Happy New Year! Aside from a slight cold during the holidays, my December was wonderfully uneventful. 2012 was a rough year for me because of certain douchebaggy individuals, so uneventful was actually a good thing. I ate, drank, went to bed, and did it all again the next day.
Christmas was a day of galbi (갈비, grilled beef ribs). For lunch, David and I had galbi at my parents’ house, and then for dinner, the entire family walked over to So Moon Nan Jip (소문난집) on Broad Avenue for more galbi ($24.99 per order; photo above from another night). So Moon Nan Jip has solid Korean barbecue. Although the meat is more tender some days than others, the restaurant has wood charcoal grills (숫불, sootbul) which imparts a nice smokiness. Also, compared to other restaurants, they give you a good amount of meat for the price.
After dinner, we had a fruit cream cake from Artisee Cafe Bakery, the Korean bakery right outside of the Super H-Mart on Broad Ave. The cake said “Merry Christmas” on it, but it was actually a belated birthday cake for David. It was super light and fluffy as most Korean cream cakes are, and while the cookies on the cake were soggy and tasteless, I liked the sweet sugar decorations even though it made cutting the cake difficult. David and my seven year old nephew, Adam, however, weren’t too fond of the cake. They prefer non-Asian cakes, most preferably ice cream cakes, that are much, much sweeter. After one bite, Adam exclaimed, “This tastes like nothing!” I can’t deny it wasn’t somewhat true. It was something, but not much more than a little sugar and spongy air. It was pretty though, and the nice lady at the bakery threw in a free coffee with our cake, of course after a little coaxing from my mom.
On New Year’s Day, lunch was at my parents house, where my mom supposedly cooked just a few dishes. Which means it was a feast. There was the traditional New Year’s Day ddukguk (떡국, rice cake soup), samgyupsal (삼겹살, pork belly), galbi, japchae (stir-fried sweet potato noodles, 잡채), bindaedduk (빈대떡, mung bean pancakes) — and because of my brother who is now not only on a gluten-free diet, but also pescetarian (WHAT IS HAPPENING TO HIM!!!) — my mom made summer rolls with shrimp, persimmon and sweet potato salad, and sweet and sour tofu.
I guess I should be supportive of my brother’s new diet, but this means my mom as of late omits a lot of meat in her dishes. Like the bindaedduk (pictured above, bottom center), for instance. The best bindaedduk has ground pork mixed in it. This time, nada. However, I’m a quick thinker, and fried one in leftover samgyupsal oil, and it was porkily delectable and extra crunchy.
And though I complain, everyone loved the summer rolls. I, however, didn’t have time to try one. I was too busy with the samgyupsal. Also, I was worried the summer rolls would take up too much valuable samgyupsal stomach space.
So Happy New Year again! 2012 was tough, but many good things also happened, including some very tasty ones (OMG, remember the bossam from Ssam, the fish tacos from Ricky’s, or the tamales from Playa?!), and I survived and so did you guys, so I’m thankful. Thanks for reading my little blog! I’ll be bringing you more visual deliciousness in the new year. 2013, let’s do this!
So Moon Nan Jip
238 Broad Ave (b/n E Brinkerhoff Ave & Henry Ave; map)
Palisades Park, NJ 07650
Artisee Cafe Bakery
321 Broad Avenue (outside the main entrance of Super H-Mart; map)
Ridgefield, NJ 07657