A couple of weekends ago, SS and I went on a little getaway to Big Bear Lake. We’ve been meaning to go before all the snow melted. It snowed quite a bit this past winter. December and January would have probably been a stunning winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders. We didn’t plan to do any of those snow activities or anything more active than a leisurely stroll amongst the snow. Our getaway was intended to be about going away, relaxing, and doing nothing.
We checked into the cabin, unloaded, then headed out for some sightseeing. The sun was starting to set around that time.
Isn’t that lovely?
Quiet and peaceful.
My favorite part about going up to the mountains is the food. Stocking up that ice box with plenty of delicious food was all part of “a trip to the mountains” tradition since childhood (some of you may remember my post about my childhood trips to Big Bear). Before we left that morning, I picked up some groceries and started the cooking/preparing/packing process.
Before we left that morning, I picked up some groceries and started the cooking/preparing/packing process.
My traditional foods of mountain getaways have always included main dishes of meat (KBBQ style) and Jjigae (stew). And this time was no exception. I purchased two kinds of meat: samgyupsal and wagyu beef. I swear, my mouth had already started to water at the meat aisle when I picked them up. Thoughts of meat sizzling, getting ready to enter my belly ran through my head as I walked out of the store.
We decided to have lunch at home before taking off. SS requested tuna sandwich. He loves my tuna sandwich. I picked up most of the grocery items for lunch and the trip at H-mart, but certain things they didn’t have, so I went to Stator Bros. to pick up a few additional things such as canned tuna, relish, and Worcestershire that I was out of.
The jjigae that I decided to make was doenjang jjigae (remember doenjang jjigae from our last post? I’m sure you do!), mostly because of the ingredients I already had on hand at home.
When we arrived back at the cabin, we were ready to eat!
“You get the fireplace started and I’ll get dinner started,” I told SS, hoping we would be able to enjoy the warm comfort from the heat of the fire burning.
Almost halfway into cooking, I turned around and saw SS still stooped over trying to get the fire started.
We had wood that we had picked up at a random Lowe’s on our way up here. And guess what?
“Piece of crap is not working!” groaned SS. He continued trying to make the wood burn for another few minutes until he decided, “I’m just going to go get some real wood from the office.” The people at the office were away to go have dinner, so we had to wait.
The kitchen had a rustic, cozy charm to it.
It’s semi-fully stocked with the basics. When I was a little girl, there was a cabin (in Lake Arrowhead) that my family and I used to stay at regularly. The kitchen/pantry was fully stocked as if it was a place for gourmet chefs to stay and play at. But I remember that we never touched anything. My mom always brought her own items. As an adult, I have a tendency to not opt using the complimentary amenities either. Well, okay…a couple of things I had no choice but to end up using were the wine glasses, mainly because SS did not want to bring from home (there was already too much luggage for a one-night getaway) and one of the pans (on left…I guess I could have used one, but two made things faster). I have that neurotic mentality of “Who knows who has used them, did what to them….what if the last guests that stayed got drunk or drugged and did stupid stuff, like pee into the pan, or what if an old lady used one of the cups as her denture holder because she forgot to bring hers?….or what if some crazy bored prankster kid decided to fill up the pepper shaker with dirt? My OCD neuroticness runs wild in such situations. But I tried my best to not think about it.
Remember I said that samgyupsal would be one of the things that might be on my last meal list? So yeah, I always anticipate on samgyupsal time.
Bringing something to cook at the table would have been nice and convenient for eating right off the grill, but again, that would’ve been more luggage. It was funny. We took turns going back and forth to babysit the meat in the pans.
For rice, we made it easy and took hetban (햇반), made for convenience and lazy people lol. It’s microwavable rice that takes minutes. So no rice cooker, washing of rice, extra things to clean, and all that crap is necessary. When on the road or on the days when feeling lazy, it’s a lifesaver. For more info on hetban, check out the link below. Honestly, these days, I don’t have hetban on a regular basis. But back when I moved out for the first time and did not even know how to make rice or use a rice cooker, hetban was my best friend. My mom got it for me in bulk (until I eventually learned how to cook). And of course, I don’t leave home without it on road trips (unless I am planning to eat out for every meal).
The Waygu I got had sexy marbling and when cooked, I think it made SS’s eyes roll back to the back of his head.
Accompaniments to the meat fest also included: dwenjang jjigae, perilla leaves, sliced jalapeno and garlic, and pa muchim (green onion salad). The pa muchim is necessary and makes the meat taste better. We were both so bummed that we had forgotten kimchi and ssamjang! We are usually not this forgetful when packing for trips. I guess I just had a stressful week!
But these made up for it!
When having KBBQ style meat, ESPECIALLY samgyupsal, soju is almost always necessary. When we were picnicking in Utah and grilling samgyupsal in 30 degree weather, the one thing we were missing was a bottle of soju….but we survived and still had a delicious and memorable meal.
SS likes to mix the soju with bokbunja. I like it because soju alone tastes like rubbing alcohol (but when drinking with samgyupsal, even straight soju miraculously tastes like a pairing made in heaven). Bokbunja (read about “The Legend” part in the link…it’s hilarious) is a type of wild black raspberry wine, so mixing that with the soju gives it some fruitiness.
We were stuffed. Our bulging food baby bellies in bliss..
SS went out again to go fetch some wood. He returned with a set of wood that he got for $4 at the office.
And this time, the wood actually burned! A $16+ set of wood that wouldn’t even burn vs. a $4 one that actually burned….lol…go figure.
Cozy and romantic lol
After digesting a bit, a teeny bit of room freed up in our bellies to munch on chocolate.
We picked out the good ones first (that are missing here).
And a little bit of Ice Wine in glasses that came with the cabin.
Relaxation… The location was secluded and quiet.
This is what we had for breakfast the next morning.
I don’t love ramen, but when up in the snowy mountains, it’s customary. This seriously tastes ten times better up here. It must be a Korean thing.
We ventured out again for a bit before heading back home.
Enjoying peace and quiet moments with nature…it was to be the calm before the storm the next day (the next day being Valentine’s Day and you guys know how much I hate Valentine’s Day) lol.
Yeah….I hate Valentine’s Day. I hate it almost more than any day of the year. It’s like when every couple on the planet eats out. It seems like even those who rarely even go out will crawl out of their rock once a year for the evening to go out and celebrate. In the industry, it’s like the busiest night of the year. If you’re one to make it a priority to spend that special day with your boo and you’re in the industry, they’d probably laugh at you.
It’s almost like a survival game to make it through the night….or day and night for some. Everyone is already grumpy and on edge that day before they even come in to work. The only thing that we look forward to all night is going home and going to bed.
Some time ago, I discovered a funny blog (called “Dinners from Hell” )with posts that felt like it was the story of my life. You have to read this post written by a man that claimed to have had a miserable experience when he went out on Valentine’s Day. As both an industry worker and someone that likes to dine out, his story made me want to go find this man (who wrote the post like a decade ago…who knows if he’s even alive today) and slap him.