Wednesday, April 27, 2016

5 More Things to do in Pyeongtaek: Water Edition

With summer coming quickly, it seems like a good time to post another 5 Things To do in Pyeongtaek blog since the last one was quite popular and there are plenty more things to do in the area. Just so you know, my taste in activities tends to lean toward the active and the outdoorsy and this list won't be any different. So grab your sunblock and let's go outside.

Seonggumi Hang Light, Dangjin, September 2008
Pyeongtaek Regional Maritime Affairs Office photo

1. Take a light house tour.

Did you know we have some pretty cool light houses in the area? Grab a car, a picnic lunch and spend a day touring the Pyeongtaek Light houses. Some of them look pretty darn cool.  Learn about the by <CLICKING HERE>

2. Hiking around near Pyeongtaek Lake

I can't believe it took me so long to find this delightful and easy hike. Take a picnic lunch to eat near the water or on top of the hill overlooking the water. It's just lovely. You can find the map and listing by <CLICKING HERE>

3. Go to the local swimming hole.

Although I'm pretty sure this place is haunted in the off season, it's old and just like a 1970's horror movie, I adore going here in the summer months. It's old, overly packed, run down and silly fun. Go with a group of people who are chilled out and ready to go with the flow. This isn't for fancy people with high expectations or folks who aren't comfortable being the only foreigners in the pool.

It is for people looking to get wet and have a magic summer experience. This is an adventure, if you aren't up for that - stay home. For a map and additional details <Click Here>

4. Spend the day at a theme park

Although it's not EXACTLY in Pyeongtaek, but it is right next door and an easy way to spend the day. Sapgyoho Land is old fashioned fun for those with a family or on a date. It's games, food on a stick, and it's right next to the water where you can take a lovely romantic walk. For a map and additional information <CLICK HERE>

Totally "borrowed" this photo. Will get my own someday.
5. Seojeong-ri "Fountain Park" 이충분수공원

Who doesn't love to get all wet and run through fountains in the summer? It's absolutely the BEST feeling on a crazy hot day. This is an absolute must for kids at hear or folks with kids. Put on some clothes that are good for getting wet, grab a bus, taxi or your walking legs and head off to 이충분수공원 located not far from Pyeongtaek City Hall.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Arati Indian / Nepali Food

Leave your own review on Just: Click Here

Yesterday I stopped in at the new location of the Arati Indian and Nepali Restaurant. It's just opened a branch to Anjeong-ri around the corner from Louis' Bar and Grill and a few blocks from La Mesa.

Since I arrived very early in the day the dining area was nice and quiet, the sun was shining and I was able to really relax in the pleasant, bright space. The patio area is quite stunning and I'm thinking it's will be the perfect place for a mango lassi this summer.

For dinner I had the samosas, chicken biryani and aloo paratha. All three were spicy, rich and delicious. It tasted like I was back in Darjeeling. The flavors were unnervingly spot.

It tasted so much like eating in Northern India that I wondered if it would meet the expectations of people who are more accustomed to Westernized Indian food or food from another region. This is very specifically Himalayan food and it's where my taste preference wanders.

Now, online I had heard that the portion sizes were small, but I have no idea what they are talking about. What I ordered ended up being enough for me for dinner, breakfast, and two snacks and I'm a hearty eater. If I had ordered just one item it would have been more than enough for dinner. 

If you are a picky eater who doesn't like spicy food, don't even bother with going here. However, if you like food with a hearty kick in the pants you're going to really love this.

Anjeong-ri Location:
Address: 경기도 평택시 팽성읍 안정리 113-347
Naver Map Link:

Pyeongtaek Location:
Address: 67-21 Pyeongtaek-dong,Gyeonggi-do ,South Korea

That sauce, yummmm.
They make their own yogurt
This was a meal all by itself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

La Mesa

Although it might not seem like it when you read my reviews, I don't love every place I eat. I simply don't feel that me hating a place makes it intrinsically terribly. It's just not what I happen to like, but want to I let others draw their own opinions. What I hate might be what someone else loves. Plus, the life of small business owners is hard enough without dealing with random people who fancy themselves demigods of the food world. Nope, my job here isn't about telling you what you should hate, it's just about telling you about what I love.

Which is why I have never talked about La Mesa until today.

Since I believe in second chances and revel in stories of redemption, I rallied and went to La Mesa last night after hearing signs of change in the air. To be honest, I didn't want to go. My experience last time, without getting into details, was so bad it was traumatizing. Everything about it was terrible. I say this so you understand that the following recommendation is one I never thought I would write.

La Mesa is fabulous. Last night I walked into a new restaurant with the same name. It was flawless. So much so that I had to ask if there as a new owner, what I learned is that it's the same owner but under new management and there are new chefs in the kitchen. This new team has talent.

Just look at these enchiladas and those salas and that guacamole, OMG! And the price? Fantastic. Way more affordable that Seoul Mexican food and so much better. I haven't tried everything on the menu yet, but I'm extremely excited about going back and getting as many different dishes as possible, just as soon as I get over my obsession with the chicken enchiladas.

In addition to the food, the service was perfect. Sure, I was there before the rush, but last time was before the dinner rush and it was still a train wreck. Last night everything was effortless and the staff very relaxed. 

Please, if you had a bad experience in the past don't hold it against them. Give them a try again. If you are new, get your but over there and eat yourself sick. It's scrumptious and right near the walking gate.

Address: 경기도 평택시 팽성읍 안정순환로 120번실 7
Phone: 010-7519-0719

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Southern BBQ at the Songtan Pink Carts

As an Alaskan I'm a sucker for folks who step out of their comfort zone and take a risk on a dream, especially when they are doing it off the beaten track. It's a little something we call The Frontier Spirit, so when I found jps_bbq on Instagram a few months ago I knew I needed to track them down. For a while they were doing nights at the O'lounge Comedy Club near Osan Base but I always seemed to see the announcement too late.

A few weeks ago they announced they were going to start doing weekends in the Pink Carts and I jumped on the opportunity, rounding up the Songtan Language Exchange folks to come along with me. 

Needless to say, I was tickled pink with my sandwich, so much so that I went back the next day with my Southern Fried boy for some more sweet tea and bbq. Now is hooked as well.

If you love southern BBQ and have 5,000 won burning a hole in your pocket, get your butt over to Songtan, stuff your faces with deliciousness, and support another expat living his dream and making our lives a little bit more tasty.

The Pink Carts are located at toward the end of shopping strip walking away from Osan Gate. They are down the ally along the old train tracks. You can call jps_bbq with questions at 010-2626-7437

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Water Parks to Cut the Heat this Summer

Summer is just around the corner and things are going to be seriously heating up. If you are like me you are going to be looking for some fun ways to cool off. This year my plan is to mix it up a bit. 

For the last five years I've had the habit of going to the beach, but I think it's time I tried new things so I've made a list of Korea's water park/spa hotels and I'm going to try to see them all. So grab your pool noodles, pack up the kids, and let's go get wet.

Here are my five top-tier choices for a summer of water slides and lazy rivers. Just click on the links for their MollaKorea listings. Sorry it's click through. Once I get to them I'll write all kinds of info about them:

1. Tendin Waterpark & Spa Cheonan

2. Spa Valley Daegu

3. Waterpia Water Park Sokcho

4. Vivaldi Ocean World Water Park

5. Gimhae Lotte Water Park Busan

Friday, April 1, 2016

(Tex)Mexican Food Outside Seoul

El Gitano

If there is one thing I have learned since moving to Korea it's that I can live without a lot of things, but burritos isn't one of them. To be completely honest, one of the very real reasons I've stayed put in Pyeongtaek over the years is the fact my other favorite cities in Korea don't have restaurants selling these little flavor packages.

  • El Gitano - These are the new guys on the block and I am admittedly addicted. They are fast, delicious, consistent and delightfully TexMex all the way.
  • Casa Burrito - I've been eating here for years. Sometimes this is exactly what I want. Just like TexMex is a twist on Mexican, this is a twist on TexMex and actually is a lot like some CaliMex burritos I've had in the states. I kind of love that he burritos have fries in them.
  • La Mesa - I've heard it's improved a lot since opening, but I've not been back since my first visit. Trying to build up the nerve. EDIT: New management and chef's has now made this amazing. See my new review here.
  • Cantina - Delightfully fun TexMex where the party happens at night. If you are hungry, don't order the tacos even though they are delicious. This is a great place for a date or night own. Totally worth a trip to Cheonan.
  • La Casita (라카시타) - Haven't been here yet. Totally need to go. Putting it out there in case anyone wants to check it out.
  • Casa Burrito - See what I wrote above.
  • Tacos Locos - These Baja style tacos are fabulous. Super fresh, very slow to make. The shop is quirky, inconsistent hours, and not open in winter. It's one of my favorite places in town and I eat here 1 -2 times a week when they are open. I can't help myself.
  • La Casa Del Mexicano  -  I have eaten here a few times. This is the most truly Mexican place in Songtan. Since the highlight of most of the dishes is the cheese and I can't eat cheese, I've never really found anything I'm excited about. If you love cheese and heavy food though, go here. You will most likely really enjoy it.
Shipped to Your Home
  • Tamales in Korea - These guys are amazing and legit. I love their tamales. You really need to make an order and keep them in your freezer as snacks.
Tacos Locos in Songtan