Monday, December 10, 2007

Excursions along the korean Corridor

I keep one credit card active just in case of emergencies. This morning I was having a terrible craving for kim chee and Korean BBQ. If that's not an emergency then pardon me for holding dearly to an erroneous definition of the word emergency. Around lunch time Yoshimi and I walked from The Haight over to Geary Boulevard. There is a high concentration of Korean restaurants, grocery stores, and nightclubs along Geary once you cross over Arguello and continue west towards the ocean. The well known Korean BBQ joint Brothers has two locations in this neighborhood and there are numerous places with names like Tofu Land and Tofu House. Today we had lunch at a spot we've never tried before called Teo. It was a damn good choice and I congratulate myself on the find even if it was based largely in part to random proximity and churning organs of digestion: in other words, we were hungry and it was there.
For me I find one of the most appealing aspects of Korean cuisine to be the tradition of beginning the meal with a series of small plates of various pickles and kim chee. Aside from being a glutton, I like this first course of small appetizers because it presents the diner with a wide range of textures and tastes. The seven or eight dishes that we enjoyed at Teo were really good. I especially liked the fried little fishes, they were salty and fishy and there were little slivers of fried jalapeno pepper mixed in with the fish. The kim chee was pretty standard. One of the dishes that I really liked consisted of spaghetti strands of potato with sweet vinegar and pepper. For our entrees, Yoshimi went with the BBQ pork Pulgogi and I ordered Sauteed Tofu and Kimchee. I know, I went with a strange last minute choice, pretty generic, but the chefs at Teo did a good job of dressing up the tofu with toasted sesame and the sauce over the tofu, scallions, and kimchee was spicy and slightly sweet. Yoshimi's pork was really good: it was served on a cast iron hot plate with grilled onions and peppers. The waitress also brought us out a bowl of kim chee soft tofu soup from the chef. That was pretty cool. Once all of the plates were arranged on the table it really was quite a spread!! The waitress brought us our Hite Beer and we commenced to chowing down. We were the only table in the restaurant so the waitress had the television on some crazy Korean soap opera. They really are very melodramatic, over the course of our meal at least four different actresses had emotional breakdowns. Red chili is the ubiquitous spice in Korean Cuisine. In fact I believe that I read somewhere that Koreans have a higher rate of stomach cancers and this is associated with the spicy nature of their foods. At Teo everything was perfectly spicy and Yoshimi who usually doesn't like spicy food agreed that the soup was yummy even if it was a bit painful. Needless to say five minutes after leaving the restaurant I had to pee really bad...damn beer!! But if you are ever on the Korean Corridor check this place out.

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