Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ordinary Me: K

K: Korean food A lot of these encyclopedia entries have sent me back into my memory banks, but this one is of the moment. I have been craving Korean food lately: bibim bap, bulgogi, kimchi, and little side dishes like spicy tofu or the perplexing potato salad.

Across the street from USC, there is the nastiest mall. (Circumlocute the mall and count the rat traps!) They have a food court that no one should eat in but everybody does. There's a little Korean dive there that makes the sweetest barbecue sauce for the jap chae. I crave it. They also did the fieriest pork dish that they only served in the winter. Mmmmmmmmmmm, fiery.

When my friend Sunhee found out I ate there, she was appalled. So she took us up Vermont to some real Korean places. And fortunately, before she and her husband left L.A. they took us to
Chosun Galbee, a Korean barbecue (try the
Daeji Bulgogi). Oh, okay, one story from the memory banks.

My father-in-law and his girlfriend were visiting from England. We took them to
El Cholo (try the green corn tamales or the shrimp fajitas). FIL had the steak fajitas (he pronounced it FA-jit-tas). After the first bite he had to take out his dentures to eat. Um, okay, gross. This happened again the next day at the farmer's market with the croissant. Before we went to Chosun Galbee that night, the dude took his father aside and told him he had to do something about the ill-fitting teeth. At dinner, the girlfriend proudly announced that he used his denture fixative just for me. Why would you not use that all the time? WTF? And even more, if they give you free dentures in your country, why would you not demand that they be fitted properly?

Back to the near-present: last Tuesday, in the 100 degree heat, I walked eight blocks to get me some Korean. I mistakenly ordered the bibim bap cold. It was pretty good--especially since it was so hot out--but it didn't fill that craving. The barbecue sauce was spicier than it was sweet. And where's my spoon? What am I a barbarian eating my rice with chopsticks?

Today, I tried the Jap Chae. (And I noticed I have to ask for a spoon.) If I could smuggle in sweet barbecue sauce to drizzle over it, I might have found my madeleine.

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