Yes, it’s been a little quiet here at Gastrolust. Don’t worry: I’m still eating. And I’m still writing. But a little less so here at this humble website. (And also not at City Arts, at least for now.) Stay tuned, though, for an announcement or two about new writing projects.
Posting will likely be light for the rest of the month, as I’m about to embark on a long trip that will include a few days in Portland, site of an incredible feeding frenzy at this time last year. We’ll hit a couple of our favorite places from last time, but we’ve got a far-too-long list of new places to try as well.
I had a quick, overnight stay near Portland two weekends ago for other business south of the city. My ramen kick continues, so I wanted to try Hakatamon, next to the Uwajimaya in Beaverton. I’m planning to write more about that experience sometime soon, but for now I can tell you it was quite disappointing. (Better was my bun bo hue at HA+VL the next morning, and I’ll say more about HA+VL after our intended meal there this coming weekend.) To make up for the disappointment, I simply had to have another meal that evening, so I strolled into Country Korean (also in Beaverton) for an after-midnight snack. (I knew the restaurant was open until 2am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.)
Soondae (pictured, above) was on my eating agenda, and Suki (the owner) was kind to offer me a selection of regular and spicy pieces on my plate. Soondae is sort of a blood sausage made from pork intestines, though mellower because it’s stuffed with cellophane noodles. I liked the texture and taste of both, but with a preference (not surprising) for the spicier variety. (The soondae comes with dipping salt.) It wasn’t a meat-only affair, though, as there was plenty of banchan (pictured, below) on the table; I especially enjoyed the black beans and the spicy, chewy squid.
Did I look hungry? Suki brought some soup to try (she said it was leftover from a family meal) – a beefy bowl with pieces of tendon and a milky-white broth. Very soothing. And then she emerged from the kitchen with a small portion of jokbal (pictured, below): seasoned, steamed slices of pork feet, served cold. She instructed me to put a slice on a lettuce leaf, adding rice and a choice between some spicy shrimp paste or red miso paste. I got treated to trotters, and I loved them – a chewy layer of skin on the outside, then a gelatinous, fatty layer within, followed by lots of soft, sumptuous porky meat.
I didn’t intend to pork out so much after midnight, but I do intend to return to Country Korean sometime with a group so I can muscle though much more of the menu.