Four years ago, I lunched at Chef Naoko Bento Café, a Japanese restaurant on the edge of Portland's downtown district. The storefront was unremarkable like the surroundings. Interstate 405 was practically its western border. On my visit, a semi-truck parked just outside blocked sunlight from lighting the interior. The atmosphere inside was a lot more pleasant,... Continue Reading →
Wow, Vegan Ramen? You Betcha!
Any pretensions I had that a good vegetarian ramen could never be made was dashed recently. The revelation happened when my sister-in-law had me sample her OG Ramen from Ramen Hood, a completely vegan stall in Los Angeles' Grand Central Market. Visually, it looks like a 'typical' ramen, broth like milky tonkotsu, slices of chashu floating on... Continue Reading →
Ramen Bushi-Do: Noodle Making at Its Best
I think it's fair to say that the ramen craze in the Seattle area started not in Seattle, but on the Eastside, on the other side of Lake Washington. Sure, there were several restaurants that served ramen before Kukai (now Kizuki) opened its doors in Bellevue, preceding the arrival of Jinya and Santouka within months of each other,... Continue Reading →
Soba, So Good—Is the Noodle’s Extinction True at Miyabi 45th?
It had the effect of a Trump speech, a shocking announcement on seattlemet.com that Chef Mutsuko Soma would be leaving Miyabi 45th on February 13 to enjoy motherhood, with no definite plans for her return. By the end of the piece, pursuant to the Donald's pronouncements, I felt despair. Okay, so the simile is as thin as hand-pulled noodles but, hell, handmade soba would disappear maybe forever,... Continue Reading →
Spicy Umami Miso Ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar
For me, few things are an antidote to cold weather than hot ramen. Over a week ago, the Seattle area experienced temperatures in the low 40s, a good excuse to hop into Jinya Ramen Bar for a hot lunch while my wife and I were running errands in the Crossroads area of Bellevue. Though my favorite bowl there is the Jinya... Continue Reading →
Seiro Soba at Miyabi 45th, Green Lake
Today promised to be such a nice day that I convinced my wife to take a drive out to Wallingford, get a bite to eat at Miyabi 45th and go for a walk around Green Lake. Our first order of business was finding a parking spot around Miyabi. Much of Seattle near major commercial areas... Continue Reading →
Do Kukai, Jinya and Santouka Have the Best Ramen in Seattle?
A Hawaiian food blogger once asked me about Seattle's ramen culture. Knowing how robust it was in Honolulu where the blogger lives, I was apprehensive about answering him. Here was the Seattle area, having as much claim as any big West Coast city to strong economic and cultural ties to Japan, a history of Japanese immigration and community, a... Continue Reading →
Curry Ramen at Samurai Bowl (Christchurch, NZ)
My daughter and her family dine at Samurai Bowl often. It used to be once a week. I suspect that it's not the parents' decision necessarily but my five-year old grandson's, who seems never to tire of their miso ramen. Today, just my daughter and I had lunch here, while the kids were in school. When served... Continue Reading →
Omakase Dinner at Miyabi 45th
A five-course omakase dinner for two at Miyabi 45th for $60? Yessiree, Groupon. I was motivated because of an excellent soba lunch that I had there recently. The Groupon special is not the only way to have this kind of dinner. A party can otherwise decide how much to spend per person and the Miyabi kitchen... Continue Reading →
Dinner at Setsuna Japanese Restaurant
The intriguing black ramen that I enjoyed a year ago at Setsuna Japanese Restaurant & Bar got me to wonder whether there was a hidden gem of a ramenya in the Northgate area. Opportunity knocked when we went with friends for dinner there. Setsuna's ramen menu offers four kinds: white, sakura, black and red, roughly descriptive of their colors. White... Continue Reading →