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15 Jun 2017

The Indy Endorsement: The Kimchi Jji-gae at Umami Seoul

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Look at all those flavors! Look at all those flavors!

What: The kimchi jji-gae

Where: Umami Seoul, 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. A-105, Cathedral City

How much: $14.99

Contact: 760-202-0144; www.umamiseoul.com

Why: The variety of flavors and textures.

I’ve had many good meals at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. A-105, in Cathedral City. For years, that was the home of Thai Kitchen 1, my favorite neighborhood Thai restaurant. I was heartbroken last summer when I tried to call in an order of food to go—and got the “this number has been disconnected” recording.

However, the fact that Umami Seoul is now occupying the space is making me feel just a little better about things.

The original owners of longtime Palm Springs restaurant Wasabi are the folks behind Umami Seoul, which serves up a nice selection of Korean and Japanese fare, including sushi. The hubby and I stopped in for a recent lunch, and while one of the Korean-barbecue lunch specials caught his eye, I had to order a Korean entrée which is one of my all-time favorites: the kimchi jji-gae.

For the uninitiated: This is a soup/stew in which kimchi is the star of the show. Therefore, the soup is tart and spicy, with the kimchi complemented by whatever the other ingredients are—in this case, pork and tofu. The dish is flavorful, filling and unique.

As an added bonus, the kimchi jji-gae (as well as the other Korean entrées) comes with rice and various side dishes (bahn-chan)—including pickled sprouts, a potato salad, pickled daikon radishes and a tofu concoction. The meal as a whole contains pretty much every flavor profile imaginable, as well as a bunch of different textures and temperatures.

Yeah, I still miss Thai Kitchen 1, its delicious basil chicken and its delicious tom yum soup. However, I’m thrilled that I can now get delicious kimchi jji-gae at a place not too far from home.

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