Sweet Summertime in Seoul

How the crap is it mid-July already?!  I spent so much time getting psyched up for summer to arrive, and now it’s already halfway finished; mental!  I guess it’s hard to maintain those good feelin’ summer vibes when you’re cooped up in a windowless building for 9 hours, five days a week…  But at least we’ll be jetting off to Japan for our week-long summer break soon!  Can’t freakin’ wait!   We’ve been trying to save up funds for Japan by eating out less…and while we’ve been eating out less, we’ve been drinking out more.  There are so many sweet spots for cocktails and sugariffic treats in Seoul, I just can’t help myself!

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My absolute fave chocolate peanut butter cake at PLANT

PLANT vegan cafe in Itaewon closed for renovations a few months ago, and since it reopened, it actually seems to be 10 times busier than it was before!  On our past few visits, we managed to grab a seat just once; the other times we snagged some cakes to go and snarfed them down on the nearest available benches.

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Iced chai tea lattes forever, please!

It’s so easy to spend an entire day (maybe even an entire weekend) eating and drinking in Itaewon.  The variety and quality of food and drink here is super duper!  We broke our ‘no meals out’ rule to try the Ethiopian club / cafe Zion, at the recommendation of Alien’s Day Out.  I had experienced Ethiopian food once before, as a teenager in D.C., and I was kinda scarred for life.  First of all, I had no idea what to expect, so when a lukewarm, soggy, sour bread that resembled a sponge was slapped onto the table, covered in various brown and green blobs of indeterminate substance, I sort of lost my appetite.  And it didn’t taste much better than it looked.  So, I’m happy to say that my second experience of Ethiopian cuisine totally redeemed that first, troubling encounter.

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Eoin and I shared this vegetarian injera platter, which only set us back 10,000 won (less than ten bucks!)

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The three lentil curries were my favorites; so sweet and spicy.  And this injera was nowhere near as sour and spongy as the first one I’d tried all those years ago; it was actually very fluffy, with just a mild bitterness.  We spoke to one of the staff members on the way out the door, and he told us that the injeras here are actually made using rice flour!

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Though Club Zion serves food, it is definitely not a restaurant, or even a cafe, but a pretty bare-bones nightclub.  The lighting is dim, the tables are grimy, and the seats are falling apart.  But we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food!

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We were feelin’ thirsty after lunch, so we stopped into this cute little craft brewery, Little Ale!  It’s located just across the street from the Wolfhound Pub in Itaewon.

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Despite the teensy tiny space, they’d managed to squeeze in as many tables, chairs, and stools as possible, and with good reason; this place filled up soon after we stopped in!

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Eoin got a tall, frosty weissbier and I got a dark coconut ale (yes, that’s right, coconut beer, and it was totally delish!)  They also serve peanut-oil french fries…which we’ll have to go back and try some time…for research purposes, of course.

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We were feelin’ a bit peckish after our brewskies, so we popped into Mexican cantina Hacienda, conveniently located right across the street from Little Ale.  We got this basket of hot and crispy tortilla chips with fresh, do-it-yourself guacamole, and a couple of blackcurrant and spiced berry mojitos (which were so freakin’ tasty, we’d downed them before taking photos.)

Before calling it a day, (all of this liquid indulgence was done before 7pm; don’t judge us), we stopped into the Texan Korean fusion cocktail bar Southside Parlor in Noksapyeong.

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I’d been wanting to check this place out before we even moved to Seoul, but its operating hours of 6-11pm made it tricky to do so; we live over an hour away from Itaewon, and our little fur baby needs his dinner and evening walkies, so staying in Seoul past six isn’t usually an option for us.  We decided to drop Duggie into daycare at Bau House, so we could stay in Seoul a bit later, just to give Southside a go.

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And we were not disappointed!  I got a ‘Bramble On’ – a satisfyingly sweet mixture of fresh blackberries, ginger beer, and gin, and Eoin got a ‘Southside Tonic’ – gin and tonic with a twist.

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Makeshift stage for stand-up and acoustic performances.

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Old-school Street Fighter machine!

The staff here were all so super friendly and helpful, too.

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We found this funky building on our way through Hongdae and Hapjeong.  I really wanna check out that Reality Bites cafe sometime!

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I honestly would not be surprised to find out that Seoul has more cafes than any other city on Earth; it sure feels that way.

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Don’t mind me, cat.

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One last sweet treat for the weekend: a vegan Dole Whip cone from LuAu Whip in Hongdae.  OM NOM NOM!

xoxo

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