Jungsik Seoul in Cheong-dam – 2 Michelin Star Lunch Tasting

Fine dining Korean restaurants are very much en vogue these days (pre-covid of course), but that wasn’t the case roughly a decade ago. Jungsik in Tribeca deserves a lot of credit for being one of the pioneers of this style of Korean cooking in New York, and it’s been very successful doing so, earning 2 Michelin stars in the process. Jungsik’s original location is in the Cheongdam neighborhood in Seoul, and when I booked my tickets to Korea I wanted to make a meal here a priority. I was absolutely blown away by the 5 course lunch tasting that I had here recently and could see how they deserve their 2 stars. If you have to splurge on one fancy meal in Korea, I would recommend the tasting menu at Jungsik. The lunch tasting is very reasonable at an all-inclusive 78,000 KRW (~$65) per person for four courses, 98,000 KRW (~$80) for the five course option.

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Seoul with Kids: Top Rides at Lotte World

The first thing I wanted to do with the kids in Korea was take them to Lotte World. It’s a nostalgic place for me as I always went there during my childhood trips to Korea. My favorite ride has always been the Adventures of Sinbad ride, a Lotte version of the Pirates of the Caribbean. My kids, however, are very young–both are under 3 years old–so I was wondering if they could even ride anything. I didn’t have to worry too much about that because Lotte World has a Kidzone area with rides and activities targeted to the younger set, so we had a lot of fun with the kiddie rides there. They also have other kid-friendly rides and experiences, some of which you have to pay extra for, that are scattered throughout the park. If you’re thinking about bringing your young toddlers to Lotte World Adventure, here are my picks for the best toddler / young kids rides and experiences at Lotte.

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Flying During a Pandemic: JFK to Incheon, Seoul

I am a U.S. citizen who recently flew out to Korea to quarantine at my parents’ home. I made this decision because I felt stuck and anxious in New York City, and while the situation in New York is improving, I don’t anticipate things to fully reopen anytime soon this summer. And even if they do, then what? Without a concrete plan for testing and tracing cases, I probably wouldn’t feel totally comfortable going out and about. Korea, on the other hand, has been upheld as a model for being able to vigilantly achieve this, and people are actually wearing masks without issue and cooperating to share their data. Things are open, people are going to malls and amusement parks and cherry blossom festivals, and the curve has managed to stay flat. So maybe you’re in the same boat–or maybe you’re interested in generally knowing what it’s like flying international during these times, and specifically to Korea. I wanted to share my experience here so that you know what to expect.

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Easy Roast Chicken – Thomas Keller Epicurious Recipe

I discovered that making a really good roast chicken is actually incredibly easy. A roast chicken suggests some sort of a special event, like Thanksgiving or a family Sunday supper, and so you think that this type of dish requires a lot of time and preparation. I came across a Thomas Keller roast chicken recipe on Epicurious–the title “My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken” caught my eye–and I was impressed by how little work was involved. Basically you salt and pepper the bird everywhere, stick it in the oven for about an hour, let it rest in its own juices for 15 minutes, and you’re done. I thought a Thomas Keller recipe would involve a lot of complicated steps, but it really is very easy to execute, as demonstrated by my ability to successfully execute it multiple times.

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Trader Joe’s Ube Mochi Pancakes Review

I went to Trader Joe’s recently with the mindset of stocking up on only pantry staples–milk, cheese, bread, avocados, nothing else–but then I came across a non-essential pancake mix that was anything but. I’m talking about the new Trader Joe’s ube mochi pancake mix. When my eyes met its cheery purple polka dotted packaging, I had to learn more. Then I moved closer, and it had me at the words “ube mochi”. Into the cart it went. How exciting is it to have a pancake mix with Asian flavors in it? You don’t normally see ube, a purple yam varietal common in the Philippines, and mochi, which is sticky rice dough used in Japanese sweets, in the ingredient list of anything, ever! So in it went, becoming my next day breakfast project.

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