Even though the makeover of my blog isn’t complete, I still wanted to post. If you are here, thanks for dealing with the current status of the cluttered mess. And a big thanks to Mary of This Tasty Life, who has always been so helpful. She’s got years of blogging wisdom under her belt and has been so kind enough to share some of her wisdom with little old me. You’re the best, Mary!
On with the post…this is officially my very first real post using WordPress…so here it goes…
My 2017 got off to an okay start. After age 25 or something, the New Year always had me feeling old. Twenty five…..what a nice age that was. Metabolism was great. Wrinkles were nonexistent. Things were taut and perky. The ginormous food baby belly was nonexistant. Life was moving at a steady pace. Yeah, good times! And to think, I thought I was starting to go up the hill starting at that tender age. Pfftt~ The current me shakes my head.
But when I was a kid, I looked forward to getting older and couldnt wait to grow up.
Every New Year’s Day, I couldn’t wait to dig into that bowl of ddukguk and 한살 더 먹어.
한살 (pronounced as hahn-sahl): one year.
더 (pronounced as duh): more; another.
먹어 (pronounced as mug-uh): eat. Like, you’d mug-uh another year as you would a bowl of ddukguk.
So I guess the literal translation would be that one eats another year.
The pictures below (that I came across on the internet) might be more explanatory.
Wanting to start off the New Year in the right direction, SS and I decided to go hiking. SS wanted to go to Joshua Tree National Park. Growing up, my family and I would visit the Palm Springs area twice a year. So we’ve passed by, through, or near Joshua Tree all the time, but I don’t think we ever stopped by to actually visit and explore the park. And SS has never been either.
While most people were probably partying the night away or doing something fun, I was slaving away at work, for one last crazy night of the year. Christmas Eve dinner was insane, but NYE dinner was worse. At least I made it home on time before midnight to watch Ryan Seacrest ring us into 2017, barely, but I made it. I was wiped out. I was famished. I was wishing I could live in bed all day the next day and not have to get up to go hiking.
It was one of those nights that I felt too drained to make something to eat. It was one of those nights when comfort food was much needed, something to make you feel better and relieve you from distress.
Waiting for me was a pot of kimchi jjigae that SS had made. If you have been following me for a while, you know that kimchi jjigae is one of my favorite comfort foods. SS knows I won’t eat anything that I don’t think tastes good (unless I have no choice, you know, like when I am swamped or too lazy at work but need to eat SOMETHING before I die). He affirmed that I was going to like his kimchi jjigae. SS doesn’t cook much, but kimchi jjigae is one of the dishes that he likes to make. I’ve tried his kimchi jjigae one other time. So I knew I wasn’t going to be spitting it out in disgust.
It was several minutes past midnight. So I guess you can say that the very first meal that I had in 2017 was kimchi jjigae! Not a bad start to the New Year. I watched the countdown from the beginning as I ate. I know it’s not the same feels watching a previously recorded broadcast, but I wanted to see the performances. I had to see Mariah ring us in with Auld Lang Syne. Not long after she hit the stage, I knew that there was going to be some Mariah shaming that would go on for days ahead. I think the ladies of The Talk said it best on responding to the *botched* performance.
The kimchi jjigae breathed life back into me. Slowly, I was starting to gain some of my energy back, that I had lost throughout the hectic, soul-sucking night that had left me with hating life just moments prior.
SS had already eaten, so he just sat at the table, watching me eat, observing to see if I enjoyed his creation, his labor of 정성.
정성 (pronounced as jung sung): wholeheartedness, one’s true heart, devotion, sincerity. Remember this post ?
We toasted a couple of glasses of wine and fell asleep not long after. I knocked the eff out and was starting to regret suggesting the idea of going hiking the morning after a draining night. I was already sore and had enough of a work out in the kitchen that night, I thought.
SS does not like plans being broken or changed. As I laid there, I began to relay in my head how to tell him that I’d rather not wake up in the morning and just sleep in. Getting out of bed in the morning even just to go pee felt like it’d be cumbersome and painful, let alone to actively be out there exploring and being and physically active after a rough night. But I didn’t say anything. I was too busy thinking about how to bring it up. I had drifted into dreamland as contemplations passed through my mind.
Several hours later, I woke up to the sounds of SS’s obnoxiously loud alarm clock. I think it’s kept on extra loud to ensure an awakening…..a totally in-your-face type of loud that makes you want to crawl under a rock and die type of sound. Wrapping my head around the blanket, I groan, “Turn it off!”
And it got quiet again.
One minute later…..”QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK~”….
“QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK~” …the stupid duck alarm on his cell phone goes off on que.
“QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK~” it continues. I try to lull back to sleep anyway, trying to pretend it’s not there. The duck is not as loud and obnoxious as the clock.
SS acts like a big bully and holds his phone right next to my face. “It’s time to wake up,” he tells me.
I groan in annoyance. I needed more sleep. Wild bears could have come into the room and eaten me alive. I’d still not have come out of my zone. “Fifteen more minutes,” I pleaded, still buried underneath the covers. Maybe he knew I was tired. Maybe he was too sleepy himself and didn’t want to get out of his zone either. I’m not sure, but SS surrendered and left me alone. I fell back asleep….
“What in the…?!” I mumbled to myself as I looked at the clock just as I was beginning to open my eyes. SS had fallen back asleep when I did. We both slept a tad longer than planned and were a tad behind schedule. The thoughts of postponing our hiking plans surprisingly had been faded when I woke up. I mean, I still wanted to lay around in bed all day…..but I also felt recharged after a night’s sleep.
SS is a breakfasty type of person, whereas, I am not. I don’t really eat until around lunchtime. But I still need coffee in the mornings, or I can’t even tie my shoe. SS was looking at some Jack in the Box coupons that he had. Meh…I wasn’t really feeling Jack in the Box that morning.
I didn’t really know what I wanted. It had to be something quick that we can just pick up, as we were falling behind schedule. Paris Baguette kind of had its appeal. We decided to pick up some sandwiches to take with us and maybe find something to munch pre-take-off as well.
These are what we ended up getting.
Paris Baguette1659 W Orangethorpe Ave
Fullerton, CA 92833
We had the croquettes pre-take-off, in the car. It was filling and hearty, but it kind of felt a little too heavy to be having in the morning.
The drive there was smooth…..not much traffic… halfway there, we killed the cheesy jalapeno baguette.
OMG……with a couple of hours of waking up New Year’s morning, we consumed way too many carbs and calories. So much for the attempt at a fresh new year start in trying to stay away from high calorie foods. I was overridden with self-loathing guilt.
When we got off the exit and made a pit stop, we were curious to try the sandwiches, shared half and half, mixed and matched. It was the first time trying sandwiches from Paris Baguette. I can’t remember the last time I bought sandwiches cased in a plastic container. We got the ham and cheese and the tuna. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to purchase sandwiches here, but it was fun and convenient to take along on a short road trip. It kept us filled up until dinnertime, hours later.
Even though the drive to get here was smooth, when we entered the park, there was a long ass line. We sighed. Around twenty minutes later, it was evident what was causing the delay. There was some car that was stalled in the middle of the line. What a place to have your car stalled.
We used our annual pass that we got back in April when we went on the Utah trip.
The air was crisp cold and refreshing. It felt invigorating to be outside and getting some exercise. We visited a few different trails, burning off the carb-loaded grubs we had earlier. We roamed around, admiring the winter air and nature. If I had a choice, I’d choose hiking over gym to get in my heart-pumping, calorie burning routines. I just wish I lived closer to scenic hiking spots for easier, more frequent access.
We walked a sufficient amount. The guilt from the calories consumed earlier was worked off. The stress from the previous day was last year’s forgotten misery.
The plan was to stay and watch the sunset. But being the congestion despiser that he is, SS wanted to leave before it gets all maddeningly crowded as we exited out. And there it was again…..the horrendous line, a line to exit. There was no broken down car holding up the line this time, but it still took some waiting around time to exit the park.
Just as we are beginning to think that we were going to dodge some heavy duty traffic on the way home, we see ahead, more unending traffic after this (above)! Judging from the light traffic here, we were clueless of what was ahead.
As we approached near the Morongo Casino and outlet area, we were moving no more than five miles a minute. There was probably some show going on and/or everyone and their mother decided to come out to take advantage of the post-holiday shopping deals at the outlet.
Around three hours into the traffic, I was starting to get hungry. We wanted to go for some Shabu Shabu. Since the place we like going to isn’t too far from the area that we’d be passing through on the way home, we decided to go to Dada Shabu Shabu Buffet in Irvine. We called to see if they were open on New Year’s Day. Yelp stated that they were closed. To confirm, we called. Yep, closed. Btw, I wish more businesses showed their holiday hours online. Some places don’t always do. I’d rather check online than have to talk to a live person lol.
So we pondered on what to eat. Being that it was a holiday, choices were limited, but we knew we wanted something soupy and comforting, especially after our nature hike on a cold winter day.
We ended up having dinner at Mirak, which is in the same plaza as Paris Baguette that we were at in the morning. We are regulars at Mirak, but I’ve never tried anything else here other than 흑염소탕 (heuk yumso tang =black goat stew). I honestly like the first location of Mirak in Ktown LA better than the OC one. But the OC one is down the street.
The greens sit atop the simmering broth as it cooks and slowly seep into it, enhancing the flavors, cutting out some of the gaminess of the goat.
My favorite part of the meal is the rice mixing part at the end. I didn’t take any pictures of that in this last visit, but you can see it here on a previous Instagram post. No matter how full I get, I always make room for the mixed rice in the end. I’m all about the mixed rice part in the end.
Mirak 1056 S Brookhurst Rd
Fullerton, CA 9283