by Ashley Heil
We've been big fans of Cali Kitchen since they started at their original location in Kyungridan, but recently they moved locations and now have a much better atmosphere. They're now called California Kitchen and Craft Pub (still off of Kyungridan street) and in short, their new location is awesome. It has an airy, open feel with huge open windows so you can people watch and get great views of Namsan tower. We've been there twice in the past two weeks and have really enjoyed it each time. We came first for their soft opening Taco Tuesday. We had never had Cali Kitchen's tacos before, only their burgers and burrito bowls. We were blown away by their tacos. We've had some really great Mexican food in Seoul, and these tacos were our favorite we've had in Seoul. We both had 3 each because they were so delicious. All of the tacos were amazing, but the one that really stood out was the puffed chicken and puffed carnitas tacos (bottom right picture). The shell on these are deep fried so they are light, crispy, and had a great crunch. The guacamole we had on every taco was outstanding. If I remember correctly, the tacos were about 5,000-6,000 correctly, but I believe the types of tacos change weekly. If you're wanting some good beer and tacos, definitely check out California Kitchen's taco Tuesday!
We went back a second time because I convinced Michael to finally try their burgers, because it's for sure in my top 3 burgers in Seoul. It was just as good as I remembered. We got the double burger (10,000 won) and shared a big basket of french fries (6,000 won) with their extremely addicting chipotle ketchup. Chuck (the owner) told me he is one of the only places, if not the only place, in Seoul to use fresh, never frozen USDA prime beef, so that's great. The burger's bun is also toasted with grass-fed butter, and has American cheese, grilled onions, tomato, and lettuce. The burger sauce was great but not overpowering or too messy. For me, when I get burgers, that's just what I want. Nothing fancy or weird, just a simple, delicious burger.
One of the things I really like about Cali Kitchen's new location is their live tap list. For beer geeks like me that like to check the ratings of beer and see what types of flavors they have before drinking, this is awesome. This beer list is updated daily and has direct links to a website called Taphunter where you can check them out. http://calikitch.com/beerlist/
California Kitchen and Craft Pub is a great place to get a delicious burger, some Cali-Mex burritos and tacos, or enjoy a craft beer with an awesome view. We've never been disappointed there and we always leave with our bellies happy. It's a must-try for good food in the Itaewon area :)
Go to Noksapyeong station, exit 2.
Walk down the road and go down the underpass and cross the street over to the right. At the end of the underpass/tunnel, turn left.
Come out of the underpass and turn right on Kyungridan street.
Walk all the way up the big hill. You'll pass some places like the Wellbeing Mart, Namsan chemistry, and the cute pet shop with the little kittens and puppies playing.
Keep walking all the way until the CVS4U on the corner, and turn right there, and California Kitchen and Craft Pub will be there (on the 2nd or 3rd floor).
by Michael Jones
One of the things we miss most about cooking in America, is the ability to bake. Our apartment is small, and without an oven, it is difficult to make cookies and brownies like we did at home. Thankfully, because of places like Cre8 Cookies, our craving for cookies can be laid to rest.
Cre8 is located on Kyungridan-Gil and is tucked in a little alley up the hill and to your right. Once you pass the pet shop, filled with fluffy kittens and surrounded by gawking people, you're almost there. The shop is small, but decorated wonderfully and it’s a great place to relax, chat, and devour some truly incredible cookies that even the cookie monster would approve of. We have no reservations saying that these are our favorite cookies we’ve had since moving to Seoul over 2 years ago.
The owner is extremely friendly and very passionate about baking. She will even go out of her way to bake some individual cookies for you. Last night, she made us two Nutella and peanut butter cookies and we devoured them in seconds. The inside was flaky, and the gooey peanut butter and sweet Nutella rocked our taste buds. We also had an M&M and a white chocolate chip and almond cookie. All of the cookies are delectable, melt in your mouth, instant smile inducing delicious. The owner will also give you a frothy glass of milk to wash down the crumbs and to dunk your cookies in. Most of the cookies are (1,900 KRW) but some, such as the Nutella and peanut butter, are (2,500 KRW) due to the price of ingredients. She also sells coffee and her cold brew is a wonderful choice for (3,800 KRW). The coffee was strong, but smooth, and pairs perfectly with freshly baked cookies.
We love Cre8 Cookies and will definitely be regulars. This might hurt my Grandma’s feelings, but I might have a new favorite cookie. Like the neon sign says in the back of the shop “Let's Dough It”.
Hours: 11AM-9M, everyday
Address: 용산구 이태원동 225-143
DIRECTIONS: Come out of Noksapyeong station, exit 2
Walk until the underpass and cross under the road, and take the left exit.
Turn right on Kyungridan-Gil.
Keep walking all the way up the hill until you pass Namsan Chemistry and the pet shop with the cute kittens and puppies.
Take a right at "Nice to Meatball You" at the small alley in front of it.
Cre8 will be on your left.
by Ashley Heil
Uncle Sam's Pancake is a great new breakfast spot that is actually open, before lunch, every day. They open at 7 and while they don't offer fancy brunch cocktails, they keep things simple, cheap, and most importantly delicious. A good breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, but I'm sick of paying 12,000 or more for a mediocre meal. From 7-10:30am, every day, Uncle Sam's Pancake offers a breakfast set for 8,000 won. It includes 2 delicious pancakes, 2 pieces of bacon, 1 sausage, 1 fried egg, and an orange juice or coffee. If you make it after 10:30 or want something else, they also have omelet sets, larger pancake sets, waffle sets, and french toast. Since we got there before 10:30, we ordered the morning set for 8,000 won. Everything was delicious. The pancakes were top notch, served with a little bit of butter, and on every table there was a bottle of real maple syrup, thankfully no Aunt Jemimas. Everything else was great too, the bacon was just right, and so was the egg and sausage. While it wasn't the most amazing breakfast I've ever had, it was really just as good as all of the other breakfast places I've been to, such as Butterfingers or the Original Pancake House (and if I remember correctly, the Original Pancake House charges extra for real maple syrup), and the prices here are much better. When I get breakfast I don't want to just eat pancakes, I want a full meal with more foods like eggs and bacon, so this set was perfect. The place is small, but the service was great and we were seated right away. We really enjoyed our food there and we might go back every weekend. So, if you're looking for a new breakfast place with delicious food without the ridiculous prices, Uncle Sam's Pancake is your restaurant!
Directions: Come out of Noksapyoung station exit 2
Walk up the road, and cross under the underpass when you see it.
At the end of the underpass, turn left.
Then turn right on the main road right up ahead.
Walk up the hill (as if you're going to the Hyatt hotel).
You'll pass the Well-Being gym and the big Cvs4u convience store.
Then, cross the road right after the convience store.
The restaurant will be on your left.
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!