Luncher: AdamLunch: Pork Bulgoki - $10.95
This is one of our standby restaurants... and we were really disappointed when it was closed. We found that they had closed their doors because of the construction of the historic Chinatown gate, and only just recently reopened. I've had a hankerin' for their "Well-Being Stone Bowl Beebimbob" for 4 months now, and couldn't wait to order it. Unfortunately, the PayScale Sales team beat us there, and there weren't any stone bowls left.
Being forced to try something else, I went with the Pork Bulgoki. This was some swine cooked with a sauce and some veggies. The dish didn't appear to have any kim chi in it... but there was a hint of fermented-flavor in the dish. This was a new dish to me, so it was fun to eat, but I would definitely stick with the Stone Bowl Beebimbob because its a total experience when you're eating out of a bowl that can (and does) fry an egg. The price ($10.95) definitely prices it out of the normal lunch spectrum, but a good solid Korean dish for lunch + snack
This is one of the only Korean restaurants in the International District, and is definitely worth visiting.
Luncher: EmmettLunch: Bibimbob - $7.95
Me and Korean food - we go way back. I think my first experience, like many, was in college. It was a beautiful spring evening in North Carolina. The smell of flowers was in the air. The time was right. My college roommate, who is Korean, set up the encounter. It was Kimchi soup, or something like that. It was... awful. But then again, the first time often is.
Fast forward ten years or so, my coworkers and I discover Blue and Pink. Blue and Pink, or Booo Pooo as I like to call it, replaced Saigon something or another that was famous for their two dollar sandwiches and upset stomaches they caused. I quickly became a big fan of their Bibimbob. On a summer day it's ridikulous. It's kind of cold, with the greens, sprouts, rice, mixing with the hot beef, and tasty red sauce. An egg cooked easy, and layered over the top. I get hungry just thinking about it. Then one day they throw the "Stone pot Bimbibob" on the menu. What is this? The same, only 1000x times better. They put the aforementioned ingredients in a piping hot ceramic bowl, that literally cooks the food at the table while you eat it. The rice gets crunchy, the egg touches the edge of the pot and instantly scrambles. It's fun to watch, more fun to eat. I've also had their kimchi, which is quite good.
This visit, they had run out of stone pots for the bibimbob. No matter, I'm happy with the regular as well. The service here can be on the slow side, but they never rush you. They took about 20 minutes to bring me the Bibimbob, which is very slow. They serve tea in a large cup, not some dinky thimble like many other places. I've had many other dishes. Their mushroom fried rice - delicious. Their gyoza is decent, and the Bulgogi has a nice flavor.
Vegetarians have options as well. Steve - my vegetarian friend, immediately dismissed this place quickly when I invited him out. However I persisted, and made him a convert and evangelizer of their Bibimbob, though he does it without meat.
Easily this is one of my favorite places in the ID.
Luncher: GearyLunch: Beef Bulgoki - $10.95
Blue & Pink took over the the spot that was previously occupied by Saigon Gourmet. You can still see the "ET" poking out from behind the Blue & Pink sign. The space has two entrances, one into the cozy dining area and the other into the kitchen and what used to be Saigon Gourmet's walk-up $2 sandwich (bahn mi) counter. The fried egg & tofu bahn mi was a long time staple of the pre-MSG150 MSG150 crew. Today there is no sandwich counter just a short menu of Korean favorites and teriyaki standards.
I have had a number different dishes at Blue & Pink, but I come back for the "Well-Being Stone Bowl BiBimbob". Bibimbob (or bibimbab, or 비빔밥) consists of hot white rice, namul (marinated vegetables), beef and a lightly fried egg in a super heated stone bowl. It is served with a large spoon so that you can stir it all together. As it is stirred, the molten hot bowl finishes cooking the egg. As you eat from the top, the rice mixture that is still in contact with the bowl is seared into brown crispy goodness. Today, however, we learned that Blue & Pink only has seven stone bowls. We also learned that the only other party in the restaurant, a table of seven of PayScale's finest sales folks, had already been served the seven stone bowls. Once I regained my composure I chose the first item on the Korean section of the menu as a back-up: the Beef Bulgoki.
The bulgoki was a huge portion and a bit spendy for a lunch entree, but it was delicious. It consisted of thinly cut strips of beef cooked in a tangy sauce with bits of cabbage and other veggies. It is fairly meat heavy, but luckily we were served four vegetable sides (or banchan) to share: kimchi and various namul. They were all crispy and tangy and a nice complement to the bulgoki. The pea vines and kimchi were my favorites. Welcome back Blue & Pink. You were missed.
Luncher: TorreyLunch: Chicken Yakisoba - $6.50
Blue & Pink PhotosBlue & Pink (aka BOOO POOO)
Blue & Pink under the HCG
Blue & Pink Menu
Bibimbob sauced up
Banchan (Kimchi and various Namul)
Well-Being Stone Bowl BiBimbob remains