Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eating Out - Korean BBQ

So many tiny plates of pickled stuff... so hard to choose...

Yechon (Korean)

Unlike most American cities, DC's interesting immigrant enclaves aren't located in the forgotten areas near the urban center; they're out in the suburbs. (Ethiopians excluded, of course. They're still here in the District.) The quest for the ultimate in Korean BBQ experience therefore sent us to Annandale, Virginia. To be fair, Annandale is inside the Beltway, so most of folks don't consider it a suburb. But I'm a District snob, so I say it's in the suburbs.

Two of our best foodie friends were in town, so we had to roll out the red carpet and head for the odd and interesting eateries around DC. We met up with another couple who were able to serve as our guides into the deep trenches of VA Korean BBQ.

  • To cover our bases real quick, Korean BBQ is just about the most fun way to eat a meal with friends. The dinner table is filled with little plates full of interesting side dishes (mostly pickled vegetables - oh and free refills on these). In the center of the table sits a large grill pan, and you sit around grill your own meats.
  • Only at Yechon, you don't grill your own meats - the waitress does. But you still get to go home smelling like grilled meat! Everybody wins!
  • Yechon is an interesting looking place. The facade is lined with neon lights, and a giant lighted sign reads "Open 24 Hours." Everyone suggested that it's weird that people would eat Korean BBQ at 3 am, but I think this makes perfect sense. I think it's weird that people would eat Korean BBQ at 9 am.
  • The food was all incredible, but to be honest, I don't really remember what all I ate. I'm sure there was bulgogi and kimchi. But what I do remember is what I drank. It's some sort of Korean wine. Similar to saki, it's served in shot glasses, so I was left wondering whether to sip it or shoot it (I shot it). Check out the bottle though, this stuff wasn't made for sipping...

Garden Update

Our best crop of the summer - okra

Well, summer is - by most meaningful measures - over. Last weekend, I tore out the last of the garden which had been leveled by all of the storms we've been dealing with (including Hurricane Irene). It wasn't the most successful garden, but I learned some valuable lessons. Next summer, I want to build up the beds, so the plants can develop a strong network of roots without having to fight through shards glass, clay, broken bricks, and who knows what else.

Here's one last teary-eyed look at the end of summer highlights of our garden:

I decided to pickle up some okra along with our hot peppers and chives for the DC State Fair. Hurricane Irene messed that up too, and I wasn't able to enter the make up date. Oh well...

I threw in one jar of cucumbers as an experiment. They aren't pickling cucumbers, so we'll see what they're like once I crack them open this winter.


After... cucumbers with sour cream and chives and okra stewed in tomato juice.


After... roasted red peppers with goat cheese and fresh basil.


After... homemade pesto (pretty tasty on pasta)

Going Out - The Passenger

All signs look cooler with DC iconography.

The Passenger

I always roll my eyes when someone talks about a bar being "hipster." Hipsterism is already dead (or in antiquated hipster lingo "it already happened"), and to make matters worse, DC isn't really a hipster town. "Hipster" is in general as meaningless a term as "alternative" was before it. It just means not-mainstream, or more appropriately, not the kind of place attorneys go to network after 5. Which in DC, that happens even at "hipster" bars.

All that said, the Passenger is a hip place. It's named after an Iggy Popp song. It's got a rail car themed room. They have rock and roll on the jukebox. It's the exact kind of place I want to have a drink after work, excluding the networking attorneys.

They serve kimchi hot dogs!

They make a great Rickey (DC's official cocktail).
I was so overcome by hipness I took this picture with a polaroid app.

They have a copy of Sticky Fingers to mark the men's room.

OK, I guess that's enough evidence. Maybe the Passenger is a hipster bar.