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 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.
by Michael Jones
On Saturday night I went to Casablanca for the second time. Casablanca is a small sandwich shop located in the booming neighborhood of Haebongchon, not far from Noksapyeong station. The shop was packed, it always is, but for good reason. The sandwiches at Casablanca are the best I've had in Korea. The line was to the door, but we waited anyway. Last time I ordered the Moroccan Chicken and it blew me away, but I heard rumors that the Lamb Chili was even better and I had to investigate. We ordered two Lamb Chili sandwiches and one lentil soup. The Lentil soup was good and had a nice spicy after taste. The sandwiches came out shortly after and were outstanding. There is nothing pretentious about Casablanca, and I mean that as a compliment. Just 5 guys working in a small kitchen, using quality ingredients, and great bread to make delicious sandwiches. The Lamb Chili sandwich is served on flaky french-style bread and topped with fresh lamb chili, lettuce, tomatoes, and a thick serving of mayonnaise. The sandwich was simple, but the most delicious foods usually are. I had a cold this weekend so I was originally worried about doing this review. Eating with a severe cold is kind of like hearing sounds underwater, your senses are dulled. The lamb chili was so perfectly cooked and spiced, however, that even with the cold I could taste every bite. The sandwich was greasy, in the best way, and I devoured it in about two minutes. The sandwich was so good it's hard to do justice with words. For a good review of the delicious Moroccan chicken sandwich, check out our first Casablanca review. For 7,000 won you can't go wrong with a sandwich from Casablanca.
From Noksapyeong station exit #2
Walk down the hill till the split in the road
Then turn left and pass the kimchi pots
Walk up the hill for 5-10 minutes
Casablanca will be on your left
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!