Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oublier – Forget yourself in this Itaewon station cafe

Sibling love is a strange thing. Growing up with a sibling, you often quarrel a lot in your younger days but find yourself becoming more and more similar to each other in terms of hobbies, music taste and personality. No matter how much you fight, there is a kind of unwritten rule that you automatically make up within 24 hours even if no one utters the words ”sorry”.
So why, you ask me, am I talking about love between a brother and sister in a cafe interview? You might guess it, but the owners of the cafe ”Oublier” are members of the same family and the cafe is their first attempt at running an establishment together. Their past experiences complement each other perfectly. The younger family member, Kenny, is a tea sommelier (I barely knew that profession even existed) and the older sister, Amy, is a patissier with the experience under her belt of having worked together with one of the most famous Korean chefs, recently famous on TV (his name escapes me).
As a tea sommelier, hours upon hours of training and testing lies behind the selection of teas at Oublier. Kenny will be happy to reveal why black teas go well with tangy desserts and oolong tea goes better the cafe’s parade dish – the Cannoli. He will also reveal just exactly what makes oolong tea different from green tea (actually, the answer is the level of oxidation), since in most Westerners minds they are all the same. Usually the owners lets the customers choose either a drink or a dessert they want to try and then recommend the best drink/dessert to accompany that choice.
Being skeptical to wine sommeliers from the get-go, I first took Kenny’s recommendation with a grain of salt. But after trying to Grapefruit Meringue Tart in combination with the Taipei Pine black tea, I noticed how the tea takes the edge off the inherent bitterness of the grapefruit, and I was made into a believer of the tea sommelier profession! You can really taste how fresh the grapefruit in the tart is, and you soon realize how much better Oublier is than your regular run-of-the-mill places like Starbucks Coffee or Angel-in-Us.
While conversing with the owners, I found myself just smelling the cup of tea and letting the aroma enter my sinus cavities and down into my lungs, as if the tea aroma was cleansing my body in a form of catharsis. Oublier’s most famous and most complicated dessert to bake is the Italian Cannoli. It consist of a tube-shaped shell made from dough fried dark brown in the oven and then filled with a mix of mascarpone and/or ricotta cheese. Amy was not satisfied with the cheese you can find from the distributors, so she just decided to make it herself.
Finally, Oublier makes their own fruit drinks, sometimes adding fizz by themselves as well. I sampled a red mango and raspberry drink, and was constantly thinking to myself how many deciliters of fresh fruit actually went into making the drink, since it was very rich and full of flavor.
Oublier is very hidden behind some houses in Itaewon’s residential area, just a few hundred meters away from the other restaurants. Although it might be difficult to spot for potential customers, I think this is one of merits of Oublier. They have a few tables outside as well, and a little corner for pets.This makes Oublier not only a top-notch cafe, but also a great place to take your friends or date for a post-dinner glass of wine or three.
The name ”Oublier” comes from the same verb from French, meaning ”To forget”. It has a few other meanings as well, but for the owner it basically means that when you enter the cafe, the atmosphere will take you to another secluded spot where you can escape your daily worries for a few hours. This, it certainly succeeds in doing.
Business hours: 11:30AM – 11PM (Closed Mondays)
Address: 서울특별시 용산구 이태원로23길 26-5 (Walk out of exit 1, Itawon stn, and take a right just after KFC. Take a left at Moghul Restaurant and a right up the stairs after restaurant My Chelsea. Follow the road for 2-3 minutes while looking at your right side. Soon you will see a building with a dark blue exterior and some big cutlery ornaments. That is your cue that you are at the right place!)
Phone: 02-790-1224

YES Burger – Brand new burger joint by Noksapyeong station

There’s a strip of restaurants n Kyungridan with some of the best pizzas in Seoul, like Trevio and Pizzarium. You’d think, if you open a new restaurant in that area, you better know what you are doing and have some confidence in your cooking. Well, if you tilt your head up, you’ll be able to spot ”Yes Burger” on the 2nd floor in the same area, and the owner knows his stuff. Yes Burger has barely been open for one month, but is already making it’s mark on the burger foodies’ maps.
Upon entering the place, you’ll instantaenously feel at ease thanks to the soothing interior with wooden furnitures, huge vintage speakers and mesmerizing candle ornaments. My eyes also caught a glimpse of the four sauces that every table is equipped with, namely ketchup, honey mustard, Mexican hot sauce Cholula and garlic aoili! It’s a relief not having to worry about having enough ketchup for the fries or having to call the staff over every time you are out of sauce. Here you can drizzle your condiments to your heart’s content.
The owner is a very humble and seemingly kind person who tries his utmost to make the customers feel relaxed and at home. His previous experience of running an Italian restaurant shines through in the additional choices of two different pastas and wines on the menu. Of course, the burgers are the limelight of the menu and there are a few select choices unique to Yes Burger. The burger ’The Gentlemen’ will take your tastebuds on a one-way trip to Bangkok with it’s coconut milk-base that helps make the patty more succulent than most other burgers I have sampled. ’Daddy’s Ben’ is yet another child of the imagination of the chef. Upon opening the French-made bun that is soft on the outside but has been toasted on the inside to give it that crispy layer, the secrets of this particular burger are revealed. Before even realizing what it is, your nose will start to detect a familiar scent, namely peanut butter! Peanut butter, of course, goes well with jam, which is the second secret of the burger. The bacon jam is actually not particularly sweet but still goes well with the slightest of peanut butter flavors that literally melts in your mouth. Last up is the ‘Road House’ which instead of a beef patty has Australian wagyu beef slices sautéed in cream and mushrooms I believe. Add some Swiss cheese and jalapeno to that mix and you have yourself a wonderful burger/sandwich.
The fries are just the right thickness and you can see that they have been deep-fried without peeling the potato to preserve the crispiness. The best part about the Mac n’ Cheese was that the macaroni were still al dente. At first I reckoned that the cheese balls toppings were just an after-thought, but the dryness of the cheese balls actually match surprisingly well with the creamy cheese.
As briefly mentioned, they have several choices of alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages. I can whole-heartedly recommend the ‘Cannabis Club Sud’ beer imported from Germany which is actually aromatized with hemp and brewed in Bavaria.
So if you find yourself in Kyungridan craving for a burger and a relaxed atmosphere, Yes Burger might be just the place for you!
Business hours: 11AM – 10PM
Address: 서울특별시 용산구 녹사평대로 220 2F
Instructions: Walk straight for a few hundred meters from Noksapyeong station, exit 2 until the underpass. Cross the underpass and backtrack for 1-3 minutes until you see the yellow Yes Burger-sign above you.

Country Man’s – Chicago style pizza in Jonggak station

We all know Seoulites love to ride the latest trends. About a year ago, Chicago deep-dish pizza blew up out of nowhere. Korea remolded it into their own style by filling the crusts to the brimful with cheese, lacing the tomato sauce with loads of garlic and serving the pizza in such fancy contraptions Mr. Gadget would be jealous.
One place that keeps the traditions of the Chicago deep-dish pizza intact, with only some slight modifications to make it unique, is Country Man’s in Jongro. Situated on the 2nd floor in a corner overlooking the Cheonggyecheon Stream next to the so called Avenue of Youth, this quaint place not only serves pizzas, but pilafs, pastas and ades as well.
The latter was by far my favorite. We tried the Red Mango and Orange ade, and the tangy orange flavor was a perfect combination with the rich cheese of the pizza. The ades come in generous servings and can easily be shared by two people.
The restaurant itself is the third location after two restaurants in Busan. The Seoul restaurant opened only a few months ago but is already bustling with people filling their pizza cravings. Customers can choose from two different sizes of the pizza and several toppings can be added. The crust is filled with cheese and a sweet/salty mix of powdered sugar and cheese powder is sprinkled on top, which gives it a unique flair.
The pasta we tried was served in a pesto-based sauce that went perfectly with the al dente pasta. Although I thought the orange-ade was the star of the show, my colleagues crowned the pilaff the king of the evening. With lots of succulent pieces of beef on top, whole cloves of grilled garlic, topped with a white, cream-based sauce, I can understand where they are coming from. You even have to customize the pilaf yourself since the menu asks you to choose two ingredients out of chicken breast/pineapple/garlic/beef/pork/kimchi/shrimp/bacon and then the chef will make a special pilaf based on the chosen ingredients.
So, whenever you feel hungry after sightseeing near Gyeongbokgung, Bosingak, Insadong or Jogyesa, I recommend you to recharge your batteries at Country Man’s.
Business hours: 11AM – 11PM (Break 4-5PM)
Address: 서울특별시 종로구 청계천로 73
(You have to take the elevator to the 2nd floor, so it can be a bit tricky to find)
Price: Approx. 15,000W/person




TESEUM teddy bear museum is re-opened now!!
Besides Seoul, Jeju Island has another teddy bear museum too.
The new teddy bear museum is at the Dongmyo station Exit 6 (which is near to Dongdaemun),
Huge teddy bears are welcoming you in the entrance.

The museum is divided into many seperate parts and themes.
In the beginning, it introduces the history of the teddy bear and displays different sizes teddy bears.
Then you can find the huge teddy bears are wearing traditional Korean style costumes!!

最特別的是, 這裡的布置是根據首爾的四季變幻而設計的場景!
像春天有櫻花, 冬天是雪景,
你會看見南山公園的情人鎖, 明洞的商店, 廣藏市場的小販, 竟然還有弘大的club!!

Then, there is a mini-teddy bear exhibition.
The most special thing is the 4 seasonal changing background setting.
Moreover, the streets landcape is designed by the REAL Seoul.
You can find Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Hongdae etc in the mini-teddy bear exhibition.~~~

探險區除熊熊外, 還以不同主題劃分展出了無數動物的巨型玩偶~~
而且還可以和和玩偶們有互動~~ 這裡還有滑梯可以玩~~
而海底世界展出的玩偶相當精致, 讓人賞心悅目~

Furthermore, I like the adventure zone and the ocean zone very much!
In the adventure zone, it displays plenty of animals.
All of them are huge and the tourists can take photos with them.
And the ocean zone is so adorable and attractive too!!


There is a room that you can check out how the artists design and make the teddy bears.
Some of them are really hand-made by the artists!!

這家店, 真~的~很~大~~
不止是熊熊, 連其他的動物玩偶也超級多喔~~

Finally is the teddy bear souvenir shop~
The shop sells different sizes and styles teddy bears.
Also different animal dolls can be found.
Be careful of your wallet~~~XDD

TESEUM泰迪熊博物館是一個適合各個年齡層, 一家大小來游玩參觀的地方, 
博物館不止可以認識到泰迪熊的歷史, 還有許多戶動和玩樂的設施,
當然, 熱愛熊熊的女生更不能錯過這個景點~~

TESEUM Teddy bear museum is suitable for any kind of ages people to visit.
Besides introduces the the history of Teddy Bear,
it provides educational experiences with fun.
Especially for the girls who love bears,
you should visit here~!!!

地址 Address:首爾特別市鐘路區昌信洞328-18 B1 TESEUM首爾
 (서울시 종로구 창신동 328-18 (지봉로 19) B1 )

電話 tel: 82-1877-0279
時間 Opening hours:每天 everyday 08:30~18:00 (Closing 19:00)
官網 Wrbsite:

票價(包迷宮) Price (with Mirror Maze):
成人 Adult - W14,500
青少年 Teenager - W11,500
兩歲以上小孩 Kid - W9,500

票價(不包迷宮) (without Mirror Maze)
成人 Adult - W13,000
青少年 Teenager  - W10,000
兩歲以上小孩 Kid - W8,000

Photo: Cathy Ma
Text: Vivian Sing

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