Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fine Dining in Daejeon: Takorea

By far the most exciting thing about returning to Daejeon for a second contract year was the promise of more Mexican food. While Taco K has fabulous enchiladas and Dajeon Cantina has the best tacos and nachos this town has ever seen (as well as increasingly impressive live music, so THT has heard), Takorea hits the Korean market with the widest variety, a spicy take on beer (try the Michelada...if you enjoy tabasco that is!) and an ever-accomodating restauranteer.

Enchiladas are rumoured to be the #1 item although were a bit out of the price range for the Harrington's and friends who are pinching pennies and/or enjoying domestic travel on the peninsula. Therefore, nachos were shared, tacos, quesadillas and burritos were ordered and came with a fine assortment of sauces to add to the flavorful experience.

Congratulations Daejeon, you're moving up the ranks in restaurant diversity.

Getting There - From Takorea on Facebook:

2-3 min walking distance from subway station no. 105 (Jungang-no), exit 4 (immediate vicinity of Jung-gu Police station)when you exit the subway walk to the left and turn left on the second street (at the Heungkuk financial) then turn right on the first street.

Bus routes: 1, 30, 101, 103, 201, 202, 311, 313, 314, 317, 613, 614, 615, 620, 701

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top 5: Expat Kitchen Appliances


Recently over dinner, Melissa was asked how she cooks in Korea. Thinking further on this, Melissa has opted to share with readers her top 5 investments for an expat kitchen for those with a little gourmet chef coursing through their veins.

5. Rice Cooker - Although rice is not entirely difficult to make on the stove top, having a rice cooker is phenomenal! This appliance however is more phenomenal if you can purchase one when another expat is returning home, that way you receive ultimate savings on a not-too-essential appliance (unless of course you eat rice daily). The Harrington's nabbed their rice cooker for a measly 5,000 won and have enjoyed meals such as curry and stir-fry with much greater ease. (pictured top right)

4. Electric Food Processor/Immersion Blender/Whisk - Blender's and food processors are most definitely available at E-Mart, Homeplus etc. For the Harrington Chef however, the multi-attachment food processor, immersion blender and whisk which come with plastic measuring container, are well worth the 35,000 won necessary to purchase this contraption new. Melissa picked hers up at Home Plus. (pictured center)

3. Electric Tea Kettle - Again, as rice is doable on stove top, an electric kettle is by no means an absolute must. However, as a tea drinker Melissa has not gone one day in the 13 months she's lived in Korea without boiling a pot of water. Useful not only for drinks but for cleaning baked on grime, beer bottles, etc. boiling water is often a requirement. The Harrington's purchased a Philips brand kettle per advice of their dear friends and have been ever pleased with the 40,000 won investment from Hi-Mart ever since. (not pictured)

2. Oven - Some may be surprised to see the oven at number two, even Melissa is not entirely convinced this is the appropriate placement of the beloved little beast, however, for now, number two is an oven. If you ever want to enjoy banana bread, fresh hot cookies, lasagna, etc you ought to buckle down and purchase an oven. The task is made much more enjoyable and affordable when done via GMarket. The Harrington's have been happily using their oven to bake for the happy, approximate value of 55,000 can check out their model here. (pictured bottom left).

1. Slow-cooker - By far, the most versatile and useful appliance in the Harrington Kitchen is none-other than a slow cooker picked up for 40,000 (possibly 50,000) at Costco. The slow-cooker makes so many cooking feats possible: large soups for crowds, spiced cider for a crowd, mashed potatoes for holiday meals, whole chickens and pork loins, dry beans and even sweet dishes like Apple Crisp and Banana Bread if you're daring can be pulled off in a slow-cooker. If you happen to live near a Beautiful Store (there are many), they occasionally carry old models, that appear to have never been used, for a sweet price of 15,000. (pictured top left)

Additionally, she recommends going all out and getting the glass measuring cups, especially if you envision measuring hot liquids...ever. But, they are far from necessary.
If you love cooking yet feel intimidated by your tiny Korean kitchen, consider one, two or five of the above appliances and you'll be cooking in no time!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Driving in Korea: Obtaining a Korean Driver's License

So you want to stop wasting time waiting in lines for buses, taxis, trains and subways, and have decided to join the world of convenience, high gas prices, perpetual taxi vs. scooter wars, and traffic jams, huh? Well, I hope you're up to the challenge of driving in Korea. The first challenge that presents itself is becoming a legal road warrior. You need to get a driver's license. There are three ways to become a legal driver in Korea:

1.) Obtain an International Driver's License. This can be done online, or in your native country before arriving in Korea. However, it can only be used as a valid Korean Driver's License for 1 year in before you have to convert it to a legitimate Korean Driver's License.

2.) Obtain a Korean Driver's License by using a license issued in your native country. This is the process that I recently went through, and will be writing about getting this done outside of Seoul, specifically in Daejeon. This requires handing over your native country's driver's license (it will be given back upon departure).

3.) Obtain a Korean Driver's License from scratch. This can be done at your city's Driver's License Office (운전면허시험장). You will have to take a written test (in English), a driving test, and attend a safety class. This doesn't require giving up your home country's license.

Still with me? Ok, so if you don't have an international driver's license, and you are willing to hand over your original driver's license, then step 2 is the way to go. In order to complete step 2 you will need the following:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fine Dining in Daejeon: Daejeon Cantina

If you're living in Daejeon, you probably already know all there is to know about Daejeon Cantina. You know it's in Dunsan, you know they serve the best Nachos and Tacos in the city, you know they meet your need for American Football, Rugby, etc. Really, if you live in Daejeon and haven't heard of the Cantina nor made a trip their yourself - perhaps you're more immersed in the culture than other foreigners and therefore aren't likely poking around on The Harrington Times...

But just in case and because it's what we do, let us fill you in. The Cantina has fabulous Mexican Food. Hard and Soft Shell Taco platters, Burritos, Taquitos, Nachos and Margarita's - it's the best you can get.


However, let it be known, the Harrington's still have a soft spot for Taco K and the spicy Green Enchiladas served in Gung-dong. Additonally, the couple is looking forward to trying out Daejeon's two other Mexican restaurants: Takorea (clever name) and Paxia.

Until then you may just spot us at the Cantina as it is a mere 5 minutes from our front door - Holla!

Getting There: Timeworld-Dunsan neighborhood...around the corner from Yellow Taxi and down the street from Bon Bon and the new 'Capri Sun' Cocktail in a Bag vendor.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Private Anniversary of Sorts: Daecheong Lake, Daejeon


Having enjoyed their anniversary in the company of students, new friends and established friends, the Harrington's deemed it necessary and acceptable to set an evening aside for themselves. The couple loaded up the car with their faithful side-kick Lady Annyeong and a picnic dinner before making their way outside of Daejeon to Daecheong Lake.

The two enjoyed a simple pesto pasta, hard boiled eggs and home-made ginger ale on the lake shore before taking some time to explore this particular nook of the lake and capture a few 'family photos' while the lighting was perfect. The exploration of the lake shore not only offered serene scenery and opportune photo shots, exploration also included a healthy dose of adventure, particularly for the Lady and the Mrs.

Assuming walking along the edge of the lake would provide the easiest route to meet up with the man for continued exploration Melissa soon found herself carrying a dog and facing a tree that effectively prevented her from continuing along the lake shore. Hardly phased, Melissa opted to go around the tree and continue on...however, in a country such as Korea where the forest floors and mountains are actually quite thick with vegetation, this proved a difficult and formidable task. Within minutes, angry vines were lashing out at both Lady and Melissa, preventing the ascension to higher ground. When vines weren't grabbing clothes and hair, cobwebs were in the waiting ready to stick to increasingly sweaty skin. A close look at one of these webs inhabitants resulted in a shriek and quick escape back to the lake shore where the Lady and the Mrs. chose to back track completely before finally arriving in the presence of their beloved Man.

Together, as a family, free from vines and spiders in their hair, the trio explored some safer ground, captured a few family photos (that's correct, the photos are post vine wrestling!) and made their way into town to enjoy an evening of video games (for Mike) and wine-sipping (for Melissa) with a couple of friends.

And so began the fifth year of marriage.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Road-Trip for Chuseok

Upon returning to Korea at the end of August, the Harrington's, namely Mike, began the process of buying a car and acquiring a Korean driver's license, the process of which may require it's own story/article/blog post. Regardless, the couple purchased the fine specimen that is a Kia Matiz named Geumi from dear friends (who-ought-to-return-to-Korea-rather-than-establish-life-in-the-states) and anticipated road tripping it up with their sweet 3.5 legged Lady Annyeong.


Fortunately, Korea provides a healthy bit of vacation for foreign English teachers mid-September (whilst the Korean population offers thanks for the 'harvest' and honors their ancestors during the holiday known as chu-seok) and the couple, having failed to plan a legitimate overseas or Jeju-bound trip for the 5-day weekend, giddly embarked on a short day trip in their little white Geumi Matiz.

Free to hit the road when they so pleased, the couple made their way out of Daejeon between 9:30 and 10:00 and headed West. The road trip took them to Chilgapsan Provincial Park where they received gestures that indicated Lady was in fact, not allowed into the park, at this entry, on this day, ever...(the couple is not entirely sure as rumors abound that pets are allowed into provincial parks, but not national parks, therefore, an investigation soon be undertaken). Regardless, the park allowed for a small bit of parking lot walking for Lady Annyeong and a short bit of Chilgapsan exploration by the man Harrington.



The trip continued forth until the couple passed through Boryeong and arrived at Daecheon Beach. Boryeong is famous for mud and more specifically a mud festival which tends to be a big hit amongst foreigners who like things dirty, the destination was however marked by eating raw fish and strolling along the beach for our beloved Harrington family. Sights along the beach included fishermen, foreigners swimming and playing chicken and an unimaginable number of creepy crawly bugs that went insane upon feeling the vibrations of humanoid footfalls.



From Daecheon, the Harrington's swung back east, toward Daejeon where all three Harrington's unloaded and spent the evening in full out relaxation mode.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Celebrating Anniversary #4 in Community

As the new contract years have begun for Mike and Melissa Harrington with Melissa at a new school a few new friendships have presented themselves for the taking. Now at Samcheon Elementary School Melissa has had the great pleasure of meeting a variety of Korean teachers with excellent English. One such Korean has recently married and ultimately is one of the first 'perfect' Korean couple matches for the Harrington duo, Anxious to do dinner together and bring their husbands face-to-face as well, Hyeon-hui and Melissa set a dinner date for Wednesday September 7th, the day of M&M Harrington's 4th year wedding anniversary.

So it was, on the night of the 7th, the Harrington's made their way by taxi to MBC, a Korean broadcasting company to pick up Hyeon-hui's husband Hok-chol and make their way to a Korean restaurant that specializes in Bamboo Rice. However, prior to the main event of rice steamed in a reed of bamboo the couples enjoyed a wide array of Korean and Fusion side-dishes including squid ink jap-chae (absolutely amazing!), raw fish, kimchi, cheesy corn, pork, salad, spicy squid and octopus, baked fish and much more. Additionally, the couple enjoyed conversations about food, sports, Korean military service, love, life and happiness.

Following this full and enjoyable dining experience the Harrington's headed home and enjoyed a bit of Korean wine with their semi-permanent-at-the-time Sofa Sleeper, Aaron.


All things considered, for the Harrington's this manner of celebrating a wedding anniversary was entirely enjoyable. Continually amazed by the blessings of friendships they enjoy and the community of friends and family that so faithfully support their marital union, the couple couldn't be more content to welcome in the 5th year building new friendships and enjoying an established one...not to mention, the coming Korean holiday of Chuseok would guarantee the couple a few opportunities to celebrate their relationship in more intimate and personal settings.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

"You're sleeping on his sofa."

Today's headline comes straight from the mouth of an elementary student attending Galma Elementary school. Galma Elementary school now has the honor of receiving English instruction from native teacher, Aaron Fitzgerald. The student who put this sentence together just happens to be the son of a temporary teacher working at Nameson Middle School, the school of none other than Michael Teacher. So it was, that an elementary student discovered his own, Mr. Fitz was sleeping on the sofa of a middle school English teacher his mother just began working alongside at Nameson.

And so it is, our readers now may have an inkling of understanding, that the Harrington household held more than the Harrington man, woman and Lady since the end of August. Late August through early September saw the additional arrival of the Harrington's dear friend Aaron while he house hunted and awaited the arrival of a mattress amongst other amenities.

So, for a couple of weeks the Harrington's enjoyed the ramblings, pickings, punnings, and all out shenanigans of Mr. Fitz and were beyond thrilled when he chose an apartment a mere block away...let regular dinner gatherings commence!


Friday, September 9, 2011

From Beer to Soda's and Wine

Three weeks of traveling around the states did nothing to slow-down the man Harrington's desire to make things, particularly beverages. Within hours of returning to 519 Galma apartment in Daejeon Mike Harrington was making root beer, cream soda, ginger ale and a large batch of Peach Wine.

Soda is a quick and relatively painless process and has already given the Harrington's and friends the opportunity to enjoy a few 'cold ones' after starting the fall semester. Wine however is not such a quick process and if patience wins out, it probably won't be until December when the Harrington's are taking their first sweet (or vinegary) sip of Home-made Redneck Peach Wine. So, for those of you who may be visiting the couple in Christmas (*cough, cough* Harrington clan) get ready to sip on some home-made wine!


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