Some days it pays to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As I decided to award myself with a drive to work today to give my tortured ureter and etc. an additional day of rest, I got the idea of making Korean food for dinner. My workmate Jim had given me a container of his North Carolina style pulled pork for dinner, but the look of the meat got me thinking about bulgogi, so as I had time I decided to drive to downtown Oakland to visit Koreana Plaza.

Regular readers of this blog know that cooking bulgogi, bibimbap and other banchan is not a task to undertake lightly, as specifically this evening with limited time. So when I arrived at the Korean grocery with canvas bag in hand, I found myself wandering past their prepared food section and grabbed a package of their mungbean pancakes. Well. And look, here was a prepared plastic package of various bibimbap as well–bean sprouts, carrots, spinach, maybe some burdock, all cooked and ready to be added to rice.

Further on in their meat section, I passed rows of various kim chee, pickled fish, and marinated meats for bulgogi. Paying $12 or so for some marinated bulgogi didn’t make much sense to me, so I simply bought myself a couple of thin ribeye steaks to take home and marinate on my own. I also bought some more gochugaru red pepper paste and headed home.

The work of slicing the meat thinly and marinating it in garlic, honey, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, green onions, and Asian pear juice was quickly done…and I also chose to mop the kitchen floor while I waited outside for the floor to dry and the meat to finish marinating in the refrigerator.

Point here is, just because I like to cook and prepare meals doesn’t mean that I sometimes don’t take advantage of prepared foods available. It’s all at least made locally for whatever that’s worth, and I also kept my hand in with preparing the marinade, so…that’s something.

By the time my wife walked up the porch steps, a quick kiss and I pulled out the marinating bulgogi, took some cooked rice from the freezer to heat up in the microwave, and started cooking the meat. The meat? That took two minutes…three tops to cook through. I put the bowls of rice on the table, we garnished our rice with the bibimbap and bulgogi to our individual tastes, and shared a couple of the mungbean pancakes with dipping sauce for good measure.

Nice thing? There is still enough meat and marinade in the freezer for another meal later this week, and the wife has elected to take the remaining pancake to work tomorrow whereas I will bring the bibimbap up for my own lunch, more than likely.

The cost of the meal? About $10. And enough leftovers for a couple more lunches and another dinner.