Recently Watched: Chocolate ~ A Korean Food Drama

Chocolate Korean Food Drama

If you’re looking to escape into another world for a while, there’s a lovely place you can go on Netflix. To the world of Lee Kang, a neurosurgeon and Moon Cha Young, a chef who eats chocolate to center herself when she’s suffering. They live in South Korea, but the story takes us to other countries as well. The show is in Korean, so unless you speak it, you’ll be reading subtitles.

The two meet as children over a shared meal at Kang’s family restaurant. Kang asks Cha Young to come back later so he can make her a chocolate sasha, which I don’t really know what it is, unless he means this Japanese snack.

But because they are kids and her family had other plans, she isn’t able to return. He waited for her and was devastated when she didn’t show up. A year later she came back to find him, but his family had moved away.

They never forget each other and are fated to meet again. Repeatedly. Their lives are forever intertwined through a series of serendipitous meetings, but there are so many misunderstandings and hurt feelings. It’s dramatic and romantic. So much longing. And filled with food. The food scenes are stunning. I could practically smell it watching them cook.

The food is a third main character and made me want to get some Korean food. Then I was zapped back to the realization that I’m living in the middle of a pandemic and can’t go to a restaurant as easily anymore. Then I got swept up in the story again and relished the recipes. The precision and beauty. Colors, sounds and textures.

There is a depth to the characters lives that makes it easy to get caught up. We come to know their inner lives. There are painful family stories, intrigue, disasters, war, and some humor too. I found myself getting really aggravated at certain points, but couldn’t stop watching. I was so hooked! Chocolate is a real love story and they get me every time.

The music is haunting and sets the tone for the series, further increasing the tension and emotion. I definitely recommend you give a listen. The cinematography is captivating too.

I’ve been a fan of Korean dramas (K-dramas) for several years now and have been finding a lot more on Netflix recently. I’m surprised there isn’t more buzz around this series. I really enjoyed it and was disappointed to read that there won’t be another season. There’s a lot to like about Chocolate, but it is basically a soap opera. So if that’s not your thing, this probably isn’t for you. Otherwise, enjoy this series and get a respite from the day to day of quarantine life.

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Image Credit: YouTube

Recently Watched: Being Erica

Opening scene from Being Erica.

This past holiday season, I watched very few Christmas shows even though I look forward to them every year. But I enjoy time travel even more. And around Thanksgiving, I found a television series called Being Erica. I streamed the entire four years through the holidays and finished on December 30th. I wish there were more years, but watching this show was so satisfying —like eggnog and Christmas cookies. Which I indulged in while watching!

It was also a great way to end 2019. Especially since the year 2019 plays a role in the show, which aired on CBC Television from 2009 to 2011. So my then 2019 present, now my past in 2020, was the distant future on the show. How meta!

The easiest way to describe Being Erica is to compare it to Sex and the City. Located in Toronto instead of New York and with the added bonus of time travel! Erica is Carrie. She doesn’t have a Mr. Big, but she does have a series of romances and is a major part of the publishing world. We meet her group of close friends of course, but unlike Sex and the City, Erica’s family is a major part of the show. I always found it strange that we didn’t see Carrie’s family.

The way time travel works on this show is that it’s therapy. She meets Dr. Tom who gives her the ability to go back in time to regrets in her life and fix them. There are certain caveats to the time travel though. Which there always are!

This show has also made me realize a gaping hole in my Canadian travel. I’ve been to Canada a few times, but only to Montreal. I’ve never been to Toronto. It’s a new decade and before the 20s are over, I plant to visit! Hopefully I can get to some other places in Canada as well.

I won’t say more and give anything away, but I loved this show and was so glad that I found it streaming on Hulu. It’s also on Amazon Prime. The first episode is on YouTube, so you can watch it there for now too.

If you watch it, let me know what you think. Do you have any favorite time travel shows?

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Photo Credit: Screenshot @ Hulu

Recently Watched: Nine: Nine Time Travels

On this last day of the year, it seems like the perfect time to share one of my favorite television series with you. There’s something magical about moving from one year to the next in the span of one second. And the magic in this series is time travel. One of my favorite things!

I watched Nine: Nine Time Travels over a period of a few weeks. It’s dramatic, mysterious, fun, heart-wrenching, romantic and surprising. I looked forward to watching it each day and hated for it to end. I really loved this show.

The 20 episode series is in Korean with English subtitles and originally aired on tvN  in South Korea in 2013. I saw it on Netflix and it’s still available to watch.

The stars Lee Jin-wook and Jo Yoon-hee are so engaging that I was swept up in their story immediately. Wikipedia gives a good plot summary below.

The science fiction/romance series is about a man who finds nine magical incense sticks that allow him to travel 20 years back in time. He attempts to keep his family safe in order to change the world he lives in today. However, this is not without consequences as his actions in the past affects the lives of many in the present, including his.

As a fan of time travel, it’s always interesting to see the device chosen to facilitate the travels. The use of incense was very different than most, because it’s so relatable for me. Sometimes I’ll combine it with candles when I meditate. I love the smell. There’s something very calming about it — watching the smoke floating and knowing that it will burn itself out. The time component of the way incense burns is a key element of the story.

The lead character is a news anchor named Park Sun-woo who is able to travel back exactly 20 years to the day. So with each day that passes, he can go back to a different day in order to solve a mystery. The show is quite a ride! The twists and turns!

I hated when the show was over, but there is some good news. For the future. According to a 2013 article, actress Yunjin Kim, known from the shows Lost and Mistresses, is working with ABC on a show based on the series. She will be one of the executive producers of the show.

Since it’s now going on five years since that article, I’m not sure the status of the show, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.

This is the last that I’ll be here for 2017. See ya in 2018!

Happy New Year!

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Screenshot: tvN

{You Pick Six} An Interview with News Anchor: Maria Stephanos

Interview with WCVB news anchor Maria Stephanos.

Early in 2016, Maria Stephanos joined WCVB as their evening news anchor.

My mom and I were talking about Maria and both mentioned that we love her laugh. It’s contagious and lights you up! We adore her!

Then a few months ago, my mom and I were talking about my interview series.

Out of the blue, she says, “You should ask Maria Stephanos. She really loves food.”

I thought it was a great idea! So I contacted Maria and she agreed. Plus, she said to “give her best” to my mom, which thrilled her to no end!

I’m truly honored that Maria is “here” and sharing a bit more about her love of food. So let’s resume this ongoing series with the 16th interview of You Pick Six.

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What brings you peace every day?
The ocean. I have a very intense job where we are digesting some pretty tough news every day. I find myself driving to the ocean a lot and just walking on the beach or throwing myself into the cold new England waters no matter what time of year it is. It resets me, refuels me and brings me back to life.

What is a favorite childhood food memory?
When we would go out to my father’s garden that was bursting with tomatoes and we would spend hours picking them and eating them. We would bring a salt shaker with us and just sit on the grass and eat the fresh tomatoes we just picked. Nothing like it.

What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
A Greek cookie called Koulourakia. They are my favorite recipe because it ties me back to my Greek heritage and my family. My grandmother taught me how to make and braid them. They aren’t flashy, don’t have a ton of flavor, but every time I make them ( I make them weekly) I think of my roots and my grandmother and they fill me with love.Koulourakia, Greek cookies, cooling on a rack.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
Food is love. To cook it is to provide sustenance for the people you love and to eat is a magical experience that can trigger memories of people or experiences that revolved around food.

What is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
My Aunt Debbie’s house. It doesn’t matter if she’s making keftedes (Greek meatballs) or homemade phyllo. I have never left her table without thinking that is the best meal I’ve ever had.

Tell me about where you grew up.
I grew up in Groveland Massachusetts. At the time, we didn’t even have a traffic light! It was tiny, rural and very beautiful. I thought I would live there forever.

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Thank you so much for participating Maria!

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Photos: Provided by Maria Stephanos.

Vegan Cattle Ranchers!

Vegan Journal of a Rancher's Wife

Earlier I was watching CBS Sunday Morning and absolutely adored a story about Tommy and Renee Sonnen.

Below is a portion of the  story found on the CBS Evening News website.

What Tommy didn’t know was that Renee had been secretly posting a blog called “Vegan Journal of a Rancher’s Wife.” She attracted thousands of followers. Through those contacts, Renee was able to raise $30,000 — enough for a hostile takeover.

Take a look at the video and learn how Rowdy Girl Vegan Farm Animal Sanctuary came to be.

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Screenshot: CBS Evening News