There’s been a line snaking down Fair Oaks Avenue ever since Ramen Tatsunoya opened late last year in Old Pasadena. Good ramen, the stuff that warms bellies and soothes souls, has been largely absent in the neighborhood, and everyone is clearly glad that this is no longer the case.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Ramen Tatsunoya is the first American restaurant from a well-established Japanese chain of ramen shops, which founder Ryuta Kajiwara opened in his hometown of Kurume, in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture, in 1999.”
The Astronomer and I tucked in for dinner on a recent #datenight. Even on a Thursday evening on the early side of dinnertime, a line was winding out the door. Without too long a wait, we snagged two seats at the bar overlooking the open kitchen.
To start, an order of the Crispy Spicy Chashu Wrap ($4.10). This oddly interesting appetizer consisted of iceberg lettuce, pulled pork, crisped rice cereal, and shredded cheese layered atop a sheet of seaweed. The combination left something to be desired for me, but The Astronomer was game to eat all three.
Continue reading ‘Ramen Tatsunoya – Pasadena’
Did you hear? Lien Ta and Chef Jonathan Whitener, the former Animal chef de cuisine, are opening a restaurant. Woo! Here’s Looking at You is slated to debut later this spring in the former Whiz space in Koreatown. Los Angeles is in for a real treat.
In anticipation of their grand opening, Lien and Jonathan popped up at Chinatown’s Unit 120 back in January to give a sneak peek of their Japanese-Mexi-Cali concept. Priced at $75 per person, the family-style supper included three starters, two mains, and two desserts.
Dinner started with a cocktail—a cupful of the chef’s signature Mai Tai from the community punch bowl.
The trio of starters was quick to arrive. Pristine cuts of hamachi were given the Vietnamese treatment with tamarind, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), palm sugar, and hibiscus onion. Continue reading ‘Here’s Looking at You at Unit 120 – Los Angeles (Chinatown)’
At the pace I’m writing these days, I’ll be posting my 2015 “Year in Delicious” retrospective sometime in early spring. So it goes… Onward!
Following Chop Stick Nation, The Astronomer, June, and I drove to New York City for our first official family vacation. Traveling with June, 10 months old at the time, was pretty great because she was starting to take in her surroundings and appreciate little adventures, especially culinary ones.
For our first meal in the city, we headed to Ivan Ramen for a late lunch. Ivan Orkin, a self-described “Jewish kid from Long Island,” made a name for himself in Japan prior to opening two outlets in New York. We had the restaurant all to ourselves at this hour.
Before noodle slurping commenced, The Astronomer and I shared two starters. The L.E.S. Bun ($11) paid homage to the restaurant’s neighborhood (the Lower East Side), stuffing pastrami in between steamed buns with karashi mayo and a daikon slaw.
While the bun was plush and the pastrami well-seasoned, the mustard-infused mayo was sinus-clearingly potent and unfortunately dominated every bite. Continue reading ‘Ivan Ramen – New York City’
I try not to throw around the word “perfect” too often, but there’s no way around it when it comes to Chef Niki Nakayama’s n/naka. From food to service and ambiance, this place is as perfect as they come. There, I said it.
Chef Niki serves a 13-course “Modern Kaiseki” nightly ($185). The menu changes with the seasons, and with the chef’s whims, while the flow of the meal adheres to Japanese traditions. The three hour experience is beautifully orchestrated and paced just so, leaving diners pampered, satisfied, and feeling thoroughly justified for indulging in something so extravagant.
Our meal began with Saki Zuke, “a pairing of something common and something unique,” grilled Japanese scallop with ikura (salmon eggs) and English pea soup. Continue reading ‘n/naka – Los Angeles’