The night was finally settling in and we decided to visit a couple of more spots on Sam Hammington’s list. We were hungry after the beers from Phillies and decided to check out Casablanca Sandwicherie in HBC. There is a lot of hype around the place, so I was eager to see if it was worth the hype.
How to get there: To get to Haebangchon take the subway to Noksapyeong station (Line 6) and depart from Exit 2. Walk down the hill, the military base will be on your left. Once you reach the bottom of the hill, keep heading left until you see the kimchi pots. Go up the hill for about 250 meters and Casablanca Sandwicherie will be on your left. In short, left, left and left.
Atmosphere and Service: There was nothing too special about the service. They were quick and friendly enough considering we had some elixirs running through our veins and our voices bellowed into the Seoul nights. The first thing that I noticed about the restaurant was that it was fairly small. There were only a few places to sit down. Some would call this cozy, but I found it a little cramped. The menu hangs from the wall, written in chalk which is so very fitting for this restaurant with the guise of a cafe. There were a handful of tables, and if you don’t claim them quickly, the restaurant fills up quick. The ambience is relaxing. Glass stars hang from the ceiling, and vegetation is sporadically placed throughout the dining room emanates the feeling of being in an Ernest Hemingway novel. Also, this place is spotless. There was not a speck of sauce or dust in the entire restaurant. Well played Casablanca.
Food and Drink:
Well, let’s see what all the rage is about. All three of members of this party ordered the Moroccan Chicken Sandwich. As I’ve stated in several reviews, one of the keys to a great sandwich is the bread. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and the bread is the first impression on a sandwich date. If the Moroccan Chicken Sandwich was a first date, I would be heading to second base based on first impressions alone. The bread was an absolutely joyous work of art. A soft, but crisp baguette housed the marinated pieces of chicken. An absolute joy. I wish I could take a couple of the baguettes home so I could make my own sandwiches.
The chicken was juicy, but damn it was spicy. Now, I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to spice, but tears were running down my cheeks when I ate the sandwich. For me, on the kimchi scale, it was about a nine. Next time I’m down, I’ll ask the cook to go easy on the spice if it’s possible. Other than that, though, the hype around this place is justified. An excellent sandwich experience.
Drinks included bottled water and soda. The usual suspects.
Value: At 5000KRW for the Chicken Moroccan sandwich, Casablanca Sandwicherie is a great value, and gave us the much needed boost we needed to finish off an excellent day and night of eating and drinking. Take it to go, or eat in the dining room, this place has excellent value for travelers on all budgets.
Who should visit Casablanca Sandwicherie: An excellent spot for value. Need a great lunch at a low cost? Definitely check this place out.
Who should avoid Casablanca Sandwicherie: Could get a little tight if you are bring a large group, but I hear that they are remodeling to add more space for sit down meals. Also, the food is a little spicy, if you are sensitive to spice, there are other sandwich options.
The Orange Tree
With some time to kill before the big show (Thank you Rich and Andy for putting on a great show at Fix), we decided to head for a few more drinks and play a game of pool to kill some time. Also, there were conversations that could only be had with CY, so the night’s hours melted away aimlessly and expeditiously.
How to get there: Follow the same directions as above, but instead of the bar being on your left it is on your right, right above the restaurant formerly known as Indigo.
Atmosphere and Service: The Orange Tree, is like an old redwood tree in the forest of HBC. While all these little saplings have popped up over the years, The Orange Tree has been there, watching over them. A hangout place for the ages. The first impressions of The Orange Tree reminded me of what Patrick Swayze must have felt as he walked into the Double Deuce for the first time, minus the drunken violence and Terry Funk. There is nothing special that sticks out, but that is the charm of it. A simple bar, with a pool table, scribbles on the wall of the bathroom and a well-stocked bar reflects its simple charms.
Booths in the corner for chatting, bar stools for those who wish to interact with the staff and a television overhead that plays everything from auto racing to music videos. A diverse experience would be an understatement. Friendly, and attentive bar staff makes for a jolly experience, especially when there is nowhere left to go in the wee hours of the morning.
Food and Drinks: The usuals are all on tap: Cass, Red Rock, Hite, etc. I ordered a Red Rock and a few Jack and Cokes for the gang. The whole round came to approximately 14000KRW. I didn’t see a food menu, but after the sandwiches I wasn’t feeling very hungry. The Jack and Cokes were both well made. There was a lot of Jack in them. You could taste the Tennessee bourbon over the sweetness of the Georgia black stuff, which at that moment of time, was what the doctor ordered for my mind and soul. The beer was plentiful, a nice, full pint of the red stuff. Alas, they did not help my pool game, as PK with several more magical potions already diluting his mind, still destroyed me on the green felt.
Value: Cheap drinks and a fun atmosphere that is open late late late.
Who should visit The Orange Tree: All the bars closed, not much left to do, and need a place to quiet a running mind or energize the soul? Your sanctuary is just above what was the best brunch in Seoul. Go get your medicine.
Who should avoid The Orange Tree: Hungry? Sorry fat boy. Grab a Moroccan sandwich.
With that, it was off to Fix bar, which unfortunately was the last stop of a great night. I don’t have many pictures of fix, nor did I try the food, so I don’t feel I can give it an accurate review. But alas, I know I will be back there soon. A great day and night on the Sam Hammington tour. Sam! If you’re reading this, your presence would be a joy on our next crawl! Stay strong big boy!