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1st Birthday Hoopla

The 1st birthday for a korean baby is a big deal. I mean it’s a huge deal. It’s bigger than what a sweet 16 would be, what turning 21 would be. It’s a true celebration and people tend to go all out and fest. My nephew just turned 1 and his mom went absolutely bonkers preparing for the little kid party of the century. It was a rainbow theme and there were decorations galore. It’s amazing just how many different ways to decorate people can come up with. The internet is apparently a great source for all kinds of random party stuff.
One of the traditional things you have to do with the baby is a fortune telling ritual where the baby picks what career he/she will end up having. A bunch of objects that represent things like athlete, lawyer, entertainer, etc. are laid out and the baby is free to pick an object of their choosing. This signifies what they will be in the future. It’s corny but it’s fun to see. Baby E picked entertainer. Somehow, I don’t see this happening.
My mom did not feel like cooking, and who really wants to cook a bunch of food by herself for 20 people, so instead, we got catered food from Kobawoo in Elkins Park. And let me tell you, it was all good. Here is the galbijim.
Pigs feet! I did not partake in this. But apparently, it was quite good.
Here is some marinated spicy squid and a bunch of banchan.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without a bunch of jeons. There was a spicy kimchi one, a fish one, and a plain old chive one. I particularly dug the kimchi one.
Japchae! Have you ever been to a korean party of some kind and not had japchae? And here’s some cucumber kimchi.
Big hunks of fish. There was so much food in my mom’s house it was ridiculous. All I kept doing was encouraging people to eat and take food home.
But aside from the proper dinner food, there were plenty of other foods and edible decorations. There was a giant selection of different kinds of dduk, korean style rice cakes. These thoroughly took me back to the motherland. I don’t eat dduk often, but when I have it, and when it’s good and fresh, I really enjoy it. See those little decorations with the beans? My sister-in-law made those, by hand, bean by freakin bean! I was impressed.
Here’s some more dduk, a different kind, as well as a plethora of fruits. I think they each probably symbolize something, but really, they’re also just colorful. This particular kind of dduk was actually my favorite.
This was the first of the two birthday cakes. This was a korean style cake made out of dduk. It’s super cute, huh? And those watermelons? Courtesy of yours truly. My first watermelon art, but I think they turned out pretty well.
The piece de resistance though, was the regular birthday cake. Courtesy of the baking artists at Night Kitchen bakery, this super adorable cake was really the hit of the party. They did an amazing job following my slapdash mock-up of what we wanted. I’d never had a fondant cake before so I really didn’t know what to expect. Everyone I had talked to before said that they made really tasty cakes. It was a vanilla cake with lemon curd, and indeed, it tasted great! It was super moist and there was a thin layer of cream in between the cake and the fondant, so even with the odd tasting fondant (not odd in a bad way, just odd) the whole thing was great. It was a little bit sad hacking into this thing that was so super cute, but everyone enjoyed it. Sure, the baby didn’t get to eat this cake nor will he remember it, but I think everyone else will. Ok kiddo, we’ll see you at your next birthday!

Ardmore Birthday Dinner

So it was birthday time again, my mom this time. And if history tells me so, you know she’s gonna pick a sushi restaurant. She’s a pretty predictable lil lady. So this time, we stayed round me and she picked Mikado / Thai Pepper. The place has been around for a long time, but it’s been years since I’ve been there. And the last time I was there, it was still two separate restaurants. Now they’re physically linked together. So because these two restaurants are together, you can get both japanese and thai cuisine at the same time, which can be handy.

So I got an ardmore roll as a little appetizer. I forget exactly what it was but it had spicy tuna, avocado, and tempura crunchies on it, with some sauce on it. This was delicious! And it had some of the softest most melt-in-your-mouth avocado I’d ever had. And the roll was so big! I picked a damn winner this time around.

My mom got the sushi and sashimi for one. This is what she typically goes for, one of those for one dealies. It had plenty of food in it, but the fish was pretty standard – tuna, salmon, shrimp, and one other thing. So nothing extra special in this, but plenty of food for one person. And the sashimi was nice and thick.

For me, I got the tempura udon. When I feel like getting a non-sushi entree, I usually always go with an udon dish. I love me some udon noodles. And while it’s still not the warmest out, I’m going to enjoy as much soup as I possibly can. This udon was ok. The broth was nothing special, and neither were the noodles. The shrimp were pretty good though, and it also had some carrot and sweet potato tempura in it too. The portion was surprisingly large for the price. All in all, a decent bowl of udon and a pretty decent price.

The service was pretty good. Our waitress seemed to be japanese, fresh off the boat, and her grasp of the english language was questionable. She started every sentence with “excusa me”. It was too polite and after awhile, it got annoying. She doesn’t have to excuse herself when she brings me food, it’s her job, and it’s what I went there for! In all, everyone was very pleasant and friendly.

Mikado Thai Pepper on Urbanspoon

Birthday Korean Dinner

Even though it was for my birthday, I let my mom pick where we should go. So we ended up going to Nagwon Garden, one of our local faves. We’re pretty boring when we go eat korean food. We don’t usually order anything wacky or experiment. We stick to what we know, what we like, and what’s good.
None of the banchan was particularly outstanding, but they were all pretty good.
We ordered the haemulpajeon (seafood pancake). I’ve always liked it here. It’s not too thick, everything is cooked all the way through, and it’s chock full of seafood, including squid, which is my favorite part.
My mom went with dolsot bibimbap, one of her ol standbys. I had a little bit of it, and it was pretty good, as usual. I love the burnt rice bits on the bottom.
As for me, I wanted something super hot since it was bitterly cold, so I went with jjamppong, a spicy seafood noodle dish. It’s one of my absolutely favorite dishes in the world. It’s full of seafood, veggies, and thick wheat based noodles in a spicy broth. This particular one wasn’t nearly as spicy as it looked. Jjamppong is actually considered a Korean Chinese dish, but whatever it’s considered, I dig it.

Service was on par with other korean restaurants, meaning ok. On this particularl night, we were the only people dining in the place. It was a bit weird. But I blamed it on people being glued to their seats awaiting the Lost season premiere or just staying indoors and keeping warm. I did see some takeout orders going out.

Nagwon Garden
7650 W Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
(610) 449-1800

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