Vegan's Chronicles + [vegan product]

Garosugil food & coffee

Garosugil ("tree-lined road") is a strip near Sinsa Station that is known for it's fancy restaurants, cafes, and clothing stores. It isn't an area I frequent much, mainly because everything is so expensive and a little too upscale for my liking. The first time I went to Garosugil, I didn't have a good impression because I felt that everyone there was a bit snooty. So it's a little surprising that I actually ended up going to Garosugil twice this week! I'm not sure whether it's the neighborhood or myself that has changed, but I didn't feel as out-of-place this time around. After exploring more of the back alleys, and passing by many picturesque store-fronts and restaurants with unique design concepts, I think I've actually come to enjoy this neighborhood.

Garosugil

So on my first visit there this week, my sister and some friends were looking for a place to eat lunch. Garosugil doesn't have much traditional Korean food (if any), but one of our friends wanted Korean/Asian food, so we ended up at 'School Food' which serves up contemporary-style Korean rolls, ddeokbokki, fried rice, and noodle dishes. The prices are also quite reasonable, especially compared to the other restaurants in the area. This was my first time hearing of this restaurant, but apparently it's a chain with several locations within and outside of Seoul.

Garosugil

After studying the menu, I realized that there weren't too many options for a vegan. Once I made sure there weren't any fish broth and asking the waitress to leave out the boiled egg garnish, I ordered the 'Jjol Jjol Myun' (6,000 won) which is a bowl of cold chewy noodles mixed with sliced cucumbers, bean sprouts, and a spicy red pepper sauce.

Garosugil

I also requested that they make it less spicy, since you can choose your desired level of heat. But even still, this ended up being super firey! My tongue was burninating and I didn't finish it for fear that it would mess up my stomach. I'm generally good about eating spicy foods, but this was a little too much.

Garosugil

Anyway, after abusing my tongue and stomach with that jjol myun, we wandered around the back alleys for a bit until we spotted 'Maman Gateaux,' a baking studio and dessert cafe. As soon as we walked in, we were hit with the smell of freshly-baked buttery desserts. Just my kinda place.

Garosugil
Garosugil
Garosugil

The cafe itself was really small with only space for a few tables, but it was still awesome because in the next room, you could see several pastry chefs at work, measuring, mixing, spreading frosting etc... :)

Garosugil

My friends ordered 'Caramel Affogato.' I got the ice Americano in the background there. I'm not a coffee connoisseur or anything, but I thought their coffee was really good.

Garosugil

My sister's cappuccino

Garosugil

Cookies and gifts

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Then on Saturday, my sister and I ended up at Garosugil again to meet some other friends. The weather was crazy-wet but we found shelter at Cafe Sugar Bean Lloyd.

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Interior shots:

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As all cafes in this part of Seoul, the prices were steep. I think I paid 5,500 won for a plain ol' Americano. Good thing I brought some of my pumpkin oatmeal raisin cookies for us to enjoy along with our overpriced drinks.

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So that pretty much sums up my adventures at Garosugil this week. All in all, I'm happy to have given this spot a second chance, and I do look forward to trying out some of the other eateries and cafes... after I save some more money. ha.

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Oh, and check this out! My Canadian friend Sylvia just returned to Korea from her summer break in Toronto, and she brought me some goodies! An organic, free-trade espresso bean chocolate bar, 'vegetable soap,' and hand lotion (no animal testing!). I'm always so touched when friends think of me during their travels and bring me vegan swag. She even made me another cellphone accessory because my last one broke. I love the black donkey!

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Sylvia also lent me 'Half the Sky,' a book that she has been raving about for months. Has anyone read this? I haven't been able to start it yet, but my sister has picked it up and she seems to be really into it so far. Chocolate, beauty products, a book... Sylvia's the best!