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Palomar Observatory

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Seoul Galbi, Temecula

North and South Korea at night.

Leslie and I met my trainer, Jeaneane and her husband John Colombero for dinner Sunday afternoon. We were all very relaxed after a very warm Southern California day.

We decided to try something different and went to a Korean barbecue in Temecula. This is one of the places where the grill is in the middle of your table and you grill your own meat. It is located behind the Shell station on Ynez, across from the Honda dealership.

Leslie and I had eaten at Seoul Galbi once before and it was really good. This time it was even better. I had a little trepidation because John spent several years in Korea in the military and didn't have the most fond memories of the country or the cuisine. He said the whole country had that funky Kimchee smell.

Out of all the asian cuisines, Korean and Indian are the two hardest for me to get into. I love Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, the many different tastes of China. But I have never been awestruck with Korean until I found a place in Burlingame last year that knocked me out. So now I am in my new discovery period with the food. The Korean people were the original settlers of Japan, except for the indigenous Ainu in the north. The food is a little more rough, both aesthetically and to the palette. It seems a more rural, less refined repast. But, as I am discovering, it is filled with treasures.

I had been a little murky with the instructions so my wife and I were about a half hour early. We decided to order my favorite dish Bimbimbap while we waited. Bimbimbap is a fermented vegetable, meat, rice dish that is really delicious. We elected to have it served in a ceramic pot. In this fashion the rice caramelizes and gets all crunchy in contact with the crock. Mix in chili sauce and it's as good as it gets.

They brought us a host of side dishes, mushrooms, cucumbers, squid, potatoes, mung beans, fish cake, kimchee and more. The squid was sweet, crunchy and delightful. We were also brought a small bowl of a very light beef broth soup with some small aromatic beef dumplings. By the time our company arrived, we were close to full. We had them clear the sides before they got there so we wouldn't look like pigs to our friends.

The first time we ate here, we had chicken and shrimp. This time we started out our grill experience with pork belly, a non marinated dish on recommendation from our server, who was very helpful and charming. This staple of the commodities market was a little nondescript. The sesame oil that accompanied it did little to improve. For the second time, we were the only caucasians in the place, a good sign. We moved on to the thinly sliced marinated bulgagi and other beef, as well as delicious chicken. They brought us garlic to grill as well as a dish of pickled aloe vera noodle, which I found very interesting. Things got a lot better with the application of their hot sauces.

The barbecue is all you can eat for $18.95 and we ate mountains of meat. And we powered through like troopers. They offered us tempura ice cream for dessert but we were totally stuffed. If you want to try something fun and different, give the place a shot.


Seoul Galbi
(951) 699-2369
41925 Motor Car Pkwy # C Temecula, CA 92591

6 comments:

Barbara said...

Sounds great. I can't wait to try it.

Liz said...

You can't get into Indian food because mom NEVER made it and we didn't go to an Indian restaurant my entire childhood.

Mom hates the flavors of Indian food and dad didn't especially like ginger. I had to live with an indian guy to get into it.

The flavors that we are all easiest with are the flavors we grow up with. So, I adore lamb,italian and basic french.

Blue Heron said...

Mom, never made Thai either and I love it. We eat a lot of ginger in our home. Leslie loves Indian - I merely tolerate it. But you have to admit Mom was very adventurous in her time - remember the tripe episode? Or her first quiche. Or her steak tartare? Our mother was a genius at casseroles and stretching leftovers, great scaloppini, fantastic biscuit maker. I'd say we were very lucky. And not just because she now reads the blog. Hi Mom.

Blue Heron said...

Oh and I forgot the eggs and calves brains - remember that episode?

grumpy said...

i used to eat at a Mongolian (ie Korean) barbeque joint in Torrance; you would pile your plate with raw meats and veggies, then hand it over for them to cook on a huge round grill; not bad, except there would always be black specs of burnt food particles mixed in with what you got back; Seoul Galbi sounds mucho better...

Leann said...

Hi I loved this place too, The food it self is unique..I am a member of the bizymoms Temecula community. You should featuring your ideas & comment ..the moms will love it.