About a week after trying Coffee Florian, I was exploring my neighborhood once again. Nestled at the northwestern edge of Beobhwasan (법화산), which to my surprise unexpectedly has a huge Korean Wikipedia entry about it, is the fairly new campus of Dangook University. I’d been to the Dangook University area a few times to eat with friends, but now I was there to explore, and eventually find coffee.
In early April 2011, I was still exploring my new neighborhood of Jukjeon, and learning about all of its ins and outs and side streets. Along one of these side streets, I found a rare rough and underdeveloped area of Jukjeon, which is typically known to be well off and fully developed. Near the small rough area, there was a café and an ice cream shop. But I was on my way to get dinner, so I decided to go there another time.
But! That other time conveniently happened to be the next day. After dinner at home, I figured why not try this new place now rather than later. So I walked there, and arrived when it was already dark, but a bright cube light and the promise of double espresso beckoned me in. I had found Coffee Florian.
A few cafés are well kept secrets. Others are secretive just because they are far away from view, deep in a neighborhood or deep in the mountains. Today’s café, With Coffee House, is one of the latter.
Now here’s a place a little closer to home. My friendly neighborhood café, to be precise! (after 2010’s Liesgen Haus and before 2013’s Risio Coffee). In our fluid back-and-forth chronology, were are now in early 2011, when I moved to Jukjeon-dong. As I mentioned that I was happy about, the Jukjeon café street was about a 20 minute walk away. But even closer to home, which was a block away from the border with Seongnam / Bundang, there was a small selection of cafés too. Much as I loved the café street, sometimes I wanted something quickly, or a change of scenery. Fortunately, the coffee gods complied, and provided me with a pleasant place to go to in a pinch. Let me introduce to you the tiny but charming Cafe Nell.
A few days ago brought a period of heavy rains to the Seattle area. So I tried to think, what would be my favorite café to go to on a rainy day? Interestingly, it wasn’t one in Seattle or Seoul. I thought back to my days about a decade ago in Washington DC, when I lived in Arlington, just across the river from the capitol city. Not too far
inland, er, into Virginia, two metro stops over the Potomac River on the Orange line, was a neighborhood called Courthouse. Yeah, not the most inspiring name, but it had its charms. Including an awesome independent café right at the border between the commercial and the residential areas of the Courthouse neighborhood. This café was The Java Shack.
You might remember from my Starbucks posting that I started drinking coffee while in college. It’s an age where one can start to safely drink coffee without any developmental effects, and it happens to be an age where one desperately needs to stay awake a lot! Korean cafés, of course, know these facts. So, therefore, one can easily find an over-abundance of cafés near university entrances, or in university neighborhoods. I’m not sure how it was before the Korean coffee boom, but it’s especially pronounced now! Today’s review, my first of a café near a university, is of a typical university neighborhood café, Swingby.
On a busy Friday in early September 2010, I went to the busy commercial area just outside Dangook University in Jukjeon-dong (apart from, by near, the Jukjeon café street). At the time, I still enjoyed going to Caffé Bene, so I went there first for coffee and to catch up on e-mail (sometimes it seems like a never-ending process, sigh…). 😉 After a few hours, I still wanted to hang out around there, so I looked around. Just across the street was Swingby, and it caught my eye with its deck, bright colors, and wink logo.
Here’s another café on the busy and popular Jukjeon café street, but one that I didn’t go to very often: TakeSide. Actually, I only went there once! It wasn’t bad per se. As I wrote in my journal, it “was comfortable and delicious but pricey.” Short and succinct. You see, there are some cafés that think they are in Sinsa-dong (a trendy district in Seoul) and charge almost double the standard price for a drink than the average. Takeside wasn’t as bad, but at ₩6,000 ($5.23 on the day I went, $5.40 today) for a mocha, that’s still about 50% more than the usual price. So even if I like the coffee or drink, and even if the place is nice, I will ding points off of a café unless there is a really good reason to charge such a premium. So, sorry TakeSide, I enjoyed my visit, but didn’t go again.
Before the conclusion, here’s the delicious café mocha macchiato that I drank:
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to leave the normal confines of this Internet, cyberspace, Information Superhighway, World Wide Web log and take you to the 4th Dimension! …….Okay… maybe not. No worries, I’ll stay out of the realm of cheesy and keep it in the realm of coffee! …….Ouch, strike two for my writing tonight. You would think with a rich café name like “4th dimension coffee” that I would elevate my writing a notch and make it as clever as the café’s name. But nah, I’ll keep it strictly expository tonight.
today marks the 1 year anniversary of CaféSeaSeo! thanks to all who have visited, stumbled upon, or followed this blog. it’s much appreciated! 🙂 and ^^
so, for a 1 year anniversary posting, i’ll write about another favorite place. here we go!
browny 70! Yes, “browny” with a “y” (and a lowercase “b” 😉 ). And it has nothing to do with the famous Korean stuffed husky that all the kids love. No, this café predates the Browny/Brownie the dog fad. And as for 70… I don’t know why. Yes, it’s a curious name, but it’s a great place!
Being close to my friend’s apartment in Suji… oh, wait. I said exactly the same thing about Zoo Coffee. Yes, browny 70 is very close to the first Zoo Coffee I went to. It’s in a little neighborhood shopping center / gathering place called the Daypark, in Seongbok-dong in Suji, the almost-Bundang district in northern Yongin.
Unfortunately, here’s another café I barely took notes on. Sorry! 😦
Well, like I said in my first post about Liesgen Haus, I lived in almost semi-rural Cheongdeok-dong, and Liesgen Haus seemed to be the only café there right when I moved there. But nearby my almost empty neighborhood in Cheongdeok was another almost empty neighborhood, also under construction. I walked through here sometimes, especially since there was a nice park with wetlands right beside and “under” it. Overlooking the wetland park, a new house started to take shape. Actually, it had a very interesting shape. Now, houses are pretty rare in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do, the province surrounding Seoul, and are limited to pretty much rich people or semi-empty areas. Cheongdeok-dong was more of the semi-empty area. So I did see a lot of houses go up, and a lot of them had risky and creative shapes. They are quite fascinating, actually, if you have an interest in architecture. This house over the wetlands was a rich brown, and divided in two. And before it was finished, it suddenly sprouted a giant coffee cup from its upper floor. Ah, this house was to be a new café! What a great way to attract attention. So in July I was finally able to visit Gold Bean.
I have a feeling I went alone first, but didn’t write about it. Anyway, I eventually went with some co-workers and tried my first patbingsu, a shaved ice red bean (adzuki in English from the Japanese, “pat” in Korean) dessert that is very popular in Korea in the summer. Gold Bean itself was very nice; almost luxurious actually. It had seating in both halves of the house. The patbingsu was very delicious.