Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Break Shenanigans, Part 1: Braving the road for Seoul BBQ

Last month I drove to the Denver by myself to pick up TL from the airport. It's only about an hour's drive from Fort Collins, but for me, this was a big deal. Having grown up relying on NYC’s mass transit system, I didn't get my drivers’ license until age twenty-four; afterward, because I still rarely drove, I never got too comfortable with operating a vehicle. But the cost of TL renting a car from the airport was twice the cost of me renting one from Fort Collins, and so I mustered up my courage and got behind the wheel.

Turns out there are benefits to driving to the airport besides saving on the cost of car rental. For one, after the airport TL and I could drive twenty minutes to Aurora, where there is a giant HMart and authentic Korean restaurants galore.
We went to Seoul BBQ, a spacious restaurant with a shiny, modern interior. Each table had its own ventilation system, which seemed to keep the place free of the thick, meaty smoke that usually fills these types of places. Better yet, they had a great lunch special: soup, rice, and entree for $6.95, which also of course includes panchan. The selection here was pretty good: pickled cucumbers, omelette, acorn jelly, fish cakes, marinated bean sprouts, seaweed salad, and kimchi.
A bowl of turnip soup came out with the panchan, and while I'm normally not one to get too excited over these simple offerings, the clean, sweet flavor of the rich broth really hit the spot.
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We got dumplings, too, and they were excellent. The dough was of perfect thickness, and they were pan-fried just enough to impart crunch and flavor. Inside, the pork and vegetable filling was juicy and well-seasoned.
We chose two different kinds of bulgogi for our main courses, a spicy pork version and the standard beef version. They each came out on a sizzling hot plate (amusingly shaped like a kneeling cow) and the meat was well marinated and beautifully charred. It was just the thing to eat with a hot bowl of rice, and TL totally cleaned up both plates after I was too full to eat anymore. It was probably one of the best meals I'd had in months. And all this for $26 bucks, including tax and tip! Totally worth my white knuckles on the steering wheel.

Spring Break Shenanigans
Part 1: Braving the Road for Seoul BBQ
Part 2: Pikes Peak donuts, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company
Part 3: Rodizio Grill, Suehiro
Part 4: Dim sum at Star Kitchen, Red Robin redux
Part 5: Farmer's Table, Han Kang Korean Restaurant

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