Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Coupon Day

It's been an interesting Christmas - some of which I will write about before my week-long holiday turns to the reality of Winter English Camp.

I've always found the period between Christmas and New Years to be a bit of a limbo, and this is the first time since maybe high school that I have found myself with the entire week off. With both official holidays falling on a Saturday, it became a 9 day vacation for me. I've decided to make the most of it by filling my post-Christmas days so far with a combination of much-needed sleep, university application stuff, reading, trying to complete a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Renoir's "La Moulin de La Galette" (one of my favourite paintings, and a gift from the rabbit over a year ago), and eventually getting around to finishing preparations for camp, and keeping-up with marking essays for my Saturday class.

So, there is a little bit of work in there, but it's nice to be able to space it all out with other pleasant things.

On of those pleasant things for me is the snow we've had here in Seoul. I don't need to work or get anywhere fast, so I've chosen to enjoy it. Today, the rabbit took me out to Hongdae for "Christmas Coupon Day" as she called it. As mentioned in a previous post, there are a few websites where people can purchase restaurant and cafe coupons to try-out new eating establishments in Seoul. You can find some great deals there - a 15,000 won coupon will sometimes get you and yours a 50,000 won meal. It's really a chance for new restaurants to promote themselves, as well as an opportunity for a dedicated and frugal rabbit to scope-out delicious deals for us. We've been taking full advantage and discovering some great places of late.

Tonight, we did a triple feature in Hongdae - starting with soup and sandwiches at Little Jakob's - a very tiny restaurant just further up the street past Dos Tacos and toward Hongik University. It's tucked-away on your left, and has seating for few. The food was good if nothing remarkable, but on a cold day, some hot soup and sangwiches certainly fit the bill. I also appreciated the cute Korean style kitschy touches - stamp and coloured-pencil sets and note pads to bring to your desk and get creative while waiting for the food. If you have a sweet someone to share a lunch with, you would do well to do so here.

From there, back through a less-visited section of Hongdae to find Noi Lounge Cafe - an architecturally interesting cafe/gallery for coffee and waffles. The huge front window wall opens-up completely in fair weather, which would have been welcome as Noi appeared to be one of the Hongdae cafes that allows smoking. Even hiding in the sunken lower level as we were, we both left there smelling a bit of blue choking death. So, go to Noi Lounge Cafe and smoke 'em if you got 'em, or visit any of the other hundreds of cafes that might be a tad more smoke-free, if a little less structurally intriguing.

After a stop-over at one of the three Hongdae Starbucks (that I know of) to borrow their internet to send a birthday message home to my oldest nephew, we took one more stop-over at "Irish Potato" - a New York Fries style French fry place for a bowl of fries with tartar sauce and a beer - the perfect Christmas Coupon Day night cap. Also, Irish Potato had one of the most convincing, however incomplete, wall murals I've seen in an eatery entirely dedicated to a starchy tuber, and I quote:

"People love potatos - mashed, roasted, or baked. And rightly so as the potato is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with fibre and essential vitamins and minerals. Nonetheless, recent diet crazes have left people wondering if potatoes should remain a part of their diet. With so much nutrition misinformation out there, it's time to set the record STRAIGHT! Consumers are often surprised to discover a medium, 5.3 ounce potato has:"

...that's right - that's the end of the quotation. Now I'm left wondering what a 5.3 ounce potato has...

Today was lovely - a perfect antidote to a rather challenging Boxing Day. There was plenty of snow on the ground, in the trees, and around the nativity scene at a Catholic church we happened-upon. More on that later.

I will try to get-around to updating about Christmas properly, but I wanted first to break my blog-fast with a report about a good afternoon with my girl. Good things.

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