battery park restaurant review {seoul}

If you are living in Seoul or planning on visiting, you must visit Battery Park located near Myeong Dong station.  (From exit 4, walk straight a few minutes, and you’ll see the State Building. Take the escalator down and you’ll see it across the Starbucks.)  Little did I realize that my cousin, who is a few years older than me has become a restaurant mogul  in Seoul. He has recently opened multiple restaurants, ranging from Korean, Japanese, fusion, and even an American brunch place in the works. And, I’m in the midst of convincing him to open a Korean restaurant in Singapore (of course).

During my short and unexpected visit to Seoul a month ago, I was able to finally visit two of his restaurants that are located in the Myeong Dong State Building. We had a big family dinner after my grandmother’s burial service at his two restaurants. They are actually located right next to each other. One is called Battery Park and the other one is Kobachi. The “younger” adults, went to Battery Park, a fusion place, while the “older adults” went to Kobachi, a Japanese place.

I really loved the modern and clean interior of Battery Park. I was impressed with their menu and range of choices. They even had beer from Craftworks Taphouse there. Well, I quickly learned that when your cousin is the owner, we get great service and selection of food! He ordered us appetizers and entrees from the menu. There was a delicious salad with grapes and goat cheese. I specifically asked for the fig & prosciutto pizza with pesto sauce, which was well worth it. There were also some unique fusion dishes like the spicy pasta with pigs intestine (Korean dish).  I also really recommend the black sesame cream spaghetti! That might have been my favorite after the pizza.

Battery Park also has a great selection of bar food including big hamburgers with lots of french fries! We tried another fried platter that included fried chicken, onion rings, fries, and more. At this point, I was getting pretty full as the entrees kept coming out. My cousin even sent over a few sushi platters from next door. It was quite the interesting, but delicious combo of dishes. I knew my grandmother was smiling down on us. She would have been so proud to actually come to one of my cousin’s restaurants in person. She was definitely one of the best cooks I knew.

Obviously, there’s always room for dessert! Battery Park had some unique and delicious dessert dishes including a dropped ice cream cone, banana pudding, and Oreo cheesecake. I admit at this point, I could barely shove any more food in, but I tried. I’m always a sucker for good banana pudding. They actually opened a second location of Battery Park in the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park! I hope that all of my fellow foodies and bloggers (ahem, Melody, Dyanne, Elaine, Derek) in Korea will add this restaurant to their list of places to check out! 🙂

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slice of life challenge day #15: the first meeting

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My grandmother had 7 children, 16 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. Since she lived in NY the past 30 years, she had some great grandchildren in Korea that she never had a chance to meet. A few of her great grandchildren finally had a chance to meet my grandmother at her funeral. One of them, a sweet young boy, cried tears as he sat in front of her on the last day of her funeral.

My grandmother was always good with her hands. Our house was full of these swans she created with origami paper up until the end of her life. She would fold hundreds of these small pieces of origami paper to create these swans. She would make pairs of swans for our family, friends and people at our church. My parents brought two of the smaller swans she made to Korea for the funeral. This great grandchild that met my grandmother for the first time asked about these swans. I shared with him proudly how they were made by his great grandmother with much love and care. We decided to give these swans to him and his sister to take home.

After we buried my grandmother’s ashes into the ground at the cemetery, I saw the children gather in front of her grave. I knew that even though they didn’t meet her in person, I could see glimpses of her in them. I knew that I would make sure they would know her story when they got older. I knew that she was smiling to have finally met them.

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slice of life challenge day #14: shoes off

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I’m finally back to slicing. I had to take a mini-break from my writing these past few days, due to an unexpected trip to Korea to attend my grandmother’s funeral. Now that I’m back home and finally have a free moment to myself, I’m finding comfort in being behind the screen and sharing my story. This was my first real experience of being part of a Korean funeral. Not only did I learn a lot about how different Korean funerals are, but there was one moment that brought some laughter during this time of remembering and mourning.

In Korea, funerals are a bit different than the States.  Our grandmother’s funeral was held at the hospital, where they had a separate building just for funerals. The room was divided into two areas. One part had tables and a kitchen, where people were served food and drinks. There was  a smaller room that people went in to pay their respects for my grandmother. Some funerals last up to 3 days, and the relatives stay in this room during the time to greet guests.  I heard that some relatives would even stay overnight in the rooms, and sleep there, as many funeral homes were open 24hours. We went home around 10pm, and didn’t allow visitors past then.

Part of Korean culture is to take your shoes off before going into inside including homes and even some restaurants. In the funeral room, people had to take their shoes off before going in. The men that came to the funeral all seemed to wear similar looking black dress shoes. As the men would look for their shoes when they were leaving, they would often get confused about which pair was theirs. Many men had similar sized shoes and styles. One elderly man even put his shoes on the side on the shoe rack because he wanted to make sure he wouldn’t forget where he put them. However, at the end of the night, he couldn’t find his shoes and was a bit angry about this. He ended up going home with the black slippers that were given by the funeral home.  There were a total of 3 missing pairs of black dress shoes during the two and half days of the funeral.

Even though funerals tend to be more serious and somber, my cousins and I, who helped greet guests, turn their shoes around, and helped take their jackets, found ourselves amused with the frequent missing shoes. I quickly found out that this is pretty common in Korea, as my other male relatives shared about having had similar incidents. Sometimes, when people leave restaurants or bars at the end of the night, people have fights with the waiters/bartenders about their missing shoes! So the next time you are in Korea, make sure you keep a close eye on your shoes.

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I’ve Got Seoul…

Of course I couldn’t end my summer without a quick stop over in Seoul.  I made sure to do all the things I desperately missed like eating Korean bbq, hanging out in cute cafes, getting my nails done, watching soccer games and taking photos with Melody.

On my birthday, we ate lunch at The Tasting Room in Itaewon, which was delicious.  I highly recommend the spinach flatbread and lasagna. This was the first time I went to their branch in Itaewon, which was behind the Audi dealership, closer to Hangangjin station.  While waiting to meet Elaine, Melody and I took some photos by the outdoor sculptures at the Leeum museum which was further up the hill from the Tasting Room.

After lunch, we hung out at the glamorous penguin cafe. I mean, how could we not check it out with a name like that.  Then, I had to make sure to catch the airport bus and I had no issues. This was the second time that I had to fly on my birthday, and unfortunately I didn’t have any famous Korean celebrity encounters on this flight. But, I did get a handwritten birthday card from Korean Air and ate miyukgook (seaweed soup) on the plane.

It’s always a fun time stopping by in Seoul, especially seeing my friends that are still there. Until next time, xoxo.

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the drop box

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the drop box

a box is for groceries that are too heavy for plastic bags

a box is not for breathing babies light enough to carry with one hand

a box is for packing all of your crucial things you think you can not live with out

a box is not for rapidly beating hearts abandoned by the world

a box is for books that are being returned to it’s home in the library

a box is not for minds, eager to be shaped by places only books can take you

a box is for playing kings and queens in a make believe castle

a box is not a home for royalty

a box that illustrates a story of faith, hope and love

a box that says you are worth every breath

a box that brings a new life

this is the drop box

This poem was inspired by this video that I just watched.

Check out more information on this movie on their website: http://dropbox-movie.com./film.html

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