Friday, August 8, 2014

Best (non-Korean food) Cafe in Korea

Is the title a little overboard?
Let's see if you could be attracted to Plant after I'm done telling you about the cafe.

1).  Do you like cake? Soft, moist, flavorful, full of wholesome ingredients and not too insanely sweet? Have you had a hard time in Korea finding a cake that tasted the way it looked like it should? What if I tell you that the cake is even vegan? And yet for a non-vegan it is still just as perfect as any non-vegan cake you've ever had? At Plant there are usually at least three cakes available, sometimes even five or six. They change often but some that I see a lot include:
Chocolate & Peanut Butter
Double Chocolate Mousse
Apple and Earl Grey
Caramel Banana
Carrot Spice
Pumpkin Spice with Ginger Cookie frosting (my favorite)
Red Velvet
Lemon Pound

There are also various other baked things that should include at least four of the following on any given day (unless you arrive too close to quitting time):
Coconut Chews
Lemon Drops
Oreo Brownies
I often take a couple muffins or scones home with me to make a more exciting breakfast the next day. Baking was where Mipa (the owner) started her commercial food preparation journey, with a little online store, the "Alien's Day Out Bakeshop."

2). Do you like a cozy cafe with free wifi in a central location? Okay Plant has that, too. It's in Itaewon, and yes, that's a disgusting part of town, but at least it's central. The cafe is equally far from Noksapyeong or Itaewon subway stations-- walk down the main street in Itaewon, take the steps downhill next to the Converse store, pass the Greek place, pass the photo of a big-tits foreigner looking incredibly ugly eating pasta, and then Plant will be on the right behind the glass.

3). Do you like delicious food? Plant's food is light, not heavy, not greasy. The menu changes all the time, but there are usually two to three plates on offer. The food is 100% vegan-- if the description says its got cheese, that's not dairy cheese. Normal entrees are things like sandwiches or wraps with robust flavor. These are paired with soups, hummus, chips, pita, salad... that sort of thing. A normal plate of food is about 12,000 won. I've never had anything that wasn't good (I've had things I'm less of a fan of, like the soba noodle salad, but even then it wasn't anything I could complain about, it just wasn't my favorite). It's always made from quality materials, and the pairings of crunchy and smooth, hearty and fresh always leave my belly feeling really good. The secret to most of Mipa's food is that she does not stint on the special homemade dressings and sauces that elevate her food beyond the level most people can make at home and into taste delight. I still remember with joy the Thanksgiving sandwich, but my favorite item is probably Mipa's smoked tempeh wrap.

4) Don't worry, there's more. Plant also offers a substantial smoothie packed with two of my favorites: cacao nibs and spirulina. There is hot and cold coffee (a tad weak). There is chai and various other drinks too, recently I had the ginger-ade (it was very gingery but much too sweet for my tastes).
Here's the official Plant FB page. There is a map, and opening hours on the page, but I already explained how to find it, and it's closed Sunday and Monday.

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