Radiators are not cheap

So, back to that Jeep thing. On my drive to Milwaukee for the UPAF Ride for the Arts, the dash started dinging and lit up saying “check gauges.” I looked at all the gauges and noticed that the temperature gauge was all the way to the right, indicating as hot as it can be. I pulled over at the next exit that I could and pulled into a parking lot in an office park. As soon as I stopped the car smoke came billowing out of the hood area. I got out of the Jeep and looked down. Green fluid was flowing out. Lots of it. My parents were already at my brother’s house when I called up there and so my dad and my brother agreed to come down. I checked Google Maps on my phone and saw that there was an auto parts store nearby. I called them and they were open til 10 p.m. My hope was that my dad would come down, realize it was a hose or something easy, go to the parts store and fix it and we’d be on our way.

So, I camped out in the parking lot of this building.

And waited for my dad and my brother to drive down from Milwaukee. I realized that I wasn’t even out of the city of Chicago! I was at Cicero and Peterson, quite a ways north and west in the city, but still, in the city. So, I realized it would take them a while to come down. Luckily, I was not alone. I had this to keep me company:

I was bringing these Half Acre beers for my dad and my brother to try. They were still ice-cold and it was in the high 70s that evening, so I cracked one open and waited.

Then after a while I oriented myself using the web browser and maps on my phone. I realized I was right next to a Whole Foods, so I walked over to the store and killed some time there.

When my dad and brother arrived they took a look at the car. We realized that the leak was not in a hose, but was actually a leak from the radiator. I needed a tow. Well, little did we know that it would be SO HARD to get a tow. Some said they couldn’t get to me for hours, some said they’d call me back and didn’t, some said they were closed (!?), some didn’t answer their phone, some said they didn’t have a flatbed tow truck, which a few told me I needed. I was basically just going down lists of tow companies on Yelp and Google just trying to get anyone to come out.

Finally, I called a guy who said he didn’t have a flatbed but knew someone who did. I was rolling my eyes at this. I’d heard it before that night and it didn’t pan out, but when he gave me the number I called it and a guy said they could come out within 20 minutes and he actually did. I got my tow! For future reference, this was S&M Towing. They were great to work with did what they said, charged what they estimated, right to the dollar. Nothing shady. Also for future reference, the tow was $85 to hook up the car and $3.50 (I think) per mile after that. It came to about $103. Also, while we were waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I ran into that Whole Foods and bought us all slices of pizza and drinks. It was getting late, I’d been sitting in a hot parking lot forever, and we needed to eat.

My dad rode in the tow truck and chatted it up with the driver. My brother and I followed in my brother’s truck. We towed the Jeep to our regular service station, Nal’s. Dallas’s uncles are good friends with the owner, Al. Dallas has golfed with him before and stuff, but I’ve never met him. I should mention I also spent about a half hour or more calling all of Dallas’s uncles and Dallas, who was in Las Vegas, trying to get Al’s number and find out if I could tow to his shop and leave it. By then the shop was closed so I couldn’t ask them. Anyway, long story short, no one was answering their phone on a Saturday night. We ended up leaving the Jeep on a residential street just south of the shop, where there was no parking restrictions.

After leaving the Jeep, my dad and brother and I drove up to my brother’s house. We pulled in at about 11 p.m., about 5 hours later than I’d planned to arrive. By the time we went to bed it was almost midnight. So, yeh. Late night. And we had to get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for the bike ride! But it all worked out..

When Dallas got back from Las Vegas he brought the keys up to the shop and worked everything out with them. The repairs will end up costing a lot more than I’d have liked – about $600. Stinks! But hopefully nothing will go wrong again and we can stretch out the life of this car. It’s old, but still generally runs good. And $600 is less than a new car. If the Jeep keeps acting up, though, we may have to think about doing a trade in.

I Wish Korean Food & Culture Lesson

Last year Jen and I bought Groupons for a Food Tour from I Wish. I Wish is a company that tries to help you answer the question, “What do you wish you could learn?” In their food section they have many different kinds of cuisines that you could choose from for the Groupon.. and the Groupon got you in for $20 instead of the usual $40 – 45.

Jen and I choose the Korean culture and food class at Waba Korean Restaurant. We were to learn the the staples of traditional Korean cuisine while you are guided through a tasting tour of some favorite Korean dishes. Learn all about Korean culture, here and abroad, and how food has influenced the culture and history. And all the while, we of course got to eat.

Waba is a decent place. Nice, but not too fancy. Lots of TVs in the dining room. The food was great. It’s basically one room with a bar. In the photo below, the bar is kind of to the left and behind me:

The reason I mention the bar first, is because that’s where we started out. I had this Korean beer called Hite. They also had soju on special, but I’d had that before and I’d never had Hite, so I decided to try that.

Good beer. Light and refreshing. Cool and Fresh! Just like the label says!

Now, I just want to make a note before I talk about the food that we had. Jen and I attended the course in November. I took a couple notes, scribbled on a scrap of paper, but not a lot…. and I can’t remember every detail now that a few months have passed. With each dish we were told how it was prepared, when its served, some history and we were also told stories of historic as well as modern-day Korea. Well, I’m just going to try to at least remember the names of the dishes I took photos of and try to do a little bit of internet research on them!

Banchan are side dishes that are usually served in small portions and come out at the beginning of the meal. There’s always kimchi, maybe even multiple forms of it. My favorite banchan was a potato dish, shown on the bottom right.

Next up was japchae, a dish made from cellophane noodles, stir fried in sesame oil with various vegetables. It can be served hot or cold, in our case it was cold. I thought this noodle dish was ok, but it was not my favorite. I don’t think I was expecting it to be cold. This dish is always made with vegetables and sometimes with meat. Ours had some bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) in it.

This is kimchi bokkeumbap, which is kimchi fried rice. The photo doesn’t look very appetizing because we used the same plate that we used to eat our japchae. Don’t let that deceive you, though. The kimchee fried rice was one of my favorite dishes of the night. Ours was made with rice, kimchi, vegetables, and SPAM. Gasp! This might be the first time I ate SPAM. I’ve actually had it a few times since November, though.

This is miyeok guk, or seaweed soup, made from seaweed and soup stock. Ours also had a bit of meat in it. I think it was bulgogi again. Bulgogi seemed to be sprinkled in everything! Our instructor told us this is a very nutritious soup and is served to pregnant women and on special occasions like birthdays.

Next we tried a serving of bulgogi and somehow I did not take a photo of this. I think it’s because this was my other favorite dish of the night and I dove right in! Bulgogi is made from thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef. This meat is then marinated in a mixuture of shoyu, sugar, sesame, garlic and the like. Then the meat is grilled or pan fried.

Sitting next to us were some actual Koreans. Haha. They were really fun and filled us in on additional information about all of the food we were eating. I was wondering why they took this class, then I found a Yelp review from one of them. They thought they were signing up for a cooking course when they bought the Groupon. I must admit, I thought the same thing.

Bibimbap literally means “mixed meal,” which is appropriate because everything you see is stirred together just before it’s eaten. Bibimbap ingredients can vary. Ours had rice, vegetables, sprouts and bulgogi. What doesn’t vary is the egg on the top. We also stirred in gochujang (chili pepper paste), which is very common.

Next up was budae jjigae or “army base stew.” This soup is named this because after the Korean war, meat was scarce in Korea. People ate a lot of spam and hot dogs and other types of canned meats that were available as surplus foods from US Army bases. We’re told that budae jjigae is still very popular in South Korea and that SPAM is also surprisingly popular to this day. This reminded me of Hawaii a bit!

And one last photo of the outside of Waba Korean Restaurant as we were leaving. Jen and I had a fun time at the class. The food was good and you can see that we got to try a lot of different things. At the end they were even giving people seconds on things they had more of. We bought the Groupon for the lesson for $20, so we totally got our money’s worth. I don’t know if I’d think the same if I paid the full I Wish price of $40. Fun night, though.