One of the simpler foods that I really enjoy is a good ramen noodle shop (indeed, I’ve reviewed rather a lot of them). It’s been one of the upcoming trendy foods, with ramen shops opening up all over the place, some more Japanese-inspired, some more Korean-inspired. But they are almost always tasty. But it’s also one of those trends that hasn’t really made inroads into New Hampshire yet. But it’s almost here, indeed, a recent trip to Portsmouth had us crossing over to Kittery in search of dinner, and we ended up finding Anju Noodle Bar just over the river from Portsmouth, in scenic downtown Kittery (right across from one of the entrances to the shipyard).
On our last trip to New York City, we stayed in the most wonderful NoMad Hotel just north of Madison Square Park, and on the edge of Koreatown. We planned to have an outing to Koreatown to try out one of the better Korean Fried Chicken places, but had a major wrench thrown into our plans when most of the neighborhood found itself without power. However, one place I called, Mui, said that aside from deep-fried items they could still prepare food, so we headed off to check them out.
For our DC “Death March”, we ended up walking around 23 miles through the DC area, basically walking from Takoma Park, MD to Arlington, VA, via, well, almost all of the tourist sites. A walk like that requires a good, hearty breakfast, so we decided to convene our walk just a block outside of DC at Mark’s Kitchen in Takoma Park. Walking in, Mark’s looks like your standard American “breakfast restaurant”, and indeed, the menu has all of your standard American breakfast fare: omelets, pancakes, French toast, and the like. But if you dig a bit further into the menu, you notice a lot of items that aren’t on your usual breakfast menu. Ginger scrambled eggs. Seaweed omelets. Kimchi omelets. Bibimbab scrambles. Smoked salmon pancakes. In fact, a single trip back past the kitchen as you wind up the (distinctly not accessible) stairs to the restroom, the rice cookers, jumbo bottles of sesame oil, and various Asian greens being prepped in the kitchen tell you a nice little secret: Mark’s Kitchen is also a Korean place.
As I’ve mentioned before, Hawaii has an influence from many Asian cuisines, and one of the more prominent ones is Korean. Indeed, Kalbi (marinated and grilled beef short rib) and Meat Jun (egg-battered and fried meat slices) are two of the more popular options in the classic Hawaiian “Plate Lunch” (which I’ll probably mention in a post dedicated to the topic). But in addition to the many “Drive Ins”, takeout joints, and the like, proper Korean restaurants are also rather common on Oahu, and one night we decided to do a Korean dinner. One of the better options, especially on the Windward side of the island, is Kim Chee, a local chain with about four locations around Oahu. We decided to check out their Kailua location, in the Enchanted Lake strip mall.
Well, it’s been a while since my last update. I haven’t been traveling much, mostly hitting up local favorites like Worthy Burger. But some recent projects at work have caused me to spend a lot of time testing, and as a result, I’ve spent a rather large amount of time in Massachusetts at a subcontractor around Fort Devens and Boxborough. Like a lot of my work destinations, the area is pleasant enough, but it’s not an area with a lot of notable food options. Indeed, it takes a bit of research to find anything other than the restaurant associated with the hotel… if you know otherwise, please let me know! But when looking at various local reviews, there was one place nearby that did get consistently good reviews: Woo Jung.
After finishing up at the Eastside Drive-In food carts, a few of us headed downtown to check out Austin’s Sixth Street nightlife, grab a few drinks, and check out a few more food carts. One of the places I had actually gotten several recommendations for was only a brief detour off of our Sixth St forays: Chi-Lantro Korean Taco BBQ Truck was set up for the night at 5th and Colorado. I don’t know exactly when they became common (I’ve been hearing about Kogi in LA for several years now, for example), but the Korean Taco truck has started to become a serious mainstay of the street food scene. And while ethnographically odd, it’s actually a combination that makes a fair bit of sense, with the nice spicy and savory, but not always conveniently packaged for street dining Korean food meets up with the handy tortilla to make something that’s just about perfect for street dining…
H-Mart, Korean-American Asian supermarket chain, recently opened a location in Burlington, MA. I’m really happy that the region has another Asian grocery store chain (although I’ve long been a fan of the Boston area’s Super 88s). One of the problems of our living in the Upper Valley region of VT/NH is that we don’t really have access to a lot of Asian ingredients (we’ve got two small Asian grocery stores here, but their selection is limited, especially when it comes to produce), which is kind of a shame, since both of us really like Asian cuisines…