Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Korean Kkakdugi - Cubed Radish Kimchi - Recipe

With the success of my first attempt at making Mom's kimchi, I decided to try for one of my favorites - a  classic Kkakdugi 깍두기 or cubed Korean Radish Kimchi. I had previously looked around online and found a recipe and tried it straight up from the recipe - unfortunately I didn't save the link so I'm not exactly sure who was the source.

A few things to note - you can use this same recipe for any number of types of radish or daikon, even turnips. Also, you can eat this pretty much right away but in my opinion it tastes much better after fermentation (but then again, doesn't everything?). If you decide to use Korean radishes - look for those that are still a bit green at the top but white at the bottom - those that are too green won't be very sweet and those that are all white have been picked late so much of the starch has converted - also they should be firm and not have any indication of softness, rot or blemish. The rest of the ingredients are pretty basic - I used the remaining gochugaru (red pepper flakes) I had purchased to make napa cabbage kimchi - it was getting old so it's getting pretty dark - you want to find it bright red. Finally, when I make this again I won't use the same fish sauce or use less - this was Korean style and super pungent as it continues to ferment as it sits in the bottle. The initial hit from the jar is overpowering, of course as you eat it you don't notice it much.

  1. Peel 4 pounds of Korean radish (or daikon).
  2. Rinse in cold water and pat dry.
  3. Cut it into ¾ to 1 inch cubes. Put into a large bowl.
  4. Add 2 tbs salt, 2 tbs sugar, and mix well.
  5. *tip: If you like your kkakdugi sweeter, add 1 or more extra tbs of sugar.
  6. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  7. Drain the juice from the radish into a small bowl.
  8. Add 2 tbs minced garlic (about 5-6 cloves garlic), 1 ts minced ginger, 4 stalks of chopped green onions, ¼ cup fish sauce, 2/3 cup hot pepper flakes, and ⅓ cup of the juice from the radish.
  9. *tip: The amount of hot pepper flakes you use depends on your taste; use ¼ cup hot pepper flakes for a mild version. For a vegetarian version, replace fish sauce with soy sauce.
  10. Mix it up well until the seasonings coat the radish cubes evenly, and the radish looks juicy.
  11. Put the kkakdugi into a glass jar and press down on the top of it to remove any air from between the radish cubes.
  12. You can eat it right away, and then store it in the refrigerator. Or you can let it ferment by keeping it outside of the refrigerator for a few days. When it starts fermenting, little bubbles may appear on top of the kkakdugi and it’ll smell strong & sour. Then put it in the refrigerator.

You can peel the Korean radish using the edge of a knife perpendicular to the surface - sort of scrape off the rough edges - this is a traditional method, or you can use a peeler.

I used left-over turbanado sugar from making cabbage kimchi previously. It worked fine.

Notice the gloves - I use nitrile gloves  that I pick up at Harbor Freight when they're on sale - it'll save your hands from stinking like the food and also you from accidentally rubbing an eye.

After you mix everything up you can eat right away but I prefer letting it ferment - the pungency works great with steamed rice and a bit of BBQ meat. I like mine hot but you way want to tone things down a bit - as you can tell two radishes make about half a gallon - I think this could have been stretched easily to 3 radishes.

I originally made this back in August and have about half of it left - I don't think my wife likes the fishy smell so she's not eating it - just an FYI. I hope to finish it up and try a new batch of napa cabbage kimchi for the start of 2019.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

-- John

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Siamese Basil Thai - Norcross - Atlanta Georgia

You can find Siamese Basil Thai at 6034 S Norcross Tucker Rd, Norcross, GA 30093 - this is on the eastern side of Norcross Tucker Rd as it spans between Pleasantdale Rd and Jimmy Carter Blvd. It lies on the northern end of a small shopping center - there's parking out front and to the side but know that it can be a bit limited. I'm not sure how this became part of Norcross - it must be on the very edge of the city boundary.

This is one of two Thai restaurants in the area that is quite well known, having occupied this location for many years - the other is Thai Restaurant of Norcross across the street and further south about a block, which I've heard is one of the oldest Thai restaurants in Atlanta. We usually eat at Thai Restaurant of Norcross (regulars, eating there since the late 90's) but decided to change things up a bit as it has been many, many years since we hit Siamese Basil Thai. This neighborhood is a bit sketch at night, with many pedestrians (some of them quite buzzed) wandering around and crossing the streets in dark clothing - think Buford Highway from 20 years ago in towards Northeast Plaza. There are many small shops and restaurants feeding into many nearby apartment buildings - it's that type of vibe. It's also only a few miles from my neighborhood so I've explored these areas a bit.

The interior of Siamese Basil is a mix of attempted elegance and restaurant function - maybe a bit dated in today's trendy industrial restaurant modern notion. There are chest high walls crenelated to provide views to booths and tables on a checkerboard-tiled floor. Menus are multiple pages with some attempt at color photography for a few representative dishes. Prices range from $4 apps to $15 signature dishes with most in the $10-11 range for your basics.

 Since I had been a while we started with shrimp basil rolls with a classic peanut sauce - I thought these were good and a bit unusual to see in a Thai restaurant, being more of a Vietnamese dish. We went from there to a spicy basil chicken, a veg fried rice and a chicken pad thai. I thought all were good and slightly different compared to Thai Restaurant of Norcross - I'd certainly come here again if that option was limited.

Service was very good with the guy at the front very personable as was the attending server. I've since eaten here for lunch with a separate menu that was quite reasonable and included Sushi and Japanese Bento.

(also posted to Yelp)
Siamese Basil Thai Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Freds Meat and Bread - Krog Street Market - Atlanta Georgia

You can find this location of Fred's Mean & Bread in what I think of as the food court of Krog Street Market at 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307- along the back-side across from the restrooms near  where the line to Hop City forms. Parking is a bit sporadic for Krog Street Market - meaning that the spaces get filled up quickly and there's usually some attendant out there collecting money (not sure if that's legit or not). I generally park on one of the side streets and walk a couple of blocks.

If you haven't been to Krog Street Market (which was formerly some music studio) - it's basically an open-air building that's been divided along the sides, ends and down the middle with various stores, food stands and restaurants. I don't think there's a food court per se, rather there are a few tables and standing counters in an open area in front of Hop City where you can eat your food and have a great craft draft. On this evening we hit a few of the food stands including my favorite Gu's Dumplings - we also got a few burger-and-fries from Fred's. 

The menu at Fred's is very simple, and you know how I like simple:

* Bacon Cheeseburger
* Burger Stack
* Veggie Burger
* Meatball Parm
* Korean Fried Chickn Sandwich
* Cheesesteak Sandwich
* 'Shroom Shire Cheesesteak
* Pimento Cheese Club
* Crispy Smoked Catfish Po-Boy
* Italian Grinder
* Cauliflower & Eggplant Banh Mi
* Roasted Turkey
* Various sides including Hand-cut fries, garlic fries, pommes frites (not sure how these are different other than the aioli), bbq fries and old bay fries

On this occasion we ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger and it was quite good - juicy, cheesy, bacony. The Roasted Turkey Sandwich that someone ordered was okay but nothing special (guy was on a "healthy food kick"). The fries were excellent. The other thing to buy from Fred's is the cheesesteak sandwich - it's quite good but we refrained on this occasion. The hand-cut fries everyone raves about - they're good but a bit greasy. I've been meaning to come back and try everything else but I usually end up at Gu's - now that Gu is opening a new restaurant back on Buford Hwy I'll have a better excuse to try the other sandwiches.

Service has always been pretty good - it is an order-at-the-counter type place though so my expectations are fairly low. The line to order can get quite long - which for me sucks and will keep me from getting in it - be smart and have one person order the food while others are picking up the beers from Hop City (and have a third grab some table or counter space).

(also posted to Yelp)
Fred's Meat & Bread Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Three Taverns Craft Brewery - Decatur Atlanta Georgia

You can find Three Taverns Craft Brewery at 121 New St, Decatur, GA 30030- while this is property Decatur by city districting lines, it may mean more looking for the Brewery by it's proximity to Avondale Estates as New St comes off of East College and is basically on the border between Decatur and Avondale slightly west of the Avondale MARTA station, a great travel option.

The photos and experience are a bit old - it's from a visit on 2017.01.28 back before the laws were changed regarding the direct purchase of beer in Georgia - at the time you could pay for a "Brewery Tour" which usually included a glass and tickets that could be used to sample the beer. On this occasion I put together a small brewery crawl with some friends - there are three breweries within walking distance of each other: Three Taverns, Blue Tarp and Wild Heaven. We also made stops at My Parents Basement (for lunch) and closed things out at Palookaville for dinner.

Three Taverns Craft Brewery in on New Street, about two blocks from East College - you turn onto New and then make a right into their parking lot. As with most Atlanta breweries, the facility parking is almost negligible - but fear not as there's plenty of street parking. This is a metal warehouse-style building with an awning above the taproom tentrance and "121" to the left of the door. The exterior belies the expansive rooms within - the facility is pretty big. 

The taproom itself has reclaimed wood walls and an interesting gear/wheel sculpture behind one counter and exposed brick behind the main tap counter - by the exposed wooden ceiling this was probably the original structure. If you're a beer geek (and who isn't?), make sure you take the tour - it's a nice facility - you'll also spot some barrels with goodies aging inside and if you're lucky they'll have something available that's unusual and not found locally in cans - and really, that's the best thing about visiting local breweries, experiencing the delicious limited offerings found only on site.

Theophan the Recluse Belgian Imperial Stout

Quasimodo Belgian Style Quad

Feest Noel - spiced Quasimodo

Third Age Sherry Barrel Aged Old Ale

On this day there were several beers worth trying (so I did, of course):

  1. A Night on Ponce IPA - I've had this several times to skipped
  2. Hoplicity DIPA - this was quite good, I think much better than their regular IPA.
  3. A Night in Brussels IPA - I also skipped this one.
  4. Prince of Pilsen - not a fan of Pilsners so I've never tried this one. 
  5. Quasimodo - this as a pretty great Belgian Style Quad
  6. Feest Noel - this is a spiced up version of Quasimodo with cardamom, all spice and clove - it was a bit too much for me but I can see why someone would like it 
  7. Third Age - this Sherry Barrel Aged Old Ale - I thought I would like this more - I'm not sure what I expected.
  8. Theophan the Recluse - I've had this before but like it so much I had more while visiting - this is a delicious Belgian-style Imperial Stout - strong, boozy, rich and worth it.
  9. There were also three sours, but I passed on all three: Rapturous (rasperry sour), No.10-Basileus (cucumber basil) and No.11-Blacklisted (black currant rosemary tark dark ale). 
  10. Rowdy and Proud IPA - not listed but also worth trying - I like it better than A Night on Ponce. 

The people at Three Taverns are exceptionally nice - both the staff and the other patrons. I didn't get that douchey hipster vibe while visiting - the crowd was a bit older so that might be it, or it may just be the location - this part of town doesn't have the collegiate attitude of intown breweries. In any case, the first location on our brewery crawl was quite successful. We had fun and the beer and brewery experience was most excellent.

@JohnEatonATL and @excitedtofeast on Instagram

(also posted to Yelp)
Three Taverns Craft Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato