You Should Try the Dosirak Korean Restaurant in Irvine, California!
I mentioned in the comment section on an older post within the past couple of weeks that Aaron and I had been using the one-type-of-entertainment-at-a-time rule we employed during the start-up days of our Internet companies in order to restrict the time spent away from our primary tasks; to stay focused on what we are accomplishing. It’s a good system that works for us because it forces us to make trade-off decisions by only spending non-productive time on things that truly give a happiness boost. Recently, I decided to do something I’ve purposely avoided for the past couple of years since I couldn’t risk falling off the bandwagon: I gave in to my Korean drama addiction following a long period of total abstention. I had been looking through lists of the highest rated dramas of all time and deciding which ones I wanted to work my way through during my lunch breaks or before going to bed in the evening.
Those of you who have been around awhile understand how dangerous it is to release this beast because once I start … oh boy. It’s the greatest television ever invented. (Remember the Omurice recipe five years ago where I gave you the plot synopsis of Rooftop Prince? As I told you then, it has everything: A time traveling prince, reincarnation, a eunuch, several murders, a secret plot for a corporate takeover, an emergency board vote to remove the CEO, a long lost biological mother, sibling rivalry, romance, comedy, a coma, New York City, car-accident-induced memory loss, shoplifting, a fire, a major home renovation, a dog whisperer, strawberry workers admiring calligraphy, driving lessons, fashionably matched colorful tops with white pants, weddings, a cell phone that could ruin lives, poisoned persimmons, a magical butterfly, a life-threatening allergic reaction to crab, and a child who takes a hot poker to her sister’s face.)
During this trip into the Hallyu wave, I ended up watching 시간이 멈추는 그때, which is about a guy who has the power to freeze time. One day, a girl shows up in his life who is immune to his ability, remaining non-frozen while the rest of the world down to individual raindrops are suspended. Which, as I suppose it would, freaks him out. To add to the drama, God is trying to kill him but he doesn’t know this or have any idea as to the reason because he spends his days restoring antiques.
Following that, I finally made my way to a 63-episode drama called Life is Beautiful, which was originally released all the way back in 2010 and centers around a four-generation family living on Jeju Island. It turned out to be one of my favorites.
I mention this because there are only so many hours of Korean drama you can watch before you start craving the food. There is so much food. Over and over, you see these delicious 도시락 (pronounced “do-shi-rack”). If you aren’t familiar with them, a 도시락 is a type of packed lunch that includes rice, banchan (side dishes), and, frequently, a main dish such as beef bulgogi or spicy stir-fry pork. Before moving to Orange County, we would have had to drive an hour to the Korean market in Overland Park, Kansas, buy the ingredients, drive another hour back home (hoping we didn’t forget anything), and then make everything ourselves. We cooked like this fairly frequently, often arranging it to coincide with our Korean lessons so we could minimize trips, but it was less than convenient. Now, we drive a few minutes down the road to Irvine, California and go to a restaurant that is called, appropriately enough, Dosirak. (The name is so spot-on it makes me laugh because it would be like naming a restaurant “Hamburger” or “Pizza” but there is no mistaking what they are selling so I appreciate how direct it is.)
Dosirak in Irvine is a drive-up place with no interior seating. Instead, you order your food and take it. There is seating outside, though, so as long as it isn’t raining you’re good. Otherwise, you can take it back to your home or office. There is a parking garage right next door as well as ten minute parking in front.
You walk inside and find this pristine storefront …
The digital menu shows you what they have available with the exception of the extensive Banchan list as they have over fifty different types available.
You can also get Kimbap …
So far, we’ve tried the Spicy Pork Stir-Fry and Beef Bulgogi Dosirak as well as the Beef Bulgogi bowls (the bowls are smaller but more than adequate. They have rice, vegetables, and beef.)
If you want to order Banchan to take home, they make them available for sale in the branded coolers to the right of the register when you are facing the cashier.
Dosirak is reasonably priced and the food is delicious. If you love Korean cuisine, and want something quick and convenient so you can take it with you, both Aaron and I highly recommend them. Our lives are so much better because this place exists. It’s now a not-so-guilty pleasure to pick up a meal then go back and watch drama episodes during my lunch break from time-to-time. No cooking. No cleanup. After sixty-minutes of twists, turns, and machinations usually revolving around some family-controlled conglomerate, I can get right back to work.
If any of you have any good Korean drama recommendations, please let me know! I’d like to budget in several shows over the next few months so I can have them planned out ahead of time.