Monday, December 24, 2012

Seoul Garden, NYC

Manhattan at Night
Thanksgiving is over, and we're thankful for that.

We're also thankful that at least some of our corporate masters in this Plutocracy have the good taste to wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to put their "Holiday Season" decorations.

The rest of you can suck it - Christmas ads after Labor Day? For shame!

Seems like the War on Christmas is about as winsome as the War on Drugs.

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Growing up on the East Side of Cleveland you are bombarded on both sides by the idea of the Asian Christmas Dinner.

Grilled pork belly.
Instead of spending the day unwrapping gifts next to the not-at-all Pagan "Christmas" Tree during a holiday that coincides with the popular Winter Solstice celebrations enjoyed all over pre-Christian Europe, my Jewish neighbors would go out for a movie and Chinese food.

Chinese food for Christmas was further programmed into the psyche of every Clevelander with the repetitive showing of "A Christmas Story", all day Black Friday and continuously throughout the weeks leading up to the Big Event.

If you do not know the scene I am talking about, you should rush out right now to another browser window and stream the movie. And glory at the wonder that is the Higbees Company in Tower City, Cleveland and the cold but strangely inviting wasteland of 1980s Tremont.

Invent a drinking game. Finish the movie with a rousing chorus of "This Town.. Is My Town."

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NY Metro speeds past.
I'll either do a big Thanksgiving production or a Christmas production, but never both the same year.

They don't make enough Xanax for that kind of stress, bravo and brava to all those who have the nerves to handle it.

My holiday meal is an investment, perhaps and over investment, and a yearly crucible that pits me against Seasonal Affective Disorder, obsessive compulsive behavior, binge drinking and self-hatred.

How was your Thanksgiving? Were you able to eat all your feelings too?

So this year I'll probably just go out for a nice bowl of phó and relax: why be tied to any one particular Asian cuisine when there are now so many great ones to choose from?

Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai, Japanese, Korean. Ah, yes. Korean.

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The camera's been drinking (soju).
If I were in New York City, I would definitely consider spending Christmas at Seoul Garden in Koreatown in Manhattan.

A friend of a relative hipped me to the place. It fires all the right cylinders:
  • Difficult to find door, and up a mysterious flights of stairs
  • Always busy
  • Majority of clientele is Korean
  • Cheap beer
  • In-table grill
  • Tripe, tongue and tendon: the Asian offal tri-fecta (of deliciousness).
  • Extra kimchee is free
The adventurous or inebriated should feel free to wander into any of the K-Pop or Karaoke joints along the strip of West 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue. The brave will try to find a game of mahjong. Anything north of that level of fortitude is not recommended by this round-eye.

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And speaking of Koreatown and Seasonal Affective Disorder (of a kind), here's Neko Case:



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Seoul Garden
34 West 32nd Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 736-9002