Monday, December 19, 2011
Just One Bite!
As I've said, I am always up for a new experience and this one took
me to the oldest Korean restaurant in Chicago. Now.. I am not going
to let you think this was my idea or that I was going in complete
agreement with this decision. I'm not that adventurous with food!
But I was going with my family... love!... and we were heading into
the city.. love!... and all I could see running through my head was that scene
in The Christmas Story where the Buppese's hounds had ransacked the
the kitchen leaving the turkey torn to shreds on the floor. Remember the
next scene where the only restaurant the family found open was a Chinese
restaurant? The duck and choruses of "Fra-ra-ra-ra-ra" leave everyone in
hysterics! That's just the BEST scene! So.... I was open to a new adventure!
We open the door and one by one, head inside to a tiny (maybe holds 50
people at one time) world that held such promise. I was delighted! It
almost felt like I had entered someone's home.. clean, intimate, and only
viewed by their closest of friends. There were roughly ten tables, each
with a large cast iron skillet in the center where you prepare your own food.
Not knowing if we should seat ourselves, we patiently waited until someone
points to an available table. The waitress appears with four menus... Korean
language first with english subtitles. Perhaps I shouldn't have looked! Cow's
ankles? Please don't tell me it would all be along this same line! (I could see
that we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto!) My husband, who has Korean clients
and has traveled to their country several times, ordered for all of us. Phew!
I was pretty sure cow's ankles would not one of his choices.. or so I hoped!
It was only a short time before our food arrived but enough time to allow
me to look about the room. In my mind, this photo is priceless....
Gives you a perfect idea of our experience... handsome family, right?
This child is so precious!
Our table that seemed quite comfortable for four soon was weighed down
with dish after dish of condiments and sides to accompany the massive
amount of raw brisket... to be cooked by us in that cast iron skillet that was
heated and ready! Everyone dove right in, cooking the meat and then
swirling it in sesame oil and salt; wrapping greens in it; bathing it in soy sauce
that had chunks of onion marinating in it (to be eaten, also); adding kimchee;
whole cloves of garlic; bean sprouts and others that were foreign to me.
And may I add, nary a fork in sight to eat all this with?? Ok... I can work
with chopsticks. I'm going to go with the flow! Even though I was feeling
silly using two hands prying them open to pick up each piece of meat. Ohhhhh..
you're supposed to break the chopsticks apart first? Now you tell me! I guess
everyone was so busy snarfing down their meal they forgot to see this poor
ol" girl needed some guidance! Typical!
We are nearing the end of our meal with some sides still left in their saucers.
At this point our waitress appears and takes over. Working
quickly, she picks up a piece of meat, wraps some paste inside with a clove
of garlic. Looking at me, this lands on my plate. Politely, I explain I'm full.
Just a little white lie. After all, what the heck was in that paste?? It could be
very nasty and then I'm left with that awkward situation of wondering where
and how to spit it out! Well, I obviously didn't know who I was dealing with.
No words... only a stern expression on her face. Realizing that I was one heck
of a stubborn customer, a bit of english finally was uttered.... "Just one bite!".
I am now reduced to being six years old and told in no uncertain terms I
would not be allowed to leave the table until I had one bite. Quickly, I pop it
in mouth to be greeted with the most amazing taste sensation!! A smile
appears on her face. She has won me over!
The meal is finished.... the check delivered with one stick of Wrigley's Double
Mint gum for each of us...... (how unique is that?!)
So... happy waitress for conquering another skeptic, happy family with full
bellies, and happy me!! Fa.. la.. la.. la, la, la la!!!!!!