It is 8:56pm Christmas Eve. I’m in a German bar in the outskirts of Gangnam nibbling on pretzels. Drinking my Hofbrau Munchen. I’m eavesdropping. Two old men. Two ladies. War stories. Korea is the Israel of Asia. Jang Song Thaek. North Korea. Current world events. Why Korea is great — Olympics, World Cup, tech, and pop culture.
This is my excuse: some day I’ll have time to sit around and chat about nothing and everything. As much as I value reflecting, now is not that time.
I am exhausted. Living in Korea has taken a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and physically. Korea may be the only place on the planet I feel afraid to exist. Scariest movies for me all time are IT and Hannibal series. IT makes sense because I saw it when I was a kid. Clowns are scary. Hannibal is scarier. The thought of a small change making a big difference. Mentally, we are less than 1% different from Hannibal. Makes me question humanity — the right, the wrong, the good.
Seoul. What are you? New York’s hustle and bustle pretense. A place you can be surrounded by people yet feel completely alone. Peel away the perfect face and the next layer is a red light district of brokenness. A city obsessed with appearances.
I don’t know you yet. We are just getting started. I want to believe underneath all the makeup and scars you are truly beautiful. That there is something there deep inside. Beauty and something irrevocably true. Undeniably you. Don’t look away.
I want to try. It’s going to take a lot from me and you. You need to open your heart. Share your hurt. Remember your hopes. I need to step in knowing this is going to be rough. You will lash out. You will hurt me. I may break. But I’m here. Even when I’m not enough. Remember I am here.
These are my affirmations: You are beautiful. I believe in you. I am here.
King & Lionheart
Still settling in to what it means to be in Korea. How to make my time here count.
Stretch. Breath. Trust.
P.S. Man, I need to update some of my foodventures. Coming soon…
There is something special about going to a restaurant when it first opens. Everything is new. It’s very much like a first date — the excitement and the desire to impress. We went to Chef Evan Funke’s Bucato [La Weekly] [Bucato's website] [yelp] on the second night of opening — August 1st. It is a newly opened restaurant in Helms Bakery District that specializes in pasta & pig. Their war banner logo alludes to the character of bucato. I need a forensic analyst to figure out what everything means.
I was excited, because the Porchetta Truck received rave reviews [yelp]. Porchetta is pork belly with pork skin wrapped around a pork loin. When done right, you the crispy bite of pork skin, the fatty pork belly, and juicy loin. If this was criminal, it would be a pork-on-pork-on-pork offense. [Evan Funke's Instagram pork porn] The bigger crime is that I missed the Porchetta train (figuratively speaking). The Porchetta Truck shut down leading up to Bucato’s opening. This tempting reason alone is enough to warrant a visit to Bucato.
But wait… pasta? Chef Kosaku Kawamura pasta master extraordinaire and friend of Chef Funke is a part of the team. They built a temperature controlled pasta-making dream lab dubbed ”Laboratorio” on the 2nd floor! I don’t think they allow access to customers (trust me I tried to find a way). Everything in this lab is done by hand. Beautiful, rustic pasta.
So I went here for the porchetta, but I was really won over by the pasta and other details. The Batard is crusty baguette-like loaf that comes with goat’s milk butter and ash salt. The butter takes it over the top — lick, lick, lick.
Bucato serves the best pasta in Los Angeles. That’s a strong statement on day 2 of existence. Highly recommended.
Knocks: They’re biggest criticism on Yelp is for the small portions. I agree the portions are small, but these are handmade, small batch pasta portions. I eat more than the average bear and I was fine.
“Terminal” conjures images of airports, illnesses, and black computer screens with a blinking cursor. It signifies an end or a point of access. Waiting draws out anticipation and perspective in me.
I’m going to Korea. I will go into the details of the why and how another time. One thing is certain. My time here in California is limited. I’m not dying, but I’m getting my affairs in order and asking myself what I will miss most.
“Every man dies. Not every man truly lives.” –Braveheart
I firmly believe that beyond what you can see, there is always disproportionately more that you can’t. This is scary, but exciting. It fuels this idea that I need to learn what’s beyond the bend. And always humble myself to never think I know better. I’ve learned to make the best of situations and to step in.
I would rather die living life fully than live life dying in the moments. No regrets. Fully alive.
That’s why I plan to eat well and gain weight before I leave. My aunt told me I need to watch my weight (I agree). But I don’t want to miss out! I will miss food and all the lovely things that accompany it. The colors, textures, smells, creativity, history, intent, love, and most importantly the people that complete a meal.
Yea. I just quoted myself. Haha. I didn’t know how else to accent that. Let’s eat!
So many things I need to get done before I leave…
Schedule for friends & food — I made a google bucket list to try and plan meeting friends and eating great food before I leave. If there are must eat places, let’s make it happen.
Editor — If anyone wants to help by being an editor for this blog, please let me know. I struggle with iterating and not publishing.