Linus’ Bama Style BBQ

Guys. I know I don’t usually do restaurant reviews here, but I went to a restaurant so good that I have changed my mind! Over the holiday weekend, The Brit and I headed to Namsan Tower to put our engagement lock on the Locks of Love wall. Since we were in such close proximity to Itaewon, we decided to make our way over there for dinner. We’d heard great things about Linus’ Bama Style BBQ from our friends and had been wanting to try it out for awhile. We figured that due to the holiday weekend, the crowds wouldn’t be out in full force. We were right! We had a very short wait before we were seated, but had decided we loved the restaurant well before we were seated. The restaurant has a backyard BBQ atmosphere, with wooden benches for the outdoor seating. The oldies playing overhead reminded my of summertime BBQs from my childhood and had The Brit and I singing along. The humor in the signage was an added bonus; the wifi is Guess What? The password is porkbutt. Another throwback to my childhood days.

The service is excellent – especially by Korean standards. We were promptly greeted by our waitress and offered drinks. We had another laugh as we perused the menu. Each item has a chuckle inducing description that makes you want to order one of everything. And we nearly did! We got the BBQ set for two, which comes with two kinds of meat, three sides and six buns of sliders. We got the fries, mashed potatoes and potato salad as our sides. Can you tell we love us some potatoes? The mashed potatoes were great, but the potato salad was legit the best I’ve ever had. We also ordered the fried pickles, fried okra and smokey mac ‘n’ cheese. We ordered so much other food that we never ended up touching the fries. We also ordered a Great White and an Indica IPA, which always makes me happy because it reminds me of home. The Lost Coast Brewery is in the same town as my university and was a staple at all the college parties.

By the time we left, we were in full on food coma status. I was uncomfortable for hours. But oh so satisfied. We couldn’t believe we waited so long to check it out, and we will definitely be back again soon. To get to Linus’, go to the McDonald’s in Itaewon. Directly to the left of McDonald’s is a glass door with a staircase leading down into a shady looking hallway. Go through the shady looking hallway and emerge into BBQ heaven. Here is their Facebook page. And here is my Tumblr so you can check out more hunger inducing photos from our dinner.

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Braai Camp

The last two years, for the Buddha’s birthday holiday, The Brit and I have gone away to a pension at the base of Jirisan for a Braai Camp. Now let me decode that sentence for you. In Korea, a pension is a type of vacation rental. It can be like a house, like an apartment, or in this case, like a cabin. It typically does not have a bed, so it feels a bit like a slumber party with everyone curled up on the floor together. Except that I’m not 9-years-old anymore, so it’s uncomfortable and makes my hips hurt and this is how I know I’m getting old. But I digress. Jirisan is generally regarded as being one of Korea’s three most famous mountains. The others being Hallasan (in Jeju) and Seoraksan (in Gangwand0). And finally, braai is Afrikaans for BBQ. And it is probably the most delicious BBQ I’ve ever had (sorry, Mom).

Both years we departed from Seoul in the wee hours of the morning for our long bus ride to the Namwon area. The first year the ride was especially long because our bus overheated and we had to pull over in the middle of nowhere to let it cool down. We had to pool all of our water together so the bus driver could put it in the radiator(?) . I dunno, the place that keeps the engine cool. Cars! And we had to keep the aircon off for most of the drive as a result of the overheating, so what should have been a 5ish hour bus ride turned into a really uncomfortable 8ish hour bus ride. Fortunately, this year there were no such complications. Smooth sailing both there and back.

The Braai Camp has been known to change locations, but the last two years it has taken place deep in the serene mountain range in Namwon, with Jirisan towering in the backdrop. Both years the area was lush and green and it felt amazing to be far, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And also the pollution. At the base of the pension was a beautiful creek perfect for relaxing in sun, as long as you weren’t distracted by the highway on the other side of it. Hey, we can’t have everything…

Now, the name of the game at Braai Camp is to drink, have fun and eat good food. And that is what was done both years. Each day is spent just chillin out, maxin, relaxin all cool, shootin some b-ball outside the pool. When a couple of guys, who were up to no good – sorry, I seem to have gone astray. That’s been known to happen when the words chillin out get used. Back to your regularly scheduled broadcast. And at night, we BBQ. The first night is spent barbecuing either meat that you bring with you, or as we did, meat that you order through the organizers of the event.  We ordered some lamb and some boerewors (a South African style sausage). The meat was amazing, but not nearly as good as the second night, when the guys from Braai Republic (a South African restaurant in Itaewon) fire up the spit and roast an entire lamb on it over the course of the day. I don’t know what spices and witchcraft they use, but this meat is literally the most delicious meat I have ever eaten. It is tender and juicy and loaded with flavor. I couldn’t stop myself from eating it. I was full, but my taste buds were screaming, “More! More! MORE!!!” And there is no one in the world I heed more than my taste buds. I think I felt full for four days after we left.

All in all, it was a great weekend, with great food and great friends. I highly recommend going on this trip if you’re in Korea in the spring. They have departures from multiple cities in Korea, or the option to make your own way there. I don’t know that there’s a permanent event page you can follow, but you can get in touch with the guys over at Braai Republic, or with Tobias at The Hidden Cellar, as he is the main event coordinator. Check out more photos here.

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