Brunching in Hongdae

There’s just something about brunch that sets it apart from other meals. The easy chatter, light flavors, and choice of menu all contribute to a warm ambiance so characteristic of brunch. It always makes me feel like I’ve started the day right. (You know, instead of inhaling last night’s slice of pizza or having a red velvet cupcake for breakfast.)

I was naturally quite excited when my friend- and supervisor- Camille asked me out to brunch on a lazy Sunday morning. The two of us agreed to meet up at the small cafe I had pointed out only a few days prior.  I’d noticed a line of at least seven people waiting patiently outside Butter Milk’s (버터밀크) storefront. With it being a mere five minutes away from my boarding house, I knew I had to give it a try.

With summer in Korea in full swing, I had the opportunity to take pictures of these vibrant (and alien- to me) flowers I saw along the streets of Hongdae on my way to meet her. I thought these orange buds on the right were immature chili peppers or some related genus before I saw the first bloom!

Of course, we ourselves did have to wait about an hour outside before the hostess was ready to seat us. I believe that there were around 5 tables available, and each was only intended to accommodate two guests. As it’s a very popular place, try to come early. They open at 10am and close at 6pm. And yes, the hour long wait was definitely worth it.

The interior of the cafe is quite homey and relaxing. There were several shelves of beautiful old books along the walls. Unfortunately, I believe most of them were in Japanese (we suspect the owner is too) and so I was unable to peruse any of them whilst waiting for our food to come.

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We ended up ordering the exact same thing! This place is famous for its Ricotta Cheese Pancakes (6,800KRW). These are without a doubt, the best pancakes I have ever had. I don’t know how I’ll go on without them once I’ve left Seoul. They’re amazingly light, fluffy, and the gentle ricotta flavor is only enhanced by the drizzled syrup.

I loved everything on my plate (except that odd red berry in the corner- I wasn’t sure what to make of it). The mashed potatoes and bacon were delicious, but next to the pancake my next favorite would have to be the scrambled egg that you can see peeking out from under my strip of bacon.

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We ordered Lemon Ades (3,800KRW) to go with our food. I was totally blindsided. I’d expected to receive lemonade. Instead, what arrived at our table was more like sparkling water with a touch of lemon flavor. It was the most bizarre thing. According to Camille, she has yet to come across a place in Korea that serves real lemonade. If you see ‘ade’ on the menu, be aware that that means soda.

What’s your brunch go-to?

Ysobel.

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Seoul: Style Nanda & Chuu | Styling the Cold Shoulder

Since I’ve been in Seoul, the residence I’ve been staying in has been tantalizingly close to two very dangerous establishments: Style Nanda and Chuu.

In case these aren’t already familiar to you, these highly popular brands retail trendy Korean clothing, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics. Beauty and fashion bloggers living in or visiting Korea do not leave without making a pilgrimage to these stores.

And I happen to live no more than a five minute walk away from their flagship stores. Here is a collection of photos I’ve amassed over the past few weeks! Continue reading “Seoul: Style Nanda & Chuu | Styling the Cold Shoulder”

Kyoto-Nagoya Station: Trains and Manga

When the train stations look like airports and the subway looks like a high class shopping mall, you realize that your standards for infrastructure and innovation will never be the same again. Muji and UNIQLO were definite culprits for the havoc I wreaked on my savings account. But in truth, my greatest weakness was the drugstore. Continue reading “Kyoto-Nagoya Station: Trains and Manga”

Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha

One can hardly mention Kyoto without thinking of the iconic vermillion red gates or “torii” that make their appearance into many a travel-blogger’s portfolio. Fushimi Inaria Taisha can be accessed by taking a 5 minute train from Kyoto Station. The major Shinto shrine then lies almost directly in front of Fushimi station. Continue reading “Kyoto: Fushimi Inari Taisha”

Kyoto: Gion District, Kyoto Tower

Leaving the charming geisha district of Kyoto was not easy. All the little streets and traditional Japanese architecture beckoned us to stay. I could feel the culture slipping away as the quiet town of yukata and kimono clad-citizens began melting into a more modern setting. Continue reading “Kyoto: Gion District, Kyoto Tower”

Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera Temple

A lot of my dreams came true that day. No, seriously. I fulfilled my exotic hime-sama (princess) reverie. I teetered on the brink (have you seen the slope of the temple stage?) between fantasy and reality. Earlier that day, even before I was magically transformed by the amazing staff of Okamoto, I was already commandeering my imaginary subjects in my mind. Continue reading “Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera Temple”

Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji Temple, Yasaka Shrine

The first thing I caught sight of upon entering the Kinkakuji complex was this beautiful amber-hued tree. I knew to expect a golden pavilion, but I wasn’t expecting to have the surrounding fauna garbed in the same expensive manner! Continue reading “Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji Temple, Yasaka Shrine”

Arashiyama: Bamboo Grove, Kimono Forest

I really had hoped to arrive at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove by 8 am and evade the demon hordes of tourists. Due to a combination of factors, that plan failed miserably. And so we were greeted by a cacophony by all manner of people come from all over the globe. The worst part was when a woman dressed as a geisha began walking through to take pictures with people. She would stop after about 3 paces to pose for photos and the people just coming. The congestion was ridiculous. Despite all, the majesty of the infinite bamboo stalks disappearing into the clear sky could not be discounted. Continue reading “Arashiyama: Bamboo Grove, Kimono Forest”

Arashiyama: Sagano Torokko, Tenryu-ji Temple

I must say: dragging my family from airport to train station to bus terminal to bus stop to Airbnb to train station and further through the streets of Arashiyama was a logistical nightmare. But as soon as we scrambled aboard the Sagano Romantic Train with a good 20 seconds left to spare, my ill-contained ire flew to the winds much like most of our hard cash. Continue reading “Arashiyama: Sagano Torokko, Tenryu-ji Temple”