11.262 Garlicpeno Pasta


23 (Wed) September 2020

Garlicpeno Pasta


at Mad for Garlic (D Tower)

-Cheongjin, Jongro, Seoul, Republic of Korea-

with RDE, HRS, UJK

Since my prior post on Mad for Garlic (2.195 Garlicpeno Spaghetti), the restaurant has become a well-established restaurant chain with currently 40 stores across the country.

RDE, at frame right.

Dinner with RDE, the first occasion since that dinner at the Korean embassy in Manila at the very start of what would become, but yet was not quite, a global pandemic (see 11.038 Black Sesame & Pine Nut Porridge).  As per WHO guidance at the time, none of us were wearing masks; the ambassador confided in us that the embassy had a large stash of masks and laughed that Koreans always seemed overprepared for such unnecessary things.

Caprese Basil Salad (2.5): a half head of iceberg lettuce, loads of deep-fried garlic slices, drowned in herb vinaigrette, a few leaves of basil, plus cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls – not really a caprese.
Garlic Steak (2.5): as billed, it was a steak with garlic (lots).

When the dinner was proposed to be held at this place – by HRS, given its proximity to the WHO Asia-Pacific Centre for Environment and Health in downtown Seoul – I was skeptical.  Jongro district is the oldest part of Seoul, teeming with landmark Korean restaurants, so why go to an Italian chain restaurant?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the food was okay.  The Garlicpeno Pasta – now 22,500 won, up from 17,600 won 9 years ago – was even better than I remembered.  Everything else was reasonably tasty.  I still would’ve preferred a landmark Korean restaurant.

Here, the garlic slices seemed too uniformly shaped, as if mass produced in a factory, compared to the garlic slices from before, which seemed handmade.

Anyway, I was genuinely and deeply touched to see RDE again.

When COVID-19 blows over, maybe late next year, I hope that I’ll be able to host a reunion dinner for WHO alums.

(For more details about the food, see WHAT)

(For more details about the venue, see WHERE IN KOREA)

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