Tag Archives: korean

Cafe Korobokgur — Koreatown, LA

Although Los Angeles brings its hardships in living and finding our way, Koreatown is certainly not lacking in its culinary scene. Get ready for a ton of reviews on Koreatown restaurants. We love to walk around our neighborhood and find hidden gems to feast our faces on. We almost always come out smiling. Especially from places like today’s review– Cafe Korobokgur. Sound like a mouthful? We think so, thus we call it “that little gnome place.” And we mean it in the best way possible. 

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Cafe Korobokgur is an American-Korean fusion cafe. I keep wanting to call it “little” but it’s actually quite large for a cafe. It’s adorably decorated with cute things here and there (with Miyazaki things too which is a plus). It has an incredibly friendly atmosphere. It is certainly a place I would call “hip” but not overcrowded with people, which is nice. It has its own character and feel to it, which I really appreciate in food establishments. They are them and they aren’t afraid to show it. You’ll find cute quotes, sayings, and pictures all over this place. There’s a little “cafe front” and then we assume the kitchen is in back. This cafe is not just for drinks, but for food too. They also have an adorable restroom. 

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Can you find the Cat Bus?

We came here for dinner one night. There were other Koreans and Korean-Americans here–mostly our age–that brought their study supplies or friends to enjoy. Again, we come in with a smile to a relaxed atmosphere. When we are in good, generous moods, we like to spoil ourselves with food. And that means 3-course meals. After bringing us some fruit-and-cucumber-infused water, our waiter took our order. For appetizer, we got seasoned fries and fried calamari. They served different seasonings for the fries which was fun to try out and it was certainly delicious and cooked well. The fried calamari also pleased us. After appetizer, it was time for our main dishes. I got the kimchi fried rice and Hungry got Don Katsu. We were both satisfied with our entrees, though I couldn’t even finish mine. The kimchi fried rice was nice and spicy, so that I had to take slow. For dessert, we got something original by this place called a “Jarming.” Basically it is a mini mason jar filled with a dessert. We decided on the banana nutella sponge cake Jarming and it was absolutely fantastic. I seriously cannot stress enough how good this little thing was. They also make them in tons of different flavors and make seasonal ones too! 

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Fried calamari

Fried calamari

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Full of YUM

Full of YUM

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The service was a bit slow, so don’t come here in a rush. However, it is part of the relaxed atmosphere, I think. We are definitely going to head back to Cafe Korobokgur again and enjoy its adorable details and its yummy food soon. The drinks were rather expensive, but if nothing else, that Jarming will reel me in for another round for sure. If you’re in Koreatown, be sure to stop at Cafe Korobokgur and don’t leave there without a Jarming! I promise, you won’t regret it. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah resting in between a set of reps

Sajah resting in between a set of reps

K-Town Festival in Pictures

 It was 7pm Sunday night and Hungry saw that a bunch of streets were closed off for some festival. We did some investigating and it was the K-Town Halloween Festival! It included food vendors, clothing vendors, and more. It was loads of fun, a perfect way to spend Sunday night. What a fun neighborhood we live in! 

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First stop... Ramen Burger!

First stop… Ramen Burger!

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Yum

Yum

Obviously had to play games

Obviously had to play games

So much Boba

So much Boba

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Restaurant Review: Sushi Hana (Longmont, CO)

Being fanatics of Japanese food, Chris and I are always looking for new and yummy places. We have high standards for fish, we both come from coastal cities, so don’t blame us! One day at work, my boss took me out to Sushi Hana in Longmont (where I work…about 15 miles from Boulder) for a lunch meeting to get some work done. It’s this little place that would be extremely easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. Luckily, I wasn’t driving.

We get seated immediately, after all we were there just around 11am–an early lunch. We get a hot pot of green tea to share which was perfect for a sunless, cold day. After much mulling over the lunch menu, I decide for a “sushi box” which is basically a bento box, but with sushi instead of tempura or a teriyaki dish. Overall, the fish was good (I got tuna) and the meal as a whole was very enjoyable. I got a lot of food for just $11. There was a maki roll on top of that, pork dumplings (didn’t eat), big thing of delicious rice, salad, soup, and an orange. Like I’m saying, ridiculous amount of food. The atmosphere is delightful: quiet, cultural, and peaceful. We stayed there for a while after we finished our food, and the polite, friendly server continued to fill our green tea cups. I left very full.

My delicious lunch

My delicious lunch

Usually when we do reviews, it’s of places Chris and I have both gone to. So what did that mean? After work, one Friday, I take him to Sushi Hana. This is a good sign–means I like the place enough to go back! Similar to the last experience, we were seated right away. I took the initiative to get us some green tea. This time, I ordered the salmon teriyaki box and Chris ordered the una-don (eel over rice). The salmon was cooked very well, and again, I couldn’t finish all my food (good thing I had Hungry with me). I also got the tuna-avocado maki roll which was really delicious and I preferred it without the soy sauce, another good sign. Chris said the una-don was good, but a little small. Good thing he had to finish mine!

Aaand the salmon teriyaki

Aaand the salmon teriyaki

Overall, Sushi Hana is a good spot, at least for lunch. It isn’t our favorite (see Kho’s or Korea House), but is definitely on our good list. If you’re in Longmont, hit up this spot for a great lunch special! Eat Japanese food to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

What I wish my every day was

What I wish my every day was

Happy 25th Birthday, Chris! (aaand #boulderflood)

This is going to be a joint post, written by the both of us, about Chris’ birthday and the flood that erupted on his very birthday here in our home of Boulder, Colorado. And it isn’t stopping. As I sit here, I’m watching more rain pour down as it has since 8am. We got a few dry days, but now the rain is here for a while. Where to begin? Let’s just start with Chris’ actual birthday. I’ll be writing most of it, and he will pop in here and there for certain things.

6:30am, Thursday, September 12th. Chris is still sleeping in bed, I need be at work by 8, but I want to go to our favorite bakery and surprise him with croissants. It’s been raining for a few days now, started Monday and worked its way until today. It’s still raining now. I slip socks and crocs on and head out. I get to the bakery but I am kind of dumbstruck and don’t know where to park. The entire right side of the street is flooded. Now this is before we had any flood alerts or thought there was a problem. I turned around and parked on the other side of the street. The bakery was open and I wanted to get him croissants! There was a worker outside and I asked him how to get through it, and he said, “I just got my feet wet.” I still looked for a way, but it was useless. Water was pouring from the north and streaming into the streets. I ended up walking through a foot and a half of water and they had no croissants! Wish I had taken a picture.

A now-famous picture taken by someone at the library

So I get back, wake Chris up, wish him happy birthday and give him breakfast. We turn on the news and see that it’s pretty bad all over. Highways buckling, houses flooding, people trapped. We eat breakfast and open presents, all the while he is communicating with his coworkers. (It’s Chris now) I want to thank everyone for all of the awesome gifts. I’ve always been quite spoiled. I received a gift card to Macy’s, Amazon, and AMC cinemas along with $30 cash. I also got some nice Burberry cologne, a handmade snake-like bottle opener, and a handmade Giraffe head cork wine topper. I was upset with Alana for getting me so much. She got me the newest iPad with a case and keyboard attachment. She also got me two hoodies: one sleeveless one from H&M and a Legend of Zelda one from Woot. I can’t say what I like the most but all of the gifts were very thoughtful and will fit in this household nicely. I am excited as always to use the AMC tickets for two free movies for the two of us. Especially since there are a few movies coming out next weekend that I want to see. Thanks again to everyone for the kind wishes whether it was family or friends.

Birthday breakfast!

Birthday breakfast!

Back to Alana. The 119 (how I get to work) is flooding and Longmont is bad. Chris and his staff decide to close the shop and he goes to make sure the flood damage is okay. Everyone advises me to stay home, so I do. This is all very new and not exactly sure what to expect. It was nice for Chris to have his birthday off of work, but we felt for everyone suffering. Luckily, our apartment is 3 floors up, and we are on a safer side of town. We didn’t do much that day, played video games and stayed inside.Chris loved being able to do that, since normally we have too much on our plate. We just made sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed the down time.

We get a call around 3pm from one of our good friends who lives a block away. He is driving home from Littleton (highways are an absolute mess) and his wife and kid are at home with a flooded bedroom. We run to get the shop vac and bring it over to their place. They were the lucky ones. The western building of their apartment complex got completely flooded with 2 feet of water. We immediately begin to vacuum the carpet out which is saturated and getting worse. A battle we can’t win against the pelting rain coming at us. By the time our friend gets home, we have already dumped out 32 gallons of water.

Shop vac

Shop vac

Pouring out gallons of water

Pouring out gallons of water

Kicking up water

Kicking up water

We knew we couldn’t suck up all the water so we go outside and decide to dig a trench away from the windows and then use the mud to create a barrier. It was messy, wet work, but it did give some layer of protection.

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Those rainboots ended up having holes in them…surprise!

Packing as fast as we can

Packing as fast as we can

Flexing, obviously

Flexing, obviously

After we finish up, we wash the mud off in a flooded street. We go inside for a little bit more clean-up. Chris is bummed so many places are closed. I had this elaborate plan for the day, that I would take him out for lunch, that after work we would workout and then surprise him with China Gourmet and a birthday cake. Nope, not gonna happen. However, one of our most favorite places in town was miraculously open. They know us well at Korea House and invited us with open arms. We were soaked, muddy, and tired, and this meal invigorated us. We got a fixed menu with beer, bulgogi, korean soup, soups, salads, and mochi ice cream. Because it was Chris’ birthday and because the chef loves us that much, he served us with a big beautiful plate of some of the most flavorful sushi I’d ever had. He also gave us a large bottle of hot sake and another beer for free. Happy Birthday, right? It was just what we needed to bring our spirits up. We told them if they needed a place to stay (they live in Longmont), that they could always come to us. We left happy and it was pouring harder than ever.

Korean birthday feast

Korean birthday feast

We get back safely, though main streets are flooding. We play some more video games for a while and then we get into bed. Things are only getting worse. Chris passes out, but my stomach is in knots. So before I continue, let me just tell you about the wonderful Twitter #boulderflood. Online news can’t do enough. I have been on the #boulderflood this entire time, getting minute-by-minute updates from news agencies, emergency agencies, and real-life people struggling in the flood. It has been an absolutely amazing resource, I still follow it now. So as I’m lying in bed, reading the #boulderflood hashtag, things start getting worse. The Emerson Gulch has broken and now a 30-foot wall of water is heading straight for the Creek. I know college kids can be drunk and stupid and people reported seeing some near the creek, fooling around. I stress about their lives. About how the death toll might rise. After a few hours, I finally get to sleep, only to dream more about the flood and wake up too much. Here are pictures from the house we house-sat at:

Beginning of the day

Beginning of the day

End of the day...that used to be a back yard

End of the day…that used to be a back yard

Friday. Despite only a few hours of sleep, we wake up semi-early. The rain has stopped and light can be seen. We stay inside for a bit and then decide to go venture out with Marga and Michael to see the damage. The “unaccounted-for” toll has risen to around 130. There is a lot of debris everywhere, but things are drying up. Mud is the problem since there were massive mudslides the previous night. I hear Lyons is an island and Longmont is incredibly flooded. The YMCA where I work at is closed. Our old street (we just recently moved) got flooded and now instead of pavement, it is a mud street. Our previous neighbors are carrying buckets of mud-water out of their house. It is all mucked up. We continue on for about 5 miles total, seeing the damage. But we don’t even go to the bad area, we get tired and head back.

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Our old street

Our old street

a parking lot nearby

a parking lot nearby

Goose Creek where I run next to

Goose Creek where I run next to

The creek rose to ridiculously high levels

The creek rose to ridiculously high levels

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We end up going to the gym, finding a bit of normalcy in our recently turned-upside down life. After a great shoulder workout (my traps are still sore!), we head back home. More video games. We are happy for the lack of rain. I can even see a star or two. We also watch From Up on Poppy Hill, the newest Miyazaki film. We go to bed around 2am.

Saturday. Another dry morning! Evacuations continue at a much higher rate now. The National Guard is here and you can see and hear the military helicopters going here and there every minute (no exaggeration). Our friend (with the flooded bedroom) invited us to go play frisbee golf as we often do on Saturdays. Sure, why not! Well, half the course had some bad flooding, but that didn’t stop us. Afterwards, we went to Glacier (our favorite ice cream joint here) and Chris finally got his free ice cream (because it’s his birthday). We go back to the apartment for a little bit and then head out to the gym for a good chest workout (yes, my pecs are sore). As the day continues, formidable clouds begin to form. We come back, watch Castle and play video games. And have mac n cheese and ramen for dinner, good comfort food.

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photo (20)And now it’s Sunday. Still raining strong. Flood alerts are back. Road closures are back. Unaccounted-for toll is up to 530 people. Tragic stories on the news. I hope I can get to work tomorrow. And I truly hope everyone stays safe. I wish I could reach out and help more people, but it’s hard to get to most people right now. Chris certainly had a birthday that nobody will forget. I will stay vigilantly attached to the #boulderflood to stay in touch with everyone and all events. Please send good energy this way. And some dry weather. And despite all these horrible events, everyone reaches out to each other to help. That is what is keeping spirits up, when everything else is gone. Stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

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Nymeria staying warm

Easy Korean-Style Beef Bowl

If you know us, we love Korean food (as Chris spent a summer in South Korea and consequently fell in love with the culture he had already been into). So when I stumbled upon this fantastic easy (ridiculously easy) recipe by one of my favorite food bloggers, I had to recreate it (altered it slightly)! Mine may not look as pretty, mostly because it was all for Chris so he got the entire beef bowl (4 servings) so that you can’t see the rice (oops!). My version of the recipe has less sugar, less spice (Chris has a Geographic Tongue, so he can’t have spice), and brown rice instead of white. Makes it a little bit healthier, but it was healthy from the start.  He had worked a long day at work, and I was taking a rest day on workouts, so I decided to make him something that he would love and fill him up...Korean style!

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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 3-4 normal people (Chris ate it all)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 crushed red-pepper flakes [you can use more if you like spice]
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • cooked brown rice

Directions

  • Mix together the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame teriyaki sauce, ginger, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. It’d be best to use a fork or a whisk to really blend everything together.

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  • Leave that to the side. Heat up the oil in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the chopped garlic to the oil

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  • Once you get that lovely cooking garlic smell, it’s time to throw the ground beef in. Cook it until it’s browned, breaking it up as you do. Could take 4-8 minutes depending on your stove. While it’s cooking, chop up your green onions.
So purdy

So purdy

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  • Drain the excess fat (ew). Stir in the magical mixture we created at the start, letting it get to all of the meat and soak up the flavor. Add the green onions as well. By this time, it will be smelling goooood. 

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  • And serve over rice! It’s smart to cook it beforehand so it’s ready there waiting for you.

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You won’t be able to see the rice in my dish, because it’s smothered by the beef! It was such an easy, quick recipe (perfect for summer days when it’s too hot to cook a lot), I would do it again in a heartbeat. Chris loved it and literally ate the whole pound of ground beef plus the rice. Guess it was alright. Thanks to DamnDelicious for the recipe and use it to stay hungry and fit!

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah watching me cook

Sajah watching me cook

My Hell Week is Over

Disclaimer: I would never suggest this “diet” to anyone else. For me, it was just a willpower test I’ve wanted to try. I am highly against crash or fad diets.

Second Disclaimer: This is kind of a long post, but only because it means a lot to me.

I did it. I did it! I did it! If you’re wondering why I’m seemingly raving mad right now, direct yourself to this postIf you don’t feel like reading the whole thing (even though it’s short), I’ll give you a little summary. I did a crazy thing of subjecting myself to 7 days of 560 caloric hell. The actors from Spartacus did this to get lean and in slave-gladiator-like shape for their show. It was a prescribed four water protein shakes a day. That’s it. For an entire week. And that was while they were at “Gladiator Camp” doing 4 hours of combat work each day. I unfortunately had no such camp to attend, so every other day I completed the hellish Spartacus Circuit (3 times over). And on the other days, I did other cardio and strength exercises.

Working hard during a Spartacus circuit

Working hard during a Spartacus circuit

So last Wednesday I forwent food, subsisting on only 4-5 protein shakes a day (water mixed with protein powder). If any of you know me, I am hungry most of the time. Why do you think we named this blog Hungry and Fit? I didn’t choose to do this to lose weight or lose inches (even though I am doing this contest), I did it for the sole sake of testing my willpower. And I did it. I didn’t touch any food for that entire week though I drooled and craved it constantly. I’m waiting for someone to send me my “Willpower Extraordinaire” plaque, but I guess it takes time to mail.

My only sustenance

I am very proud of myself and happy I pushed through. Water, gum, and ice are the three material things that really helped me get through it. Oh, and video games. Thanks, nerdy side of myself, for helping me get lost in that while I wasn’t working out or working. More than those, Chris and friends really supported me. Chris was there for me every step of the way and my friends would text me each morning say, “Alana, still staying strong?!” I appreciated it more than they know. Because I was definitely an infinitely more grumpy person during that week. You can especially ask Chris, but also my workmates like Daisy or Kim too.

How I felt

How I felt

Again, I would not suggest this to anyone. After only consuming 560 calories a day, working out every day, and continuing an active-paced job, I lost ten pounds (I know my mum is yelling at me right now back home). Ten pounds in a week is NOT GOOD. Listen to me, I’m a trainer. That’s what you call a bad crash diet. Again, I want to reiterate, I did it for the willpower test, because for me, I think at the end of the day, if you don’t have your willpower, you don’t have anything. It was extremely rough the first few days–who am I kidding, it was rough for the entirety, but I started getting used to not consuming food. However, by the end, my body was pretty mad at me, making me a little sick and weak. Again–DON’T do this. I’m just sharing my achievement. It ended up de-motivating me for my contest because I was so miserable without food and feeling weak.

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

I’m showing you pictures of how my body slightly transformed, not as motivation, but to document how this affected me.

You can imagine how blissfully amazing this day of rebirth into food has been (if you think I’m being dramatic, blame my dad, he’s an actor). I had my meals planned days in advance (because what do you do when you can’t eat? You think about food!). I was in such a better mood than I had been all week and I was just happy because I did it. I accomplished something I had wanted to for a long time now. I’m all for celebration, but I’m still on track for this contest. And although today is a “cheat” day (you’ll get descriptions and pictures after this of my meals today), I’m going right back to strict eating of lean proteins, veggies, fruits, and complex carbohydrates to get to my “extremely fit” goal with Chris at my back as a coach.

This wasn’t even close to my cheat day before the Spartacus Hell Week (in terms of bad food), but it was cheat enough for me because it was real, beautiful FOOD. Let’s look at the menu.

For Breakfast: Dot’s Diner

Small House Breakfast...that's fake meat

Small House Breakfast…that’s fake meat

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I really tried slowly eating, but you can’t understand my excitement and happiness. I ate most of it, but not the whole biscuit. Stomach felt funky for a few hours, but it just needs to get used to solids again.

For Lunch: Snarf’s 

Tuna sandwich...mmmm

Tuna sandwich…mmmm

Face of bliss

Face of bliss

The mouth-watering in this situation happened to be ridiculous. Again, tried to take my time. 

For Dinner: Korea House

Korea House in its amazingness...we would eat here every night if we could afford it

Korea House in its amazingness…we would eat here every night if we could afford it

Happy last meal

Happy last meal

I wasn’t going to (or supposed to) have any thick dairy like milk or ice cream, but we were served it by our favorite Korean chef and we always put respect, honor, and morals before anything else.

All in all, I’m glad I did it. I’m proud of myself. But I will never do it again.  I only wish to inspire people to try to reach higher and higher, because you never know what you’re capable of. Wish me luck on the rest of my 5 weeks til the end of the contest! Going to be on an eating plan of tuna, beans, rice, vegetables, grapefruit, banana, fish and oatmeal! Use your willpower to stay hungry and fit!

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Hungry Eats… Ramen (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles)

If you read the title you know that there are a lot of good things going on so this has to end well. Hungry’s favorite soup and potentially his favorite food is ramen. Most of you are probably thinking why would Hungry love ramen; it’s not good for you and it’s disgusting. That’s what a lot of people I know say until I get them some real ramen. Ramen is a type of noodle popular in Asian cultures such as Japan and Korea.

You can find it in American supermarkets made by Maruchan and Top Ramen for anywhere from 15-25 cents a package. It’s almost completely nutritionally void or negative with dead calories and large amounts of sodium and abundant processing. But I love it. Ever since my sister ate ramen in high school, I have loved it. Luckily, I live a generally healthy lifestyle so I do not feel guilty or see the negative effects of eating it, even in excess, but you need to be careful consuming these supermarket brands (but the real stuff is okay!). BUT this all is going to be saved for another time because I didn’t mean to say this much about ramen. This is a restaurant review for Men Oh Tokushima Ramen in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo (you can see Fit on the left corner!)

Daikokuya is the most popular ramen spot in Japangeles. It is always packed and it was very busy when we went with our party of 6. We decided to pass it up and continue to Men Oh because of reviews on Yelp. It is not in the main drag of Little Tokyo and is hidden in a strip mall so it can be hard to find. You need to find it. The 6 of us (Fit’s family and family friend) walked in the Sunday night before Memorial Day. It was empty but by the time we left it was completely full although it is small. The menu is tiny but I can assure you that nearly everything is amazing since we had nearly everything. Everything we had was amazing so we figure everything is just as good.

The Menu

The Menu

The atmosphere mimics a perfect, small ramen shop but not ramen stop. It was very clean and cute. The staff was organized, kind, professional and efficient. The food was ridiculously filling, delicious and cheap as dirt. It also was much healthier than your store-brand ramen. Their theme is ramen influenced by Tokushima Prefecture on the smallest of Japan’s 4 major islands, Shikoku Island. The industry here is based on raising pork so the ramen has broth heavily flavored by pork bones and filled with pork meat. We got 4 of their 3 ramen dishes available (custom) and all were nearly flawless. I was the only one with great ramen experience but even people having it for the first time were as thrilled as I was.

Awesome painting

Awesome painting

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My dish

My dish

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Fit's dish (without meat or pork broth)

Fit’s dish (without meat or pork broth)

I can’t say much more than this is the perfect spot. You get a cheap, delicious, and filling meal that is quickly served by an efficient and kind wait staff in a clean and enjoyable environment. We will go back whenever we can and bring whoever we can. Michelin might not give this place a star, but I certainly do. And that says a lot. Really. Hungry approved. More to come about my obsession and history with ramen in the future!

Hungry & Fit chowing down

Hungry & Fit chowing down

 

Double-fisting...finishing everybody else's broths

Double-fisting…finishing everybody else’s broths

The Japanese Taco Masters: Sunny Blue (Santa Monica, California)

During my time in school in South Korea, I found it very challenging to maintain my daily caloric intake of 10,000-12,000. One reason is the food is extremely healthy and calorically low. The second is that the servings are tiny compared to those in the United States. Finally, so much of the food is extremely spicy and very painful for me to eat because of my geographic tongue. The result was I first found out how to say, write, and read wrappers for food. The first words I learned were beef, chicken, tuna and spicy/hot.

I learned how to read the wrappers on a portable food called kimbap, or gimbap, or however you spell or say it. The g and k sound in Korean is one of the tricky ones to learn how to differentiate between when you learn the language. It’s pronounced kimbap, if you’re American. I lived on these… I mean I must have had at least 6-12 a day and they were not of the highest quality. They were typically from 7-11 or a local market similar to 7-11 depending on where I was. We had one of these markets in our residence hall on campus so I got all the ones I could from there. Typically, I would have the not spicy tuna with mayo. It gave me the protein I needed, wasn’t spicy, and had some extra calories from the mayo. It was good, it made me happy and it only led to me losing 30 pounds in Korea as opposed to maybe 40. That’s another story I’ll cover in the future when I talk about my fitness journey and goals. So why did I bother to tell you all this history… well this is why.

Tuna

Tuna

On Main Street in Santa Monica, you can find an amazing little food shop called Sunny Blue. Fit and I went there the first week they opened a few years ago and it was dead every day. The female owner, Keiko,  was nearly the only one working there but we frequented it every day during that week in Samo. Why? Because they served omusubi, or onigiri, or rice balls. These are the Japanese twin of my kimbaps and I was thrilled to find it. They are VERY similar and this location does not lack quality control and creating great flavor profiles. They make all of their omusubi fresh for you. The ingredients are prepared earlier but they are assembled to order, and freshly seasoned in the process.

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Over the past few years, they have gotten much more popular and now when we visit, the line is out the door. We are thrilled that they have seen such growth and success because they deserve it for their devotion to their craft. They also serve some traditional Japanese sodas, shrimp chips, and frozen yogurt. When we got the froyo when they first opened, it wasn’t quite the quality of YogurtLand nor did it match their level of omusubi, so we’ve never tried their froyo again. Nevertheless, Sunny Blue is a must stop-by food location in Los Angeles, and the brilliance is you can eat one whenever. I don’t care how full you are from lunch, each rice ball is a snack sized treat that can find its way to your stomach.

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From our most recent trip, yesterday, the menu has expanded to include daily specials and a long list of classic selections. Popular choices include: miso mushroom, hijike shitaki, tuna mayo, tokyo tori, curry chicken, miso beef, and more. Those are our favorites because of the lack of spice, but richness of other flavors. They are reasonably priced in the range of $2.50-$5.00 depending on what you get. I’ve actually never seen one for more than $4.50 so $3-4 is a more accurate range for the normal menu. PLUS, now they sell very cute t-shirts! Sunny Blue is a hungry and fit favorite. We even learned to make it ourselves so when we depart Santa Monica, we can somewhat resemble the deliciousness. It tastes delicious, is light on the wallet, and can definitely help you stay hungry and fit!

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Tuna

Tuna

Health and Fitness Reviews: King Spa (Fort Lee, NJ)

While I was in Korea, I spent a lot of time in a place known as a jjimjilbang. It’s essentially a spa, translates into heated bath room, but it’s unlike those I’ve found in the United States (Not that I go to many spas). Although King Spa is not as extravagant, in terms of activities to do, it is an excellent destination. Essentially I want to discuss these places so that you can look for one near you and experience something amazing.

It’s a treat for the body and mind. The ones in the United States, including King Spa, are ridiculously more expensive than those in all parts of Korea. I’ve stayed in ones in Seoul, Boryeong, Jukjeon, and Donghae. Maybe some others but I can’t really remember. I spent the most time in Jukjeon because it was so close to the school I attended so I frequented those jjimjilbang and they were obviously my favorite. But moving on to why they are so amazing.

King Spa

King Spa

At King Spa, you can park your car and enter the spa for a full day and night of peace and relaxation… and delicious food! Obviously the choice of food and television is Korean and there are mostly Korean Americans at King Spa, but you get other individuals that have discovered the magic within as well. They have lots of showers and different temperature baths. There is a nice warm one, a burning hot one, and a freezing cold one.

There are also equivalents for steam rooms. These are painfully hot. In my opinion, the main attractions are these dome like rooms that are typically made of mud that contain special scents and materials that help heal the body. These domes are also temperature controlled and they range from hundreds of degrees to freezing. Some rooms require wearing burlap sacks and some have snowmen in them. There are chairs for watching television and relaxing and rooms dedicated to complete sleep and relaxation. There are tons of delicious food to snack on and if you want to find out more about the food there… then make sure to read our review on Korea House in Boulder. Alana also gave her go at Korean food too.

I don’t want to go into too much depth because King Spa doesn’t have as much to offer as places in South Korea, but it is your responsibility to treat your body right. Find a spa like one of these and treat yourself to some rest, relaxation and recovery. It will make you healthier and stronger and such a happier person. Find a jjimjilbang if you want to stay hungry and fit!

Us at King Spa

This picture was AFTER all-you-can-eat sushi at around 11pm after no sleep from flying to NJ. But still happy

Bibimbap: Korea’s Perfect Meal

Let me start off by saying I’m pretty proud of myself for creating this dish tonight after a day’s worth of work and a workout. It took a good bit of work and time, but it was so worth it. Most of you are probably wondering…what in the heck is bibimbap? Well thanks to my Korean-obsessed partner, I am now blessed to the amazingness that is Korean food (and yes amazingness is a word). Bibimbap is basically mixed rice with vegetables, but is so much more. It really proves why and how Koreans are so healthy and why the obesity rate is so low there. I can’t wait to move to South Korea one day where this will be a regular meal.

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You can really make it your own, using a variety of vegetables and proteins. I used this recipe and this one as well, deciding from each what I wanted to do. Chris had a so-so day so I wanted to surprise him with a Korean dinner that he would really enjoy. Now that I know how to do it from heart, I believe I will be doing this on the regular (I know that makes Chris happy).

  • Prep Time (for n00bs like me): 20-40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Serves: 2.5 normal people (Chris isn’t normal)

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it really is a simple dish once you get the hang of it. Let’s first start off with a special sauce that is for non-spice people (Chris unfortunately can’t have spice). It’s easy and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 4 green onions
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame teriyaki 
  • 1 clove minced garlic 

Directions

  • Chop up the green onions and put into small bowl
  • Pour in the soy sauce
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stir well

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Now onto the good stuff– the bibimbap!

Ingredients

  • red cabbage
  • 2 small zucchini
  • bag of bean sprouts
  • spinach
  • 1 cup (uncooked) rice
  • 5 mushrooms (any kind)
  • 4 baby carrots (you can use regular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Korean radish
  • sesame seeds
  • soy sauce
  • sesame sauce
  • garlic
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  • First off, I didn’t include cooking time of the rice. I did a running and core workout, so before I started that, I put the rice on ahead of time. DO THIS
  • Rinse your bean sprouts and cook them in hot water for 20 minutes. Drain them and season them with your special sauce and some salt

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  • Bring a pot of water to a boil (doesn’t need to be much water). Grab your spinach (whether it be a bunch or separate leaves) and put into boiling water for 1 minute. Take out and drain, run cold water over it, wring it out, then season with salt and sauce.

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  • Cut all your veggies into thin slices and sprinkle salt over  

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  • Separately, saute each veggie one by one [except for carrots] in pan over medium-high heat. You can use oil and garlic, or use the special sauce we created earlier to season and wet them. You only need to cook them for a few minutes to heat them up and infuse them with flavor.
  • You can either put them back on the cutting board OR have the rice ready in a wide bowl. Place the veggies in a circular fashion on the rice, leaving the middle open
Waiting for a few more ingredients..

Waiting for a few more ingredients..

  • For the carrots, just throw them in the hot pan for 30 seconds, so that they’re still crisp
  • For the last ingredient, throw your egg (or eggs if you’re making for two or more people) in the pan on medium heat. You want to cook it sunny side up (over easy). Put the egg in the middle
Ready to be eaten

Ready to be eaten

Pour the special sauce over the top for extra flavor. And that’s it! Not so hard, is it? It looks like a long list of ingredients, but once you get the hang of it, it can be done quickly (as I found out the next night–yes, I made this two nights in a row…red cabbage goes forever!). You can cycle a ton of different ingredients into this. Whatever you have or whatever is fresh at the market. Last night, I used green pepper, beets, and tofu as well as some from the night before.

A traditional way to do this is to serve it in a hot stone bowl, so that the rice gets crispy on the bottom. I did this style for Chris, but it was less attractive as it was a little too big. But that same fresh delicious FILLING flavor.

Chris' "plate"

Chris’ “plate”

It didn’t last long as we both dug in and watched Chopped All-Stars. I, of course, couldn’t finish it all so Chris ate his huge serving AND the rest of mine. Big surprise.

After we tore into it

After we tore into it

Enjoy! And use this recipe to…stay hungry and fit!

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