So I just realised I haven't blogged in over a month. Sorry about that. I keep meaning to write about the Philippines but it hasn't happened yet. I'll try to get something up this week before we head to China. In the meantime, I present the following deeply serious report on two of the most pressing issues facing the world today: kittens and pancakes. This is just the kind of hard-hitting investigative reporting that made this blog famous.
We both have this week off so we've been in Seoul and Suwon. On Saturday we went back to the Suwon fortress (which I wrote about here), and after having some excellent galbi for dinner we had a bad movie festival with some friends - Theresa, Craig, and Lauren. We watched Birdemic, which is easily the worst movie ever made. The only thing more one-dimensional than the charachters is the special effects. Also, WHY ARE YOU DRIVING AROUND JUST STAY HOME AND YOU'LL BE FINE. For all you devotees of The Room out there, we watched that second and it looks quite professional and sensible in comparison.
On Sunday we went back to Dr Fish and Dos Tacos in Gangnam (see the directions at the bottom, the potato burrito is excellent.) Later on we went to Happy Cat Cafe (also in Gangnam, directions below) . Cat cafes are a concept that seems to be getting more and more popular in Seoul; it's basically a big room where you drink coffee and play with cats. There are also dog cafes, which we'll have to try another time.
Happy Cat Cafe has about fifteen cats and seating for about thirty people, with a big area in the middle for the cats to play. We got the special foreigner treatment when one of the staff picked up a pillow with a sleeping cat on it, looked at me and asked "You like cat?" I nodded and he carefully placed the pillow - complete with a slightly confused but not unhappy cat - on my lap. The cat stayed there quite happily and started making some biscuits.
About half the cats were sleeping in the little cubby holes on the wall, or on cushions on the floor. The rest were wandering around talking to people or chasing the toys that the staff dangled for them. There was a variety of different types and ages of cat, including a really cute ginger Scotish fold and a tiny little white fluffy kitten that Anna had to be restrained from putting in her bag and taking home. They also had a bunch of other cats, here's some photos:
I have a video which I'll put up once Anna shows me how.
They have a list of rules to keep people from annoying the cats too much; no flash photos, you aren't allowed to pick the cats up, and you can't bother them when they're sleeping or eating. You pay 8000won (about NZ$9) which includes a drink and you can stay as long as you want. We were there for an hour or so before we tore ourselves away for more adventures.
On Monday morning we hit Butterfinger Pancakes for breakfast (directions below). I'd found this place online when we were looking for a breakfast place last time we were in Seoul but their two locations in Gangnam and Apgujeong were a long subway ride from where we were staying. This time we just stumbled on it around the corner from our motel in Gangnam. They have a huge menu (that's a normal size credit card in the photo, and there's more on the back.)
The food is expensive by Korean standards but probably about what you'd pay back home for the same thing. There were huge plates with pancakes, sausages, fried potatoes, bacon,eggs, etc for around 12,000 - 17,000 won, plus smaller items like pancakes and macaroni cheese for around 5,000 to 10,000 won. Two small Korean women sitting behind us demolished the biggest plate of waffles I've ever seen while we were waiting for our food.
We both got the blueberry pancakes (6,300 won) and a side of hash browns (about 3,500 won). The hash browns were disappointing, more like a mashed potato cake that had been fried on one side. The pancakes, on the other hand, were small but delicious. In fact they were so small and delicious that I got a second helping. They came with maple syrup, honey-vanilla butter, and a choice of fruit compote. I can highly recommend the blueberry; it was rich and full of whole blueberries and not too sweet. The pancakes were some of the best I've had anywhere: light and fluffy and perfectly cooked, with plenty of blueberries.
More blogging to come, hopefully soon.
It can be quite difficult to find stuff in Korea, and I've found other people's blogs to be some of the most helpful sources of directions. Because of this I've decided to start including directions for the places we write about. If you use our directions, please let us know if they're helpful. Cheers.
Hello Cat Cafe: Gangnam station, exit 6. Turn left as soon as you come out of the exit and walk down the alley. At the end of the alley is a street. About two buildings to the right is a 7-11, Hello Cat Cafe is above this on the fourth floor. The fourth floor is mostly a construction site but there's a sign for the cafe.
Dr Fish: I don't know the name of the cafe, but from Gangnam Station exit 6 walk straight ahead for a few blocks until you get to the HUGE BSK store. The cafe is on the second floor opposite the giant TV screen - go through the doors to the right of the BSK, there's a small pharmacy to let you know you're in the right place. The cafe has signs in English saying 'Cafe with book and spa'.
Dos Tacos: Walk straight ahead from Gangnam Station exit 6 for a few blocks. Dos Tacos is down the alley next to the Frisbee (Mac) Store. They also have a branch in Hongdae but I can't really remember how to get there.
Butterfinger Pancakes: Gangnam exit 6 again. Walk straight for one block, turn left at The Body Shop and walk about three (short) blocks. It's just after Burger King.