I went with the recipe from epicurious.com and it turned out great.
I have to confess my meal lacked kimchi. I didn’t make it down to Koreana Plaza on Telegraph in time. I’ve never been, but supposedly Koreana (formerly Pusan Market) is the place to go for all your Korean specialty food needs. Still, my bulgogi was a hit. I splurged and got expensive ribeye from Enzo’s, and had them do the extra-thin-slicing there. My knife skills are still at the amateur level.
I did the table up with the “good” china, silver, crystal, candles, and surprise balls from Tail of the Yak, but none of the pictures turned out well. I think I had the ISO turned all the way up, because they look grainy ??? Here’s the only one that looks any good:
I grew up eating meals in the kitchens of my Korean friends and frequenting Woo Lae Oak for birthday parties and Father’s Day (that would be the original Woo Lae Oak on Western and Wilshire thank you very much–none of this BH/Soho b.s.).
When I moved to Oakland in 2006 I was happy to find an abundance of Korean barbeque in the city. The first one I ever visited (and a favorite to this day) was Sahn Maru. It’s kind of like eating at your Korean grandmother’s house. Great seafood pancake, amazing spicy pork bulgogi (perhaps my favorite ever), and kind service. No barbeque-ing at the tables there though, and frankly, I don’t miss it. Who needs to get all smoky and pay to cook their own dinner? Not I.
The humble decor isn’t the draw here, but it’s comfy. And anyway, the price of upscale decor in Korean restaurants often amounts to being forced to listen to house music or mid-90’s “down-tempo” grooves for your entire meal.
Another favorite is Ohgane. Newer, sleeker, and larger than Sahn Maru, I find Ohgane to be a nice place to go just to mix things up a little. It’s also a bit livelier than Sahn Maru if you’re looking for more of a night-out-on-the-town type place. I love the thinly sliced radish they bring with the lettuce leaves here.
Finally there is Jong Ga House. Before it was A Rockridge Life, it was a Grand Lake Life, and Jong Ga was right around the corner. This place has funky decor and a bar, which up the kitsch factor. My favorite part of Jong Ga is the cold and spicy noodle soup offered gratis while you wait for your order.
I’m trying to get up the nerve to bring the bulgogi home tonight and make my own. I’ve looked at a few recipes, and it doesn’t look too hard, though I don’t know how close I’ll get in terms of authenticity. Here are three recipes I’m considering.
Last night I made Fennel-Rubbed Pork Loin with Roasted Fennel Wedges (available on epicurious.com or in this month’s Gourmet Magazine).
I love pork loin and am always on the look out for new recipes for it so when I saw this as I was browsing epicurious for a dinner recipe I decided right away I’d try it.
Overall it was a huge success. I. liked it even though he thinks he doesn’t like fennel (roasted fennel root doesn’t taste anything like raw fennel) and the pork turned out juicy. As one of the comments on epicurious states, 15 minutes at 350 is hardly enough time for the loin to cook. I think mine was in a 350 for more like 25 minutes, but I relied on a meat thermometer to read between 140 and 145.
I’d like to experiment with adding another ingredient to this recipe to add a dash of sweetness. Pork tends to benefit from a sweet flavor, and although this dish was far from sour, there was just something missing. I wonder what would happen if another, sweeter alcohol was substituted for the wine.
Oh-and this recipe gets extra points for being SO SIMPLE. There is really hardly any prep involved. I did it as a simple one-dish meal without even a salad on the side and we were totally satisfied.
We at A Rockridge Life have been going hard on cutting down on red meat in 2009. Chicken dinners abound. I’ve been pretty good at getting creative with chicken breasts…and yet…it’s chicken breast night after night. So we’re moving onto fish. For some reason, cooking fish as a casual weeknight thing is intimidating to me. I guess I just haven’t done it enough to have that level of comfort. But like Madonna says, why do it if it’s not a challenge?
So last night I started the epicurious.com searching. I wasn’t down to spend a lot of time either. I wanted something simple and delicious with minimal prep. I found:
Grilled Tuna and Peppers with Caper Vinaigrette
What I love about this recipe: it’s easy, requires minimal dishes for prep, the vinaigrette is easy and contains ingredients normally already in stock in the ARL kitchen. It’s also totally delicious.
My modifications: I forewent the peppers, since frankly I didn’t know what an “Italian fry pepper” is and wasn’t in the mood to do research and try to find them at the grocer. I used my Le Creuset grill pan–one of the best things in my kitchen–instead of the grill outside because I was too lazy to prep and wait for the coals to heat. I served the tuna on a plate with a bed of arugula and simple brown rice. I made a little extra vinaigrette to accommodate a semblance of “sauce” for the rice and arugula. It was all totally delicious, totally healthy, and ready in MINUTES–literally. Amazing.
The Le Creuset grill pan (I own one in the “bone” color):
A picture of the plate:
And, because arugula is such a big part of ARL, the sound commonly known as “Arugula!” a/k/a “Old Car Horn:”
Arugula! / Old Car Horn