ramen monster

Thursday, June 30, 2011

First there was Monday.

This is the miso ramen from Hotei, a Japanese noodle house in the Inner Sunset. It was enormous -- more like a bathtub than a bowl. I made a valiant attempt, but I didn't even get halfway through. (And just for the record, bigger isn't always better: This bowl was fine, but not my favorite. The egg wasn't slow-cooked, the chashu was a little tough and the broth was just OK. But I think my recent journey to San Jose may have clouded my judgment a little!)

And since once is never enough, we celebrated Todd's birthday tonight with an amazing dinner at Hana in Rohnert Park. That's right -- we finally found really delicious ramen here in Sonoma County!

Hana usually only serves ramen at lunch, but we asked our server if there was any left, and she made it happen for us: A steaming bowl of shoyu broth with that magical slow-cooked egg that I love so much (I don't know why this isn't standard at other places) and the fattiest chashu I've had yet -- like a straight-up meat sponge of fattiness. (It was actually so fatty that I couldn't eat it. Texture thing.) Delish! We will definitely be back for more.

And the rest of the Hana menu is fantastic too: We tried the maitake mushroom tempura, grilled asparagus with creamy black sesame sauce and the "egg paradise" -- a poached egg with two kinds of fish roe and sea urchin. (Seriously, normally I am not a sea urchin fan -- again, a texture thing -- but this was incredible. Weird at first, yes, but worth the pay-off.)

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