Welcome to my ramen dream... Currently being interpreted in Ramen Burger Land... Looking for a good slurp? Email me ! - Keizo

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A special message from the Pepper Prince of Chin-Ma-Ya...Friends and Family Night returns!!

Hi Everyone!

This is just a friendly reminder that we will be doing our special "Friends and Family Night" once again this Friday! That's right! Because our first event was such a great success, we will again reward our loyal customers with 99 cent Kirin Draft Beers (16oz) all night and 20% off your entire check!!!

The secret password to take advantage of this special deal: PEPPER PRINCE. Make sure you tell that to your servers on Friday because you'll need it to take advantage of the special deals! So, we look forward to seeing you this Friday, September 25th, 2009 from 5pm-10pm!
Until next time, my fellow culinary-travelers...

Your Friend,
The Pepper Prince

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

End of Summer Updates - 2009

The summer of 2009 has officially come to an end and in my eyes it was probably one of the best ever. With that said, I'm ready to welcome some cool weather so we can all get our slurp on! Anyway, aside from what I've already posted, here are a few ramen updates from around the LA area.

Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo has a new noodle! Well, new to LA at least. They've finally brought over the original noodle that they use in Japan. Slightly thinner with more bite, these noodles are definitely better than the previous. Oh! And now they also have a mabo ramen! I'll probably try it this Friday when Friends and Family Night returns!

At last! This ramen-obsessed blogger (that's me!) got to try the Reggiano Cheese Tofu Ramen at Ramen California. My first reaction left me speechless (yea it was that good!), but I soon experienced a strange feeling that is difficult to describe. It was kind of like kissing my dream girl for the first time at the height of emotional exuberance and then realizing she was a bad kisser. Don't get me wrong. This ramen was great and probably the best one on the menu, but for some reason it left an oily coating on my lips that irked my senses. Nevertheless, I'd get it again and again and again.

The Black Garlic Ramen from Shisen Ramen was probably one of the most impressive bowls I ate in LA this summer. It's basically the namesake Shisen Ramen sauteed with a ton of roasted/burnt black garlic, onions, moyashi, and ground pork. The mildly spicy soup combined with the moderate intensity of the black garlic is an eye-opener. I just hope they make it a permanent menu item rather than a monthly special.

And finally, since I had just returned from Onomichi, I decided to try the Onomichi Ramen at Shin-Mama Ramen. Big mistake. The ramen was overall satisfying, but not even close to what I've had in Onomichi. There was no floating bits of fat and it was definitely NOT tongue-and-cheek-cauterization-HOT.

So there you have it. The end of summer. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Original Chashu - Shinyokohama Raumen Museum (新横浜ラーメン博物館オリジナル だし仕込みチャーシュー)

What happens when you combine the efforts of a meat expert and a ramen expert, you ask? Dashi Shikomi Chashu (だし仕込みチャーシュー), that's what! Made exclusively for the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum, this premium chashu is probably the best store-bought chashu you'll ever get your hands on.

The special pork used is called Tousou Mugi Buta (とうそうむぎぶた). I'm not sure if there's an English translation, but supposedly this pork contains less cholesterol and an abundance of vitamin E. I wish my blog could emit smells, cuz this smells darn delicious.

I resisted the urge to just take a bite and managed to cut up several slices for my ramen. Hmm, which ramen should I eat it with?

The makers claim that this chashu will go with any ramen. In that case, let's take it to outer space!

I know what you're thinking. Yeah sure I could've put in some green onions, some menma or even an egg, but I was lazy. Plus, I wanted this to be all about the chashu (I'll post about the Ichiriki "Galaxy" nama ramen I used some other time). One word: Out-f'ing-standing! That is still one word right?

Seriously, it was way better than I expected. The moistness it gains from being placed in the soup is incredible. Its tenderness and distinctly delicious flavor would rival many ramen-ya's. I'm gonna miss it when it's all gone.

Thankfully, I have another roll!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mitsuwa Hokkaido Fair 2009 - Recap

Fresh off the plane from Japan, I dropped off my suitcase and headed straight for Mitsuwa Market and the 2009 Hokkaido Ramen Fair! Yes, I did say ramen fair cuz who really cares about the other stuff (j/k).

Anyway, Ezo Fukuro at the Costa Mesa location was first up with their Shrimp Butter Shio Ramen and their Shio Tanmen. To put it lightly, I wasn't very impressed. The Shrimp Butter Ramen was basically the Tanmen with 3 pieces of shrimp and a half cube of butter. I also thought the butter neutralized a lot of the flavor from the yasai itame. And the noodles in both were starchy and undercooked. If I had to choose one, I'd stick with the Tanmen.

Ramen Shingen, working out of Torrance, was surprisingly better than I had expected. It was light, yet flavorful and gave my tongue a tingly sensation. Oh wait, that was the MSG. The chashu was the highlight--very moist and delicious. The noodles were once again slightly undercooked but I'm sure it would taste much better if I was in Ishikari.

That's all. Forgive me for not adding much detail. I'm still jet lagged.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One last night and one last goodbye...

One last night equals one more night at Bassanova. This time I chose to end my trip with the Tom Yum Ramen. Nontraditional but perfect for the occasion. Thanks go out to Brian for hangin' out. Spain Bar rocks!

This should hold me over for the next few months. And maybe, if you're lucky (or if I'm lucky), I'll share some with you.

But I'm really looking forward to this fresh chashu I picked up. Doesn't it look so good??

The angel was gone so I was forced to say goodbye to this funky robot instead. Bye!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The rest of the week went sort of like this...

I went to Hiroshima and ate this.

And this.

Then I went to Onomichi to eat this.

And this.

Then I enjoyed the view from my hotel.

And met an angel.

Then I ate Sapporo ramen in Mihara...go figure.

And some more.

Back in Tokyo, I added some noodles to my motsu nabe.

Then ate some cheese bacon yakitori.

Then sang with two beautiful girls.

Afterwards, we ate Bassanova!


Oh yeah!!

Another visit to the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum for Ide Shoten.

And Ramen No Eki.

And just because my brother said "Dude, how come you don't put any pictures of me on your blog?" Well, here you go.

...at least this is how I remember it. See you back in LA!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Speed-slurping in Tsuruga and robot ramen in Nagoya

Day 2 turned out to be more hectic than I planned. On my way to Hiroshima from Tokyo, I decided to stop at Tsuruga, for some real Ichiriki, and Nagoya, for some ramen robot action. The chashu wonton men at Ichiriki was great! It had two types of chashu and fresh little wontons that blasted off in a galactic sea of pepper and spice. Unfortunately, I had to speed-slurp it in 3 minutes otherwise I wouldn't have made it on time to Hiroshima. I literally sprinted like Usain Bolt to catch my bus back to Tsuruga Station. Luckily, the bus driver let me hop on while the bus was moving.

The ramen robots at Fa-Men in Nagoya were fun to watch, but the ramen they make is disappointingly sub par. The best part is when the robots converse with each other and do stand-up comedy. It's hilarious.

Anyway, I made it to Hiroshima barely in time for dinner with friends. Now if only I can figure out where in Hiroshima I am...haha.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fresh off the plane and chillin' with Ivan...in Japan!

I made it back! Yes, I'll be in Japan for the next 8 days traveling from Tokyo to Hiroshima and stopping wherever I can to find good ramen. But before I could officially get things started, I had to make a beeline from Narita to Setagaya-ku and say hello to Ivan of Ivan Ramen. He's the guy on the left down below (I'm not sure who the other guy is). Brian from Ramen Adventures was also able to join us tonight. Well, I won't ramble on too much cuz I need more sleep than THE Bruce Dickinson needs more cowbell. (See, I told you.)

I've definitely been craving Ivan's Zembu Nose Shio Ramen since the last time I ate it. Craving fulfilled! (for now)

Brian got the Spicy Red Chile Mazemen. How good does that look?! (damn good!)

Alright, I kept it short and sweet as promised. I probably won't be able to post every night like I did on my last trip, but I'll be sure to update as often as I can. Or you can always follow me on Twitter! See you in Hiroshima!