Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Korea Garden Grille

The third night in my quest for a really good Korean restauarant continues... This was my third night in Houston. My third night driving over an hour for a measly 5-10 miles to get dinner! Of course your probalby thinking.. "who the heck drives that much for food??" Please remember two things:
1. Houston traffic is notoriously horrible.
2. Im addicted to Korean food

I think my quest is going to make me gain a lot of weight this week.....the things I do in the search of the best Korean Restaurant in Houston.

Korea Garden Grille was almost perfect restaurant. I want to give you the close your eyes and take a few deep breathes and clear your mind....

Ok..think Korea BBQ; think bulgogi, korean ribeye, spicy pork, spicy chicken, spicy squid, shrimp, and octopus...Now visualize all of those uncooked on a big buffet....all you can eat...with all you can eat ban chan.....perfection???

I thought I was in heaven when I first arrived to this restuarant. Yes it is a buffet all you can eat korean BBQ restauarant. Definitely unique and definitely the first I have ever seen or even heard of.

I wasnt expecting much from the ban chan...however, it was extremely good. After thinking about it, the restauarant has an incentive to make really good banchan. Its probably way cheaper than all you can eat Also the kimchee was the best Ive had in Houston to date. By far. I could have filled up on rice and kimchee except I wanted to make sure I got my money's

Onto the important stuff...the meat... The meat was really good quality. I was real rib and ribeye beef. The chicken was good as as the pork. No gristle and not the cheap fatty stuff. I was really shocked! There were only a few disappointments. The marinade for the beef dishes could have been better. I dont think this was a way the restaurant was trying to save money because marinade is probably one of the cheaper items they buy or make. So I dont know how to explain why the marindade was very good. Its a shame because its the only think keeping this restaurant from being near perfect. The chicken, pork, salmon, and squid were really good. I didnt try the octopus and shrimp.

Don't get me wrong, the beef wasnt just wasnt what I was expecting. It tasted like plain beef and not like bulgogi or kalbi. But being that it was good beef it still tasted good.

Im sorry I was unable to get photos because...I left the camera in the car!!! and I was too lazy to go out and get it. However, I am in Houston next week and so far this restaurant has the honor of being the best Korean restaurant Ive tried in Houston. So I will probably go back..and next time I plan on getting a movie of the buffet. No matter how embarassing it might be getting a video of the

Sam Bo Jung Restauarant - Houston

Continuing on my quest to try all the Korean Restaurants in Houston, I wandered to Sam Bo Jung Restaurant.

Houston has begun recovering from Hurricane IKE. Unfortunately the traffic lights have not recovered. There is an estimated 2500 lights out in downtown Houston area. If you do not know any better, Houston has a horrible traffic problem. This combined with the Hurricane damage equals a horrible traffic jam. This restauarant was 6 miles from my office, and it took me over an hour to drive there!!! THe things I go through for Korean food!

Sam Bo Jung was a dark restaurant, and was pretty empty.

Lucky for me my meals have been covered by my company since I am in Houston on business. Its a good thing because my meals are averaging from $20-$30 a night!

I started off with mul mandoo:

Followed that up with haemul juk:

The mandoo was pretty good. Nothing that really stands out. pretty much your average mandoo. The haemul juk was kind of disappointing. It was really watery. I mean I know its soup and its mostly water, but I expect the soup base to have decent flavor. The broth of this soup did not have much flavor, it was more water than flavor of anything. Other Haemul juk Ive had usually consisted of a thicker broth. Sort of like Sunduboo, a thick red pepper paste based broth. I guess that was what I was expecting.

Overall I'd give this meal a 5 of 10. Onward with my quest for the restauarant in Houston that gets my visit twice!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Houston: Arirang Restaurant

Im in Houston for a week for a business trip. The upside of it is, apparently Houston has a few Korean Restaurants. Ive decided to try a new one each night of the week. Arirang Restaurant was the first restaurant I tried out.
I finally got some decent Kimchee Jeon:

I still craved fish, even after my fish dinner Friday night. So I ordered the grilled mackeral again:

The mackeral was excellent. Perfectly cooked and crispy. The Jeon was fairly good, Ive had better though. The biggest disappointment was the kimchee. It tasted watery and not spicy at all. The fish was excellent but the weak kimchee really altered the overall meal. Its too bad because the restaurant was very nice and a huge selection of dishes. But to me, kimchee is a basic and a fundamental.

Overall I'd give Arirang a 7.5/10 based on this meal. I would like to tray the other dishes but Ive got so many restuarants to try in so little time. Don't worry though because I am supposed to be spending a lot of time in Houston in the next year. So I should eventually have time to go back someday and try more dishes

First Meal!!

So I finally cooked my first meal in my new house. I also have a new addition to my "family"

It is an authentic Korean Cuckoo Pressure Rice Cooker!! It even has the Korean female voice that tells you that the rice is done in KOREAN!!

The family I stayed with in Seoul kept telling me that I needed to get a real Korean rice cooker. I finally did. I had to go to Chicago last week and I found a store called H-Mart...inside they had this rice cooker! So I bought it.

I made dinner..I'll have to say the rice was perfectly cooked. It was quit a bit better than the rice cooker I got from Walmart. However the one from walmart was a lot cheaper.

My first cooked meal in my new house:

I kind of cheated. I cooked mackeral that was prepared by the Korean store in Detroit. Anyways, it was really good. However, I didnt have the oil hot enough when I started cooking so it wasn't as crispy as it should have been? Better try next time.

Oh yea, I forgot to mention, I almost forgot to take a picture of it, so I had already eaten half of the fish...hehehhe

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Korean Lessons!

I love my Korean lessons!!! This is exactly what I needed to do. I have tried Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur CDs. Supposedly the best programs in their respective fields. While they are cheaper ($300 for Rosetta Stone and $250 for Pimsleur) then several classes and definitely cheaper than a private tutor (going rate seems to be about $30 per hour), they just don't compare to the face to face interaction.

When I had no other alternative Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur were fine. The problems I see with using these methods were:
1. You had to rely on your own ear on whether or not you are pronouncing the words correctly. Which is OK for a Romance language (ie French or Spanish), but for a new language that does even share the same alphabet base, this task is near impossible.
2. Learning proper grammer and sentance structure takes a lot longer.
3. No one to ask questions about pronunciations or grammer.
4. Boring. Do you realize how boring it is sitting in front of a computer? Wait...that sounds like my

Anyways, if you can afford it I would highly recommend a class oe tutor over a self taught program. Maybe you can trade cooking lessons for language classes?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moved In!

After 3 weeks here it is!

My new house! Well its not new, it was actually built in 1992. I haven't been blogging on a regular basis lately because I have been so busy starting a new job with a new company, living in a hotel, and recently buying a house and moving in...phew...oh on top of that Ive started playing in a hockey league, and the best thing of all I started Korean Language lessons (More on that later).

Now Im sitting in my basement with my TV, watching House reruns because Im so overwhelmed with the hundreds of boxes that needs unpacking....I cant just unpack because all of my clothes and dishes and everything has been in storage for 2 weeks so it all has to be washed before I can. phew....I am slowly unpacking the kitchen first ( I think next will be clothes, then my desktop computer....again

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seoul Garden (St. Louis)

This was the second Korean restaurant I have tried in St. Louis. Unfortunately I am disappointed so far in the offerings. I lost the pictures to the first restaurant I tried.

This restaurant was not too clean and almost totally empty. I had the Haemul Pajeon and my classic Sunduboo.

The Haemul didnt have enuff batter and was stuffed full with the leaves used for bulgogi. It tasted ok, but would have been much better with more batter to hold it together.

The Sunduboo tasted alright, nothing real special. Except I noticed that it was missing oysters! I know this sounds funny but a few oysters is an ingredient Ive seen in almost every recipe. Like I said it tasted ok, but it was nothing that would make you remember it. Here is the picture of said dish:

The owner was nice but I'd rate this meal about a 4/10 overall. The restaurant could definitely us a face lift. I know that the looks don't do anything with the food but it sure does help make it more appealing.


I know I have been really bad on updating my blog lately. I have been crazy busy lately. Anyways, my old house is sold! I am closing on the new house today! Anyways, my company paid for this moving company to come to my house with a huge truck and packed everything into boxes and took it away. Here is a picture of the big moving van:

All of my belongings only filled up like 25% of that van!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Yes, I am officially homeless! :(

My house was sold on Friday, August 29th, and I have no new home yet :(
The movers came last Wednesday and they packed all of my stuff up in boxes and took it away! I have 1 big suitcase of clothes and my laptop...nothing else! However, if you ever have to move this is definitely the way to do it...My mother tells me that its uber-expensive $10,000+!!! I cant imagine!! luckily for me my company paid for all of my moving expenses including this moving company that packs for you! It is really nice way to move, but if I had to pay $10,000 for it I think Id rent the Uhaul for $150 and do it

I am staying at my friends house for a couple of days. When I start my job this Thursday I have to find a hotel to stay at. I looked at one place it charged $100/day with a 30 day minimum...uh..thats $3000 for a month!!!!!! No Thanks!!! I think I'll stay at the Holiday Inn!

Actually I have a new house already picked out. My closing date is Sept. 10th so I only need a room for about a week, so I'll probably go to a hotel for a week.