August 5, 2015
On the weekends we generally left Hwajeong to eat and drink in Seoul. Itaewon is the foreigner area in Seoul filled with African and Middle-Eastern immigrants and lots of Westerners. It’s also near Yongsan where the US Base is located so there was a lot of food to eat and a lot of beer to drink. There were always lots of kebabs to be eaten and we did our fair share. Here are some of our favorite hang-outs in the Itaewon area:
The 4 Seasons was a small craft beer pub in a basement off a side street. We found it completely by accident but ended up going back often because they had a variety of Korean craft beers and their prices were reasonable – a big plus in Korea.
Southside Parlor is a place we discovered fairly early into our Korean residency. It’s owned by 3 Texans, two of whom are also UT grads. They had a great cocktail menu and some tasty food. It was also the only place I could get some queso – even if it was smoked. Even with their hefty prices we couldn’t skip out on visiting every once in a while to get a little taste of home.
Another area near Itaewon, Hae Bang Chon (HBC) was filled with hip restaurants and bars that had yet to be discovered by the masses somehow. Truman’s vet was also located in HBC so we discovered the area in September. But it wasn’t until Paul and Pam introduced us to Casablanca that we started frequenting HBC a lot more often. Casablanca is an amazingly delicious Moroccan sandwicherie. Even if we went to HBC for other reasons, we somehow always made a stop at Casablanca. Their lentil soup was incredible and the Moroccan chicken sandwich was to die for. Oh, Casablanca, I wish you could airmail me a sandwich now!
Across the street from Truman’s vet’s office was a great Mexican place, Puerto. It was run by a Filipino guy who made some stellar carnitas tacos – ah – it was such a joy to eat them. He also made some great margaritas and they packed a nice punch for only 6,000won – a steal by Seoul standards. Sadly, we tried to visit during our last visit to the vet and it was no longer open. RIP Puerto.
Back on the other side of Itaewon, we started regularly visiting a small side street near Noksapyeong. On this street we found some important things: craft beer and Cuban sandwiches. First, the sandwiches. 320 Libre was a real godsend. Sandwiches were one thing I really missed in Korea and 320 Libre helped fill that void. We ate there several times and sometimes took them to go to eat at our favorite bar down the street.
I feel I can write that hands-down, our favorite place to go quickly became The Bottle Shop. Although it was little more than a convenience store, it was the perfect spot to sit and idle away the hours people-watching, chatting, and drinking some damn good beers.