Matt and Tia – A New Blog for Foodies

Hi everyone! I know I’ve been terrible about keeping my blog up-to-date (again). But that’s only because I have a new project to tell you about!

If you like food – eating, cooking, looking at pictures that will make you hungry – please check it out the new blog my boyfriend Matt and I have been working very hard on: Matt and Tia. Matt is a professional chef and I just really like to eat.

We want to bring you reviews, videos, recipes, pictures, and just about anything else you can think of that has to do with food.

We have also set up several other social media pages and we would really appreciate it if you could follow them, as well:





Thanks so much and looking forward to seeing you all on our pages!

30 Day Yoga Challenge: Day 26

Today, I did day 26 of the DO YOU YOGA 30 Day Challenge. It was called “Like a Tall Drink of Water.” The video was a great combination of backbends, forward bends, and twists. I’m still working on my balance, and I really did have to focus today. Today’s practice also helped to relieve some tension that has been building up in my back.

Unfortunately, I woke up in a bad mood and with a bad headache. Today’s yoga practice didn’t really put me in a better mood, like I hoped it would. Instead, my mom and I ended up going out for lunch. We went to the Committed Pig in Manasquan, NJ. It was our first time there and I was incredibly impressed. I ordered the baked brie burger, which had brie, bacon, and fig preserves. My mom ordered the triple b, which was bacon, blue cheese, and balsamic glaze. We both got side salads instead of fries. I’m sure the burger sent me back a million calories, but it was delicious and I have absolutely no regrets.


After, we went to visit a former co-worker of my mom’s who had recently opened a party supply store in the area. It was nice to see her and her business.

When we got home, I watched an episode of Twin Peaks and took a nap. I still don’t feel 100%, but I hope this headache goes away by the time I have to be at work tomorrow.

Korean Food Appreciation Post

I’ve recently been missing some things about Korea – particularly food. So, I thought I’d write a post about some of my favorite dishes I had while I was living in Ulsan!

Shabu Shabu

– While it’s not technically a Korean dish (it’s Japanese), there were shabu shabu restaurants everywhere in Korea! Steve and I probably ate this more than anything else when we went out for dinner. Shabu shabu consists of thinly sliced pieces of raw meat, which you cook in a boiling pot of broth at your table. You also add vegetables like bok choy and cabbage. When everything is cooked, you can roll it up in rice paper along with an assortment of other raw veggies!


Barbecue (고기구이)

– I loved eating barbecue in Korea, especially samgyeopsal (삼겹살) which is pork belly. It was always so much fun going out to a restaurant with friends and cooking your dinner right at the table. My favorite restaurant in downtown Ulsan always put out a side dish of spicy bean sprouts and I also enjoyed ssamjang (쌈장), which is a thick sauce you can dip your meat in before you wrap it in a lettuce leaf.


Gamjatang (감자탕)

– Gamjatang is a pork spine stew that has potatoes, radish greens, onions, peppers, and sometimes noodles or dumplings. It was one of my favorite things to eat during the super cold winter months because it certainly warmed you right up!


Pajeon (파전)

– Pajeon is a green onion pancake that I wish I had gotten to eat more of during my stay. My favorite kind had seafood cooked into it (squid and prawn). Usually not enough for a whole meal, but definitely good for a yummy snack.


Dak Galbi (닭갈비)

– Dak galbi is a stir fried chicken dish made with gochujang (red pepper paste), cabbage, onions, and rice cakes. You can usually add in other items, like cheese or ramen (that’s how I liked it!). Everything is cooked together on a big hot plate. When it’s ready, just scoop and eat!


In addition to these particular dishes, I also miss chains like Paris Baguette, Lotteria, and Ediya. Paris Baguette had cheap, yummy sandwiches and salads which were great in a pinch. At Lotteria, I loved the Mozzerella in the Burger sandwich. And finally, at Ediya, they had a toffee nut latte which was absolutely to die for!

Turning 25 Part 2

*Note: in this post, I will be writing about my experience at the famous Jagalchi Fish Market and it features some slightly graphic paragraphs about consuming extremely, err, “fresh” seafood. You have been warned.

On Saturday, Steve and I had plans to spend the weekend in Busan. After staying out all night, it was a struggle to get going, but we made it on the bus to Nopodong terminal around 1 PM. The ride was roughly 45 minutes and the bus we got had very comfy seats. It had already started raining by the time we got there, and we ran around trying to find the subway.

From Nopodong, we made our way to the Jagalchi station. Our plan was to spend Saturday seeing all the outdoor markets. Even though it was raining, we decided to push through. We first decided to find a motel. After being turned away from two due to no vacancies, Steve and I happened to come across a little guest house. What the heck. We walked up to the fifth floor.

We were able to get a room… with twin bunk beds. However, there was a nice view, the bathrooms were clean, and there was free breakfast in the morning. It was acceptable. After dropping off our bags, we walked to the famous Jagalchi Fish Market – the biggest in Korea.

Jagalchi Market.

Jagalchi Market.

As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by countless stalls with people selling their fish. Big fish. Little fish. Octopus. Squid. Clams. Mussels. Conch. You name it, it was at Jagalchi. Water spilled over the brim of the tanks and onto the floor. From the rear of the market, there was an amazing view of the bay. Too bad the skies were dark and rainy that day.

Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market

Like typical tourists, we “ooed and ahhd” as we walked by each stall. After making our way around the first floor, we walked upstairs. This is where it got good. The entire second floor is made up of mini restaurants selling the freshest fish. (You know it’s fresh because you are literally watching people kill it left and right.) It was overwhelming. After looking at about several menus, we picked one restaurant and ordered the seafood stew.

We were not ready for what came to our table. First off, the banchan were plentiful: sweet potatoes, edamame, pumpkin, kimchi, and a variety of other spicy things. Then, the stew came. The pot was massive and filled with bubbling broth, shrimp as big as the palm of my hand, clams, mussels, oysters, and… a live octopus. Yes, that’s right. There was an octopus actually squirming around in our lunch.

Our seafood stew.

Our seafood stew.

Some of our banchan.

Some of our banchan.

At first, I was completely and utterly disgusted. Steve was trying to poke it with chopsticks. Then, we just let it cook. The shrimp also had heads. I usually don’t eat foods that come with faces or are still breathing when they get to my plate, but I made an exception. We sat patiently and let everything cook. The broth soon turned a deep red and eventually, there was nothing left moving.

I tore into the shrimp with my fingers, carefully removing the bits that I didn’t want to consume. I sipped spoonfuls of spicy broth and scooped out tender mussels. We decided to cut the octopus’s legs off and stick its head in a bowl. Steve still wanted to cut it open, though, but when it started oozing with purple stuff, he didn’t want to so much anymore.

Following lunch, we made our way back into the rain. It had only gotten heavier. We walked around for a bit, ultimately seeking refuge in a nearby mall. It was enormous, each floor more extravagant than the next. We probably spent and hour there before heading back to the guest house for a nap.

We woke up at 9:30 PM and had to do something. It was still raining, but we braved it and headed over to the Bupyeong Night Market. There were so many street food stalls, we didn’t know what to eat first. We got mandu (dumplings). We ate them under the awning of some shop and decided we liked them enough to go back for seconds. The little old lady was very happy to see us again and I’m pretty sure she threw in a few extra. After, we got hotteok (a cinnamon and nut-filled pancake).

The rain was so bad that we could feel it seeping through our jackets (and my purse). We went back to the guesthouse and called it a night.

Busan Fireworks Festival Part 2

At lunch, I spoke to my friend Hannah on the phone. She runs the blog Paint Me a Smile (and you should all go check it out!) We actually met here on WordPress, and we’ve been following each other’s blogs for about two months now. We both came to Korea around the same time to teach English and have been having a good time sharing our similar experiences.

We have been trying to meet in person for weeks now, but things kept on coming up. So, when we found out we were both going to be in Busan at the same, we had to make plans!

Steve and I were going to make our way to Shinsegae, the world’s largest department store, in the Centum City neighborhood of Busan. We took the subway, and there was an entrance right in the station. So, we headed inside and wandered around the first level while waiting for Hannah.



First impression of Shinsegae: insanely overwhelming. Such sensory overload! I’ve never been in a department store quite like this. There was an entire supermarket, food court, about a bazillion shops selling handbags and cosmetics (and that was only on one floor!).

Adorable animal pastries.

Adorable animal pastries.

Finally, Hannah was here and we went to meet her! We went back inside and made our way up and down the floors. Poor Steve had to deal with our girly shopping. He did some wandering of his own, though. We spent a long time in the department store, eventually taking a break for some coffee and food. WHILE WE SAT NEXT TO THE ICE SKATING RINK.

What a crazy place.

Then, we walked around Centum City for a bit until we returned to Haeundae. We went back to the market for street food and then did some more shopping.

Finally meeting Hannah!

Finally meeting Hannah!

Around 6:30, we decided to head over to Gwangalli, where the fireworks festival was taking place. As soon as we got out of the subway, the sheer quantity of people out was incredible. We followed the crowds towards the beach, stopping a few times for tasty street food along the way.

Hannah was trying to find some other foreigners she knew and it was nearly impossible to do so. There were police and even terrorist prevention squads everywhere. Eventually, she found them. They were sitting on the steps near the beach and Steve and I were invited to join. However, I was on the verge of a massive panic attack and could not bring myself to push through anymore people. So, Steve and I sat on the curb across the street and he brought me a drink to soothe my nerves. We still had a great view.

The show lasted from 8 until 9 and it was quite possibly the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen in my entire life! The backdrop was the beautiful Gwangan Bridge and they used music from Carly Rae Jepsen to the Beatles to Whitney Houston. It was fun to sing along to the songs. There were even lasers incorporated into the show. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a single picture because my phone died and I had nowhere to charge it.

After the show, Steve and I hung out at a bar to avoid the mass exodus of the crowds. We said goodbye to Hannah and, after a while, made our way towards the subway. Even though we waited to leave, it was still obscenely crowded. I was super tired and super cranky. Finally, we made it to the intercity bus terminal and headed back to Ulsan.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend!

Mission Accomplished: McDelivery

Since I got here, I’ve been struggling to try and figure out what my Korean address is. Turns out, the whole thing is printed on the back of my alien registration card. Classic Tia.

Anyway, in Korea, McDonald’s offers delivery. It’s called McDelivery. The only thing you need to know is your address in Korean. So, to my absolute delight, Steve and I decided to sit down and order last night. First, we tried doing it on the website. It was really confusing and complicated, and I almost gave up. Instead, I wondered if there was an app for it. There was. It was so simple. All I had to do was register, enter my address, and select what I wanted to eat.

In less than 30 minutes, there was a delivery guy at my door and we were even able to pay by card. So, our grand plans for the evening were eating our fast food and watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail (because Steve had never seen it before!).

This morning, we decided to go for a walk near the little park/river by my apartment. Instead of taking our usual route, we turned down a new street. In the distance, I saw it: Flapjack Pantry. We have been trying to find this restaurant for weeks! It’s a chain here in Korea and it serves Western-style breakfast and burgers. So exciting.

We grabbed a table (with a gorgeous view of a park), and stared at the menu. Everything sounded incredible. We settled on chocolate chip pancakes and Cajun chicken salad. We also almost forgot that everything here is for sharing, and were totally surprised when our food came. There was so much! The salad was great. Fresh greens, chunks of tomato, perfectly seasoned (crispy) chicken. All in a honey mustard dressing. And the pancakes! Don’t even get my started. They were huge and fluffy and came with a side of syrup and some delightfully decadent chocolate sauce.


We also ran into my friend Hailey, who was with one of her friends. They got the English breakfast to split. Totally what I’m doing next time.

Now, it’s almost time for me to start getting ready for work. Happy Wednesday!

I also apologize for the lack of pictures. We devoured everything immediately.

Drunken Neighbors and Toothpaste-Flavored Ice Cream

Yesterday was a pretty good day. My classes went well. Even my really, really bad class wasn’t so bad. Why, you ask? Because I bribed them. With stickers. And I have absolutely no shame about it.

After work, Steve and I had plans to go for barbecue in my neighborhood. I was sitting on my bed watching Youtube videos when he knocked. I answered, and he told me I had to come see “this.” I wondered what “this” could be.

Turns out, “this” was my next door neighbor passed the hell out in the stairwell. Her purse was on the floor next to her, contents spilling everywhere. I was in shock to see someone so drunk. I grabbed my jacket and bag. As we were walking down the stairs to head out, I felt so bad and I couldn’t just leave her there. She was barely verbal, slurring things in Korean, but I got her sitting up. After a while, I helped her to stand. She almost tumbled down the stairs. It was a struggle, but I finally got her up the stairs and to her door. However, she couldn’t find her key. She kept ringing the door bell and knocking, to no avail. I’m pretty sure she lives by herself, but we tried. Oh, it was so upsetting! I sat with her a few more minutes, but she waved us off. Even the other foreigner who lives on my floor came out to see what was going on.

Just wow.

Anyway, Steve and I made our way to the restaurant-filled street near my place. We decided on a pork barbecue place and got pork belly and cold noodles. It was so delicious.

After dinner, we walked downtown, but it was pretty dead. We got a beer and munched on some pretzels at Sticky Fingers, one of the expat bars. Then, we stopped in Angel-in-us (a coffee shop chain), and I got a coffee snow (like a frappuccino, but better). Steve wanted ice cream, so we stopped at an ice cream shop as well. He got a flavor called apple mint. I tried it. It tasted like toothpaste. Like, gross toothpaste. After I mentioned it, he agreed but ate it anyway.


That was my exciting evening!