Saturday, April 21, 2007

Let's Get Mikey And Adventures With Korean BBQ


Um, thanks but no thanks, I have my own.
Or...ah yes, the "adult" version of the Life Cereal ad: I know, let's get Mikey, he'll grab anything...
This pic, courtesy of Married with Dinner. Which is not a show with Sydney Poiter and Katy Segal...
Try, try, try, and separate them, it's an illusion
Sydney Poiter: They call me Mis-ter Bun-dy!
...but a blog about food and marriage.
Wouldn't you know it? No parental or familial obligations tonight, to get in the way of seeing "The Lookout" and the movie isn't playing anywhere near San Francisco. So do I write instead? Naw, blog-hopping and plenty of it.
I hit all the blogs I didn't hit yesterday, visit a few from back in the day and then I hit the food blogs, which trigger all kinds of memories.
Mind you, I will do anything the Missus asks me to, but my real devotion is to my taste buds. Back in '91, I went to get some photos developed on Geary Boulevard and I spotted a Korean barbecue joint. I saw via a menu in their window that they had bul go ki and it was on, like Original Star Trek with The Federation against the Klingons! If you've never had bul go ki? Think beef teriyaki, only sweeter...literally.
Five years previous to that, a friend of mine that refused to get his driver's license used to have me chauffeur him to Downtown Berkeley, from that hellish suburb that I was stuck in. The only way he could get me to go, was to spring for either Blondie's Pizza or this little bul go ki and rice restaurant. While Blondie's still thrives to this very day, that rice place closed after a few months. Those damn hippie heathens didn't realize how good they had it.
My nostalgic taste buds got the better of me and demanded that the Missus and I go to that restaurant that very night, regardless of the fact that I had no idea if the place was any good.
Four hours later, plenty of parking and the place was Spartan as hell. There was a plant or two and about twenty tables. Four chairs to a table and a metal hood above each table.
The Missus and I were the only ones in the joint, yet it took the Waitress about two minutes to poke her head out of the kitchen. She came out and handed us two menus. I had no idea what to order besides the bul go ki, so I ordered the barbecue special which included that, plus kal bi.
The Waitress then asked me, "do you want it here, or do you want it in the kitchen?"
Dear Penthouse, I never thought that this would happen to me...
...no, you don't crack wise, "go there" or do anything that might remotely negatively influence the people that serve you food. I didn't joke and I said slowly, but calmly, "I'll have it here." Of course, I had no idea what she was talking about until she brought out the charcoal hibachi.
The sucker was hot, as in melt your eyebrows if you leaned over it and this was back in the day when women, and men used entirely too much hairspray. I wondered what their insurance premiums were like. Then, this tray brought out the Waitress. I say the tray "brought her out" because the thing was so damn huge. It had banchan on it. Korean appetizers-slash-side dishes.
We are talking every vegetable under the Korean sun that could be marinated, pickled, or mixed with hot pepper paste, or garlic. The pickled cabbage that is kimchi, broccoli, eggplant, carrots, cucumbers, three different kinds of sprouts, spinach, and I mean these little dishes took up virtually all the remaining space around the hibachi, save for...
...the next tray, which was about a third as big as the first. On there were plates of marinated beef, bul go ki and the kal bi, which she cut with scissors. She showed us the basics of grilling and then we were on our own. It's a wonderful experience and you develop such a rhythm, that you feel like you could never burn anything on that grill but your arms.
The kal bi was fairly good and the bul go ki was even better. We went one more time, but I've never been back since. The Missus nor anyone I know on the West Coast, has an appreciation for banchan and I had since discovered that there were bul go ki bottled marinades in even the most Wonder Bread of the suburbs, here in the Bay Area. So I just buy the occasional jar of marinade and save my forearms a singeing or two.

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5 Comments:

Blogger angel said...

dude- that was funny! you've made my mouth and my eyes water!

Sun Apr 22, 06:48:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Anita said...

(laugh) thanks for the link. :)

Sun Apr 22, 08:04:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Angel,

Thanks : )

Anita,

Welcome and you're welcome. A wonderful food blog and your "Eat Local Challenge" is literally food for thought.

Sun Apr 22, 12:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger deadspot said...

I used to get the best bul go ki from a filthy little hole in the wall korean place on campus. Unfortunately, the guy finally closed up shop a few years ago. The high-end Korean place by my house is much cleaner, but the bul go ki has nothing on the stuff from Seoul Carry Out.

Mon Apr 23, 06:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Spot,

It baffles me when good places don't take off and mediocre ones thrive, but then we wouldn't have McDonald's, would we?

Mon Apr 23, 08:58:00 PM PDT  

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