondering what it would be like to go to a truly different country. One where I would never have to cook, but the food would always be different. On top of that I have found one of the nicest Korean food stores in Ohio, which was both well-stocked and well maintained by a very nice man. A nice man who is introducing me to what can only be worded as a Korean Language School (which I am still hunting for in Akron, he gave me directions but I need to ask again) and I think it's something I want to do. I've wanted to learn another language for a while, and I know this may be it. Pray for me with this, please?
I think sometimes when you have so much to do and so much on your mind you forget to really tell about the dulldrum every day things. Such as...I like my job (starbucks) . Despite the fact I work for the man, I am very well taken care of at work. I hope that I start getting longer hours and more hours training with advanced training because I just don't want to sit around. Sometimes I seem a bit too determined but after having six jobs in two years when you sit down and work you don't stand for holdrum standards of life.
For those who don't know, I am in one class, and it's a doozy. Anatomical Life Drawing, where lots of flesh is not to be seen is seen in full view. I thought this class would be so hard but when you just sit down and draw it like anything else you start to really enjoy it. It's so much more than drawing still life, because you get to search for things in the model. I wonder, what's her story, where does her emotions lie, is she cold? I've done some surprisingly good drawings too, and almost wish I could do more...and that can't be a bad thing when it comes to art, now is it. Yes I am drawing FULL LIVE NUDES (wonder if those will get my some search engine hits) but they are just people in their rawest form. Nothing hidden, nothing sacred.
All in all, I'm in a better attitude than I've been in. I'm a little frazzled because Christmas isn't far away, and a year ago last christmas I was coming home as a failure. I will have been home a year and not gone very far or even where I thought I would go. I hope though, that maybe I can enjoy this coming year just a little bit more.
"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." - Deutoronomy 7:9
Edit: No Word of the day, it was going to be Existential, but everytime I tried to post it HTML errors would appear