Every time Lauren comes into town, we find ourselves strolling down Garosu-gil (가로수길), one of the trendiest streets in Seoul. When it’s warm, the main avenue is teeming with people: when it’s cold…it’s teeming with people in fashionable outerwear.
This time, Lauren and I actually planned our trip here. Last month, we stumbled upon a dimsum place that we’d heard was awesome, so we said we’d come back. Well, what better time to go get some dimsum than the last day of my Lunar New Year holiday?
We got there at 11, only to find out the restaurant didn’t open until 5 (due to the holiday), so we found the next best thing.
My first experience with The Original Pancake House was at Chicago’s Near North Side location, and I didn’t like it…at all, and for many reasons. My second and third experiences were at the newly-opened location in Itaewon last month, and those visits changed my tune. So it was only natural that when we saw this (new) location just off of the main street we made a beeline for it.
The Garosu-gil menu is different from that of Itaewon’s in that the menu is purely breakfast food: no chicken and brunch-like offerings, with the possible exception of the hashes. Lauren got the half and half pancakes with coconut and chocolate, and I got the Jalapeno and Bacon Hash with pancakes and a side of over-medium eggs. I don’t like bacon…but I totally dealt with it, because the dish was so good.
After we stuffed ourselves, we did a little shopping…well…I might’ve gone a little crazy…but that’s okay
because my birthday’s coming up in a month, so I’m just treating myself early.
(I’ll post my take on all of these products as I go…)
Then, to pass the time, Lauren and I hopped a bus and traveled across town to the Conrad. One thing I didn’t mention in my staycation entry was just how delicious and cool the Conrad’s Signature Hot Chocolate is…so I’ll reveal it now.
The Flames lounge was only taking reservations at the time, so we went up to the bar on the 37th floor. The view wasn’t bad.
After the hot chocolate break, we rushed back to our dimsum place and took our places in line. We even took a look at the menu and ordered while we waited.
Despite the intimidating line (there were about 7-8 parties before us), we only had to wait about 30 minutes before getting waved in. Once we entered, I realized just why the lines are always so long: this place was tiny, with barely enough space to fit 16 diners.
Because we ordered in advance, our food came out promptly and in waves. First were the rolls, which were hot and crunchy, but not spectacular; then came the pork dimsum, which were nicely steamed and quite tender. The shumai and the spicy wontons were next. The shumai’s texture was off, so we couldn’t enjoy it as much (still ate them all, though). I absolutely loved my spicy wonton, but because Lauren can’t tolerate spicy food–“Ordinary black pepper is too spicy for me”–she could barely take a nibble of it.
Finally, our dandan noodles came. When we ordered, Lauren was wary of the pepper indicator on the menu, but the worker insisted that the noodles weren’t that spicy, so we took a chance. The peanuts cut the spice level a lot, so even Lauren could enjoy it, and we happily slurped away.
Overall, the restaurant really and truly met our expectations. Is it true dimsum like many people in my Seoul foodie group crave? Really, I don’t know, because it’s been a year since I had “true” dimsum (in Hong Kong). All I know is what my taste buds tell me: the food was really good.
To kill some time before Lauren’s train ride back to Gapyeong, we walked around more. We came up on Dore Dore, where she just had to have her rainbow bagel.
Then we stopped by my favorite joint, Mercy Juice, to pick up some cleanses. By that time I was exhausted, and after grabbing a couple of lattes, we went our separate ways.
I’ve always enjoyed exploring the Garosu-gil area. If you’ve ever been to Chicago, it’s like a mixture of the trendiest parts of the Wicker Park and Lincoln Park areas…except it’s Korean. As it gets warmer, I’ll definitely frequent the area more often.