Renzo’s Gourmet on Kennedy Celebrates 2 Year Anniversary Sept 28-Oct 1

Renzo’s Gourmet, an Argentinean steakhouse in Tampa, is hosting their 2 year anniversary event from now until Saturday. They will have a free wine tasting with Malbec, Carmenere, and Torrontes wines for visitors and free hors d’ oeuvres. You guys know I love free stuff! This is a great opportunity to go check out the food and wine menu there. Two Carlos Eats team members visited a tasting at Renzo’s Gourmet a few weeks ago and really enjoyed the food and atmosphere there (post coming soon!) and plan on making a trip back before the anniversary promotion ends. Photographing and filming of the event is allowed, the event is open to the public, and no RSVP is necessary.

Restaurant Name: Renzo’s Gourmet

Cuisine: Argentinean

Neighborhood: South Tampa

Address: 3644 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609

Phone Number: (813) 870-3606

Website: http://www.renzosgourmet.com/

Carlos Eats Seoul: 400 Won Wing Night Tuesdays @ Beer O’ Clock

During my freshman year of college, I spent every Monday at Wingstop with the Vietnamese Student Association eating 35 cent wings. It was an experimental event that become a weekly tradition. There is nothing better than cheap and delicious wings (my two favorite words). Sometime later, Wingstop changed some of their policies and we stopped our visits. Last week, I started craving wings in Seoul and a quick Google search directed me to Beer O’ Clock.

Beer O’ Clock is a Canadian bar in Sinchon. When you enter you find American football on televisions and plenty of foreigners around. We came for their 400 won wing night. There are plenty of tables and open seating to provide ventilation to the room. The wing promotion has five varieties and to get the deal you must order a beverage. The waiter was quick to bring us our drinks and take our order.

Soda and basic beers are both 3,000 won. I decided to order a coke. I drank it down it down fast and then learned after asking that there were no free refills. You’ll want to be careful about this since I find it very difficult to enjoy wings with water. Some American food, mainly burgers, wings, fries, and pizza just taste great with some soda or beer.

Our table ordered two types of fries. The bacon and cheese fries cost 9,000 won and are delicious. The cheese is melted perfectly between the fries and the bacon tastes great as well. The price is certainly high for french fries, but split among a few friends it wasn’t too bad. Each person at my table order 10 wings for a total of 4,000 won per person.

The regular plate of fries costs 7,000 won and is also great. They went much faster than the other fries, but were enjoyable down to the last bite. The wait for the wings was a little long, I would say we waited at least 30 minutes for our wings. When they arrived we were ready to get our wing fix on.

The BBQ wings were appetizing, but needed to be dipped in a sauce. I asked the waiter for some ranch dressing, but he disappeared after dropping off the wings and never came back to ask if we needed anything else. Nevertheless, it was nice to have some BBQ as finding food in BBQ sauce is a rare find in Seoul.

The plain wings were just that: plain. Make sure you have something to dip them in.

The hot wings were quickly being eaten by my friends. I personally don’t eat hot wings so I can’t comment on the taste. However, they looked pretty appetizing.

The Rancho-Relaxo wings had an interesting sauce to them. Different, but not particularly my favorite. I could take or leave them.

My personal favorite were the Greek wings. They had a lemon pepper taste to them that was invigorating. I could not stop myself from grabbing more and I actually felt a little sad when they were all gone. It was the most memorable part of my meal and in the future I would be sure to order these wings again.

Overall, Beer O’ Clock is a decent pub with some delicious and cheap wings. Perfect for a college student and someone who wants to spend some times in a sports bar without spending too much cash. I would return again for their wing night in the future. I invited some other friends who came later at night (past 9PM) but found the wings sold out so make sure you head early if you’re planning to eat dinner there.

Restaurant Name: Beer O’ Clock

Cuisine: Pub grub

Neighborhood: Sinchon, Itaewon

Address: Seodaemoon Gu, Changchun Dong 52-53 2nd floor

Phone Number: (02) 3339733

Website: http://www.beeroclock.ca/

Tampa’s First Food Truck Rally

This guest blog was written by a friend of mine Dena Pham. She blogs on her food blog Dena Loves Food in Tampa. As many of you know, I am currently studying abroad in South Korea and I really appreciate her writing up a post for my readers on a very important food event in Tampa. If you like what you see, like her blog on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dena-Loves-Food/181586071852396. Stay tuned for more Tampa blogs as many are being finalized at the moment and don’t forget to checkout The Taco Bus Wednesday on Man Vs. Food.🙂

Food trucks have been on the rise lately, especially with Food Network’s show called The Great Food Truck Race. Tampa may be a bit behind with the new “In” but we are catching up pretty fast. Last Saturday, Tampa had their first Food Truck Rally and it went a little too well! Sponsored by 352 Media Group and Tasting Tampa, they were only expecting 1,000 people, but shockingly around 5,000 were able to experience the first food truck rally in Tampa.

Food trucks have been popular for quite some time, but what makes these new food trucks so different is that they serve legitimate food. You can get your dessert, snacks, gourmet meals and more at a reasonable price now from these food trucks. Everyday they park in a different location all around town and update their fans via Facebook, Twitter and other online media outlets.

There was around 10 different food trucks and vendors that attended the food truck rally. They all served different food for any and all taste buds. From Tex-Mex, sweets, and smoothies to seafood, bowls, sandwiches and so much more.

Here is a list of the trucks that attended: Wicked Wiches, Killer Samich, 3 Ballers, Fire monkey, Michelle Faedo’s, Coconut Bo’s, Fat Tortillas, The Cuppin Cake, Nelly Nels, and Buddy Brew Coffee.

There were massively long lines and wait times which was expected, but I was very surprised when an hour and a half went by from their opening time that many trucks have already started erasing and crossing items off their menus. Nelly Nel’s was the first to officially close their window before the 2 hour mark, but they reopened a couple hours later serving pork and chicken bowls. It was impossible to try food from all trucks so I did what I could do since each truck was a minimum of 1-2 hour wait in line.

I was able to try smoothies from Coconut Bo’s, two different crab cakes from Michelle Faedo’s and food from Wicked Wiches. The smoothies from Coconut Bo’s wasn’t great enough for me to be tempted to find where their truck is everyday, but their food off their menu looked interesting and healthy.

The crab cakes from Michelle Faedo’s truck would probably be my favorite thing I ate at the whole event. The cakes were loaded with crab meat and they were also crispy on the outside and extremely moist in the inside. Their crab cake also has a nice tangy citrus kick which made them really addicting.

The last spot I was able to get food from was Wicked Wiches’ truck. They are known for their creative twist on sandwiches and I must give them props because their food is really unique and full of flavor. I was able to try most of the items off their menu that was available at that time. We ended up ordering their Moroccan smashballs, Dr. Pepper Dancing chicken, Big Lebrowski, Cheeseburger egg roll, Sloppy Mary kota and a fried ham & cheese sandwich. I also got their Lychee Mango Limeade and that was one of my favorite drink, I never had anything like it which makes it an even more plus on my list!

Overall, the food was really good and the event was fun. There was some frustration with long lines, heat and food running out, but I’m sure the next event on Oct. 22 will be much better. There will be around 20 trucks for this next event and also many will now have some food truck rally experience to know what to expect.

Wicked 'Wiches Truck on Urbanspoon

Website: http://www.facebook.com/TampaFoodTruckRally

Grand Hilton Seoul Oktoberfest Festival 2011

The Grand Hilton Seoul will host their annual Oktoberfest festival this weekend on September 23rd and September 24th. There is much history behind Oktoberfest festivalsand they have been held since 1810 in Munich and eventually spread around the world through various other festivals based on the original. There will be beer, traditional German food, games, and the German “Paulaner Oktoberfest Band” performing live. The event starts at 6:00PM on both nights and the price is 120,000 KW (including tax and a service charge).

Some photos from Oktoberfest 2010 at the Grand Hilton Seoul:

Ah look at all that German food!

Location: Grand Hilton Seoul

Address: 201-1 Hongeun-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-710, Korea

Directions (Subway): Hongje Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Take Bus 01 from the station to the hotel. Hotel is about a 15-min walk from the station.

Phone number: (82-2) 3216-5656

Website: http://www.grandhiltonseoul.com

Carlos Eats Seoul: Gaya-Gaya 가야가야 (がや-がや) ramen shop in Edae (이대)

During my second week in Seoul a friend who I met in Florida took me to a small ramen shop in an alleyway by Ewha University in Edae (이대). This shop makes Japanese style ramen for under 10,000 won. The shop is quaint and has lots of wood inside…its atmosphere felt very Japanese to me. The ramen we had on my first try was their simple 7,000 won ramen. I was surprised at the fresh taste of both the noodles and the liquid broth. I ended up eating every last drop of it. The tastes  of Japanese cuisine are so different from Korean cuisine…it is refreshing to taste something different.

This past weekend I brought some Canadian friends from Vancouver to the restaurant for some ramen at Gaya-Gaya. This time I decided to try the miso ramen for 7,500 won. Miso ramen was created in Hokkaido, Japan and became popular in the 1960s. The broth normally consists of miso blended with either chicken or fish broth and strays from traditional soy ramen.

These two sides are given with the ramen. I have only nibbled on some, but the taste wasn’t powerful.

One thing many people do not know is that Japanese ramen served in a restaurant is completely different from the instant noodles you have at home. Japanese ramen takes hours to make (sometimes over 24 hours) and is a delicate process that requires much attention to details (an art the Japanese love). The miso broth was more powerful than the soup I had during my previous visit, but quite enjoyable. The ingredients on top were all fresh and gave the noodle soup an invigorating taste. The pork was integrated well into the soup.

The arrangement of the ingredients on the bowl was also made perfectly.

My Canandian friend was sick and felt the soup soothing his throat. Both friends frequently eat ramen in Vancouver and although the taste was different from how they have it at home, they both enjoyed their noodle soups and finished it all as picturesd. We were happy customers. I hope to visit other ramen shops in Seoul and see how they match up against Gaya-Gaya, though the convenience of being right next to Yonsei University is a nice plus.

Restaurant Name: Gaya-Gaya 가야가야 (がや-がや)

Cuisine: Japanese

Neighborhood: Edae

Address: 서울시 서대문구 대현동 56-21 1층

Phone Number: 02-363-7877

Map: http://map.naver.com/?mid=bl01608268

Carlos Eats Seoul: Visiting Taco Bell (타코벨) in Sinchon (신촌동) during their grand opening

It was hard to miss Taco Bell on their Grand Opening Day in Sinchon (신촌동) last Friday. Employees walked around with signs pointing towards the restaurant and a man dressed as a taco greeted and waved at people walking through the city. Music played outside the store and employees outside gave away free tacos or soft drinks to visitors just for stopping by (this reminded me of the Panda Express grand opening at USF earlier this year). Some girls were in love with the taco bell man and the amount of buzz seemed to be marketing working its magic.

I was one of the lucky ones who won a taco and I literally jumped up and down when I won. The employees at the booth were very friendly certainly did their part to make visitors feel more welcomed.

This scene looked familiar. The menu items were a little different, but mostly just the same items you will find in the U.S.A. with different combinations of items.  I decided to order Combo #3 (called sets in Korea) for around 5,000 won, which consists of a Crunchwrap Supreme and nachos with a soda. There was an electronic television to the side showing Americans eating tacos and burritos. The turn-around time was quite short and before I knew it I was heading to the drink machine to pick my beverage. The good thing about Taco Bell in Korea is the prices are actually similar to the prices in the United States and not marked up (Burger King being my prime example).

This is a sight you will rarely see in South Korea. Most fast food places (even McDonald’s and Burger King) remove the self-serve beverage machines when they enter foreign markets. Essentially it means you get less for your buck, though it is probably healthier to have less soda. Regardless, I was excited to use this machine I had not seen since my arrival (with the exception of Shake N’ Burger in SK Global House at Yonsei – meh) and quickly poured myself some Mountain Dew. Oddly, there is no Mountain Dew Baja Blast in Korea (my favorite flavor and one of the main reasons to go to Taco Bell in the U.S.A.!). I hope Taco Bell Korea will consider bringing this flavor to Seoul if their new stores succeed.

Like most fast food chains and coffee shops in Seoul, Taco Bell is 3 stories high and has plenty of seating arrangements on the second floor that overlooks Sinchon. It makes fast food seem so much fancier when you compare it to the Taco Bell locations in the United States that are so uncomfortable that you are almost always inclined to make an order to-go. There are even comfortable booths you can relax in at fast food chains in Korea.

The taco itself tasted remarkably similar to the ones in the United States. The shell was slightly less crunchy, but the cheese tasted better. The meat and other ingredients were the same. The Crunchwrap Supreme was as tasty as in the U.S.A. and was oozing out cheese.  They supplied you with 2 sauces of your choice (I normally go with mild) and the taste was slightly different, but similar. The nachos were average and the cheese dip was satisfactory. Overall, a cheap and enjoyable fast food meal and cheaper than most competitors in Korea.

Restaurant Name: Taco Bell (타코벨)

Location: Sinchon (신촌동)

Cuisine: Mexican

Website: http://www.tacobellkorea.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Taco-Bell-Korea/194679020581660

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/theboldchoice