Veterans Day Weekend

November 11, 2014 @ 2:54 pm (Permalink)

I was able to get a bit of a reprieve this Veterans Day by taking Monday off, thus giving me a four-day weekend. I’ve enjoyed this much needed break that was full of many good things and a couple not-so-good things :) Here’s my adventure!

Iced Latte at Chansbros

My weekend started with me going to exchange some money and then stopping by the new branch of Chansbros. Chansbros #1 is my favourite coffee shop, but I found out Chansbros #2 opened, so I finally checked it out. The coffee is different here (but still good!), there are more selection of drinks here, and it gives a great view of the Itaewon’s entrance . . . all in all, it’s nice place, but I still prefer Chansbros #1! I much prefer their iced latte over the new place’s.

Butter Chicken and Vegetable Biryani from Taj Palace

Later I utilised Ynot Takeout to order some butter chicken and vegetable biryani from Taj Palace in Itaewon. This was the first time I used Ynot Takeout, and I’m glad I did. Normally, I wouldn’t want to pay an extra 4,000 won ($4 USD) delivery fee, but work had got me to be so mentally and physically drained, that I decided to use them this once. My food arrived within 30 minutes, and it was all warm and delicious! I’ve had Taj Palace before, but it’s been years since I’ve eaten there. I’m glad their quality hasn’t shrank since! Their butter chicken was one of the best ones I’ve had since Tiger Masala had closed. All the other ones I’ve tried in various Indian restaurant tasted nothing like this. Plus, the portion was huge! It was enough to last me four meals. :D

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

I went down to Cheongju on Saturday to visit a friend. We went to Sangdangsan Fortress, and it was an amazing trip. We didn’t walk around the entire fortress — for one, I was wearing the wrong pair of shoes! — but what we did view was amazing. The autumn foliage was gorgeous, it was fascinating to see a fortress that was intact, and we even saw squirrels! I was even momentarily struck with a vivid scene where I imagined to be a warrior in the 1600s, standing in front of the fortress, and watch an arrow come straight at me from one of the archer’s holes. This is a place I’d like to come back again and walk around the entire fortress. Just gotta remind myself to wear the right shoes! All in all, I had a great time in Cheongju, but coming back to Seoul, I encountered traffic jam hell on the expressway. I was not pleased that my 1.5-hour ride turned into a 3-hour one! I swear, Gyeongbu Expressway HATES me.

Chicken Avocado Panini and Iced Vanilla Latte at Kafe Nordic

Sunday found me going back to Kafe Nordic, one of the other cafes I like in Itaewon/Hannam area. There, I bought me an iced vanilla latte, and I tried their chicken avocado panini meal. The panini wasn’t bad — I really liked the bread and the cheese, but the flavouring of the chicken and avocado was bland. Not a meal I’d get again, but I still like their coffee and their cosy cafe!

Then I went to my hair salon and got my fringe trimmed and had them chop off about 3-4 inches of my hair. The bottoms were so damaged and kept getting tangled, so I knew it was time to cut my foxtail off. The foxtail being the bleached tips from when I dyed them blue/purple.

Curries and Bread at Taj Mahal in Ansan

I went back to Ansan on Monday. I met my friend whom I went there with last time, and this time we decided to try a South Asian restaurant. We decided to try Taj Mahal, a Pakistani/Indian/Nepalese/etcetera restaurant. We got the chicken curry, mutton palak, roti, paratha, and mango lassi (which isn’t pictured), all for 24,000 won ($24 USD). This meal was so much better than our Indonesian restaurant experience from the previous visit. The chicken curry was different, yet tasty, but I was sore that they didn’t have makhani! There are quite a number of other South Asian restaurant there, so we’ll try those next time.

And that’s pretty much it! Tuesday (today) is my bum day, so I’m just relaxing at home. I hope everyone else had a good weekend. And remember to thank a veteran in honour of Veterans and Remembrance Day!

4 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Social Life

The Bag Story

October 25, 2014 @ 7:42 pm (Permalink)

Because I’ve seen multiple bloggers do a post on their bag and its contents, and because I got a new bag that’s picture worthy, I decided to join the bandwagon and do the meme, too :)

I got the new messenger bag from Monet Handbags. I chose the Bar Harbor Messenger Bag with the Bonjour Paris print. Here’s an up close photo of the bag:

Bar Harbor Messenger Bag with Bonjour Paris Print

I really like the print, and the bag is very well made. I only wish there was a front pocket for me to put all my small stuff . . . but I can get a friend to help add that in the future. Moving on, here are the contents of my bag.

TC's Bag

1. This is my planner. It’s a monthly planner that runs from July 2014 to July 2017. This is the only planner I will use since the blocks are big enough for me to write in, and it’s super convenient to use!

2. Nancy and my friend Michelle introduced me to Ardium, a Korean company that makes stationeries and other products. I went to their store today to buy this pouch. I dub this my “pad pouch”. I had a pouch before, but I am not sure where it went — therefore, I decided to get a new one.

3. This is my notebook I carry to jot down ideas and other stuff that comes into my mind. It’s a Korean notebook brand called Oxford, and I bought it at Alpha in Namdaemun.

4. My pencil case from my uni days that has everything from mechanical pencil to lead refill to pens to white out to glue and scissors.

5. This is Hikaru — my first generation Kindle Paperwhite. This is my steadfast companion when I chill out at coffee shops. I have on there all sorts of books and fanfics. Portable fanfic reading device FTW!

6. This is a Moleskine letterbook. My friend Michelle and I exchange them. We started off writing individual letters to each other, but then she started a letterbook where we write multiple letters in one notebook and send it when filled up. She and I did exchanged several of them. This is another thing I do when I’m at a coffee shop or when I have time to kill.

7. My favourite mints! I love Icebreaker Sours.

8. My eelskin wallet that’s falling apart on the outside. It got wet one day, and the skin started to peel off. I need to replace that wallet one of these days . . .

9. This is my nail kit consisting of a nail clipper, nail file, and cuticle clipper.

10. Lastly, this is my trusty umbrella. There have been many times when I got caught in an unexpected downpour in Seoul. This comes in handy then.

That’s my bag, mates. Sometimes my cellphone goes in there, sometimes not. I have other things I carry in my pockets, like my keys. There are also times when I carry my handheld gaming devices, but that rarely happens since I prefer to game in the comfort of my bed. When I go to work, I also carry an extra bag that has my shoes, but I didn’t photograph it. I feel like I carry a lot of stuff . . . granted, they are necessary stuff. Honestly, if I could, I’d rather stuff everything from my bag into my pockets, but that’s not going to happen unless I gain magical powers and shrink them all. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed my bag post! XD;

6 Comments » | Filed Under Korea, Materialism, Memes/Surveys

A Belated Back-to-Work Post

October 19, 2014 @ 9:24 am (Permalink)

After my wonderful staycation, I returned to work where my to-do list exploded in my face, and since then I’ve been busy with so many work-related tasks. So much to the point that I’ve been quite drained during the week. That’s what happens when one has to report to work at 5:30am and do a split shift. However, I usually work straight through until 5:00pm, so that makes for a super long day . . . anyway, I still had time to meet friends for dinner and brunch, and here are a couple photos I took of that.

Lambchop and Bobotie from Twiga

Amarula Cheesecake from Twiga

My friend D and I visited Twiga, a South African restaurant that sells the best cheesecake in the world. I’ve been wanting to try their food-dishes, so D and I went there together. D opted to get the lambchop, and I opted to get the bobotie which is a minced meat casserole with an egg-based topping. We both shared this mushroom rice, and then we both had the Amarula cheesecake. The cheesecake was the best part of our meal. The other dishes were just not really to our liking. Plus, it was pretty pricey. We ended up paying $63 USD together. I will go back there for the cheesecake, and maybe for their quiches, but that’s all.

Parfait Pancake from Greenstreet

D and I met again for brunch at Greenstreet in the Dragon Hill Lodge. I got the parfait pancake — pancakes that’s topped with a yoghurt and whipped cream mixture with berries, bananas, and granolas. This was my first time trying the dish, and I actually liked it. I think I much prefer the yoghurt and whipped cream over the usual syrup.

I got some lamb stew from Silence of the Lamb the other day, but I didn’t picture it. It was delicious, very flavourful and spicy! And that’s about it for my food adventure.

Oh, on a side note — I’ve been watching Downton Abbey and been enjoying the show. I’m not big on TV series, but I decided to give Downton a try, and I do not regret it! So good. So much British accents. *swoons*

7 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Movies/TVs, Work

Staycation Recap: Week Two

September 28, 2014 @ 1:01 am (Permalink)

My staycation is coming to an end. :( I am not looking forward to returning to work. I’ve really had a blast these last two weeks relaxing with my hobbies and going around to various different places. I’ve accomplished a lot of what was on my to-do list, so that’s a good thing! There are several tasks I didn’t get around to do, but I also did a lot of other stuff that wasn’t on my list originally. Anyway, moving on to my recap!

Paper Gundam Model

People Watching Outside of Chansbros

Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

On Saturday, the 20th, I took the time to dust out Kazama, my wonderful computer. I dreaded tackling this task because I am horrible with computer hardware, but it went a lot smoother than I thought, but that experience still left me feeling stressed out. I unwinded by going to Daehakro after to pick up more of Purie’s jam. In the Hyehwa subway station, I saw this display of paper models, this huge Gundam one being an example. I just cannot believe how big it is! I admired that display and returned back to my neighbourhood — of which I encountered a horrid traffic jam on the bus — and did some people watching outside Chansbros. When I made it home, I decided to try my hand at making ice cream from coconut milk without an ice cream maker. It turned out pretty good, but I sure didn’t enjoy stirring it every half an hour!

Sunday was spent doing errands like applying for jobs and going to the commissary. Very boring, really, but I also took that day to start re-watching The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition films. Of which I spent all of Monday continuing.

Eggplant and Hummus Wrap at Daily Kitchen

Coffee and Dessert at Hell Cafe

Strawberry Smoothie at Good to Go

Tuesday ended up being a bit more exciting. I met up with one of my former professors for lunch. We decided to go to Daily Kitchen, and I had a delicious, but extremely juicy and messy eggplant and hummus wrap. It was very good and filling, but just really messy! After lunch, we hit Hell Cafe to get some coffee and dessert. The dessert was this cheesecake that was very mousse-like with no crust. It was actually very good. After coffee, we walked back to my neighbourhood and we settled for having some smoothie at Good to Go. I got mine as strawberry. Yum! When I got home, I finished up the last of my LotR marathon :)

Wednesday had me . . . walking 5 miles to cancel a service I no longer require and a trip to the bank. My poor feet were not happy, but I didn’t mind the actual walk. ‘Twas another boring day, really XD;;;

Thursday on the other hand had me trying out Il Gattino with the professor friend. Il Gattino is doing a soft opening, so I had to make a reservation and told the manager our preferences and budget, and his chef created a customised menu for us. It was fabulous. Everything there was home-made from their breads and pastas to their sauces to their butter and whipped cream. Everything was divine. And this whole course cost us only 50,000 won total! This is what we had for our course:

Bread Set at Il Gattino

This bread set came with rosemary infused butter, olive spread, and mushroom spread. I loved the olive spread and the butter a lot!

Italian Salad at Il Gattino

Next was a salad that came with greens, apples, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and parmigiano cheese with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Puttanesca at Il Gattino

Then came my puttanesca, a pasta dish with olives, capers, and garlic tossed in tomato sauce. The noodles were definitely home-made. I could literally taste the difference between their noodles and the store-bought ones.

Lasagna at Il Gattino

My friend had the lasagna. This thing appeared to be small, but it was packed with five layers of meat, noodle, cheese, and sauce. I tasted a bit, and this is perhaps the best lasagna I’ve ever had.

Latte Macchiato without the Espresso

Then my friend and I had some coffee before our dessert. My friend had this coffee in a shot glass with chocolate in it. I didn’t get the name, and I didn’t take a picture, unfortunately. I decided to have the latte macchiato. The espresso came separate from the milk mixture, and the manager told me that a properly made latte macchiato will take on three layers when the espresso is added . . .

Latte Macchiato with Espresso

. . . and it did give me three layers! Yay!

Chocolate Fondant Pudding

Lastly, we had our dessert, which was chocolate fondant pudding. This chocolate cake with melted chocolate in the centre is truly a decadent treat. Top it off with home-made whipped cream? Even better.

After that wonderful meal, my last major adventure, which is really the highlight of my staycation, occurred on Friday and Saturday. During Friday morning and afternoon, I spent the time playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, but that night, I met up with two friends, and we travelled to Donghae in Gangwon Province to spend the night there. Our main goal was to go to Penis Park (NSFW!!!), a pilgrimage of sort. It was in the next province over, in Samcheok, but we found a hotel we liked in Donghae.

Beach in Donghae

Beach in Donghae

Beach in Donghae

On Saturday morning, we decided to visit a beach in Donghae. Since our hotel was only ten minutes away from it, we walked over to the small beach. Nobody else was out there but us, and it was so peaceful and calming. This is the third time I’ve been to a beach or ocean. My first three time occurred in Incheon, and I recall the water there being brown and unappealing. Hence why I wasn’t all that excited about going to the ocean when my friend said she wanted to go, but after seeing the ocean on the east coast, I’ve changed my viewpoint on the ocean. This is the kind of beach I like, where the water is actually BLUE and where there’s not many people disturbing the peace.

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Just when I thought Donghae’s beach was nice, along comes the beaches around Haesindang. It. Is. Beautiful. I think I’ve fallen in love with Samcheok area now. The water was so much bluer and clearer, and the rocks on the beaches were amazing. This place has me smittened. In fact, it had all of us smittened, so now we want to go back there in the winter since I’ve never experienced a beach or the ocean in wintertime. I can’t wait!

Annnnd . . . amidst all the beach hopping, we enjoyed our pilgrimage. Here are my NSFW photos of Penis Park. This place is really one of those places you have to visit at least once, and I’m glad I found the right people to go there together! :D

With that typed, my staycation recap has come to an end. Again, I really enjoyed my break. It was much needed on my part. I am not sure when my next big vacation will be, but I hope it will be just as fun as I had these two weeks!

4 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Materialism, Social Life

Staycation Recap: Week One

September 20, 2014 @ 1:19 pm (Permalink)

It’s already been one week since my staycation has started, and I am having a blast! I was going to meet someone today, but that got cancelled, so I’m going to take the time to do a recap post!

Doll Free Market Display

Magic Knight Rayearth Dolls

Lantis and Eagle Vision Dolls

On Saturday, I met up with Chibi Toaster, and she wanted to go to the Doll Free Market in Setec Convention Centre near Daechi-dong, so I tagged along. She picked up her dolls, and I got to see some amazing sights. It was neat seeing dolls dressed up in contemporary and older clothings (like the dolls wearing hanboks), but the highlight of this trip was seeing the full cast of Magic Knight Rayearth as dolls. They were just beautiful. I took an extra photo of Lantis and Eagle Vision, my two favourite characters and OTP from the series :D

Gel Manicure

Harry Potter Doll

After the Doll Free Market, Chibi Toaster and I went on base to get some lunch at Pizza Hut, get our nails done (I got gel manicure!) at the salon, and then go to the Oktoberfest that was being hosted at the on base hotel. Then we went to Chansbros, my favourite coffee shop to relax, and I got to see her beautify her Harry Potter doll!

Thai Red Curry

On Sunday, I met up with one of my high school friends, Tina, and we had lunch at Trevia Pizza di Roma and cakes at by 92 (no photos, sorry!). After that brief meeting, I came home and read mangas and tried making Thai red curry, which I botched up on by adding onions. Oops!

Ansan Station

Nasi Goreng and Sate Kambing

Chinese Mooncakes

Monday came with me going to Chansbros for a bit before taking a 1 hour and 15 minutes subway ride to Ansan. I’d never been in the actual city of Ansan, so it was neat seeing another part of Korea. I met up with my friend Piotr, and we walked around in a loop looking for the multicultural street. When we found it, I felt like I’d went back to my childhood. Walking around that area was like walking around in Itaewon 20 years ago. Except there were like at least thirty noraebangs and 90% of the restaurants were Chinese restaurants (hence the mooncakes!), while the other 10% were Nepali, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, or Russian. Piotr and I both decided to try Indonesian, and we went to a restaurant called something “Bali”. But because the service wasn’t great, and the food was mediocre, I dubbed the place “Podunk Bali”. I did like the nasi goreng, but the service and everything else was just bleh. Afterward that meal, Piotr and I bought some mooncakes, and then I was back on the long subway ride home.

Cheonggyecheon outside Dongmyo Station

Cheonggye Plaza

Tuesday was a super busy day that had me do a lot of walking! I started off by going to the Cheonggyecheon stream outside Dongmyo Station. From there, I walked all the way to where the stream starts — at Cheonggye Plaza — which ended up being about 3.3 kilometres.

Seoul Metropolitan Library

Inside of the Seoul Metropolitan Library

Then I walked to Seoul Metropolitan Library, which was nearby. This building used to be the old City Hall building, but then they made it into the library. Aside from the library (of which they had several different sections), they also had an exhibition of the old mayor’s office, and had displays and information about the building here and there. I actually enjoyed this place, and it was free to go in, so that was a nice bonus!

Shinsegae Department Store

Payard Afternoon Tea Set

After the library, I walked to Shinsegae Department Store. That place made me feel uber poor. O_o; I felt so out of place, so I didn’t browse there very long. I found Payard, this cafe there, and even that place made me feel out of place. However, I did see that they do afternoon tea, and that’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while, so I may return just for that!

Afternoon treats from Bbang and at Chansbros

I ended up adventure by getting some treats (fruit stick and chocolate biscuit) at this bakery called “Bbang”, and then I went to Chansbros to unwind from that long walk.

Interior of Hell Cafe

Hell Cafe Iced Latte

Dear Leader Tongue Scraper at Hell Cafe

Wednesday was less intensive than Tuesday. I decided to go to Hell Cafe in Bogwang-dong, and I liked it! Their coffee is definitely better than some of the other places I’ve tried, and their classical music selection was great. I’d go back there again whenever I’m in the area. On the flipside, that tongue scraper made me go “WTF”. Of all things to find in a coffee shop, this is definitely the last thing I’d consider! Anyway, after Hell Cafe, I went to Jam & Bread to get some bread, and then I stopped by Chansbros. I came home and did a manga marathon with Cardcaptor Sakura.

Cafe Comma Near Sangsu Station

Snoozing Kitty in an Accessory Store

Thursday had me and a co-worker go look for this book cafe called Cafe Comma near Sangsu Station. It took a while because the map confused us and we kept making the wrong turn, but we eventually got there, and I love it! The books are all in Korean, but I love the vibe of the place. Being surrounded by all these books made me happy. We stopped by this accessory store when we left, and there was a snoozing kitty . . . ignore that basket sign LOL. I spent that evening watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Cafe Comma Near Hongdae Station

Ice Mint Chocolate, Notebooks, and Writing Utensils

On Friday, I decided to check out the other branch of Cafe Comma near Hongdae Station. This one was bigger, but I think I prefer the other place better. There, I stayed for a while with some ice mint chocolate and wrote some in my letterbook. Afterwards, I walked around Hongdae and Sangsu area, and then came back to my neighbourhood where I stopped by Chansbros, ate pho for dinner at Le Saigon, and got some fish and chips for my dad. At home, I watched An American Tail.

Annnnnnd that’s it for now. I still have one more week left, and I know I’ll be just as busy, if not more than last week, with all the errands I have to do. Places to go, people to meet . . . Whew!

2 Comments » | Filed Under Books, Food, Korea, Materialism, Social Life