Tag Archives: Paul Barrosse

My PyeongChang Diary (Part 7)

Those who know me know that I like meat. I’m an unrepentant carnivore.

26So, naturally, I have spent much of the scant recreational time I have during the Olympic Games in search of the best Korean barbeque available in the PyeongChang area.

Living in Los Angeles, I’m acquainted with the tradition of Korean barbeque – but I figured that, being in the motherland, I could treat myself to the very best. My first two attempts at local Korean BBQ dining were good – but neither was a meat-eater’s home run.

1aAnd then, last night, I found — and enjoyed — Korean BBQ heaven.

Our cameraman Corey found the place. It was a 20-minute cab ride from our Phoenix Park hotel – but we were hungry for adventure (and barbequed beef) so we were down for the excursion.

What follows is a pictorial progression through a beef lover’s Korean BBQ pilgrimage. Vegan’s need not apply…

2a

This is the downstairs dining area. You’ll note that there are only Koreans here at this point in the evening. That is absolutely a good sign. We’ve come to the right place.

5This night was Korean Lunar New Year. And the South Koreans were enjoying one of their biggest annual holidays. (See Vietnam’s Tet.) Does the Tet Offensive ring a bell?

We didn’t realize it when we set out, but the restaurant would get very, very busy — and we would have to wait a while to be seated, unlike these folks who shared a special Asian room, with no chairs.

(No shoes, please.)

After dinner, we’d be unable to get a cab ride home because of the busy holiday, but that’s another matter.

The whole evening took 5 hours. But, all in all, it was well worth it!

2

The first step in traditional Korean Barbecue is to visit the butcher and buy your cuts of meat.

8

This woman knows her meat. She explained that the steer we’d be eating was raised organically, with no hormones, grass fed — and A #1. She was not bullshitting.

We bought our beef BEFORE we cooked it. That’s the way it goes. You buy your meat first, then you get seated — and your drinks and everything else are billed later. Meat is Job #1.

With cameraman Corey in the lead, we hauled out cuts of beef to the upstairs dining room after a 20-minute wait. We were famished — but we anticipated beefy, tasty, spicy joy in our near future.

11

The upstairs dining room. It’s getting busy. The meat is about to get cooking…

12

Unlike our cold, steel and glass hotel in Phoenix Park, this Korean BBQ place features warm wood and delightful crystal chandeliers — which we would later learn are from the United States!

13

Seated across the table from me are my AP, Agatha, and my EP, David. We’re all hungry.

15

First come the condiments: onions, garlic, chili paste, peppers, sea salt & other culinary joys.

16

Next, they fire up the tabletop grill. The main meat-lovers event is about to go down…

24a

As the meat grills, you combine ingredients into your bowl — in my case, chili paste, peppers, onions and garlic — so you can plunge your beef bits deep into this spicy heaven.

Next, Corey pulls down the exhaust fan. Otherwise, we’ll all be asphyxiated….

17

Our waiter provides some assistance. Everyone is helpful. They all want us to have a great time.

20

As our first beef course sears on the grill, our crew poses for a pre-meal photo. We’ve all been working hard — and we’re eager for a great meal. Luckily, David & Corey are Korean BBQ experts.

Corey took over as grillmaster. For those of you who know me from Greek Easter — you can appreciate how much I respect Corey’s Korean BBQ chops!

23

Each cut of beef was better than the next — and the last course was the best of all…

Corey was far too modest. His grilling of that last fabulous cut of beef was superb. But our meal was not yet complete. Corey had another great idea…

28

At Corey’s suggestion we ordered this. Somehow, all of this tasty goodness boiled down into an incredible, sweet beef and veggie soup.

27

And finally, here’s our host. Jean went to college and spent a lot of time in Los Angeles (as have a lot of educated South Koreans we’re met). She returned to South Korea a year ago  and started running this restaurant — recognized on Trip Advisor as the best in PyeongChang.

I’m awarding her an Winter Olympic Gold Medal for the Best Korean BBQ.

All hail, Jean!

9 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Random Commentary, rock & roll, Travel, Truth

My PyeongChang Diary (Part 4)

I’ve been in South Korea for almost a week now.

Every day, I’ve been tramping to and from our hotel to the Phoenix Park resort where the Olympic snowboarding events are being held – and where we’re making our brief documentary on the 20-year history of Olympic snowboarding. (To be shown before the closing ceremony.)

I’ve also been taking advantage of the hotel’s gym, knocking off some kilometers on the treadmill – and working up a sweat.

Between my gym clothes and the various layers I wear each day to insulate myself from the chilly winter weather in the snow-covered mountains of PyeongChang, it’s time to do my laundry. Two bags full.

But nothing is easy for this innocent abroad.

And, as you’ll see below, the simple task of washing my clothes turned out to be an adventure…

2

To do your laundry, you must first FIND the laundry room. My journey of discovery begins in the 6th floor lobby of The White Hotel. Outside, there’s a haze obscuring the mountains. The location of the laundry room will prove no less obscure.

3

The sign next to the elevator indicates several points of interest. The laundry room is not among them. In retrospect, that may only seem to be the case because I can’t read Korean.

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 9.20.54 PM.png

The signage in the elevator gets me no closer to my goal. At left, it’s clear that I should not lean up against the elevator door — and that, perhaps, I shouldn’t stick my hand in it. The sign at right is anyone’s guess. Though not a Korean, of course. A Korean would’t have to guess. But I’m at a loss.

4

Emerging from the elevator on the lobby level, I arrive first at this room. But it’s clearly not the laundry. It’s the hotel gift shop. It’s very pretty — but I’ve never seen anyone in it: not a customer or even a clerk. Many very artsy objects are displayed. The whole setup is a mystery to me. So is the location of the laundry room.

Sendak.png

Next to the gift shop is the business center. I have never seen business stuff being done there. Usually, I see one or two Koreans reading there. (Perhaps enjoying Sendak?) And this morning, I saw a gold medal skier walk into this room with a fifth of scotch and a glass. Business? Maybe.

Rest.png

Moving down the hallway, the signage directs me to several rooms — but not to the laundry room.

9.5

Past the restaurant and banquet rooms — at the end of the hallway — is another elevator. Convinced the laundry room is not on the lobby level, I descend into the basement.

12

I rode the elevator with this Korean man. He was bringing kegs of beer to the lobby beer garden. Alas, it was his first time at The White Hotel — so he couldn’t help me find the laundry room.

13

As the beer vendor exited to the parking lot, I turned my head to the right — and there it was!

Wash

It looks simple enough. A washer and a dryer, clearly labeled, complete with instructions.

16

This may look like a lot of money — but it will take most of it to get my one load of laundry done. The washer is 5,000 South Korean won — and so is the dryer. 5,000 won is about $4.61 in U.S. currency. Detergent cost 500 won — or about 46 cents. Same for a sheet of fabric softener.

Det

Now, the real trouble begins. After I insert my 500 won coin, I discover that the vending machine is OUT of detergent. The bottom row has laundry bags. The next row up has fabric softener. But the two top rows dedicated to detergent are empty. Completely empty.

19

I take the elevator back up to the lobby level and ask these ladies for help. The girls on the right are sweet and want to help — but they have no clue what I’m talking about. Luckily, the older lady on the left (obviously a manager) knows just who to call. Interestingly, when she makes the call, I notice that, as she spoke, the Korean word for “detergent” appeared to “detergent”.

Gut.png

This fellow was dispatched to assist me. He came down with me to the laundry room, opened a utility closet and presented me with ONE packet of laundry detergent. But he didn’t re-stock the machine. He checked to see that it was, indeed, empty — but evidently stocking vending machines is not in his job description. I was very grateful nonetheless.

Drum.png

The helpful man instructed me to put the detergent into the bin on top of the machine. However, a sticker on the machine told me to put the detergent in the drum. I took the machine’s advice.

25

In went my 5,000 won…

Button.png

And now, another conundrum. Instructions on top of the washer clearly say “Press start button”. But there doesn’t seem to be a “start button”. There is, however (written in English!) a “stop/pause” button. I press it — and the washing machine lurches into action. Go figure.

29

Success at last!

30

After getting my laundry done, I walked down — as I do every day — to The Phoenix Park Hotel: our entrance to the extreme sports Olympic venue.

33

As I enter the hotel lobby, bundled against the cold, I ask myself, “How soon will these clothes need to be washed?” and “Do I really need to wear so many layers?”

9 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Comedy, Sports, Travel, Uncategorized

My PyeongChang Diary (Part 3)

I’ve been in South Korea for less than four days – and I find that I must already issue a personal apology to the good merchants of PyeongChang and the entire South Korean nation.

IMG_6059But first I must satisfy my wife’s desire for photos taken from inside the “convenience store” that has vexed me since my arrival in country.

CU, which opened in 1990 as FamilyMart, has more than 10,000 stores and is the largest chain store in South Korea. The signage suggests there is some relation to the American chain CVS – but my hasty, haphazard Internet research has not turned up a connection.

IMG_6060The CU store looks like it should have a lot of stuff that you want. It’s crazy colorful, with rows of tantalizing packaging – but nothing is quite as good as it looks.

It’s 85% snacks — and 15% beer. From what I’ve seen, South Korea is a beer drinking culture.

To be certain, there are Ramen noodles for days. In fact, this particular CU store features a display of noodle containers stacked to resemble a Mayan temple complex. Sort of.

IMG_6061And then there is this strange machine, which I suspect is either a lottery machine or something to do with cigarettes.IMG_6066I must admit that I am simply a befuddled American peering into the smallest window of South Korean culture – and unable to see what would be apparent to a wise traveller who actually prepared to go to South Korea beyond bringing warm clothes, thermal socks and two bags of toe warmers.

IMG_6062But, looking at the beverage cases in the back of the CU, we come to the reason for my apology.

In my previous posts I have decried the absence of Diet Coke in PyeongChang. Full of righteous indignation and good old American superiority, I have maligned the CU for not stocking a decent Chardonnay – and for not having Diet Coke.

But let’s look closer at these two Coke bottles side by side. They look almost the same. But if one looks closer (which Americans rarely do) it is clear that these bottles are not entirely alike.IMG_6063 One, in fact, subtly but clearly states that it has “Zero Sugar”. And, if one bothers to actually read the front label, it’s also clear that it has zero calories. It is, in fact, Coke Zero. Not Diet Coke exactly — but entirely deserving of an apology.

I can at least wash down the heaping helping of crow I must eat with a diet beverage, full of caffeine and that great cola taste.

WineOn the other hand, my only Chardonnay options continue to be a terrible Chilean wine – and a semi-potable concoction foisted upon the Koreans by an unscrupulous California vintner.

Then again, maybe I’m not looking closely enough.

Travel is all about learning — and being open to what you don’t know. After four days in South Korea, my education has barely begun.img04

5 Comments

Filed under Adventure, Sports, Travel

A Comic Celebration to Remember!

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 3.48.35 PM

For two frigid but otherwise fun and fulfilling weeks on Chicago’s North Shore, the cast and crew of “Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration” staged a series of shows that rang in the New Year with satire, song and classic comic shtick. The three packed performances proved once again that The Practical Theatre Company and its motto “Art is Good” are alive and well in the Windy City.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00557

The Practical Theatre is like “Brigadoon” these days: a magical, fleeting moment of entertainment that vanishes as suddenly as it appears. For those of you who were not able to be among the receptive crowds that gathered at Studio5 in Evanston to witness this rare theatrical event – please enjoy the following photos, taken by former Chicago Tribune photographer Chuck Osgood at final dress rehearsal.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01622

The Opening Number: “It’s been a year to remember — to forget!”

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00158

“Ed & Ellen & Ned” — Ed (Paul Barrosse) & Ellen (Victoria Zielinski) and Ned (Dana Olsen) share a moment in an airport bar with a young man (Daniel Rashid) who digs older women.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00188

Eva B Ross sings “Thou Swell” backed by Steve Rashid (keys) & The Studio5 All Stars: Rockin’ Ronny Crawford (drums), Joe Policastro (bass), Don Stille (accordion) and Don Stiernberg (guitar)

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01650

“Limbo” — A bickering couple (Vic & Dana) find themselves in a state of suspended afterlife.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00246

“Parents” — Dana and Shelly Goldstein play parents with a lot of good (and not so good) advice for their high school graduate, bound for Northwestern University.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00271

“Please Come to Starbucks” — Paul is a forlorn, lovesick guy from Cleveland who lost his girl (Vic) to the Southern California dream. He seeks her out in a mournful musical complaint.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00301

“Stop Talking About Him” — A young couple (Daniel Rashid & Emilia Barrosse) struggle with the nagging, negative, inescapable influence of Donald Trump on their relationship.

26172349_1533549093428985_9201868929486565217_o

“Cut In Line” — This is the moment that an unlucky guy (Paul) discovers that the guy to whom he just gave his place in line (Dana) is the 1,000,000th customer and winner of a million dollars!

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00380

The Mr. Olsen’ Dancers perform “We’re In The Money”

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00401

Dana & Eva perform a multi-lingual duet of “Let it Snow” — just before it goes way off the rails.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01679

With sexual harassment dominating the news, the dancers make a statement.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00486

Don Stille burns up his accordion solo in “The Possible Side Effects Polka”

26172658_1533549566762271_6410747683573964917_o

The Mr. Olsen Dancers step lively in “The Possible Side Effects Polka”

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00537

Emilia Barrosse opens the second act with an original stand-up comedy set.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00557

“Ed & Elena” — Ed (Paul) is about to get a big surprise from buxom blonde Elena (Vic).

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00591

Steve Rashid performs a nostalgic musical tribute to George W. Bush — with beautiful, inspirational music by Steve and indescribable words by Dubya himself.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01737

The Mr. Olsen Dancers kick up a wild western rumpus.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00695

“Whisky Tasting” — Miss Vicky’s hootch has finally gotten the best of Paul’s boozing cowpoke.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00737

Groovy Shelly sings “The Middle Aging of The Age of Aquarius”

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00807

“Meet the Robot” — Guess who’s coming to dinner? Your daughter’s synthetic human boyfriend, that’s who.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01766

A proper 19th Century minuet gets a bit topsy-turvy.

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen00889

Roland Masterton (Paul) and Elizabeth Cuddleton (Vic) share a long, long, long developing romance a’la Jane Austen — through correspondence, shipwreck, and a mortal duel .

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01842

Donald J. Trump meets “Hamilton” in a rap production number. “How does a bastard, orange, TV show host with a toupe’, dropped in the middle of a polarized time in our America — with hands so freaking teeny — rise up to be the Mango Mussolini?”

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01861

“What’s you name, man?” “Inmate number 45!”

Studio 5 Mr. Olsen01867 crop

The Closing: “Resist! Resist! — and keep your sanity. Do your best, it’s a test — of our humanity.”

4 Comments

Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation, Music, Politics, Uncategorized

Just Two More Chances to Enjoy “Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration”!

26114583_1533547770095784_2100298101981055015_oThere are only two more opportunities to enjoy the funniest and most fun New Year’s party on Chicago’s North Shore: tonight and New Year’s Eve.

(All photos in this post were taken by Chuck Osgood at the final dress rehearsal)

26114696_1533549313428963_9163814806155948867_oYou still have a chance to reserve your seats for Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration at Studio5 in Evanston.

Tickets are on sale here!

The Practical Theatre returns with another entertaining comedy and music revue featuring veteran improvisational comedy writer-performers Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen. It’s a fun-filled party in the style of The Lawrence Welk Show, filled with laughter, satire and song.

26060201_1533549290095632_162225552277657537_oJoining the cast are the PTC’s musical director, Steve Rashid, songbird Eva B. Ross, standup comic Emilia Barrosse, Giggle Break’s own Daniel Rashid, cabaret chanteuse Shelly Goldstein — and the Studio5 All-Star Band, including Rockin’ Ronny Crawford on drums, Don Stille on accordion, bassist Joe Policastro and Don Stiernberg on guitar. Plus percussionist Robert Rashid.

26197980_1533549580095603_7893809850602960003_oAnd — The Mr. Olsen Dancers are back – and better than ever!

The show on New Year’s Eve will be followed by live music and a fabulous dance party — as we invite you all to swing into the New Year! (And enjoy tasty food, too!)

Studio5 is Evanston’s hippest, most intimate performing arts venue, with comfortable seats, great sight lines, state of the art sound and lights, and acres of free parking. Tickets are on sale here!

There will be a cash bar for both shows. Doors open for cocktails at 7:30.

Don’t miss your last chance to join the biggest party of the year! 26172349_1533549093428985_9201868929486565217_oPoster 2017 NYE #6

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation, Music, Uncategorized

15 Days until Big New Year’s Eve Fun!

Poster 2017 NYE #6Tickets are going fast for the funniest and most fun New Year’s party on Chicago’s North Shore.

Reserve your seats now for Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration at Studio5 in Evanston.

Following last year’s hit holiday engagement at Studio5, The Practical Theatre returns with another entertaining comedy and music revue featuring veteran improv-comedy writer-performers Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen.

Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration is a fun-filled party in the style of The Lawrence Welk Show, filled with laughter, satire and song.

CastJoining the cast are the PTC’s musical director, Steve Rashid, songbird Eva B. Ross, standup comic Emilia Barrosse, Giggle Break’s own Daniel Rashid, cabaret chanteuse Shelly Goldstein — and the Studio5 All-Star Band, including Rockin’ Ronny Crawford on drums, Don Stille on accordion, bassist Joe Policastro and Don Stiernberg on every stringed instrument a man can possibly play. Plus percussionist Robert Rashid.

Did we mention The Mr. Olsen Dancers?? Oh yeah. They’re back – and better than ever!

It’s a limited engagement – with just three shows on Friday December 29, Saturday December 30 and Sunday December 31. Tickets are on sale now here!

https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3105065

The big show on December 31st will be followed by live music and a fabulous dance party — as we invite you all to swing into the New Year! (And enjoy tasty food, too!)

Studio5 is Evanston’s hippest, most intimate performing arts venue, with comfortable seats, great sight lines, state of the art sound and lights, and lots of free parking.

There will be a cash bar for all three shows. Doors open for cocktails at 7:30.

Don’t miss the biggest party of the year!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation, Music, Uncategorized

There are Less than Three Weeks until the Big New Year’s Eve 2018 Party!

Tickets are going fast for the funniest New Year’s party on Chicago’s North Shore. Reserve your seats now for Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration at Studio5 in Evanston.

Following last year’s smash holiday engagement, The Practical Theatre returns with another improvisational comedy and music revue featuring Victoria Zielinski, Paul Barrosse and Dana Olsen.

Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration is a fun-filled party in the style of The Lawrence Welk Show, filled with laughter, satire and song.

CastJoining the cast are the PTC’s musical director, Steve Rashid, songbird Eva B. Ross, standup comic Emilia Barrosse, Giggle Break’s own Daniel Rashid, cabaret chanteuse Shelly Goldstein — and the Studio5 All-Star Band, including Rockin’ Ronny Crawford on drums, Don Stille on accordion, bassist Joe Policastro and Don Stiernberg on every stringed instrument a man can possibly play. Plus percussionist Robert Rashid.

And did we mention The Mr. Olsen Dancers?

There are three shows: Friday December 29, Saturday December 30, and Sunday December 31. Tickets are on sale now here!

https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3105065

The New Year’s Eve show on December 31st will be followed by live music and a fabulous dance party — as we invite you all to swing into 2018! (And enjoy tasty food, too!)

There’s lots of free parking — and a cash bar for all three shows.

Doors open for cocktails at 7:30.

Don’t miss the biggest party of the year!

Poster 2017 NYE #6

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation, Music, Uncategorized