LA, LA, LA what can I say, I came out to visit and fell for you like a one week crush. It was like I was the alcoholic and you were the fridge full of a variety of booze that I had to finish in six days, every morning I woke up, full, tired and hungover and decided the best idea was to follow the same pattern as the day before. Open the fridge grab the next bottle and continue on my journey down the yellow brick road.
This was my 33 rd birthday and I was supposed to be working, but due to some unfortunate circumstances I was unable to get to work so I got to the airport 8 hours early and hoped to get the 1:40 pm standby plane to LA. Luckily after some maneuvering and cutting of some red tape by myself I was able to change flights to the 1:40 pm flight. I was also able to drink for free at the Admirals club which is always a plus, I had about four beers there before I boarded and then ordered the Premium red wine, about 2 1/2 glasses of red wine as soon as we lifted off, after that’s I zonked out and woke up in LA.
My Koreatown excursion began when I found my cab, his name was Reno and luckily for me he lived in Koreatown and was able to give me a history of the evolution of Koreatown, from the spot RFK was killed to the LA riots, to the beautiful parks that used to be full of dead bodies from drugs until the up and coming hotspot it has become. I was staying at the The Shelter Hotel which I had found for $99 on the app Hotel Tonight, the place was a perfect spot to stay for a night except for the fact that I stayed in the handicapped room and the bathroom made me feel like I was in a prison.
After check in, I headed out for dinner. I walked over to the Line Hotel where one of the restaurants owned by famous chef Roy Choi is located called Pot. To start the night out I ordered a bottle of the Chamisul Fresh sojo and a can of Hite. The soju had a floral, citrus flavor that allowed it to flow smoothly throughout the night while the Miller Light, oops I mean Hite tasted great and was less filling. I had about 10 Hites throughout the night along with a few bottles of soju, this combination allows you to last for a spectacularly long night. First dish out was the Korean banchan which consisted of pickled ginger with jalapeño, a combination of sour and spicy flavors that really exploded in your mouth, some greens and kimchi with chili paste.
After the banchan I ordered the Kimichi fried rice to start the dinner. This was hands down the best fried rice I have ever had, it tasted like it had salty pork in it but it didn’t, it was as simple as a raw egg on top of a mixture of greens, kimchi, toasted sesame seeds and Korean seasonings that all combined added up to tremounds amounts of umami. The spiciness of the dish was just right so that it did not overpower the sourness of the kimchi and the earthiness of the greens so that the dish came together both flavor wise and picturesesque like a Van Gogh original.
Up next came the Old School hot pot, the beautiful aromas of smell that came out of this dish instantly let me know I would enjoy eating it. The Hot pot consisted of marinated ribeye, bulgogi, noodles, scallions and sesame. This dish brought together every flavor your taste buds can taste and made your mouth water for me, the fiery sour kimichi with the savory bulgogi, the nutty glass noodles and the sweet marinated ribeye was addicting to the soul.
After dinner I wandered over to Dan Sung Sa, this is the perfect dive bar to sit back drink and share some food with friends. The bar reminded me of a set you would have seen on MASH, with vinyl records lining what reminds you of plywood walls with the food cooked on the grill located right inside the middle of the bar serving area.
Luckily for me there was a huge table of people also celebrating a birthday so I decided to gander over and invite myself, of course I did not come alone, I came bearing soju, Hite, blood sausage skewers and bbq chicken skewers. Blood sausage is always an interesting gift to give to people you just met but these surfers seemed to enjoy trying something knew, it had a nice irony salty flavor with an oatmeal texture while the bbq chicken was a spicy and had a sweet ending. This is a place I could go every night and hang out with friends. I sat there with my new friends until closing time laughing and drinking. On my way to the hotel I kind of wandered and got lost. Luckily for me some LA firemen wound up stumbling upon me. They were so friendly and we had a very compelling conversation before they were able to direct me in the the right direction to find my bed for the night. Looking back what a birthday I had.
800 hours PST May 14
Ugh, when I woke up my head felt like Hulk Hogan had been finishing me off all night with his flying leg drop off the top ropes. I knew I needed a quick remedy to recover and luckily I was in Koreatown, I headed over to Mountain Cafe. I ordered both the aboline porridge soup and the chicken ginseng soup. Both of these dishes are the perfect hangover cures, but if you have a cold I’d go with the Chicken ginseng. I preferred the aboline porridge that came with a raw egg yolk on top, I doused it in chilli flakes, chilli oil and jiangjorim (soy braised beef) then devoured it, meanwhile the most interesting chicken soup I have ever seen came out. it was just a whole baby chicken in a ginseng chicken broth and it was very good, not a must have unless your sick though.
After wandering around Koreatown and a relaxing nap I headed over to my final stop of this excursion, Genwa. I ordered an ice cold glass of Hite and a soju and an order of the nutty salty delicious japchae to start the meal. This stuff was the real deal. After the japchae I ordered my bbq meats the prime galbI (marinated short rib) and the beef tongue. With this order came out about 25 different types of banchan which were all interesting some were delicious, some not so much but it was still a great experience. Out first came the beef tongue, the tongue tasted like better version of a Burger King burger and to tell you the truth I would not be surprised if most fast food burgers consist mostly of low quality tongue. But the star of the meats was no doubt the prime galbi which tasted exactly like eating a buttery prime rib right off the grill, ooooo so delicious. After I took my final nip of Soju and reflected on my excursion, I realized I had just had one of those experiences that I would never forget in my life. I called up an uber pool, by the way this is one of the greatest inventions ever and I hope pool service comes to Philly soon, which took me to my hotel for another long awaited nap.
Koreatown was a 10 Tizzle experience. Pot was a 4.5 Tizzle experience with great food but the only thing holding it back from a 5 was the atmosphere, while Dan Sung Sa was a 4 Tizzle experience with the best atmosphere you could ever hope for. Mountain cafe was a 3.5 Tizzle experience with great hangover cures and Genwa was a 3.5 Tizzle experience with a lack of atmosphere but the food to make up for it.
Pot: Kimchi fried rice and Old School Hot Pot
Dan Sung Sa: Hite and soju with anything off the grill
Mountain cafe: Aboline Porridge
Genwa: Prime Galbi
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!!!!