Supersize Me!

pat

The new Monster-Sized Patbingsoo now available at Maru!

 

Owner-Chef Ben Park showed his playful side and created a mountain of snow adorned Patbingsoo-style at Maru on Convoy.

The creation features all the tasty accoutrements of the regular Patbingsoo featured on the menu plus a plethora of fresh fruit cascading down a mountain of ice. The staff Maru-ites were on hand to taste-test the new creation and gave it a thumbs up – or would have if they had put their spoons down long enough….

So how many does it feed? I’d recommend bringing a good sized party to find out. 😉

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The Power of the KKonnect Effect

hmart

The Power of the Press: Enter the KKonnect Effect [The Asian Market Chronicles

I had the opportunity of visiting H-Mart today, bought some soy milk, did a little grooving to Korean Music in between the isles, mooched on some samples of Curry, Calpico Drink, Chilean Sea Bass, and Dumplings; a lazy-man’s dinner.

Can you point out what is unusual about the above sentence?

If you recall, earlier this year I gave my priceless (literally free) opinions on the five reasons “Why I Love and Despise H-Mart” as part of the surprisingly surviving “Asian Market Chronicles” series in the Korea Daily Magazine.

In it I mention how I deplored the use of  Ryan Seacrest’s Top 40 Pop Music to be used on the public in Grocery Stores, let alone in a Korean Supermarket. How songs about glamorizing getting money, drugs, sex, and more money or how Bruno Mars is “Locked out of Heaven” were not the most appropriate music for families to purchase food to.  In addition to pointing out that the other H-Mart locations played Korean Music for a Korean-owned Grocery Store.

Guess What?

H-Mart-Mira Mesa has started to play Korean Music in their stores.

Are these series of events random? Perhaps… However because this is my article I’ll make my own claim. This is an example of the power of the KKonnect Effect!

So shoppers, you will now be immersed in Korean Culture through Food, Products and Music at H-Mart-Mira Mesa. Finally, the quasi-cultural experience is now complete!

You’re welcome 🙂

Now we wait until the Korean Pop songs “Bubble Pop” or “ Pandora” play and I become vexed once again.

Cheers

Dining out: MARU – The New Place to Be on Convoy

Maru logo

마루(Maru): A wood paneled floor or platform outside a traditional Korean home used for gathering and entertaining.

MARU Lounge: A social platform for people of different cultural backgrounds to gather over great food and drinks.

 

Featuring a fresh, comfortable décor with tempting bench seats dotted with comfy pillows and a chic black and neutral toned interior, MARU creates an atmosphere that invites DSCN0144guests be at home. Owner/chef Ben Park specializes in Korean cuisine with a vision: make Korean food interesting and approachable to Koreans and non-Koreans alike. With that concept in mind he creates not only traditional favorites like Spicy Rice Cake (꺽볶이), but Cream Rice Cake, a Carbonara-style dish with Alfredo sauce, bacon and vegetables. Bulgogi (불고기) is served, but so is French Fries & Bulgogi – Chef Park’s Korean twist on Carne Asada Fries. The menu, which will likely change over time as inspiration motivates, includes salads, grilled and fried options, and warm-your-heart stews. And the dishes look every bit as fabulous as they taste: if you’re into food porn, I highly recommend MARU’s menu Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maru.sandiego/photos_stream

DSCN0155When asked what made MARU different, manager Kevin Park responded: “We believe Korean food is about balance and harmony. Whether it is in terms of food or community, to achieve balance and harmony you need knowledge and awareness of what is available and ability and willingness to incorporate different elements. I think what we are doing reflects that. We take something that we are very comfortable with like Soju and collaborate it with western cocktails: Soju Margarita, Soju Mojito, Blended Soju Smoothies, etc.” (They’re really yummy, by the way!)

MARU wants to be proactive in the community, not just with Koreans, but with the community as a whole. They want to be part of and support any cause that will reach out and connect people together. One step inside the door and guests feel the connection MARU hopes to create. The staff is friendly and warm.

So I asked: Why should people come to MARU?

Kevin answered: “Because we want YOU to be here. We want YOU to be part of us and what we do. Yes, we have quality Korean food made from fresh quality ingredients for connoisseur or new-comers, we make phenomenal cocktail soju, and we have awesome staff that are good-looking as well as friendly. But come to enjoy quality time with your friends and family and experience what diversity has to offer.”

I have, and I do. Remember the T.V. show “Cheers?” Where everybody knows your name. That’s MARU – but with class, and much better food!

건배!

 

MARU is located at 4861 Convoy Street, Suite A, San Diego, 92111

Hours
Mon – Tue: 5:30 pm – 12:00 am
Wed – Sat: 5:30 pm – 2:00 am
Sun: 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm

 

[MangezAvecFateh] Moby Dick Fish Market and Grill (ENG Version)

 Mangez1

THE HUNT FOR PROPER SEAFOOD- Moby Dick Fish Market and Grill:

A KKonnect Restaurant Review

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Moby Dick has been found! And it is nowhere near New England, in fact it is a little closer to 4805 Convoy St in San Diego.

I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the hidden foodie spots in San Diego. Moby Dick Fish Market and Grill as the name alludes to is a Fish Market and restaurant. The market sells an impressive array of fresh premium seafood from as close as Southern California to as far as New Zealand, Hawaii, Chile, and Japan. The restaurant takes the fresh seafood and makes classic poorboy sandwiches, tacos, and salads to complex pastas, miso zuke dishes, intricate sushi and Korean mixed rice dishes.

One of the great advantages of eating at Moby Dick Fish Market and Grill is that the seafood is as fresh as can be. Fresh seafood means a more colorful, vibrant and delicious seafood.

Entering the restaurant I was immediately greeted by a very attentive and sociable staff. The restaurant grounds were spacious, clean, and well maintained. However beyond the amicable staff and aesthetics, more importantly the restaurant had a true mark of a fine seafood establishment… No fishy smell!

After sharing a few capricious anecdotes with the staff, I then had the wonderful pleasure of meeting the owner of Moby Dick Fish Market and Grill, Mr. Chris Park.

ABOUT THE OWNER:

Saying Moby Dick Fish Market & Grill owner Chris Park has a passion for seafood is an egregious understatement. Not only does Mr. Park have a keen sense of the flavors and preparation of seafood with his culinary acumen, he owns his own fish market, and he also did his undergraduate studies at the University of California San Diego studying Oceanography and Marine Biology. His knowledge and appreciation for seafood would easily show when I and my colleagues were presented with his signature dishes.

DUNGENESS CRAB:

The Dungeness Crab from Washington State was quite succulent, moist and juicy. Not much needs to be said here, the crab was prepared excellently and only needed to be complimented with a lemon butter sauce.

CHERRYSTONE CLAMS:

The Cherrystone Clams came from Connecticut. The clam shells were colorful, easily showing their freshness. The clams were meaty and tender to the bite. A small squirt of lemon added a nice tartness to the savory clam meat. Simplicity and elegance all in one shell.

ROCKFISH:

Seafood is generally presented in a bourgeoisie filet in most seafood establishments. In Moby Dick, when you order fish, you literally get a whole fish presented to you. The Rockfish from Boston, Massachusetts I was presented with was fried perfectly, my fork pierced through the crispy exterior, into the soft and flaky fish meat. My colleagues and I had quite an easy time sharing the Rockfish as the meat separated from the bones so stress-free. The fish was buttery and was presented with a unique tart coleslaw.

JUMBO PRAWNS:

The next dish I was presented with was an array of fried prawns with a spicy ponzu sauce. The bold taste of the giant prawns was complimented with a unique spice seasoning which provided just enough heat to pucker your lips and crave more. The ponzu sauce added a wonderful layer of tartness to the already flavorful prawn. And the portions were quite satisfying.

CONCLUSION:

Moby Dick Fish Market and Grill excels in offering a veritable bevy of fresh fish and seafood including but not limited to ; Yellowtail, Shark, Calamari Steak, Red Snapper, Salmon, Hawaiian Ono, Albacore, Mahi Mahi, Seared Ahi Tuna, Halibut, Swordfish, Chilean Sea Bass and Alaskan Halibut. In addition to the restaurant, a Sushi Academy is offered where one can learn the fine art of Sushi making from a classically trained Master Chef from Japan.

Ultimately, the freshness, variety and owner’s appreciation of seafood sets this establishment apart from others. I look forward to revisiting the restaurant, chatting with the attentive and amicable staff, trying another regional delicacy, discovering new flavors, textures and aromas and learning my way around cutting a piece of Japanese Tuna.

-Fateh K.

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[MangezAvecFateh] Loving HUE Na Eotteokhae What Should I Do?

Cafe Hue Gelato

Mangez1

[MangezAvecFateh] Loving HUE Na Eotteokhae What Should I Do?

Good Golly Miss Molly, this is not an Asian Market article! *hyperventilates a little*. Surely I have nothing more to contribute, Na Eotteokhae? But wait…

My trips to Asian Markets seldom are just to the markets alone, often times I will visit the peripheral stores around a market complex to examine, ethnic music stores, stationary stores, restaurants, and other interesting places to part ways with the remaining money you had after grocery shopping (plus finding parking in a lot of these complexes typically takes 15 minutes so why not stay a bit longer?).

On my pseudo-sojourn to Japan via Nijiya Market I made quick stop- over to examine a restaurant called Café HUE. Titillating images of Belgian Waffles, Japanese Crepes, Home-Made Gelato guided me to the store while the melody of Korean Pop Music (not sure if it was Kara, T-ara or other some other “-ara” variant playing) emanating through the speakers kept me inside.

Walking inside the ambiance was hip and trendy with the option of customers being able to watch sports, and culinary shows, playing games while relaxing on stools, chairs and even a sofa cushion. American and Korean Pop Music entertain the customers inside the store as well as in the restrooms where the party apparently doesn’t stop.

I examined the menu and elected to try a Nutella with Mixed Nuts Crepe with Taro Gelato (~$8). While watching the very charming employee skillfully make the crepe with excellent batter moving wrist technique, I played devil’s advocate and tried to distract her by keeping my head eye-level with the pan as she carefully flipped the crepe.

A few flips later and a drizzling of caramel and mixed nuts, I was presented with an artistically crafted, beautifully decorated, sexy crepe which clearly passed the vision test. Taking my first bite, time slowed and the only noise I could here was the noise of my lips resonating “Mmm” and an exhale of pure joy. The crepe was simple, elegant, and wonderfully decorated with fruit syrups and filled with whipped creamy goodness. The home-made taro ice cream provided a nice temperature contrast to the warm crepe. The home-made whipped cream inside the crepe added a layer of luxury to the crepe’s flavor profile and a nice compliment to the melted chocolate hazelnut spread. I can honestly say without blatant hyperbole, this was the best crepe I have ever had.

The food, ambiance, and service were all on point when I visited and I have seen this as a consistent theme throughout my subsequent visits and sampling of the other permutations of crepes that exist. It is also worth noting that Café Hue also serves, Coffee, Boba Tee in addition to the aforementioned Belgian Waffles and Home-Made Gelato.

Café Hue is in my opinion the premier creperie south of Montreal, and it is located on 3860 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111 This KKonnect writer highly recommends and is highly satisfied with this side quest.

And yes, this place is not a “Korean Restaurant” per se, but sometimes Dduk just doesn’t cut it.

And SISTAR, if you’re not keen on me using your lyrics on my article, let’s discuss over four scoops of gelato. I put dibs on three scoops.

-Fateh K.

Waffle

Mangez2

 

 

 

Loving HUE Na Eotteokhae What Should I Do? [MangezAvecFateh]

Mangez2

Cafe Hue Gelato

(photo from yelp.com)

[MangezAvecFateh] Loving HUE Na Eotteokhae What Should I Do?

Good Golly Miss Molly, this is not an Asian Market article! *hyperventilates a little*.  Surely I have nothing more to contribute, Na Eotteokhae? But wait…

My trips to Asian Markets seldom are just to the markets alone,  often times I will visit the peripheral stores around a market complex to examine, ethnic music stores, stationary stores, restaurants,  and other interesting  places to part ways with the remaining money you had after grocery shopping (plus finding parking in a lot of these complexes typically takes 15 minutes so why not stay a bit longer?).

On my pseudo-sojourn to Japan via Nijiya Market I made quick stop- over to examine a restaurant called Café HUE. Titillating images of Belgian Waffles, Japanese Crepes, Home-Made Gelato guided me to the store while the melody of Korean Pop Music (not sure if it was Kara, T-ara or other some other “-ara” variant playing) emanating through the speakers  kept me inside.

Walking inside the ambiance was hip and trendy with the option of customers being able to watch sports, and culinary shows, playing games while relaxing on stools, chairs and even a sofa cushion. American and Korean Pop Music entertain the customers inside the store as well as in the restrooms where the party apparently doesn’t stop.

I examined the menu and elected to try a Nutella with Mixed Nuts Crepe with Taro Gelato (~$8). While watching the very charming employee skillfully make the crepe with excellent  batter moving wrist technique, I played devil’s advocate and tried to distract her by keeping my head eye-level with the pan as she carefully flipped the crepe.

A few flips later and a drizzling of caramel and mixed nuts, I was presented with an artistically crafted, beautifully decorated, sexy crepe which clearly passed the vision test.  Taking my first bite, time slowed and the only noise I could here was the noise of my lips resonating “Mmm” and an exhale of pure joy. The crepe was simple, elegant, and wonderfully decorated with fruit syrups and filled with whipped creamy goodness.  The home-made taro ice cream provided a nice temperature contrast to the warm crepe. The home-made whipped cream inside the crepe added a layer of luxury to the crepe’s flavor profile and a nice compliment to the melted chocolate hazelnut spread. I can honestly say without blatant hyperbole, this was the best crepe I have ever had.

The food, ambiance, and service were all on point when I visited and I have seen this as a consistent theme throughout my subsequent visits and sampling of the other permutations of crepes that exist.  It is also worth noting that Café Hue also serves, Coffee, Boba Tee in addition to the aforementioned Belgian Waffles and Home-Made Gelato.

Café Hue is in my opinion the premier creperie south of Montreal, and it is located on 3860 Convoy Street, San Diego, CA 92111 This KKonnect writer highly recommends and is highly satisfied with this side quest.

And yes, this place is not a “Korean Restaurant” per se, but sometimes Dduk just doesn’t cut it.

And SISTAR, if you’re not keen on me using your lyrics on my article, let’s discuss over four scoops of gelato. I put dibs on three scoops.

-Fateh K.

Waffle

(photo from sandiegosugar.com)

Mangez2

 

 

Korea Goes Loco for the Taco Bell Bulgogi Combo

Bulgogi Combo

Introducing the Infamous Taco Bell Bulgogi Combo in Korea.  This meal features a Fiesta Bulgogi Taco, Grilled Bulgogi Burrito and Soft Drink.  The Fiesta Bulgogi Taco contains lettuce and fiesta salsa (what makes this “party salsa” I’m not too sure of ), and the Grilled Bulgogi Burrito appears to have shredded melty cheese, and fiesta salsa both of which containing what appears to be the most photogenic beef advertising can pay for.

This KKonnecter hopes this is better than the “Loaded Potato Griller” Taco Bell rolled out a few weeks ago  (A pocket full of liquid cheese and cream cheese, and a few potatoes is not “Living Mas”…Unless Mas means “Mas Health Problems”…. Stick to the Bean Burrito Fresco)

-Fateh K.

H-MART: What’s Hot and What’s Cold?

HMart

THE ASIAN MARKET CHRONICLES:

H-MART: WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S COLD?

(A KKonnect.net Special)

I’d like to preface this post by saying that opinions written in this article do not necessarily represent the opinions KKonnect. And that H-Mart and I are still friends. How can a place of commerce can have a friendship with a human?  I don’t know…Just read the post.

H-MART SARANGHAEYO!!!: Why I am enamored by H-Mart

1.       The Peerless Shopping Experience!

The Asian Market Chronicles

The Asian Market Chronicles: Into the New World 다시 만난 세계

by Fateh K.

 

What do you notice when you enter a grocery store? The displays? The fragrances? The person handing out samples? Quit shamelessly grabbing and pocketing samples for a second and pause. Close your eyes and open your ears. Chances are you are now experiencing what many people ignore, Asian Market white noise.

Once again I find myself partaking in another  pseudo-sojourn to East Asia via an Asian Market in charming Upstate New York during winter time, seeking refuge from the bitter cold and snow, buying my standard bag of instant dumplings, instant ramen, and instant curry (amazing how lazy people demand food fast). Once purchasing my sustenance, I stopped for a moment, tearing the Velcro from my wallet to stuff my change and receipt, I heard the phrase “Saranghae” in the distance with a catchy tune . I started to rock my head back in forth, feeling the beat and walking towards the exit with a jaunty quasi-dance saunter. After pointing at the speakers, one of the associates simply said “Girls Generation” with a thumbs up. I repeated the name of the band a few times and embarked on a journey to find a CD.

Keeping in mind this was before “The Boys” came to America, the only chance of me physically purchasing a CD was to go to a Korean Music Store. Executing a simple internet search I found the only store selling Korean Music in the whole of New York was in Korea Town in New York City. The practical side of me suggested to get a copy online, however the headstrong alpha-male in me said to purchase a two-hour bus ride from the Rensselaer Train Station to Manhattan and brave the treacherous snow. Of course I listened to the latter because I’m a single guy who has nothing better to do with his time or disposable income, and I knew at some point I would be writing this article a year later for KKonnect.

As the bus headed south on Interstate 87 towards passing the picturesque Catskill Mountains towards downstate New York, I had my route planned from Madison Square Garden to a Korean music store near West 32nd St and Broadway and Koreatown. Upon exiting the bus in downtown Manhattan. I was greeted with an arctic blast of good ol’ east coast wake me up (and yes, cold weather does exist my San Diegan Friends). I walked at a rather strong pace, weaving through the constant dynamic flux of speedy New Yorkers and taking brief stops at fast food restaurants for directions and French fries.

Entering the KPOP Store, I exhaled feeling the warmth and comfort of centralized heating. What I witnessed was a trendy market place with posters of glamorous women with fierce looks and men who look very cosmopolitan and fancy. I grabbed my first $30.00 KPop CD- Girls Generation “Run Devil Run” and saluted the store-owner with a smile as big as Upstate New York for lack of knowledge of any conversational Korean.

On the two hour bus ride back to Albany, I was able to reflect on my journey while twirling the plastic bag carrying my new CD in a state of bemusement. A simple white noise playing on the speakers of a market, sparked my interest in Korea, influenced me to take a trip to Manhattan, and drove me to spend a premium on a CD. Sometimes a pseudo-sojourn, can turn into a real sojourn.

On a separate note, besides the brisk weather, Manhattan is a quintessential world destination. Historic buildings, awe-inspiring architecture, deluxe shopping, diverse cuisine, the ladies look glamorous and have fierce looks, and the guys look very cosmopolitan and fancy. Also, you can get skewered kebabs street side for a fair price. And for those of you hardcore Girls Generation fans, I know  “Into the New World” was not on the “Run Devil Run” CD, however the latter wouldn’t make sense for the title of this article, so please forgive me.

And for those of you hardcore Girls Generation fans, I know “Into the New World” was not on the “Run Devil Run” CD, however the latter wouldn’t make sense for the title of this article, so please forgive me. And for those who are curious, my CD package had a poster of Yoona on it. Yay!