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Seoul: R.About, Pizzeria D'Buzza, Common Ground

Trent Rollings

R.About

We’re in Seoul this week as volunteer for the World Barista Championship. We came a couple of days early so we could do some sightseeing which, of course, has a lot to do with coffee. A barista at the first shop we visited (more than less) recommended r.about coffee, just a walking distance from where we were. We walked around the block and down some wrong streets to come across a house with a sign out front which read, “Coffee first, think later.” We walked in and were immediately struck by the coziness of this old Korean hanok, converted into a coffee shop. We chatted with the baristas, who would also be at the WBC the next day with us, and they shared about their coffees. Upon sitting, my eyes were drawn to a hole in the wall next to the table and in the hole sat an old Walkman, the kind I had when I was a kid. Something about the nostalgia made me feel even more comfortable. The barista brought our coffee (an espresso for Trent and a piccolo latte for me) and while sipping slowly, I observed the perfect blend of the espresso and milk. Amazing location, delicious coffee, hospitable baristas. Worth a trip to Seoul for! C

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Pizzeria D'Buzza

With lots of caffeine, we were eager for some protein. Taking a risk, we decided to wander through the streets in search of whatever caught our eye (and our ... stomachs). What resulted was delicious as well as inspiring. We came upon a pizza restaurant, Pizzeria D'Buzza, and both floated toward the door in agreement. My eyes danced across the menu until landing on one list of ingredients: prosciutto, walnuts, potato, and rosemary. While usually Trent and I play the “you go first” game when ordering together, but this time I spoke with certainty: gimme the rosemary. We eagerly waited and watched other delicious pizzas being delivered to tables before the waitress placed before us a feast. The soft and chewy crust was baked with a buttery glaze and the prosciutto was sliced so thin, you could see straight through it. The potato was mashed and the walnuts added crunch and the rosemary made the whole thing taste like Christmas. We recommend this restaurant wholeheartedly, and we also recommend you try out making this pizza for yourself; we're going to give it a try! (Note: Of course we also ate a lot of incredible Korean food over the week. Our best suggestion is to find a restaurant without an English menu. Point. Smile. Eat with gladness. Also: don't wait for the server to pick up your bill; go pay at the counter.) C

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Common Ground

It isn't uncommon to see shipping containers used in architecture these days. Both Christine and I have been intrigued by the shipping container home concept and might possibly build one of our own someday. You'll understand our delight then when we came across Common Ground, a trendy shopping mall made entirely out of shipping containers. 200 to be exact. That makes it the world's largest pop-up shipping container mall. Pretty impressive to be sure! In true Korean fashion, much effort was expended to make all areas of Common Ground aesthetically beautiful. But more than a beautiful space, the mall houses a plethora of shops selling interesting finds being sold by small-business entrepreneurs. I even came across a shop that sells larger sized clothes for us western body types. The prices tend to be pretty affordable as well. And when you get hungry, make your way up to the third floor where you will find a varied plethora of restaurants and cafes. So if you're in Seoul and find yourself looking for a great place to shop or a unique date spot, consider popping over to a Common Ground. It's extremely accessible, only a 5-minute walk from the Konkuk University metro station. T

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하늘이 무너져도 솟아날 구멍이 있다. | Even when the sky falls, there is a hole to fly out of.
— Korean Proverb