Cre8 Cookies

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I’ve been known to enjoy a cookie or two from time to time, although I wouldn’t say I eat them that often. When it comes to sweet treats cookies are generally at the back of the line, I’d choose a brownie or slice of red velvet any day of the week. But after seeing the numerous photos of the Cre8 Cookies from friends and other bloggers, I couldn’t resist going to see what all the fuss was about.

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Cre8 cookies is located in one of the tiny alleyways off the main street in Gyeongridan, and is dangerously close to my home. When I was walking to get there I could smell the place a good few minutes before I saw it, it was heavenly. The shop itself is cute, pink, and totally adorable. I was lucky enough to arrive just as the cookies were being brought out of the oven, it was incredibly good timing on my part.

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There are currently nine different cookies on the menu, although seasonal specials seem to be added all the time. For those who want to sit in, there is also an array of hot drinks available. The cookies on the menu vary from 1,900 – 2,500 each. I oped for the Peanut Butter (1,900), Double Chocolate Chip (2,000), and a Red Velvet (3,000), which was a special for Halloween. The server also very kindly gave me an MnM cookie on the house because they didn’t have any of the stuffed cookies ready.

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All of the cookies were especially delicious, the peanut butter which was still warm from the oven just melted in mouth, while the double chocolate had a rich cocoa flavour which is sure to please all chocolate lovers. However my favourite of the bunch had to be the red velvet, oh my god was this good. I nearly killed TFB after I found he had eaten a rather large portion of it whilst I wasn’t looking. The cookie itself was studded with white chocolate cream cheese swirls that just danced upon the taste buds. It was so, so, good. I wish I had bought a dozen of them.

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Honestly I cant wait to go back and try more of these fantastic cookies especially the stuffed ones, I have certainly been converted into being a cookie lover, and I am thrilled it’s so close to my house. This is the perfect way to add on a few extra pounds to keep me warm this winter. One tip if you are coming from afar and want to avoid disappointment, you can pre-order your cookies via their facebook page. Some of the large stuffed cookies like the Nutella and coffee marshmallow ones need a little extra time to be made so have to be ordered in advance.

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Cre8 Cookies is located at 36 Hoenamuro, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt and you will see Cre8 Cookies in an alleyway on your right. For more information you can call them on 02-792-8890 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11am -9pm.

Pub of the Month – The Wolfhound

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It’s time for another pub of the month. A chance to reacquaint yourselves with an old favourite that you we might have all forgotten about after being seduced by all the new hot spots that have been opening . This Month it is Seoul’s beloved Irish Pub, The Wolfhound.  I will always have a huge fondness for The Wolfhound in Itaewon as its where I first met my darling TFB, he was watching rugby, I was drinking cider, it’s a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet. Back in my Cheongju days it was my group’s home base when coming up to Seoul. We would hit it up on a Saturday night, then reconvene again on Sunday lunch time and feast upon fry ups before heading back home to the ‘ju’. There was no place I’d rather be on Sunday Funday, and although I don’t party quite as much as I used to, it’s good to know its always there and open 365 days a year..

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As you might expect the two floored pubs sells everything you could dream of and more liquor wise at very reasonable prices. They were also one of the only pub bars to make a decent cocktail back in the days before mixologists and speakeasies became all the rage. Their drinks aren’t fancy but I’ve always been fond of their strawberry lemonade, it’s a super sweet and sour frozen treat.

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Their ample menu is made up of the usual Itaewon pub fare like wings and burgers, along with all those dishes your mammy used to make you for tea like bangers and mash, toad in the hole, shepherd’s pie, beef and mushroom pie, and Irish stew. As well as their regular menu they have a food special happening every week night, and the best of the bunch is by far and away their 1+1 Fish and chips on Tuesdays! Now Seoul is seriously lacking in good fish and chips , often the fish is good but the chips, well they aren’t chips. The Wolfhound does their version with potato wedges and for 7,000 per person its probably the tastiest bargain around.

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2016 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Wolfhound, and for an Itaewon restaurant and bar to last that long is quite an achievement. They have recently renovated the third floor and added a new pool table, electronic darts, and beer pong. They will also be having a huge party at the end of the year to mark the very special occasion. But you don’t need to wait until then, tomorrow (Saturday the 29th) they will be hosting their annual Halloween Party. It is without fail one of the best events in the neighbourhood and is always packed to the rafters, probably due to their very generous 1.5 million won cash prize for their costume contest, so be sure to look out for me (I’ll be dressed as a unicorn). Happy Halloween!

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The Wolfhound is located at 128-6 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself, and  take a right at the intersection and then the first right after that. Walk along this street, The Wolfhound is located on the right hand side on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-749-7971 or checkout their facebook page.

Fire Bell

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Whenever anyone makes a restaurant recommendation to me, I add it to a list on my phone, and Fire Bell has been on that list for well over a year and a half. The south of the river burger joint is widely regarded as one of, if not the best burger in Seoul. Its not that I haven’t wanted to try it, its just that it is all the way down in Daechi-dong and until now I’ve just been to lazy to drag my fat arse over there.

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Well as luck would have it, TFB was taking part in a charity soccer match in that very area. I don’t usually give him much support in his sporting endeavours, so I thought it was about time I stood by my man, and if I managed to get a burger at the same time, well that was killing two birds with one stone.

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As the name suggests Fire bell has a kind of fire station theme going on. The place is completely decked out in red and white check, all the burgers are aptly named within the theme and there are tonnes of cute and quirky decorating touches like this adorable break in case of fire, toasted marshmallow kit.

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As you may or may not know I don’t really enjoy the patties of american burgers. For me they just seem lacking. I am looking for a burger that makes me go Mmmm when I bite into it, a burger so tasty I have to buy another one straight after. Not a tall order you would imagine, but so far I’ve yet to find a 10/10 burger here in Seoul. After perusing the menu I opted for the Rookie (7,000). I decided to stick with the classic so I could really rate the burger for itself and not its toppings. First things first, the bun was delicious, by far the best bun tried, the cheese and grilled onions were as expected but just something was a bit lacking in the patty itself. Although for the price, and someone less picky than I, a solid choice.

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We also gtr a second burger, the Call 911(9,000) which was topped with american cheese, spicy sauce, tomato, jalapeno, and lettuce and I cant say that I enjoyed it. Even TFB, who likes hot sauce on everything, found the heat to completely overwhelm any taste of the burger. It was a poor choice on his part, also mine, as I rarely let him choose for himself and I wish I had forced him into ordering one of the others instead. We made this one a set for an extra 4,000 which is incredibly reasonable. We got a half portion of twisty fries which I thought made a nice change and a sprite. I wasn’t really in the mood for a milkshake that day, but the menu had a nice selection and looked pretty good from what i could see.

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Although I wasn’t that crazy for the burgers here, I still wanted to share it as hey, it’s very well priced and there really inst a lot of competition in the area. It’s similar to Brooklyn Burger and Gilbert Burger. Gilbert burger is easily my favourite of the three, though I found Fire Bell to be better than Brooklyn. And price wise its the best of the bunch. I can’t say it was worth the trip across town for me, but it seems as though I’m incredibly hard to please when it comes to burgers, and I’d more than likely go again if I was in the neighbourhood.

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Fire Bell is located 13 Seolleung-ro 72-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Solleung Station (line 2) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight for maybe 5 blocks and then take a left, its a little way down this street..  For more information you can call them on 02-6489-0041, or check out their facebook. They are open everyday except Mondays from 11:30am – 9:30pm.

Misstakeroom

 

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Living in Itaewon, I had walked past Misstakeroom on at least a dozen occasions over the past few months and always thought it looked like a cute and quirky spot to enjoy a drink. I was always drawn by the cool style of the place exudes, but had never ventured inside. However if I had, I would have found out that is home to the cheesiest, meltiest, yumminess ever. and that I had seriously been missing out by not taking a look inside. Luckily for me there were plenty of other people who did, and I soon added it to my list of places to try.

Just look at that cheese go, isn’t it incredible? The cute and quirky restaurant has plenty of seating, and the large open facade makes it the perfect spot to enjoy the glorious fall weather. The menu is quite small with Raclette (cow’s milk swiss cheese) being the star of the show. The first thing we decided to order was the Burger & Raclette Cheese (18,000), because let’s face it, who doesn’t want their burger smothered in a a river of melted cheese! The burger itself was pretty tasty, more akin to a European style than the smashed down american patties that are popular these days. It came topped with bacon and American cheese and with a side of fried potato chunks and pickles. and made for a very cheesey burger.

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The other menu item that stood out to me was the skewers. They come in three varieties, beef, chicken, or shrimp. We got the chicken (23,000). Our skewers turned up and our server proceeded to scrape the mesmerising flow of cheese lava on to our plate. It was pretty awesome. It’s hard to tell from the photo but the grilled chicken came with bread, roast potatoes, pumpkin and veggies. The meat and vegetables were nice enough although If they marinated them in more flavourful blend of spices or sauce they could really amp up the flavour of this dish. I also feel they should add a few more menu items that make the most of this gorgeous flow of cheese. Either way it is certainly a fun place to go for dinner the next time you are in Itaewon.

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Misstakeroom is located at 72-17 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself and go right, then take the first right turn after that by the bank. Walk straight down this street. Misstakeroom is on the left hand side just after you pass The Wolfhound. For more information you can call them on 02-794-8411.

WinK Kitchen & Taphouse

A few weeks ago I was invited back to WinK  to come and try their new menu. It had been some time since my last visit so I was curious to see what was new.  The Gyodae pub has been open for over a year and a half now and they have recently hired a new chef who has revamped their menu. While they are still serving their popular classic dishes, he has also added his own personal flair and flavour to the menu.

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One of the new dishes is the Spicy Pork Belly Sandwich (9,500). I love a slab of juicy pork between my lips so really couldn’t resist giving this a try. Housed in a long soft roll was a a melt in the mouth piece of pork belly that was soft as butter. This is very important when putting it in a sandwich as you don’t want to get through the bread and have trouble biting through the meat. The Thai glaze smothering the meat is advertised as spicy and it certainly hits that note. Inside the sandwich were pickled radish and carrots, cucumber, and cilantro which provided a sour and refreshing crunch to cut through the spice. If the sauce was slightly less spicy this would be a an absolute knock out for me.

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Since it first opened, WinK has always been popular for its burger selection.  All the burgers are on the hearty side and very filling and I ordered the biggest of the bunch The Mega Burger (14,000), which kind of made me feel like I was at the Peach Pitt in Beverly Hills 90210. This burger has everything but the kitchen sink on it but it really works. Housed inside the buttered bun is a 150g whole beef patty, pulled pork, several kinds of cheese, egg, avocado, lettuce onions, tomato, and mayo. Burger purists may not agree but I loved the combination of flavours, and any bite that included that oozy egg yolk was a winner for me.

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Also on the menu are plenty of topped fries, and our favourite was the Loaded Fries (8,900). Although nothing groundbreaking in culinary terms, the fries topped with cheese, bacon and sour cream were quite hard to resist, and we didn’t leave many on the plate.

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As with any good pub, the drinks remain cheap and cheerful. They have a variety of Platinum ales on tap and plenty of mixed cocktails all ranging from 5,000 – 9,000 won. The lemon drop was probably my favourite whereas my companions enjoyed the mocha stout. If you live south of the river and are looking for a good time, it is certainly worth stopping by.

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WinK is located at 2F, 1576-6, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Seoul National University of Education (lines 2 & 3). Come out of exit 14 and walk straight, WinK is about 100 meters down the street on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-6053-3429 or check out their facebook page.

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Itaewon Global Village Festival – October 15th-16th

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For those at a loose end this weekend, the annual Itaewon Global Village Festival is happening. The whole of the main street is closed off and lined with dozens of different stalls selling food and drink from all over the world. The stalls vary from year to year, but in the past I’ve sampled delights such as empanadas, samosas, scotch eggs,and spring rolls. Clearly I have a fondness for deep fried foods, wherever in the world they may be from.

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Not all the stalls are made equal of course, there will be some crummy hot dogs and lines of people queuing up for run of the mill kebabs. However one stall I won’t be missing out on is the Carnitas tacos from Vatos! Although if you prefer your tacos with a side of margarita, you can of course go swing by the restaurant itself, which is ideally located on the hill to give you a view of all the action with the pushing and shoving.

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The weather looks to be gloriously sunny tomorrow so it’s ideal for a spot of day drinking and hanging out on the street and watching the crowds go by. There will be some form of entertainment happening all day long, expect to see dancers, singers and a DJ or two on the main stage. So get your convenience store drink on and go join the party.

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The Itaewon Global Village Festival is being held on Saturday October 15th & Sunday October 16th. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) and come out of exit 1 or 4. The festival will be right in front of you, so you can’t miss it! For more details you can check out this website.

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Al Aziz

A few years back I did a review of all the kebabs in Itaewon. I ran all over the neighbourhood buying up one from each restaurant and then put them to the test. However since then, I’ve found an even better one thanks to a top tip from a very good friend. Although I think they were hoping I was going to keep this one on the down low, this gem of place was too good to keep to myself.

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The kebab house is located up on the hill near the mosque. The place is pretty small and there is only seating for a couple of patrons, although you can of course take your kebab to go.The simple menu is displayed on the wall as you walk in. The options include; chicken, falafel, lamb, cheese, cheese and zatarr, and meat and cheese.

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The first kebab I tried was the chicken (5,000).This is usually my go to kebab, so I needed to see how it compared to my usual favourite. Straight away I noticed that the bread was hand made. It was as puffy as cloud, and lovely and chewy like a good pita-esque bread should be. It was a real step up from the tortilla wrappers that most of the kebab shops in town use. Inside were chunks of tandoori-like marinated chicken that retained their tenderness while still having that charcoal taste. Also inside was a mayo based sauce and some salad. This was much more similar to the shish kebabs we get back in England. I know it doesn’t look like much in the picture but the taste was awesome.

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As well as the chicken we also tried the Falafel (5,00). I often make falafel at home, but have always found them dry when having them in restaurants here. This one was tasty as hell, crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. It was as good as the chicken in its own way. It would be hard to choose between them, luckily they are cheap enough to just get both!

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Last I tried the lamb (6,000). I got this one to take home for TFB so I don’t actually have a picture of it. The friendly owner advised me they are best eaten straight away but I had to take it for my beloved. This one was just as good as the ones that proceeded it. For a start it had big chunks of lamb meat, and not the reconstituted doner style stuff. Again it had the same fillings as the other, I just amped up the spice level a little on this one, which really worked with the lamb. If you like shish kebabs back home, then this is much more in the same wheelhouse. The marination on the meat is a little different and more Indian in the flavours but overall this is a pretty darn good kebab.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love the other ones, but this one is in a league of its own, especially considering it is the same price. Be sure to go give it a try next time you are out on the lash.

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Al Aziz is located at 137-14, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until you reach the corner with Dunkin Donuts and turn right. Walk up this road, and cross once you get to the foreign food mart. Keep going straight up the hill and take the next left and walk up this street. Al Aziz is on the left hand side before you get to the GS Mart. For more information you can call them on 02-790-9865.

Food Week Korea 2016 – A World of Flavour

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It’s that time of year again, its Food Week! As usual it’s being held at Coex on November 2nd – 5th 2016. This years theme is A World of Flavour, so expect to see an International flair at this years event.  This years event is set to be even bigger than last years, which boasted 900 hundred different exhibits, stalls, and manufacturers selling their wares to 80,000 visitors.

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This years Food Week 2016 will host a number of international guests including a Turkish pavilion, Chinese pavilion, and an ASEAN Fair dedicated to ASEAN local food. Most of the stalls will be giving out out free samples or some kind of promotional goodies. There will also be a whole host of cooking demonstrations and competitions to watch.

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For those with a passion for cakes, pies, and baked goodies, the Seoul International Bakery Fair will
be held alongside Food Week Korea. There will be plenty of opportunities to satisfy your sweet tooth
and pick up any baking or cookware you’ve been after.

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I have been to the exhibit the past few years in a row and there is always something interesting to see, buy,  or taste. If you are a newbie to Food Week, expect to see booze, baked goods, machinery, packaging, ingredients, cooking competitions and so much more. So if your idea of a good time involves walking around a supermarket devouring as many free samples as possible, then Food Week is the exhibit for you. Just be sure to go hungry!

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Food Week Korea will be taking place at Coex, Seoul from the 2nd – 5th of November 2016. If you would like to get free tickets you can register on the Food Week Website! If you decide to visit on the day, tickets can be purchased for 10,000 won. For more information about food week please call +82-2-6000-8160 or check out the Food Week website.

St Andrew’s Ball 2016

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Another day, another swanky event on my calendar. This time it’s the annual St Andrews Ball. A spectacular soiree dedicated to all things Scottish. This years ball will be held on November 26th at the Grand Hyatt hotel. The event starts at 7pm with a champagne reception then moves on to a fabulous five course Scottish dinner including haggis! All night long the booze will be flowing freely as you ticket includes as much drink as you can take. The exact menu isn’t finalised but expect to enjoy Gavin’s sausages, Macallan whiskey, and Bagend Wine. (more…)

Wee Nam Kee

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More often that not whenever I am doing a spot of shopping in Myeongdong I tend to grab something hot and tasty off one of the street stalls, but this past weekend I was out a bit earlier in the day and they had yet to set up. So rather than miss a meal I instead ventured across to the Lotte Department Store food court to get something hot and tasty in my mouth. Usually when I’m in here it’s to get Panda Express, but I prefer to reserve the cheap and cheerful Chinese for when I am hungover and when only deep fried artificial sauce goodness and cheap noodles will do. After taking a good look at all the options I was drawn to the crispy roast chicken in the window of Singapore stall Wee Nam Kee. I recall trying the Hainanese style chicken and rice in Singapore when we travelled there a few years back but have yet to have it since, and had no idea it was available here in Seoul. (more…)