Hi J -
One of the things I miss about not living in SF Bay Area is the food. Almost exactly two years ago, I had the occasion to visit Palace BBQ Buffet in Sunnyvale - same as it ever was. (Check out this post, she has lots of photos and write up. Mmm.) I was so spoiled. Now I frown when I think about twenty miles drive to eat tasty Korean food. Then I remind myself there is a small (but good) Korean grocery store near our house, Southgate Oriental Grocery. They are friendly and has all the essentials, banchan, not to mention yummy Korean sushi.
Anyways, with trepidation, since N mentioned he does not like Korean BBQ (and kimchi), I selected a few dishes to make, along with kalbi, beef short ribs, for Saturday dinner.
Chow has a good introduction to Korean "BBQ". One of the hallmark of Korean cuisine to me is banchan - side dishes. I keep replaying my mom's comment, 'all those dishes", by which she means all those dishes to wash! With endless variety of banchan, I selected one of my favorite, sukju namul, bean sprout salad. There are many recipes on the Internets, I prefer this one. I've found not all bean sprouts are created equal. I had some below average bagged stuff from grocery stores. At Southgate, I got fresh and crispy ones from a giant plastic bag. A quick light blanch in boiling water, drained well, tossed with minced garlic & green onion, and drizzle of sesame oil & soy sauce.
Another popular side dish is potato salad. I have not learn to appreciate it. To me, it tastes like average western potato salad. But I thought N and G may like a potato side. I found a potato side - jorim, soy sauce potato. Encouraged by N's short list of ingredient Dill Potatoes last week, I used this recipe. So easy and the result was better than the sum of it's part. And I am not a potato person, with the exception of fries.
A few weeks ago, I had very good kimchi fried rice from Marination. I'd thought I'd give it a go. Usually serve with a sunny side up egg, I opted to scrambled the egg due to G's preference. I also wanted to try to make this tofu stew, stir fry fish cakes recipes ... but
Oh! I almost forgot, the ribs. Unlike American style beef ribs, these ribs are cut cross wise, flanken style, into about 1/4 inch thick. These ones from Southgate are slightly thicker. During one of the do-I-have-enough-food-moments, G "I think that should be enough. 4 ribs per person". The ribs are marinated overnight in a mixture of soy, garlic, green onion, malt syrup, sesame oil, pineapple juice, and a touch of sugar for 24 hours.
I was not surprise N liked the beef ribs, but I was surprised he had seconds of the kimchi fried rice, and didn't hate the rest of the sides. After dinner, we try a new to us game - Modern Art (BGG link).
For many weeks (months?), I've been talking about getting new games for our Saturday nights. I got Imperial (BGG link) a few weeks ago, but I didn't feel any enthusiasm around that game. So I got Modern Art. Designed by Reiner Knizia, who also designed Ra, which N likes. I played Modern Art many years ago. I remember liking the game - multilayer, strategy, and no dice roll, but not much details. Fast forward to reintroduction, I still enjoyed it. Although I needed to remind myself that in auction games, G likes to jack up the prices. (See also Ra).
Almost like Real Life, the more paintings the artist sells, the more fame and fortune. On each of our turns, we play both seller (and maybe buyer). Buy low, sell high, and speculate which artist will be popular! I always have trouble bidding on auction games. For many rounds, all I had was one very expensive painting. The art is cheesy good, but the monies is plastic. Judging by how N packed up the game after our trial, I am not sure he liked it. How about you?
In between Modern Art and our next round of game. We had some Moon Cakes. September 12th was Mid-Autumn Festival (Hi wikipedia). As a little one, this was one of my favorite holiday. We ate moon cakes, light fancy lanterns, and hang out with our friends in the neighborhood. Moon cakes have changed a lot over the years. The boxed stuff I get at the grocery stores are nothing special. Perhaps next year, I will check out the Regent Bakery.
We must have felt pretty optimistic when we selected Castle. Castle, where we argue, be mean, and generally cranky to each other. Although, I have to say after we correctly interpret the solider and seige engine rule, the game is more interesting.
And here is to a few more weeks of grilling!