Saturday, December 4, 2010

'Western' food: A one-two punch, take one: Butterfinger Pancakes

 As much as I love Korean food, sometimes I just crave something from back home, like a proper (quote unquote) American breakfast. Before moving here, I wondered what I would miss the most, and actually predicted one thing right: bacon. Real bacon: not the uncured samgyupsal that everyone is crazy about here and that I also enjoy, but salty, cured, crispy bacon. Not only do I miss bacon, but also biscuits and gravy (hard for me to make with only a teeny tiny toaster oven) and good sausages. I can do eggs at home – we have a lot of British-ish breakfasts consisting of fried eggs, toast-and-jam, and baked beans (thanks to HomePlus a.k.a. Tesco's in Korea) and sometimes do pancakes or potato hash, but it's those breakfast meats that I typically crave.

So last Sunday, my friend K. and I decided to go to Butterfingers, a favorite of K.'s. They have two branches, and we went to the one near Gangnam station. K's a bacon fiend, more than me – she tells me that for 6 months while studying and living in the U.S., she ate 10 pieces of bacon at each meal! (sometimes in fried rice, she says, but still) – and Butterfingers is a place she can go to satisfy her cravings. The atmosphere was bright and open, and reminded me a bit of The Diner in D.C., although a little more upscale. The menu was huge and everything looked delicious (chive waffle with sauteed cherry tomatoes and bacon on the side; corned beef hash platter; blueberry pancakes). As expected, it was a bit pricey. We didn't get any coffee because the prices started at 5,000 won for a regular drip coffee. At last, I decided to order my breakfast a la carte (spiced pecan pancakes with apple compote; hashbrowns; bacon), which added up to be around 12,000 won. The two pancakes alone cost 5,500 won. K. ordered a waffle platter with eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon for about the same price, and we shared our food and gushed over the bacon. My food came out on three separate plates, probably because I ordered a la carte, which made it a bit hard to eat the pancakes; serving it all on one plate would have made more sense to me.
 The food was good, but not awesome. Basically, like something you'd get at a good diner back home. The hashbrowns were pre-frozen and not cooked very well; they could have been crispier. I preferred K.'s potatoes (homefries), although even those could have been better (a bit undercooked but well-seasoned). I could have made those pancakes at home myself, and I agree with this review - the portion should have made it a side order. The bacon and sausage were a highlight: the former crispy-chewy and smoky, the latter plump, juicy, and mildly spiced (kind of like a weiswurst). At those prices, and the fact it's in Gangnam, I wouldn't go regularly, but it'd be a nice place for the occasional treat.

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