Gwangju Blog

What To Do This Weekend: Open Mic, Coding, and Painting With Pets!

Hello Gwangju!

Wondering what’s going on this weekend? Let’s find out!

Friday, February 10th

Singers and musicians who want to show off their talent to a local crowd will want to head down to Loft 28 for their Open Mic Night. They provide the sound system and mics, all you have to do is bring your own instrument. The performances will begin at 10:00 p.m. Make sure and get there early so you can try some of the delicious food they serve there-like the Jamaican Jerk Chicken, which people have been raving about. If you have any questions about Open Mic Night, then you can go to Loft’s Facebook page for more details.

Saturday, February 11th

Courtesy of Gwangju KOTESOL

Courtesy of Gwangju KOTESOL

This Saturday the Gwangju-Jeonnam chapter of KOTESOL will be holding their February meeting. This is always a great opportunity to meet and talk with fellow teachers. You’ll also get a chance to see two interesting presentations that will help you improve your teaching skills. The meetings take place at Gwangju National University of Education, and it begins at 1:45 p.m. You can follow this link for more information about the meeting, and the chapter. You can also check out the chapter’s Facebook page for more details as well. Meetings are free to attend for all.

 

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

There won’t be the regular Saturday Art Class at the GIC today because they are holding a special event instead. Paint and Sip will take place at the GIC starting at 6:30 p.m. This event is a fundraiser for the Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering Group. You’ll learn how to paint your own pet, or a dog from the shelter while enjoying wine, and the good company of others! The cost for this special session is 15,000 won, and you must reserve a spot because spaces are limited. To find out how you can reserve your spot, as well as other details about the night, please go to the Facebook event page here. Remember, all the proceeeds for Paint and Sip will go to Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write code? You’ll have your chance this Saturday in Gwangju. A free code camp will be happening at the Mac/PC Guys‘ office downtown. For information and directions to the Mac/PC Guys, please go to the Facebook event page.

Courtesy of Tequilaz

Courtesy of Tequilaz

The best way to end a Saturday night is by visiting some of the local hangouts downtown. Tequilaz is the place for great Mexican food, and terrific cocktails. For more details about what’s going on, please check out their Facebook page. After Tequilaz, finish off the night by going to Speakeasy, also located downtown. The drinks are plentiful, and the staff is very friendly. You’re sure to meet someone you know, or make a new friend when you go to Speakeasy. For more info about the bar, please go to their Facebook page. Next weekend we’ll have info on more live music going on at Speakeasy.

 

Have a great weekend Gwangju!

Where to Eat Wednesday: The Moon

As a heads up to anyone who hasn’t started planning yet, Valentine’s Day is next week. I don’t know what that means for some people, but for me, it means an excuse to eat nice food and enjoy even nicer company. Around this time of year, one of the most common requests I get is for ideas on where to take that special someone for a romantic dinner that costs a little more than instant noodles. I can happily say that this year I’ve come prepared.

FrontAwards

I was invited by some friends to check out The Moon by a few friends who decided to gift me the greatest Christmas gift of all: delicious food. They had done a lot of homework to try and find the best restaurant to take me as a belated present, and had found this place by chance. After looking at a ton of Korean reviews and doing a ton of research, they decided upon this little spot right at the edge of the Uncheon reservoir. My friends are pretty amazing, aren’t they?

InsideMenu

We arrived on a chilly Sunday morning for lunch, as that was the only time we were available. Though the hours stated that the restaurant was already open, it appeared that they weren’t quite ready for customers when we arrived. That being said, they still let us in and let us order some coffee as we went through the difficult process of deciding what we wanted to eat as we looked through the thankfully multilingual menu. Before I even started reading through my options, I was to distracted by the countless awards and medals that decorated the entire restaurant. The chefs at this restaurant had clout, and they were not afraid to show it off. As it was a French restaurant, I went in expecting ridiculously high prices, but was surprised to see how affordable the majority of the menu was. Some of the more interesting looking items included the Herb Wet Aging Pork Belly and Garlic Sauce, the Sous Vide Chicken Breast and Pepper Sauce, the Beef Tenderloin and Olive Crub, the Avocado Soup, the Bisque Sauce Crab Fettucini. While these all looked nice, once we were informed that we could enjoy one of the three dinner sets were lunch, that’s where all of our attention went. There were three different courses at three different prices that all offered some unique choices that just got fancier as a price went up. As my friends insisted that we get the best of the best, two of us got the 430 Dinner Course, which came with thirteen different dishes while one of us got the 241 Dinner Course, which came with seven.

Amuse BoucherSalmon Gravlax

As we sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the view of the reservoir while listening to jazzy covers of Radiohead songs, we received our first course, the Amuse Boucher. It should be noted at this point that not everything we received seemed to exactly match what the menu said, but considering how not all three of us ordered the same course, we certainly didn’t mind. It was somewhat expected that there would be some inconsistencies with the food that arrived, and we figured the chefs also added their own spin to some dishes. Anyways, what we received was an adorable portion of salmon that had been mixed to resemble an fancy dip that had been topped with a mild salsa that all sat on a thin sliver of crispy bread. While this definition wasn’t traditional by any means, it was definitely a tasty, complex bite that left us all excited for the next dish.

Moon BaguettePumpkin Soup

Once our first dish was cleared, we got what I assumed was a unique take on Salmon Gravlax with Mushroom Salsa and what was listed in the menu as the Moon Baguette. The cured pieces of salmon had a great flavor that was similar to the salmon we had eaten with our first dish, especially with the salsa. It sat on a creamy sauce had that also been drizzled with flavored oil before being topped with black truffle flakes, greens, and a thin slice of radish. This tasted lovely on its own, but it went even better with the fresh baked bread that had a delicate, yet crispy crust while staying piping hot and soft as cotton on the inside. It came served with a light, homemade butter that had been mixed with some fruit, giving it a hint of sweetness while adding a lovely richness.

Slow Cooked ScallopSeafood

Our next two courses were a Pumpkin Soup and Slow Cooked Scallops. While we weren’t exactly thrilled at the sight of pumpkin soup, especially since we were craving something a little more savory, we were all happy with what we got. The creamy and silky smooth soup came topped with thin, crispy slices of bread and a few black truffle flakes that had elevated this usually bland dish to resemble something closer to a flavorful pasta sauce. The scallop was cooked to perfection and came with a beetroot sauce and some other complex, citrus flavors that made it into a tasty, tender bite. After that came what I could only assume was some sort of seafood sampler that came with smoked salmon, grilled octopus, and curried shrimp. The dish came with multiple sauces that all added a nice layer to the already tasty seafood. Considering my general dislike for seafood, I was impressed.

PastaFish

Up next was the Pasta of the Day, which was a garlic and oil pasta that had been tossed with mushrooms, basil, and topped with a healthy amount of grated cheese. The garlic flavor was quite strong, making each and every bite of what looked like a boring plate of carbs into a memorable one. There wasn’t a single noodle that had not been dressed with that lovely sauce. Once that was done, we received our Fish course, which came with equal portions of monkfish and lobster. Though I’m a huge fan of lobster, I was surprised to see how much I liked the monkfish, which had been topped with a combination of creamy and citrus-based sauces. The lobster had much more aggressive flavors that held up well against its sweetness.

LambShervert

As we crushed our way through each course we got, we received our Meat dish, which came with a healthy portion of lamb that had been topped with a bread and chickpea crumb. On the side were some cooked vegetables and a small portion of luscious, silky potatoes. The lamb was cooked a little longer than I asked, but as I requested medium, medium-well wasn’t the end of the world. Each bite was still tender, juicy, and incredibly easy to cut into. At the end of that course, we received our Sorbet (which had been listed as Shervet), which I assume was meant to be used as a palate cleanser. The sweet and sour yuja flavor took me back to a more innocent time when a heaping cup of something similar was my preferred dessert.

SaladHam & Cheese

Our next dish was our Salad. It came with chicken that had absorbed a good amount of a marinade that offered hints of chicken tikka masala. The dressing was mildly sweet, but the smokey, curry flavor combined with the mild bitterness of the greens made it work. Instead of the Roast that had been listed on the menu, we also received a piece of toasted bread that had been topped with cheese and came with ham. The bread also contained some creamy elements and had two different sauces on the side. Though I’m not sure what the actual name for any of this is, it was indeed delicious. Each bite was rich, savory, and bordered on the edge between tasty and a little too salty. Considering how late in our meal we were receiving this, some of my friends thought this portion was a little heavy, but I certainly didn’t mind.

CheeseDessert

The final portions of our meal were made up of our Cheese course, which was basically some nice cheeses that aren’t terribly hard to find at bigger stores served with some berry reductions, and our Dessert, which was a dark chocolate mousse that had its bitterness cut down with more of that berry sauce and some mint. We also got a choice of coffee or green tea to help settle our delectable meal.

Overall, my visit to the Moon was indeed a long and memorable one. As someone who hasn’t had a lot of experience eating my meals in such a fancy way, I genuinely appreciated the journey that came in the form of a very filling lunch. This place is a definite for couples looking for romantic spot, especially those that like to not only consume, but also experience food. My lack of any real background regarding this type of cuisine leaves me in a position where I can’t really speak on just how unique or complex the meal was, but I can easily say that this was one of the better experiences I’ve had, especially when considering what I believe is a very fair price tag. The only warning I can give is to not be surprised if the food received doesn’t perfectly match what’s on the menu.

Address: 광주광역시 서구 치평동 241-3 (literally right next to the Uncheon Reservoir)
Phone: 062-371-0089
Hours: 10:00AM to 11:00PM
Average Price Range: 38,000 to 70,000 per set

Essentials with JD # 270 ** ARTSY PENGUIN VILLAGE IN YANGRIM DONG**

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As the weather seems to have improved this week you might want to venture out and explore your city again.

During the winter months the historic area of Yangrim dong has been busy transforming with tons of little cafes and niche areas popping up. If you have been to the DongMyeong Dong area and liked it, then this area might just have something for you.

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Yangrim dong is located near Gwangju stream downtown in the vicinity of Sajik park. Just keep left once you see the YangrimDong police office at the entrance of Sajik park.

 

One artsy area within the area is the Penguin Village located next to the newly built community centre. The area is named after the ‘way the elders’ of area walk – which resembles Penguins. So don’t expect the actual creatures.

IMG_0577 IMG_0580 IMG_0581

You can however find a quaint little alley with tons of murals and quirky artworks as well as small local craft shops and little coffee shops. Perfect for a Saturday outing or the Instagram life.

 

Take care and stay warm,

JD

City Stall.

City Stall

 

This is the first photo blog post for February, and as such it is time for a monthly selection of local street photography. The photo above was taken several weeks ago at a café across from the Gwangju City Hall complex. As it was lunch hour, the coffee shop was full of both employees and patrons from the adjoining government buildings. I myself had entered the building having had the unfortunate tendency to trust my instincts that one could get fingerprinted there, over lunchtime, on a Friday. Long story short, I was to be out of luck until later that afternoon. Luckily, my Ricohmattic 225 was at my side, and while waiting for my overpriced latte, I was able to capture the moment above.

As I was alone and perched at a small, drafty table for two, I was left unbothered and able to observe the social dynamics in the room-at-large. Perhaps it was the chill outside, or the fact that many newcomers had just eaten or were enduring their own private purgatories within local government bureaucracy, but there was a sleepy air to the place. Yawns are contagious they say. Apparently so. Yet, to my witness, they are no match for the (un)holy power of caffeine. For, no sooner than ten minutes after the light from the scene above imprinted its reciprocal upon this Ilford HP5 film, the café was abuzz. The sleeping patron central to the image above was engaged (in what I assumed to be witty banter) with his tablemates while servers brought slow-drip contraptions to other gesticulating locals already feeling the flow. It is amazing what difference a few minutes, and a few milligrams of methylxanthine can make. Here’s to eyes, and apertures, wide open.

 

[Photo taken with a new-to-me Ricohmattic 225 TLR. Produced for only one year in 1959, this camera is well known for its contrasty and characterful lens pair. If not shelling out for a Rollei or perhaps a “blue-dot” Mamiya c330 setup, the optics on this camera are hard to beat. I had been shooting a different, slightly junkier example of this same camera for several years. However, after many trials and tribulations, the ol’girl began showing signs she was ready to be put to pasture. Therefore, after a year of looking, I was able to procure a much nicer model of the exact same camera. Complete with case and filters, one of its first shots is the image above.]

 

(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)

 

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What to Do This Weekend: Drawing, Auditions, and Funk Music!

Hello Gwangju!

It’s the first weekend of February so let’s see what’s happening in our fair city!

Saturday, February 4th

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of Gwangju Art Class

Art classes at the GIC have started back up again, and for their first class of the month they’ll be teaching figure drawing (Male). The class will begin at 12:30 with some set up and free drawing practice, and then the model will arrive at 1 p.m. After 1 the door will be locked for the privacy of the model. The class is open to all levels, and materials will be provided (you can of course bring your own if you wish). The classes take place at the GIC, and you can check out their website for directions. You can also check the Facebook event page for more details. The cost for the class is 10,000 won, and it will be led by Áine Byrne.

The GIC Saturday Talk series is also back after its winter break. “The Secret Behind Being a Multilingual Speaker” will be the topic of today’s speech. Camelia Sodki, a Ph.D student at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul will tell what she knows about being a multilingual speaker. The talks are held in the GIC lounge, and they begin at 3 p.m. Please go to the GIC Talk Facebook page for more info.

Courtesy of VDay 2017

Courtesy of VDay 2017

The GIC is going to be a busy place this weekend because it’s also where auditions for this year’s performance of The Vagina Monologues will be held. The play has been an annual event for years now, and it raises money for V-Day, a global non-profit that is out to end violence against women and girls. If you are interested in auditioning there will be two chances for you to do so: Saturday from 1:30 to 6:00, and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00. All you have to do is go to their Facebook page to sign up for an audition time, and also to get a copy of the script. Good luck to all of those out there who try out!

This Saturday night at Loft 28 it’s a battle between between House and Trap music. Don’t know what House and Trap music is? Well then it’s a great reason to get to Loft 28! There will be live DJs, great cocktails, and it’ll also be a chance to try some of the great food (which a lot of people in Gwangju are experiencing). The party starts at 11 p.m., and you can go to Loft’s main Facebook page for more information.

Courtesy of The Bump City Band

Courtesy of The Bump City Band

Is Funk more your style? Speakeasy has got you covered with The Bump City Band performing tonight. This band from Daejeon will be performing your favorite funk and dance tunes. Expect the usual great drinks and atmosphere brought to you by Derek and his crew. The show begins at 10 p.m., so don’t miss your chance to see The Bump City Band! For more details about the show, you can go to Speakeasy’s Facebook page. If you want to learn more about the band, you can check out their Facebook page as well.

Sunday, February 5th

This Sunday a dedicated group of volunteers will be heading to a local animal shelter to walk and play with dogs. If you would like to help out, then please go to their Facebook page for more info.