I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Omelet + Rice = Omurice January 5, 2009

Filed under: restaurants — Raven @ 8:27 pm
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Omurice is an incredibly simple dish, just a layer of beaten egg cooked and wrapped around rice, veggies, and spam. Pour some ketchup on top and you’re done. Like bibimbap, it falls into the category of Korean dishes I imagine I could successfully recreate at home. It’s total comfort food. Egg, carbs, ketchup… Does it get better than that?

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The place where I generally order it is also a very simple place. It’s almost like sitting in someone’s kitchen. The place is called Spoon & Chopsticks, and it’s located on 6th a block or so east of Chapman Plaza in the same strip mall as Ice Kiss and Ham Ji Park, a place Young recommended (which I tried ages ago but haven’t blogged about yet, just so you know, Young).

The food at Spoon & Chopsticks, like the ambiance, is very basic. Besides omurice they have various kinds of fried rice, noodles, some simple meats, kimbap, dumplings and probably a few things I’m forgetting. You don’t go here for a gourmet meal. You do go if you need a cheap and filling bite to eat. You can get their punch card and eventually earn a free meal. They also deliver.

Kimbap:

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Dumplings and some panchan (the kimbap also made it into the picture again):

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The staff is friendly (it helps to speak Korean). They’re not open on Sunday. Parking is street or the valet lot behind the strip mall. The panchan seem to vary from day to day, so if there’s one you particularly like (or dislike) don’t expect it to necessarily be offered next time.

Spoon & Chopsticks
(cross-streets: Kenmore/Catalina)
3417 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90189

 

Koreatown: 2008’s Best L.A. Neighborhood? December 23, 2008

Filed under: Koreatown & K-town events and shopping — Raven @ 10:29 pm

You decide. Curbed LA is running a competition to vote for the best neighborhood in LA in 2008. Koreatown is currently facing off against Silver Lake, with Koreatown leading by a small margin. To cast your ballot, go here.

 

Los Angeles Korean Festival 2008 September 25, 2008

Filed under: Koreatown & K-town events and shopping — Raven @ 5:28 pm
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The festival runs from today through Sunday. Go here for details.

If you’re not going to the festival, you might want to avoid K-town this weekend. I’m told driving will be a nightmare due to festival-related street closures.

 

Director Lee Myung Se: a Master of Visual Cinematic Arts August 27, 2008

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 4:54 pm
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On Friday, Sept. 5, USC will be showing two films directed by Lee Myung Se, namely Duelist and M. Duelist plays at 4pm and will be followed by a Q&A with Lee Myung Se. The Q&A will be followed by a reception, and the reception will be followed by a screening of M. For more details click here.

Due to the fact that it’s at USC and I’m not familiar with the campus or comfortable there, I probably will not go. But it sounds like a fun event. Both films should be watchable. Duelist sounds more plot-driven, M more character-driven. Plot synopses are available at the link in the previous paragraph.

Besides, there’s a reception. Who can object to free food?

The event is cosponsored by these organizations:the School of Cinematic Arts, East Asian Studies Center, Center for International Studies, East Asian Languages & Culture, East Asian Library, Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles, Korean Film Council, University of Notre Dame.

 

Ripe for a Remake: The Chaser August 2, 2008

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 10:08 am
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The only reason The Chaser (추격자) is a Korean movie is that it happened to be made in Korea. There are no inherent details about the story that tie it to Korean culture. And this means it has a better shot than some at translating into a decent remake. With luck, even a pretty good remake.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, there are plans to remake it with Leo DiCaprio starring, so I watched it with that in mind. The protagonist is played by an actor in his forties, so I’m thinking they’ll write the role younger in the Hollywood version and give it to DiCaprio. I can’t see him getting any other role in the movie. The role of the protagonist is exactly the kind where DiCaprio would excel. It’s dark and the guy’s morality is gray, but he has good impulses (some, anyway).

It’s the story of a cop-turned-pimp who goes looking for the guy who’s making his girls disappear. The pimp is played by Kim Yoon Seok, whom I was delighted to recognize from the kdrama Revenge (부활, also translated Resurrection or Rebirth or Life Again or maybe we should just say The Drama of Many Titles). He played a supporting role in that drama, but a fairly important one, acting in part as the hero’s conscience. I’m fully intending to blog about it sometime. It was a good one.

But back to The Chaser. Kim Yoon Seok turned in a good performance (I have a feeling he always does). It was a solid film, engrossing, dark, with a character I cared about even though I’m not generally inclined to like pimps. The structure was slightly atypical, but not radically so, and it worked. The presence of one character initially made me worry that the story would go off on a tangent, but she turned out to be well-integrated into the protagonist’s journey. The antagonist… well, I could say something about his motives, but I’m afraid it might be a spoiler, so I won’t. All I’ll say is he was definitely the kind of guy you want to see brought down.

One warning, though (actually three). If you don’t like gore, this movie isn’t for you. And if you don’t like dark, it’s not for you. And if you aren’t into antihero protagonists, it’s not for you either.

 

No Regret July 29, 2008

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 9:00 am
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This movie had been on my radar for a while, ever since JT mentioned it. I finally caught it on Saturday (for those who may be interested, it’s still playing at Laemmle Sunset 5). I can’t write a better synopsis than KOFIC did, so go here for the synop.

I still haven’t made up my mind whether I liked the movie or not. What I do know is it got to me emotionally, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again (I guess that means I liked it, right?). I understand it was quite controversial when it came out. After all, it’s gay-themed and it has some fairly graphic sex scenes. I know filmmakers often argue that the sex scenes they include are required by the story, and I frequently disagree (Lust, Caution, anyone?), but in this case I felt the scenes, which were completely unromanticized, gave the film a lot of raw power. It’s basically a film about despair, about alienation, about crossing lines, and about two people who can never be together. And the filmmakers didn’t hold back.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing a little more detail on why one character repulsed the other so vehemently right away. I don’t think a lot more detail was needed, but a little. I gathered it was partly due to social/class resentment, but I needed it spelled out a little more. And I would have liked to see a little more resolution at the end, although I’m not exactly sure where the two main characters could go next. Maybe that’s part of the point, that it’s not clear where they can go next. All they have is the moment. But I still feel a film shouldn’t end unless the audience has been given at least some inkling of what will happen after the credits roll.

None of that stopped me from finding the film emotionally affecting, though. I’d even say heartbreaking. Its rawness and the sense of alienation it imparted even in the happy scenes will stay with me for a long time.

 

My Sassy Straight-to-DVD Girl July 17, 2008

Filed under: movies & film — Raven @ 4:49 pm
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It turns out the English-language remake of My Sassy Girl will not be getting a theatrical release. The folks involved must have realized what I had suspected all along: the movie isn’t worthy of theaters. Judging from the trailer I saw, I think the filmmakers may have replicated all the quirky little scenes but missed the bigger emotional picture.

I can’t link to my source for this news because it was print media (wait, print media still exists?), but I can tell you it was in this month’s issue (July 2008 ) of KoreAm Journal.

I’m hoping to get my hands on a My Sassy Girl screener and give it a watch. If/when I do, I’ll report back. After all, I’ve been judging this movie sight unseen, so I could be completely wrong about it.

Well, probably not.

On the plus side, and also on a new topic, Leo DiCaprio is set to star in a remake of the Korean film The Chaser, which sounds suitably dark (he’ll probably die at the end). He tends to pick his movies well, so I have more hope for this remake than I had for MSG. That news came from KoreAm and this place.