Not a slaw, exactly, but a close cousin.
Red cabbage, apple-cider vinegar, xylose sugar (for those of us trying to behave ourselves), and crushed-chili flakes.
I answered this question—"What is 'street steak?'"—over at one of ZenKimchi's Instagram posts. Scroll down to the "Nuclear Steak" photo.
"Street steak" is steak that knows what's what. Street steak never loses its head when all around it are losing theirs. Street steak carries a concealed .45 but doesn't need it because it learned how to fight from Jason Statham. Street steak always wins. Street steak never compromises. Yeah. STREET steak, muthafucka.
Per a comment by perennial contrarian/one-upsman John from Daejeon, I tried to hit Haddon Supermarket last night in my quest for foreign food. In one of his comments, John had linked to two Haddon-related websites, here and here. Both sites provided similar descriptions of the market, as well as contact information. The TexaSeoul blog (second link) had specific directions and listed the business hours as 8:30AM to 9PM.
On Tuesday the 26th, while I was at work, I had tried calling Haddon once to confirm their hours of operation, but there'd been no answer, which I thought didn't bode well. On the day I'd called, I had thought about just trundling out there; the lack of an answer to my call made me decide to table the trip until later, as the market was likely closed. Yesterday, though, I said "Fuck it" and elected to make the trip out to Haddon anyway. At the very least, I could reconnoiter the route. So I left the office around 7:30PM and headed north to Oksu-dong, the district where Haddon is located.
The directions on the TexaSeoul blog say this:
Itaewon Station. Line 6. Exit 4. Walk straight to the first bus stop. Take bus 110B for 8 stops to Okjeong Middle School. Turn right when you exit bus and walk ~30 seconds. The building is on the left. You will see a sign for Haddon House – that is the back entrance. Walk around the right of the building to the main entrance. The store is downstairs.
The late showing of "Captain America: Civil War" let out around 1:15AM, and I resolved to walk back to my apartment. I had somehow gotten it into my head that the walk from Jamshil to Daecheong Station would take me under an hour, i.e., that it would be less than a three-mile trek. Ha ha—wrong! The walk ended up taking me about 90 minutes, so I racked up about 9,000 steps before I finally toppled—like a gross, sweaty sequoia—into bed.
Today, I did my usual walks with my coworker, racking up another several thousand steps over the course of the work day. Then after work, I went down to the creekside trail and racked up enough steppage to put me at a grand total of 22,000 steps for the day. Almost all of this is on flat ground, so it's nothing like the workout I used to get by summiting Namsan several nights a week. I need to start walking up and down the stairs that line the path so I can work my heart and lungs.
I have so many movie reviews to write that it's not even funny. Stay tuned for a double-whammy review of "Philomena" and "Spotlight," both of which focus on the naughtiness of the Catholic Church. Expect a triple-whammy review of a trio of dumbass action flicks: "The Expendables 3," "Machete," and "Machete Kills." Finally, as I just watched it in the theaters, expect a review of "Captain America: Civil War."
Much writing to do, there is.
This looks to be the same Vader statuette that I saw in Toys R Us last Christmas. If it is, then that little guy is running for a cool half-million won, and as tempted as I am, I haven't fallen so far into the dark side as to have lost all financial perspective. Must restrain myself for now.
Maybe one day, though, when I'm filthy rich...
I might be going out to see a very late showing of "Captain America: Civil War," which just came out today in Korea. I have a feeling that I'm approaching my tolerance threshold for Marvel films, no matter how good they might be. "X-Men: Apocalypse" is also coming out this year; I'm dangerously close to overdosing on Marvel and suffering an emetic reaction. But that won't stop me from seeing the movie tonight.
Expect a review later.
Brought to you by the blockquoting Ed Driscoll, writing at Instapundit:
But hey, if Robin Wilson wants to behave as though the only people in America who are repulsed by the idea of a career academic making a salary writing about Martha Stewart and Twilight conventions trying to bully a campus reporter due to some delusional notions of social justice ends justifying means are conservatives, who am I to get in her way?
I counted up the number of photos I had taken while on my 21K-step Saturday walk, and the total is close to 150. Most likely, I'll either (1) break this up into batches of roughly 50 each and post the batches over several days or (2) just choose the 20 or so best pics, as I did when I put up the photo essay of my Daemosan hike, and post the whole thing at once. I'm probably going to choose Option 2 because it's less boring than Option 1. Not everyone enjoys slogging through other people's slide shows, especially when there are 150 images to get through.
Here's a pic of your standard Cobb salad. What I made for "linner" today (it was between lunch and dinner, and I don't like calling that "dunch," which sounds retarded) substituted chicken with shrimp and used a homemade dressing that was a purée of avocado, heavy cream, yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and many dollops of chimichurri. Along with the shrimp were quail eggs, bacon, avocado, red cabbage, and corn, all on a bed of baby greens. I can't rightly call this a "Cobb salad," so I hereby dub this a "Kobb salad," in the spirt of "krab" and "mouce au chocolat." Behold:
Wow. I walked long and long yesterday, eventually racking up over 21,000 steps over the course of nearly four hours. I think I reached what was technically the end of the path I'd been on, but it didn't exactly feel like closure. The name of the watercourse I'd been following seemed to change from the Yangjae-cheon to the Yeoeui-cheon (여의천); it was dark by the time I reached what was likely the end of the trail: a road that cut across my path near the foot of the local mountain, Cheonggye-san.
I took a ton of pictures along the way, so I'll be slapping those up in a hypertrophic photo essay over the course of the coming week—maybe as a single blog post, maybe as a series of posts, with each post devoted to a "phase" of the walk.
One thing my hike brought home to me was the humbling fact of just how built-up Seoul is: construction was everywhere along the route I'd taken; evidence of herculean human effort abounded. There was some beauty; there was some ugliness; you'll see a good bit of both when you see the pics I took.
Most humorous fact about last night: I've now discovered the walking route to the closest Costco—the one that I normally take a cab to. My brother suggested that I take a backpack with me if I want to shop there from now on. That's actually not a bad idea, although (1) it means that going Costco will henceforth be An Event as opposed to just an errand, and (2) because it'll be An Event, I basically have to devote my day to it. Of course, the walk would only be to Costco: with perishables in my backpack, sitting flush against my warm back, there's no way I'd risk spoiling seafood by returning to my place on foot.
Pictures and narrative soon. Stay tuned.
My buddy Tom sent me a DM (direct message) via Twitter: "Did Joe McPherson get screwed out of his business?" This turned out to be an astute question, as I sent Joe a Kakao message to inquire further and discovered that, yes, that is essentially what happened. "It's been all over Facebook this week," Joe wrote me. I'm not on Facebook, so I missed this entire tempest, and since I don't know the extent to which Joe has explained the situation on Facebook, I don't know how much I'm permitted to say here. Suffice it to say that Joe and his Korean partner had a fundamental disagreement that led to Joe's departure.
Happily, Joe says he's had partnership offers from more prominent (and more trustworthy) people, so he expects to begin again, probably at a different location. In the meantime, this is extremely sad news for those of us who have been to Joe's place (I've already been there twice). As I texted to Joe, I'm not particularly interested in going back if Joe himself isn't going to be there. I also hypothesized that the resto wouldn't survive long without him, and Joe grimly agreed. Those of us who are loyal to Joe and his brand of 'Bama-style low-and-slow barbecue will just have to sit tight for now and wait for Joe's resurrection, which I hope will happen well before the end of this calendar year. Fingers crossed.
It's late in the day, but I'll be walking as far along the Yangjae-cheon walking/biking path as I can to see how far the damn trail goes. I've already looked at a map, and I have a sinking feeling, based on what I saw, that the trail ends far short of the mountains I see in the distance whenever I head east. (Going west eventually leads to the Han River... I'll be exploring that part of the trail soon, too, and maybe walking a stretch along the Han.)
Tomorrow's mission: shopping! I need to buy halloumi so I can cook up some Indian chicken with curds; I also need to re-stock my beef supplies, grab some more fresh parsley, basil, cilantro, and olive oil to keep making that positively addictive chimichurri, and if I have time, I also need to find a decent shoe store where I can buy a new pair of walking shoes. My current pair, which has been with me since before my 600-mile trek in 2008, is about ready to give up the ghost after having accompanied me for thousands of miles. I hate to see them go, but I fear the time has come to put them out to pasture.
If I have any time after that, I need to think about buying some DVDs and Blu-rays so I can finish setting up my TV and watching some damn movies. My brother is suggesting that I forgo the DVDs and Blu-rays—which he contends are dead media—in favor of getting a Roku or a Chromecast device, which would allow me to stream movies from my laptop to my TV. I'm leaning more toward a Roku myself, but we'll see. It'd be nice to re-watch "Game of Thrones" on a big screen instead of on my dinky (but well-meaning) laptop.
More news later. I'll be walking until way after dark, so my step count for today ought to be... interesting, to say the least.
This very morning, I saw the following Hackers Talk ad in the subway:
Prince—the Artist—has died. At five feet, two inches, Prince was shorter than my mom, but he wasn't shy about being a randy little bastard. Essentially an id with legs, Prince debuted with his innovative, funky style in the 1970s and dominated the 80s before going even weirder in the 90s, changing his name to [symbol].
I was never a huge fan of Prince's music, but I happily acknowledge that he was a transgressive innovator who pushed the boundaries of mainstream songwriting and musical composition. I recall perking up when I learned that Prince's music would feature in 1989's "Batman," starring Michael Keaton. I bought the double album for that movie—one tape (yes, these were the days of cassettes) with Danny Elfman's orchestral score, another with Prince's songs. I specifically recall a funny line from "Vicki Waiting":
I told the joke about the woman
Who asked her lover, "Why is your organ so small?"
He replied, "I didn't know I was playin' in a cathedral."
Vicki didn't laugh at all.
Not too many images to share tonight—just four shots that I took while walking during this evening's 15.5K-step march. I've described the creekside path before, so there's little need to elaborate. Without further ado, then, the pics:
I had run out of shabu beef (1.5 kilos can go fast), so Thursday's low-carb lunch was a none-too-fancy lettuce wrap with tuna, quail eggs, and Korean jalapeño pickles. You won't see it here, but I later added some chimichurri to the eggs before stacking them on the tuna. I had feared the sauce wouldn't go with the tuna, but the Gestalt was funky and delicious. Anyway, here's a pic of Thursday's lunch, for your delectation (or horror):
Tonight's walk was 16,464 steps. According to my pedometer, the walk—which was actually several walks spread throughout the day—took me 168 minutes, which puts me at a step rate of 98 steps per minute. That's reassuring because this result means I'm starting to creep back up to my old rate of 101 or 102 steps per minute.
The path I'm walking goes alongside the nearby Yangjae-cheon, a wide creek that feeds into the Han River, which describes a serpentine path through the middle of Seoul, dividing the city into its famous Gangbuk (north of the river) and Gangnam (south of the river) halves. The creek itself is straight, so the walking path is correspondingly flat and straight—for miles, apparently. The creek is flanked by steep sides that have been landscaped in such a way as to have narrow paths running parallel to the creekside path. One path sits halfway up the slope; the other path is at the top of the slope, at street level (the creek is well below street level), so there are three parallel paths on both sides of the creek—six paths total.
Every couple hundred meters, there are stairs that allow a walker at creek level to walk all the way up to street level if he wants. As long as I'm walking on fairly unchallenging flat ground, those stairs are my ticket to creating a more intense workout. Maybe starting next week, I hope to force myself to walk up and down every single set of stairs I encounter. This will significantly lengthen my walk, but short of trying to climb up Daemosan again, this is my best hope for halfway decent cardio. (As you may have guessed, I gave up on the staircase in my building, mainly because it left me gasping, and at that point, I hadn't resumed walking in earnest, which means I always felt this close to a heart attack every time I dared the stairs. That said, I might try the staircase again at some point.)
This is from an online friend who requested that I not use his name. Agree or disagree, doubt or not, it's an interesting story about a guy who lost a hundred pounds (45.4 kg).
So: the background before I lost 100 pounds. Around age 14, I developed acne, allergies to pollen, and a strange need to sweat a lot at night. It turns out the sweating was my skin processing the gunk my kidneys weren't getting out by themselves during the day. It wasn't "a problem" by any stretch... I just smelled bad when I woke up, and after I was old enough to drink alcohol, the alcohol smell got sweated out quite obviously within the hour.
Fast forward to last year. I was a touch over 300 pounds, had gallstones, and my wife had been looking for ways to get me better. The method that finally worked was the one outlined by William Davis in Wheat Belly: no sugar, no flour.
I thought my wife's latest "fix you!" plan was going to yield yet-again tiny results, but I did it... I got to keep up drinking alcohol, and the meat, bacon, and veggie dishes I ate were pretty yummy. My sugar intake at the time was pretty small, I thought—usually a Coke, and whatever sugar I added to black coffee. But I took it to zero.
Over the next three months, I ate normally and drank coffee to get going in the morning. I took to beating the summer heat with lemon juice added to water, with some turmeric added... strangely refreshing, and I had a huge craving for the turmeric around week 3, hopefully to clean out whatever from my insides.
I was slowly losing fat from all over, not just my gut. My calves, my temples, etc., lost weight pretty evenly. After about two months, I noticed I was displacing a lot less water in the bathtub. At month 3, I finally checked, and I was down a touch over 100 pounds—and nearly all fat, as far as I could tell.
Around here, I noticed my kidneys doing their job fully. I was no longer needing to sweat badly at night to feel rested. And without my skin needing to process gunk, my acne disappeared. I also noticed that the strange "fog" on my wedding ring was gone. Since I was no longer sweating gunk, my ring was uncoated by gunk, and shiny again.
It also turned out about then that a bulge just under my now-much-flatter abs was a parasitic worm I had. A couple days of garlic tea got rid of something that, as far as I could tell, I’d had for about 20 years. With the worm gone, I noticed that I was able to more completely sleep at night, and more completely be awake during the day.
So it's about a year later, and without flour, things are going fine. I cut out milk/cheese for a while. After a binge of Costco cheddar, my wife noticed my temples getting puffy. Turns out the cheese was doing it. Hopefully my mild dairy problem is the sort of food allergy that can be overcome by three months or so of abstinence. I'm looking forward to getting back to cheese.
In terms of other food, I'm actually doing okay without the flour (pasta, bread, cake, etc.). I can now make a mean steak, and with potatoes in the mix, I'm fine in terms of being not so hungry.
If you're looking for some advice on a full-bore water fast, I can ask my wife. She's been on one for about 4 weeks. The turn-around has been huge in her case.
I hope you get better, Kevin. You're a good guy. I hate to see you not at your peak.
If you want any more info, let me know. My wife has been the one doing all of the reading and research, and she did a ton of it. She reads Japanese, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Most of the good info she got started with some Brazilian doctors who were exploring various nutrition works from the USA. Altogether, she found a lot of interesting things.
It's maintained by a Nutritional Science and Kinesiology student, and it's pretty fascinating. Of the many things on the site he has a list of trustworthy nutrition sources and untrustworthy nutrition sources (Tim Ferriss is on the latter).
I've been doing long walks along the Yangjae-cheon. The path itself is relentlessly straight and flat, and it goes for miles, but there are interesting sights that greet the attentive walker. One such sight is an amazing tadpole pond in which thousands upon thousands of spermatozoic tadpoles swim in massive black swarms that remind me of the tentacled machines that poured into the Zion docks in "The Matrix Revolutions." Another sight is this rather eldritch-looking set of stairs—a sluice slicked over with algae:
Tonight's low- and no-carb dinner comes courtesy of Costco, which sells 1.5-kg packages of paper-thin shabu-style beef for W30,900. The beef is so amazing that all you have to do, to prep it, is throw it on the skillet with a wee bit of oil (the oil's not actually necessary) and a dash of salt and pepper. That, all by itself, is unbelievably tasty.
But tonight, I fancied the beef up a bit by adding some freshly made Argentinian chimichurri to one batch, and by tossing a second batch of beef in a classic gravy. I took one picture of each batch, which you can see below.
Touted as a probable candidate in the 2017 presidential race, Ahn has offered few policy specifics. He has cited U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt as a role model and advocates higher welfare spending, stiffer capital gains taxes and caution on free trade agreements. He has been critical of Park’s get-tough policy on North Korea and favors expanding economic ties to entice Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons.
The weekend debauchery is over.
I probably gained back half the weight I'd lost, but I now have a plan of attack for future weeks and months. As the Architect said in "The Matrix Reloaded," there are levels of survival I'm prepared to accept. I now know I can tolerate a very, very low calorie input without my body going haywire, so on weekdays, it'll be a lunch-only regime for ol' Uncle Kevin. Lunch will be low-to-no-carb, and to that end, I've begun buying a supply of vegetables and proteins to get me through the week: shabu beef, tuna, quail eggs, seafood, and leafy greens. If I can find no-carb snacks like sugar-free pudding and pork rinds, I'll be set.
Last night, I made a succulent beef gravy (thin and runny because I didn't want to add too much carby cornstarch); I also made my very first Argentinian chimichurri, which came out beautifully. It's got a rich, almost algae-like color to it, and it's sharp and tangy. I think of it as pesto without the nuts and cheese, but with a strong hit of red-wine vinegar.
I'm still feeling kind of "bleh" from the weekend, which is a sure sign that I need to behave myself, culinarily speaking. Wish me luck.
I took a trip out to Hannam Supermarket (also known as Hannam Market or Hannam Super) for the first time in years. I used to go there often when I lived in the Sookmyung University neighborhood; years later, I'd heard a rumor from a colleague that the market had gone under, which was disappointing news. Last year, I'd heard from someone else that that rumor was wrong, and I've been wanting to go back ever since. I tried to go there once, not long ago, but the place was closed. Tonight, I called the store first and discovered that it would be open until 8:30PM. I was looking for cilantro, among other things; from what I remembered, Hannam would be the place to find it. Overpriced, yes, but available.
The entrance to Hannam Super lies underground, so when I first stepped out of the cab, I couldn't tell whether the store was really open. I trudged down the steps and was happy to see that the place was indeed open... but the moment I stepped through the sliding doors, I saw and felt that something was very, very wrong.
It used to be that, as soon as you walked in, there was a mini-store to your left, with its own cash register: this store sold household products (detergent, etc.), bottles of Nutella and Nutella knockoffs, US and foreign cheeses in small packages, frozen rolls of Jimmy Dean sausage (and other frozen meats found in typical US groceries), some hygiene and pharmaceutical items that Westerners would normally have trouble finding in Korean stores (proper armpit deodorant, 300-count bottles of Bayer aspirin), and so on. On the right, as you walked in, there used to be a cheesemonger with an impressive (and impressively fragrant) spread of cheeses from around the world: wheels, wedges, slices, cubes, and logs of it. In front of you, there had been another shop-within-a-shop that sold larger items—things like gas ranges or large plastic boxes of flash-frozen berries. Beyond that store lay the main store, where you could find items that would be nearly impossible to find anywhere else: cilantro, different types of parsley, kirsch, Turkish delight, couscous, lamb from Australia or New Zealand, star anise, cumin, decent masala.
Almost all of that was now gone, I saw. The little store-to-the-left was still there, but it was no longer an independent store. The main store in the back was sealed off and dead; the lights were off, and stacks of boxes made the place look as if people were getting ready to strike camp. Perhaps a third of the stock from the main store had been pulled forward into the store-within-a-store, and that was now the main store. One man—the same man I remembered from 2008—sat at a makeshift cashier's counter, keeping watch over both segments of the now-reduced market. It was a sad sight.
Gone were the racks of imported vegetables; in their place was a single glass-door fridge with a sad little supply of veggies; I found some packs of wilted cilantro and tossed them into my basket. I went into the little side store to look for aspirin, Pepto Bismol, and Preparation H—all of which I remember having been there before—and found only the Pepto. Fine. I tossed that into my basket. I found couscous and red-wine vinegar; I found a few other American items that made me smile, and I tossed those things into the basket as well.
When I went to the counter to ring my purchases up, I told the man that I used to come here often, but that the last time I had been here was likely 2008. "So you remember how the store was—back there?" He jerked a thumb behind him, indicating the black space that used to be the main store, but which now held only stacks of boxes. "We'll be closing up in a few months," he went on. "Too many new stores like this one have popped up."
"Competition," I said, and he nodded and grimaced. My total came out to a whopping W95,000 (almost $90, US) for a half-full basket of items. Hannam was as overpriced as I remembered it, but for the cilantro, at least, I had little choice but to go to a place like that. (High Street Market, up the street in Itaewon, sells cilantro, but they're almost always out whenever I look for it.) "Well, it's disappointing to see this happening," I said. "I used to come here to find things that were hard to find elsewhere."
The man gave me a business card and said, "Let me know if you need me to find anything for you." I told him I would, but in all honesty, I had no idea whether I'd be back. The store was no longer what it used to be.
The cilantro was wilted, but it was potent enough to flavor up the chimichurri I made when I got back to my place—my very first chimichurri. Which was awesome, by the way. I'll be using it as part of my new low-carb regime. I bought 1.5 kg of shabu beef from Costco, plus fresh basil (half of which I used in the chimichurri) and some leafy greens, and I'll be making vegetable beef wraps starting this week. This incredible Argentinian sauce is, at least in part, courtesy of the moribund Hannam Super. I'm sad to see the store go.