I haven't met a carb I don't like
My favorite type of men are raMEN
Harlem has some DAMN GOOD Ramen!
Last Sunday, I headed to Jin Ramen (http://www.jinramen.com/menu with Lilian and Megan. It was a bit of a trek (took about 30 minutes door to door) but certainly worth it! We saw Jin on a "10 Best Ramen in New York" list and knew we had to check it out! http://www.tastingtable.com/entry_detail/nyc/16860/10_Best_Ramens_in_New_York.htm
As an appetizer, we ordered the steamed pork buns, stuffed with chashu pork, iceberg lettuce and spicy mayo!
The pork buns were absolutely delicious and not too fatty; this may have been a function of the slices of pork we got though. I love the buns at Ippudo and Totto slightly more. I'd be happy to eat any of these at this moment though :)
For my Ramen, I ordered the type that was praised on the list: the Spicy Tonkotsu (pork bone) Ramen. According to the site, "Tonkotsu ramen is the richest and most complex of our ramen broths, and has its roots in Fukuoka. The creamy white soup comes from boiling pork bones, over high heat for hours on end, releasing the rich, hearty flavors of the marrow into the broth." Can you say YUM? The spicy version is blended with the house special spicy mayu sauce (spicy soybean and roasted garlic paste) & rayu (spicy sesame oil). I wasn't sure how spicy it would be, so I ordered the spicy part on the side and mixed it on my own.
I ended up dumping all of the spicy sauce into it. This was absolutely heavenly! I loved the soup spoon it was served with as well - it made it easier to deal with the noodles. Also, I added corn (get more veggies) and added more chashu, because I love that pork goodness!
Although this place is located in a neighborhood I'm not that familiar with (Harlem), it has motivated me to come up here and explore more! The train ride is fairly simple (Jin is RIGHT under the 1 train stop!) and the food is fairly incredible.
Lunch for One
You know when you REALLY REALLY crave a certain food but no one wants to go with you to get it? Well, I felt that feeling last week about ramen, specifically Ippudo (http://www.ippudony.com/). I had only gone there one time and it was during a snowstorm, so the wait wasn't bad. Typically, this place is notorious for epic wait times (1-3 hours), so I went right when it opened at 11am to beat the rush. This was a good call. You may think it is too early for ramen, but honestly, it is ALWAYS time for ramen.
I decided to order the classic Akamaru Modern with Nitamago (seasoned soft boiled egg). The broth, which is pork based and called "Tonkotsu", is absolutely fantastic. Look at this beauty below!
The first time I came to Ippudo, I thought it was the best ramen I ever had. Since this experience, I went to Totto Ramen and it has been my new high bar. Given this comparison, Ippudo is no longer my favorite. While the ramen is still fantastic, I don't prefer the noodles or spicy paste as much.
My main take-away from this visit was to go to Ippudo at weird times and that I LOVE Totto!
The New Location is Right Next Door to the Original - How Convenient!
I met up with Lauren, a lovely classmate of mine, to catch-up over dinner. Lauren recently moved into a new apartment with her boyfriend, another classmate of mine, in Hell's Kitchen. She suggested a spot right near her place: Totto Ramen (http://tottoramen.com/). This well-known ramen spot recently opened up a second location (464 W 51st St, btw 10th and 9th Ave) right near its first location (366 W 52nd St, btw 9th and 8th Ave). Luckily, the crowds haven't gotten to this new spot just yet, so we were able to get a table at 7pm with no problem.
Before we dug into the ramen, we split an order of the pork buns. They were utterly sinful! The pork is melt-in-your-mouth heavenly meat. It is by no means a lean cut of meat. The fat is what makes it so tasty. I'm not normally into aggressive amounts of visible fat (unless it is bacon) but this is something I will welcome with an open mouth. Delicious - a must try if you're here! I thought it was as good as, if not better, than Ippudo.
For my ramen, I ordered the Miso. It looks a bit odd since a scoop of miso and ground pork sit on the top of the bowl. Don't be scared! Just take your chop sticks and mix it in! I tend to prefer Spicy Miso Ramen, but that wasn't offered. To make my own, I ordered a side of rayu. This is spicy sesame oil. It really adds a depth of flavor and isn't overly spicy. If you haven't tried Miso, I HIGHLY encourage it! Lauren doesn't typically order it, but once she tasted the broth, she is now a converted believer!
Also, I used to be scared of the "egg in the soup" thing. Don't be! The egg is perfectly cooked here! The yolk is slight set without being hard or too runny. It has a delicious taste from the soup. Trust me! I was scared too, just go for it.
This is a fantastic ramen spot. If you want to go, you know you have someone willing to join you!
Five Minutes Was All It Took for Some IPPUDO!
Tomorrow was a rollercoaster of emotions. There was a snowstorm (see below) BUT school was not cancelled. After trekking through the wasteland outside my apartment, I arrived on campus to check into my flight to Napa TO SEE IT WAS CANCELLED. I checked to see if there were other available flights to prevent a total disaster of my weekend. There were only flights going out on Friday but, naturally, these were all sold-out...UNTIL SUNDAY!
In order to combat this disappointment, Christine suggested we go to lunch at Ippudo (http://www.ippudony.com/) and take advantage of whatever perk terrible weather is; in this case, it is an incredibly short wait time!
We started with the Hirata Buns. They are steamed buns filled with pork or chicken (we picked pork) served with Ippudo's original spicy buns sauce.
These were incredibly delicious! I could have eaten several of them but I didn't want to be a complete animal, so Christine and I split an order and had one each.
While reading the menu and picking what to order next, we each ordered a Sapporo Light.
Out of the different Ramen styles available, I ordered the Akamaru Chashu. This is the original silky "Tonkotsu" (pork) soup noodles topped with Ippudo's secret "Umami Dama" miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions and fragrant garlic oil.
This was delicious! Ippudo is certainly worth the hype though I am not an expert on Ramen. I have been happy at many other spots, including Ramen Setagaya and Minca, so I'm not sure if I would bother coming back here if the wait was over 30 minutes. It is good but to my unrefined palate it may be a *tad* overhyped.
Nothing Warms You Up Like Hot Noodles
During a break last week during my intensive class, I stopped by Ramen Takumi (http://www.ramentakumi.com/Web/) with two of my classmates, Tavi and Jessica. We were both in the need of something to distract us from an unending day of back to back sessions.
Jessica suggested this spot and I trust her advice! It was pretty easy to decide what to order: MISO RAMEN! From 11:30am to 3:30PM there is a lunch special and most dishes are a $1 off. My huge bowl of ramen was $10.95 instead of $11.95. You can add extra pork for $2.
This is a great quick lunch that warms you up and fills you up!
Of Course I Ordered Extra BBQ Pork!
In order to escape the polar vortex that plagued NYC last week, my friend Scott and I filled our faces with a hot bowl of noodles otherwise known as Ramen. Scott suggested Ramen Setagaya (http://www.ramensetagayany.com/), located near NYU on St. Marks. I've walked by it many times without knowing it was any good. Isn't that common in this insane city? There are simply too many fantastic options we take for granted.
I haven't had a ton of ramen in my life, but the last time I got it, I ordered spicy miso ramen. It was fantastic, so I stuck with that. At this spot, the miso ramen contained many of the typical characters: BBQ pork, salt tasted eggs (I usually pass on that), bamboo shoots, beansprouts, cabbage, corn, and of course glorious noodles. I paid $2 extra for additional pork ("chasyu"). This was a shrewd decision and Scott copied my move. He is a smart one!
This is a tiny spot, like most Ramen spots, that is worth visiting. I would note that even with paying the upcharge for additional pork, there wasn't that much. Boo!
When You Need a Fix, Hit Minca!
One of my good friends, Meredith, visited me from California this past weekend. We met up with some of her friends for dinner. Originally, we wanted to conquer Ippudo. I've lived in the city for over a year and I still haven't gone. There really is no excuse since it is so close to Stern. I haven't wanted to wait. This past Friday was no exception! The wait (at the no reservation restaurant) was over 3 hours! So, we decided to walk over to Momofuku Noodle Bar (which also does not take reservations) which had a 1.5 hour wait.
One of Meredith's friends suggested going to Minca (http://www.newyorkramen.com/) instead, where the wait was *only* 30 minutes for the five of us! We walked over (by this point we had quite an appetite after searching for ramen!) and waited for our table. I have not gone to many ramen spots, so I wasn't sure what to order. The waitress suggested their most popular option: the spicy miso ramen. It was delicious!
The broth had a fantastic flavor, the pork was perfectly fatty without being gross and the noodles were perfectly tender. This meal was for sure a "cheat meal" as I've been doing Atkins for the past month and a half with great success. Sometimes, you need to live on the edge, even if that includes eating carbs.
Spicy Miso Ramen!
I'm not a ramen expert, so I may not be the best judge. I really loved what I ordered. It was a big bowl and I left very satisfied having only spent $13 on the entree. Also, because this isn't as much of a tourist trap as Ippudo, you likely won't have to wait as long. I only have a sample size of 1 (my own experience) so I cannot guarantee a timely meal. Put your name down and grab a drink across the street at Ace!
Check it out!