Seoul, the Wrap up: Vatos, the Pet Cafe, Manic Consumption.

It was our last full day in Seoul; our last chance to accomplish a few things that hadn’t worked out for us in previous days. First, we finally got in to the damn pet café, Chicu Chicu, which theretofore had been closed on every single attempt at a visit (three).


It was kind of a mixed bag. When we walked in, the dogs all went bananas, as they do, and there was a nice mix of breeds hanging out, ready for a pet. However, they are so used to all of that attention, I guess, that we kind of had to beg for their acknowledgment, as though they were cats or something. But still. Dogs!

Also, dogs on tables:

Jake and Mikey kinda killed for us too, sitting there with their tortured faces, burning holes into our backs with their irritated eyes. To make matters worse, Jake bought an espresso that cost $8. Then, to verify that it actually cost $8, he bought another one. You read that right.

Since the boys vibe was so buzz killy, we left, and headed back to the hotel for a quick inventory of our shopping loot, and a divvying up of free samples and joint purchases that Randi and I had made. The free sample situation is pretty insane. With the exception of those rectangular packages, the face masks, everything else in this photo was a give away.


Feeling slightly panicked and unsatisfied with the ridiculous amount of shit we had already bought, we headed back to Itaewon, where Randi and I engaged in one final, manic, Tasmanian devil style round of shopping. On this trip, we wound through the alleys and bought $5 shirts, which in all honesty are super well made and still favorites in my rotation. We discovered a hair accessory emporium that I could have blown my whole load in, which is just super odd and borderline ridiculous because I wear my hair in a ponytail or bun almost exclusively. But Korea does something to you. Truly. Randi had to somewhat forcefully escort my deranged ass out of there, my bag full of hair tsotchkes like this:


And then. CTRL + A happened.


Full of adorable, tiny, three and four piece earring sets, headbands, phone accessories, other hair accessories, watches, etc. Ctrl + A was full on cuteness overload. We bought an absurd amount of miniature accessories (a weakness of mine, miniatures) left, finished loading up on cosmetics, and then, before we knew it, we were running back there, in need of more. Both this headband and the earrings are CTRL + A. Ridiculously cute, right? Also, so Asian. *Love*

At 7:00, it was time for us to finally eat at Vatos Urban Tacos. This was also a third attempt, only this time we had reservations that we had made during the previous failed visit. Really, so you know, that place has a crazy wait. All. The. Time. Make a reservation if you want to go. Trust. We started with the Mexican Martini, a tequila based martini that was billed as “a sophisticated mix of tequila and spiciness.” Cocktails…always a scary prospect abroad, made even scarier by the omnipresent cocktail-with-an-upside-down-beer-in-it that seemed to be all the rage at Vatos. The Mexican Martinis…they were OK. Just OK.


From there, we got an order of the kimchi carnitas fries, which were topped with sour cream, melted cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, and onion.

Kimchi Carnitas

I enjoyed those quite a bit, but they are a little rough on the onion sensitive palate (Jake).

The tacos were just tacos, and like the kimchi fries before them, very heavy with the large chunks of raw onion. However, we live in San Francisco. A taco place in Seoul would be hard pressed to really knock our socks off, but with the crazy hype Vatos gets, we thought just maybe they would. The kimchi fries at least had some Korean flair. We ordered fish and chile lime shrimp; two of each. The fish did come with apple coleslaw which is a little different, and the shrimp guys were topped with “Asian slaw” but, I dunno, it was all pretty underwhelming.

Last up was the carne asada quesadilla, the highlight for sure, with all of that hard-cooked cheese on the outer shell. Cooked, slightly burnt cheese like that…a texture/flavor win, always.


And then, Jake, who had been walking around with his hands behind his back “Japanese style” ever since we left Japan, went full Asian:

Jake becomes korean

We had to make a final trip to Sam Ryan’s, for a last round (or three) and a goodbye, where we got behind the bar and showed that alas, we had conquered Korean shopping:


Did I mention that we had to buy a rollie to accommodate our haul? That’s how much we bought in Korea. We needed a freaking suitcase to bring it all home. Us, the people who absolutely insist, in a truly obnoxious way, on minimalist, carry-on only, travel.


But when every surface of your hotel room is covered in shopping bags, there really is no other choice.


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