Sunday, April 17, 2011

Secret Garden - Korean Drama

picture courtesy of SBS
A romantic comedy drama about a CEO of a Dept Store (Kim Joo Won) that thinks of himself as a high social class person. He goes on blind dates arranged by his mother. He thinks of marriage as a business transactions that should benefit him and his company. A misunderstanding led him to meet Gil Ra Im, a poor stuntwoman. Ra Im was apparently different from all the women he ever dated before. First started as a fling and before they knew it, they switched bodies and lives.

picture courtesy of SBS
Other characters in the drama included Oska (Choi Woo Young), Joo Won's cousin and a populer singer that happened to be Gil Ra Im's fave singer. Yoon Seul, a past lover of Oska, that came back as Joo Won's blind date. Hmm...not complicated yet ? What about threw in Im Jong Soo, the head of action school where Gil Ra Im worked. Secretly, Im fell in love with Gil long time ago.

The arrogant Kim Joo Won and his tacky track suit is no mistake the star of this drama. His cute and romantic way of pursuing Gil Ra Im were very entertaining. A lot of girls would like to be in Ra Im's position - a modern time Korean Cinderella story (with a twist !).

Hyun Bin (as Kim Joo Won) and Ha Ji Won (as Gil Ra Im) played well in this drama. They showed chemistry and played comfortably as couple. I was quite surprise that for a Korean drama, Secret Garden had quite a lot of kissing scenes, some of them pretty long ones too. In the interview, Hyun Bin stated that both he and Ji Won got to know each other and talked a lot during the whole filming process. That helped them in avoiding being awkward with each other when it comes to physical contact.

For those that like comedy drama should totally watch this one. Secret Garden had a combination of comedy, romance, enough touching moments and a good story lines. Last but not least, the OST by Baek Ji Young is da bomb ! It had become my fave song overnight. Look for Baek Ji Young's That Woman on Youtube. Yay.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hot Pot Palace Buffet - San Jose

We finally had a chance to try this restaurant. For some reason I thought this place would be similar to the hot pot city on McCarthy Ranch. So I was looking forward to have some grill meat for lunch. Walking in the restaurant, I looked around and saw only regular tables. Then it dawned on me that they only do hot pot and not grill.

The waiter seated us. On the table, there was a printed menu with different broth available to pick from. We both chose Thai tom yum. Another type of broths available were plain meat broth, Szechuan spicy broth, mushroom flavor, sauerkraut flavor, Vietnamese sweet and sour, Chinese herbal , etc

There were two bottom parts of hot pot on the table with some pink gel 'fuel' on it. ha..ha.. I'm not too sure what the pink stuff was. It looked like the sort of gel that made up candles that I bought before. Then we were welcomed to check out the buffet line. One side of the line was the ingredients that will go in the hot pot. Plates of thinly sliced beef and pork. Next to it was different types of noodle - yellow and rice noodle and also thinly sliced chicken. Different types of veggies - napa cabbage, cabbage, greens (that looked like spinach), etc. Another thing that I loved most but never get to cook at home is tripe. This chewy thing was already cooked, just need to be thrown in and heated up well. Awesome.

Btw, next to the first line of buffet was glass jars of minced different stuffs to make your own dipping sauce. Green onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, bean paste, chilli paste etc. Then bottles of sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, etc. So grab your little bowl and prepare your dipping sauce to your liking.

Then on the other side of the buffet line was dimsum. The choices available for dimsum was typical shumai, chives dumpling, bao, egg rolls. Nothing too special about them. I also tried the phi tan congee and the hot sour soup. I thought the soup was pretty good even though the congee was just fine. But hey I have to work on my hot pot which is my main attention that day.

By the time I was done I didn't have much room for dessert. Hubby tried the dessert line which according to me was not special at all. Hubby put together a bowl of different types of pudding topped of with shaved ice. Seriously the idea was good but they should have put out better stuffs like mung bean/red bean, corn, nata de coco, etc. Those items would make better combinations for shaved ice than soggy pudding (even in the different color nonetheless). But hey, after a few rounds of hot pot, I couldn't complain much about dessert since I didn't have any room left. I needed to have special compartment in my tummy for dessert.

Hot Pot Palace Buffet
1628 Hostetter Rd, San Jose, CA 95131   (408) 392-0566