Saturday, August 18, 2012

Double Korean

Saturday August 18, 4:35 p.m.

The last couple of suppers have been very Korean-heavy. On Thursday, for my brother's birthday, the family went all the way to Richmond Hill in the north to a place called Bulgogi Brothers, part of a chain of Korean BBQ restaurants. Richmond Hill is known to be an area filled with Chinese restaurants and other stores, so a Korean restaurant in the area tends to stick out.

Of course, our dinner consisted of a lot of grilled meat and veggies. The service was very good there. The maitre d' was very smiley and courteous....deserved a good tip. And the other wait staff was very polite, especially when my sister-in-law was a bit put off when her bibimpap was brought to her cold. It turned out that she'd ordered the wrong type of bibimpap; but the waitress was very patient in explaining to her what she should've ordered. The beef was of excellent quality....even my parents, who are gastronomically very conservative diners, remarked that it was tender and delicious. The only thing is that this isn't quite the restaurant for those folks who usually engorge themselves on all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. Bulgogi Brothers is a bit on the expensive side and the portions are a bit smaller than usual. But for a good meal with fine service, this is a solid place.

Then, yesterday, I joined the Automan's Meet-Up group. Over the past couple of years, I've been hearing of these meet-up groups which get together based on the members' mutual hobbies and interests. Toronto may be the 2nd-biggest hub for such activities, next to New York. Automan was apparently taking care of one of the Japan-based ones, so I met him and his followers up at Finch Station at 7 p.m. last night....last night, being a matter of perspective, since it was still bright and sunny outside. I'd never been part of one of these meet-up groups so I was a bit curious. Luckily, Automan and his members were all mostly repeaters so there was a comfort of familiarity although there were a few first-timers including me.

Yeah, it was good talking to these folks. There were a couple of pharmacists, a man originally from The Emirates operating his own home-based graphic design company, a young structural engineer and a nurse with a huge smile. The nine of us ended up at Seoul City on Steeles Avenue at the north end of the city. I was situated in one corner of the table but I managed to hold up my end of the conversation. What helped was the famous Korean liquor, makgeolli, and yep, that fuzziness in the photo is a fairly good recreation of how I was seeing things near the end of dinner. I had drunk the milky-white rice wine at my brother's birthday dinner and was doing the same here. It's deceptively easy to swallow and therefore probably a killer drink.

Just one of the many dishes we all devoured during dinner. This was some sort of spicy meat-and-kimchi mix with tofu. Very delish! We had all these different types of Korean dishes without any need to barbecue anything.

It was a good first meet-up for me. I don't think I will join every one (I believe it's a weekly thing), but perhaps a monthly night out would be OK for me.