We’re in week #10. Alkongi is about to exit the embryo stage and hit the fetus stage. If you aren’t familiar with all this pregnancy talk, she’s about to exit the stage where all her organs and major limbs and stuff are taking seed and developing and entering the growing stage. She’s looking less like a salamander and more like a human. I’ve already had to put Alkongi in time out for wreaking so much havoc on his mother’s system.
EJ gets sick every three days. She’s in great spirits for a while. Then she gets the headaches and fluctuating body temperatures. That’s when I have to work harder to clean the house and be extra careful about how I phrase things. The tragic thing is that she gets these spells on the weekends. We had our first really nice spring weekend. EJ could barely go outside.
We did head out on Saturday. I had been wanting to buy some hair trimmers for a long time. The baby beard was a good opportunity. My mustache alone was growing to Civil War general proportions. EJ started feeling sick as soon as we went out the door to Hi Mart. I immediately found what I was looking for, considering they only had one model of hair trimmers on sale, and the lady didn’t know it could also be used for beards. They actually had me try it out in the store at the counter. I was going to also buy a wireless router, but EJ was not looking too good.
We left, but she suggested I get something to eat, since I hadn’t eaten much that day. We were in my old neighborhood by the stadium. I hated my apartment there, but I had some great restaurants in my old ‘hood. EJ remembered a good Kalguksu place, and she wanted to go there. She was again following the rule of craving the last thing I wanted to eat, considering Kalguksu is one of the blandest dishes in the Korean repertoire. I wanted to go a little further to the country restaurant and have some Boribap. Well, luckily they also sold Boribap at the Kalguksu place. And it was a good one, too. That stuff will totally clean out your pipes. EJ’s Kalguksu came out loaded with clams, which she gave to me. She doesn’t like most shellfish because of the occasional grittiness. She started feeling a little better.
It’s funny that she started feeling better when I put her on the Joe Diet of protein and green veggies. But she refuses to eat it much, opting for bland foods and preserved vegetables and rice.
We walked a good long ways back, and we passed a bedding store. One of our missions that day was to get a yo for me to sleep on in the living room. I sleep there because my snoring keeps her awake, and she has been having trouble sleeping. A yo is basically a stowaway mattress. We needed to get one not just for me, but also for her mother to sleep on when she visits after the baby’s born.
Seriously. EJ said she prefers sleeping on the floor.
Actually, I do too in general.
We bought the equivalent of a king sized yo. I squeezed it somehow into a crowded bus, and we took it all home. I unpacked the yo and laid it out on the floor.
OMG it’s comfortable!
It’s firm, but it’s soft enough that my hip joints don’t get sore when I sleep on my side. And it’s great for my back. To top it off, making my bed is easy. I just roll it up. So, I trimmed my beard and took a nap.
On Sunday, I met SR at Berlin, a restaurant lounge that used to be the infamous Ape with Pipe, my whipping boy for what’s wrong with customer service in Korea. It’s owned by two-thirds of the same people, and it looked like they weren’t aware of my existence, because SR introduced me to them.
I had some great food there. Will talk about that later. But they are really good. They seat less than Ape with Pipe, so the service may be better. There are still those little pretentious annoyances. I mean, their little witch doctor herbal teas cost more than a Beefeater and tonic. You can guess what I drank.
And drink, I did. I haven’t been drinking much lately, in solidarity with my gorgeous suffering wife. So the gins and tonics smashed me like Mario through a brick platform after getting a mushroom.
SR suggested we move the party to Noxa, a trendy Italian joint in Noksapyeong, a short walk away. On the way, we ran into Mr. Feet (I’m now using code names for people for fun and to just make people work harder to figure out who they are), JS, and their friend N at Leo’s Deli. I also got to meet one of the last local celebs I had been wanting to meet for years. I didn’t go all fanboy, but SR later said I was pretty ga-ga.
Mr. Feet & Co. joined us at Noxa. Mr. Lit and his lovely new wife also joined us. I really fell in love with this place. The food would mostly aggressively throw your ass on the wall. The chef studied cooking for six years in Milan. They serve real carbonara there, not the cream of spaghetti soup with bacon like they serve at other Korean Italian joints. No cream in this. Just, really, bacon and egg with a delicate touch. I ordered the antipasti. It was good, but I’m glad we ordered bread to go with it. Then we all started getting the munchies, ordering different pastas. I ordered the one with Gorgonzola, and everyone said it was by far the best, like a NSFW mac and cheese. The puttanesca was highlighted with fresh parsley, something I hadn’t experience in the classically astringent caper-ridden sauce. The lasagna came topped with a fresh tomato slice and felt fresh altogether. They gave us complimentary desserts. The tiramasu was lusciously silken. The other dessert–it was something to do with chocolate. Oh yeah, it was chocolate distilled into crack form. Just a little forkful of this caused serious chemical changes in my brain.
By then, I think I had underestimated my imbibing capacity. Gin does that. I don’t feel drunk, but I know I am because everyone’s telling me I’m too loud. I’m sure I got annoying, too. I’m extremely chatty when I’m on my happy drunk binges. I think I started a losing argument with everyone at the table with my opinion that Quentin Tarantino was the Kevin Smith for the overeducated. Mr. Feet actually started slapping me for my heresy. It was because I had just recently watched “Inglorious Basterds” and was disappointed that there weren’t many scenes with the actual Inglorious Basterds in there. The dialogue was better than other Tarantino flicks. But I always feel that Tarantino’s dialogue is artificial and forced. Too conscious of itself and its greatness. Or, I think I said it yesterday as, “a bunch of blog rants put into script form.”
Actually, I did like “Inglorious Basterds.” I felt the dialogue was wonderful. But the characters I liked didn’t get enough screen time. The British officer was great, and I was hoping the movie would pick up, and it would be a big jaunt of going through the French countryside “killin’ Nat-sies.” But we were instead subjected to giant chunks of dramatic dialogue with the Jewish girl and the Nazi detective. That woulda been cool if the film hadn’t been sold to us as a “Great Escape” style “killin’ Nat-sies” action flick. The mise en scene was amazing, as well as the colors and style. I was really sucked into that era. Maybe if there’s a director’s cut or a prequel-sequel-insert version of “Inglorious Basterds” with actual Inglorious Basterds in it, I’d really be interested. If you have the movie on your computer, go through it and calculate the minutes of screen time without the movie’s namesake in there. They only take a fraction of it. The first fifteen percent of the movie alone was the drawn out prologue. Loved that pipe, though.
I strayed from my diet today. I did Lotteria. Enologist J texted me that their new Red & White Burger was good. I got it, and I did like it. I’m a sucker for their shrimp burgers, and this was a double patty elongated shrimp burger with two different sauces.
I had a decent day at work, but some student stole my really cool Ballantine’s umbrella with the crystalline handle that I got from Star Chef Kim. Luckily, I had forgotten to bring home EJ’s umbrella last week, so I had a back up. EJ had already eaten dinner, so I just decided to cook for myself. My last class I let play “Cooking Academy 2” on my laptop for game time. It actually helped their English, IMHO. The last dish game they played was a version of Eggplant Parmesan. So naturally I was in the mood for Eggplant Parmesan.
I wanted to do it differently. I really stocked up on eggplants at K-Mart. The last time I made it, the skinny ass Asian eggplants just didn’t put out enough. So I wanted to pile them on. This time, I fried them. I sliced them lengthwise and dipped them in flour, egg wash and panko breadcrumbs. Pan fried them in a mixture of vegetable oil and olive oil. Seasoned well. I had a good basket of fried eggplants that would have been good enough on their own.
I cleaned out the pan and put some olive oil back in. I chopped up some onion, bell pepper and sesame leaves (cleaning out the fridge) and sweated them in the olive oil. Tossed in some cheap red wine and turned up the heat, reducing the wine by half. I then tossed in some jarred pasta sauce and let it cook through. I sprinkled some parmesan cheese on the sauce. Then I layered the fried eggplant in the sauce, sprinkled some more parmesan and topped it all with mozzarella. Since it was an all metal pan, I threw the whole thing into a blazing hot preheated oven to melt the cheese. Garnished with fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of gochugaru. The result was amazing. What was missing from my previous Eggplant Parmesans was texture. This one had that crispy fried texture with creamy eggplant. And there was more sweet eggplant flavor. Had two helpings of it.
Regaining confidence in my abilities again.