Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Glorious Dinner!

I know I havent been very consistent posting lately. I am in the process of quitting a job, starting a new job, selling my house, moving, and buying a new house!!!! Needless to say my current house is a mess. Actually the movers come tomorrow to move! Luckily for me this move is on the company money so they come and pack and move for you! we'll see how that goes. Anyways, in between all of this I managed to cook a little.

This time I decided to try dokbukki. This is a classic and I really wanted it for dinner. I really thought it would be harder than it was, but it was pretty easy. I also figured that it would taste different, but it wasnt..it tasted just as good as the stuff you get in Korea!!

Again, thanks to Maangchi for the recipe. I followed her recipe exactly and it turned out excellent!

Here is a picture:

Like I mentioned above it tasted excellent. Next time I make it I think I will add a little fish cake (I had it with fish cake in Korea), but besides that it tasted just like the stuff on the streets. The sauce was extremely spicy but was also thick with the rice cake gluten..it was great. Taste wise I would give it a 9/10 and ease of cooking a 7/10. It took about 20 minutes from start to finish. The sauce takes a while to thicken, however this could be due to my antiquated coil electric stove top.

I couldnt just have dokbukki for dinner so I also fried up some galbi...I cheated on this. I bought pre-made galbi from my local Korean store. It was still great!

Here is the full spread at the table...enough food for "the Russian Army" as my grandpa would say:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Big News! (FINALLY!)

I can finally talk about my "secret" and big news I have mentioned in my other posts. Yesterday, I turned in my letter of resignation to Marathon Oil Company, and called my supervisor in Equatorial Guinea, Africa; to let him know that I would not be returning.

I have been offered (and accepted) a new job with ConocoPhillips. I will be a commissioning engineer for a $1.5 billion dollar refinery expansion project at the WoodRiver Refinery! Its a big job and hopefully will help boost my career.

If you didnt already know, I have been wanting to get my MBA. However, I don't want to quit work to get my MBA because in the oil industry, years of experience counts for a lot. I tried for the last 1.5 years with Marathon to get transferred to the Detroit Refinery, but nothing ever happened. So I decided to take matters in my own hands. I will be moving to St. Louis area next week! I go house hunting tomorrow! Everything is moving so fast.

Anyways, life goes on and now I can be a normal human being and active in society!! I have joined a hockey league in St. Louis and I have also hired a private tutor for Korean lessons! I will have two 1.5 hour lessons a week! Hopefully that will give me the boost I need to finally conquer this language barrier I have!!

This also means that I will be cooking a lot more!! I bought 5 Korean recipe books and plan on making a lot of food soon.

The advantage of buying a new house is I can find a house with a great kitchen. My criteria for a new house are as follows:
1. Cable internet (besides blogging, Im a video game addict)
2. A large room to be my Home Theater room. I am a movie and television buff. Soon to add several Korean Dramas and Movies to my repertoire, anyways I have a 50" LCD television and a very nice speaker system which I will take pictures of once it is setup.
3. Last but not least, a very nice kitchen! :) For obvious reasons..

Spider Forest - 거미숲

I bought this movie a while ago, but never got around to watching it. Today, I was a little bored and I decided to watch a movie.

This is obviously a Korean movie with English subtitles. I will have to say that the movie did keep me interested during the entire movie. At the end I was eagerly waiting for the final moment where everything is revealed just to have the biggest let down! The movie finished and your sitting there wondering what was going on for the last 2 hours!!

This movie is about a man who finds a double murder (happens to be his boss and his girlfriend) in a forest. He chases after a suspect from the crime scene and gets knocked out by the suspect. He then proceeds to the nearest road and gets hit by a car. From that point on, the movie follows the main character as he tries to find out what happened.

Overall I give this movie a 5. It did keep me entertained for 2 whole hours, however the end was a total let down. This is one of those movies where theres all sorts of twists and turns and you wait to the end of the movie were it all ties together and makes the movie excellent. Except there is not "tie together" in this movie. This movie could have easily have been a 8-9 out of 10 if it had a good ending. It almost seems like the writers wrote this fantastic plot and it was so twisted that they couldn't figure it out for themselves and just gave up.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sundubo (First Attempt)

Well, I am finally back at my house(I was in Detroit before visiting my parents like a good son). It took me a couple of days to get settled in, but last night I was ready to cook for the first time in 3 months! Can you believe it, its been 3 months since I had been home!!

The first recipe I wanted to try was for Sudubo because its one of my favorite dishes. I used the recipe from Maangchi's website. I had my laptop up in my kitchen as I cooked so I could follow along her video.

Right now I have all my stuff packed up in boxes in storage because I am in the process of moving right now. So I had to go into my storage shed and pull out my rice cooker, pots and pans, and utensils! It was quite the project...much tougher then finding stuff in your drawers or cabinets! Anyways once I got all that sorted out, it was fairly smooth sailing (except for the recipe calls for onion, which wasn't listed in the ingredients section at the front of the recipe (so that was a second trip to the store!)
Anyways here are some progression photos:

Cooking the broth/base (water, shitake mushrooms, onion, anchovies) the white stuff is from all the boiling (I couldnt get the picture to rotate!):

Starting the Sundubo (pieces of beef, olive oil, broth/stock, pepper flakes):

Added the seafood (mixed seafood of shrimp, oysters, crab) and tofu (the most important part!):

Added "Greens" (green onion and a Jalepeno pepper.) The recipe calls for green chili pepper, however I live in a small town and Walmart only had Jalepeno peppers (gotta make do with what you've got!):

The finished product!! (Unfortunately I dont have any stone bowls yet, so this glass pot has to do!):

Here is the final setting at the table. Can you tell Im a bachelor? Like I said, everything is in storage and my house is really sparse right now. So Im trying to get by for the next two weeks on the bare minimums (those donuts kept me alive during the cooking because I didnt start cooking until 9 PM!!!)

It was excellent. It took about an hour to cook, the broth took near 40 minutes and the the chigae itself was only about 15 minutes! It didnt taste exactly like what Im used too, but probably like everything you have to refine the recipe. I would say its a 4/10 difficulty. Not very hard to make. Taste wise I would give it a 6/10. There are a few things I would change. I would use pork instead of beef. The beef flavor was too strong. I would also broil the meat or something instead of pan frying to make it softer. The other big improvement would be to strain the pepper flakes. Maangchi's recipe didnt call for it, but I think I would use the pepper flakes to make the broth/stock, then strain it so there weren't so many floating around in the chigae.

It was still very good and a lot of fun to make one of my favorite dishes!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

I am back in the USA!!!!
Ive been back for less then 24 hours and Ive eaten at my local Korean restaurant twice! :)

Here's some pictures:
The front of the restaurant...not real impressive, but its really cool inside:


Not sure the exact spelling of this one. I believe its like Daekji Bulgogi? (spicy pork bulgogi):

I way overate last night. But it was sooo good!

For comparison, here is what I had to eat in Africa:
Roast Beef sandwich and Ramen (sadly this was the best meal I had in 3 weeks in Africa):

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


URGH!! blogger just went through a brain fart and erased my post mid-typing!!!SO I start over

TGIF!!! Like I mentioned before even though its only "Tuesday" it is Friday for me because after working 28 straight days, I leave!! (actually this trip was only 21 days..but you get the picture). We dont consider it a guaranteed thing until the plane leaves the ground (with you on it). Being that this is Africa, a lot can happen to delay or ground the plane and preventing you from leaving this island. Then your option is to swim to Nigeria. If the plane doesnt show up or has problems, I will seriously consider the swim to Nigeria option (all 50 miles of it).

Anyways the Olympics are going on..Most of you are probably like "Duh!" and "have you been living under a rock"...We dont get much coverage on our 7 Channels of high quality African satellite television. Plus after 12-14 hour work days...theres not much time or energy to watch anything. I love the Olympics and I will be watching a lot when I get home. My personal favorite events are gymnastics, Archery, martial arts, sometimes swimming. I like archery because of Korea's strong presence. Plus, I bow hunt so I really like to watch these people and see how amazing it is. You should really watch it sometimes..they shoot from so far away you can actually see the arrow go up and drop due to gravity...its amazing the accuracy they have!

Anyways, my next post should be from the Homeland...or maybe in Paris if I get bored there.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I know...most of you are probably thinking "No its not..its Monday.". However for me its "Thursday". Tomorrow is "Friday" because I leave Africa and start my 26 hour journey back to the US. Its a long trip with a 5-6 hour layover in Paris (ugh). Its not as glamorous as it sounds, its not enough time to do anything in Paris(assuming of course there was anything that interested me in Paris).

Ive missed my flight in Paris a couple of times. The first time I went into Paris and saw all the sites; Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Arch de Triumph, Hard Rock Cafe...but I found the people very rude, even the shop keepers. Yes I tried to do a little shopping in Paris ( I figure when in Rome do what the Romans do?) Shopping is what I associated with Paris...lol..anyways even the shop keepers wouldnt speak English and pretended like they didnt know how to speak English. Im sorry, I know its France and they speak French. But its Paris, and again its France surrounded by the UK and other countries that dont speak French. Most people have a working ability of English. So on my second time in Paris, I just stayed in the Hotel waiting for my next flight...lol. I bet it sounds snobish of me because I know lots of people in the US who would die to go to Paris.

Anyways, the travel isnt too bad. Luckily for me, the rules with my company is that I fly business class. Its nice because you have the wider seats, but your still stuck in a seat on an airplane for that many hours.

However, in 2 weeks I should be able to tell you everything thats going on in my life right now because there are some big changes. But as in any blog/webpage, I dont know who is reading so I dont want to risk anything. But as soon as everything is confirmed I will definitely be posting about it. Lets just say the change is "life changing"...lol

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In Search of Korean Cookware

Im moving in the next month, and I figured it would be a good time to update my kitchen with Korean cookware (I plan on making a ton of korean food). Anyways, I went online in search of cookware that I would like.

I found a couple of vendors who sell dinnerware, and stone bowls. But Im having a really had time finding good metal pots. Im looking specifically for two types of pots. The first pot I desperately want is one of those metal pots for ramen soups. I know Ive seen it either at www.seouleats.com or www.seoulberry.blogspot.com. Im hoping Dan or Cheri (authors of those blogs) will remember if they posted about Ramen or this type of pot Im looking for. Basically its a deep pot, with oversized handles. The picture I remember was a bronze or golden colored metal.

The second pot Im looking for is a good stew pot. I want to make korean stews that you cook at the table like gamjatang and others. This is typically a shallow aluminum pot.

Im not sure if theres a specific name for these pots. I got the name of the stew pot from maangchi. But when I did a google search nothing came up. She couldnt come up with the name for the ramen pot. So if anyone knows if there is a specific name for the ramen pot please let me know. Of course I could be crazy and its just a normal pot. But I swear there are specialized pots for ramen...I swear Ive seen it before.

If anyone out there knows a good website with this cookware or other good cookware. Please leave a comment with the website. Or even, if you know a market/store in the states that have these, Id be very grateful. In particular any in the mid-west would be best (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri). Yes I am that fanatical I will drive hours and hours to find this stuff...lol...or even if the store your thinking about is not in these states, still post it please. I travel a lot so there's a chance I might be near that store your thinking of....


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

미우나 고우나 - "Likable or Not" or "I Hate You, But It's Fine"

I have seen this show titled both "Likable or Not" and "I Hate You, But It's Fine". For my blog, I'll be writing it as "Likable or Not" to stay consistent with www.mysoju.com. However, my Korean friends described the title to me as "I Hate you, But It's Fine"

I am so excited! I finally get to review this show!! The reason Im so excited is because I first got addicted to this show during my first trip to Korea in October 2007! This show was my first "taste" of Korean Drama, and I havent looked back. It was because of this show, that I went out on the internet and purchased several hundred dollars worth of Korean Dramas on DVD. Most notably "Kim Sam Soon", "Winter Sonata", "Full House", "Air City", and the list goes on and on. Yes, I have more Korean Dramas on TV then a Korean Ajumma in America.

Unfortunately the reason I am currently reviewing this show now is because my previous show "You Are My Destiny" has been broken at www.mysoju.com :(. Ive been waiting patiently for it, but I decided to start "Likeable or Not". Also the fact that I couldnt get "Likeable or Not" to work a couple of months ago.

Let me come out first of all and say this show is awesome. It is the best Korean Drama and frankly the best television show I have ever seen. I could tell you that even before seeing the show with English subtitles (I dont speak Korean). For the 13 weeks I was in Korea, I think I missed only a few episodes. I didnt understand what they were saying, but I could follow along most of the time, with my Korean friends updating me on any twists in the plot. What makes this show so great is the use of body language, which makes it so much fun to watch.

This drama series is really long, close to 150 episodes I believe, which makes this one of the longest. Each episode is 30 minutes each, and you'll never look at your watch. Of course it has the typical rich man poor woman relationship, and awkward relationships between opposite types of people throughout. The thing that is different is I think its a little bit more subtle in this show. Its not as "obnoxiously" obvious.

The plot is so complex because there are so many characters. So I will only touch base on the main characters in this post. Maybe I'll delv into the other sub plots later.

The two main characters are Na Dan Poong (played by Han Ji Hye) and Kang Baek Ho (Kim Ji Suk). Na Dan Poong is a very ambitious young lady working at Bonjour Foods. She just receives a promotion to Team Manager and has everything going for her. Kang Baek Ho is pretty much a bum. Spends his poor mother's money, literally they are poor. So the main plot is the relationship between these two. Anyone who is familiar with Korean Dramas will see this happening from the start, however, someone new to the K-Drama scene might not see it at first. These two are total opposites and Na Dan Poong is totally "put off" by Kang Baek Ho. But as the episodes go by, you can see Na Dan Poong slowly change her opinion of Kang Baek Ho. I love seeing these things develop (I realize that sounds kind of feminine...but Im secure enough that I can admit that).

I love Kim Ji Suk in this series. When you can't understand what they are saying you really focus on facial expressions and throughout the entire series, he has some expressions that totally cracked me up!

I think Im in love with Han Ji Hye. Again, when you can't understand the dialogues you focus on the faces...and I realized I could pretty much sit and look at Han Ji Hye face all day. Similar to Kim Ji Suk, Han Ji Hye has some great facial expressions in this show.

Call me a sucker, but I always like the "good" characters in the show. Baek Ho is lazy and messes up sometimes, but he always means well. Dan Poong, well, she's pretty much perfect. Seriously, in the show, she is pretty much perfect. We'll have to keep watching if she ever makes a mistake!

Anyways, I am thrilled to be starting this drama and with 150 episodes Im sure I'll have a lot to write about!

On a side note: Episode 13 confirmed my love for this show. Midway through the episode (the last seconds of Episode 13 part 1/2 on www.mysoju.com), Dan Poong decides she has had a hard day and treats herself to dinner. Guess where she goes! Gamjatang!! MY FAVORITE Food!!! It was awesome, I was watching the show when they show the sign of the restaurant across the full screen! I jumped out of my chair and rewound the episode so I could confirm that the sign read Gamjatang! It was awesome..yes, I think too much about food...lol

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Younha - "Because of You" & "He Wasn't"

All I can say is "Oh WOW!!!!!"

My favorite Korean singer doing a cover of my favorite favorite song by my favorite North American singer, and Im not talking about Kelly Clarkston. Although Kelly is amazingly talented and I enjoy her songs, she has nothing on Avril Lavigne!

This is an awesome cover of both of these songs and whats so great is the difference between the styles of each song. I love it when she jumps up from the piano at the transition from the calmer "Because of You" to the more energetic "He Wasn't".

I never knew Younha did covers of a bunch of popular English songs. I wish they would make a cd out them because they are really good. I found Kelly Clarkston, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne, and Leanne Rhimes covers. All of them were surprisingly excellent! Amazing considering its her third language. Yea she may not have the vocal range or prowess of Alica or Leanne, but its her 3rd language!!! Id like to see any of these other artist sing songs in Korean and Japanese, then we can compare..lol

Anyways check it out, its pretty impressive (big understatement)

Anyband - "Talk Play Love" & "Promise U"

Its Saturday and Im at work. I actually work 28 straight days so every day is a Monday until your last day. Well, for some reason I remembered this song today, and I really wanted to hear it again. I know its a commercial and a "made up" band by Samsung but you really have to hand it to the marketing team because they did an awesome job.

Anyways I thought I'd share this with everyone, because I think its a cool song with a cool video concept. I really like when Korean artist rap in English, I think it sounds really cool. I also really like the second song "Promis U" where all three stars take turns singing the ballad, again sounds amazing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

To MBA or Not to MBA

Funny play on Shakespearean quote...ironically I really cant stand shakespeare...but it came to my head. Kind of cheasy I know, but it really does portray my dilema.

Well, I have been working in the Oil & Gas Industry for 5 years now (amazing how time goes by!). Anyways, its about an ideal time to be thinking of going back to school and getting my MBA. Ive been thinking that I want to do this, but I really havent been very proactive.

Well last November, I decided I might as well take the GMAT and see "how I do". I didnt study or do anything, and actually I had to take the test "on my way" from Terre Haute, IN to Detroit as I was getting ready to leave for Detroit. So I stopped by Ball State University and took the test. Anyways, I did quite amazingly well. I got a 92 percentile score which pretty much opened the doors to realistically getting into any MBA program.

In my industry, work experience is just as important (if not more important) than further education. So I did not want to risk quitting for 2 years to get my MBA. So I was looking to relocate (I currently work in Africa) to Detroit, where my company has a refinery. This would allow me to work and go to the University of Michigan. The only thing is the University of Michigan is ranked 10th in the US for evening MBA programs (it used to be higher, I guess it slipped in the last year). Anyways, I figure it always be nice.

Well, last week I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email stating that I have been accepted into the 2008 class MBA program at the University of Michigan! I was surprised and my heart pretty much jumped out of my chest! Then all of sudden I guess I realized how much I wanted to go to that particular school. I was raised in Detroit and UofM is the big school you cheer for all the time. So I figure it would be cool to go there some day. I mean look at the school colors (maize and blue) they coordinate so well together!

Its not that I didn't get in when I was in high school. Actually Im pretty certain I could have gotten into the school for my undergraduate, but I never even applied. The reason being is I wanted to go to a small school specializing in Engineering, which I did at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. That seemed to have worked out perfectly. However, for graduate schools you have to go to bigger schools and UofM seems perfect!

Unfortunatley, during this whole process, I thought actually getting into the program would be the hard part. Unfortunately it turns out, relocating to Detroit with my company is the only thing holding me back! Apparently Detroit is full right now, and my currently location is not eager about me leaving..ie they have stopped me transferring out before. So, to my dismay I am going to have to turn down the acceptance. However, I did apply and receive a deferral until the winter of 2009 semester to relocate.

Needless to say I am very "bummed" about the whole ordeal. I do have other "plans" in the works. I can't write about it just yet (because I don't know who reads my blog, but you never know). Once everything pans out, which should be in 3-4 weeks, I should have quite an announcement to make! Maybe I can make it on my newly designed website/blog page.

Oh on a side note, besides UofM I also applied to Sungkyunkwan University and Seoul National University, just because I was entertaining the idea of living in Seoul. However, it wouldnt be the best considering US schools (especially for MBA) are considered way superior to even the best in Korea. I got accepted to Sungkyunkan, but I didnt get into Seoul National University. I didnt even get an interview at SNU!!! pfft..apparently my 92 percentile score on my GMAT didnt impress them! lol


yes that is right. I am selling my house in real life!

I had several reasons to sell my house so I put it up on the market about last April. I put kind of a high price, because I was planning on relocating to Detroit to go to school at the University of Michigan (which btw, I got in! I got into a top 5 MBA program in the US!! Unbelievable!)

Anyways, I got a call from my realtor last week and I got a pretty good offer, much to my surprise! Everyone knows about the housing "crisis" in the US, so I wasnt really expecting much to come of it, but anyways, its sold! I signed the papers today and now I just have to wait for the inspection and any other counter-offers the buyers are going to offer.

Im going to miss that house. Ive been living there for 4 years now! I can't believe Ive owned that house for 4 years!. Its my first house, so of course I feel a little attached to it.

Oh, for those of you in Seoul, that green stuff in front of my house is called a lawn :)