Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Two Meals - Monday 04.5.2010 - Ramen Yakyudori And La Fachada

Visited Ramen Yakyudori a few more times since my last posts (here and here) but sharing what I had yesterday as a single since I'm kind of enjoying my more timely Two Meals series.. :)

The bowl I had the visit before my lunch this day was the newer medium spicy Kara Miso ramen. (Lunch menu here. Btw, the Shio is back.) I'll probably go into the KMR more on a future post but what I did notice was that the broth was much more thinned out (less use of Miso) than my first straight up Miso Ramen that I really enjoyed. Visited being in the mood for it again hoping that the lighter miso broth was specific to the spicy kara miso..

Miso Ramen ($7.50). For lunch you get the free chilled barley tea and a half order of white rice. I loved the slab of butter last time but today I settled for extra Negi green onions ($0.50), Pork Chasu ($2), and half order of Gyoza ($2.50).

Well before I had dipped my renge spoon I could already tell visually (though may be hard by the photo) that the soup wasn't as opaque and rich as before. Tasting confirmed definitely thinner than the last. I felt maybe there were also less beads of oil on the surface. Far from bad but it severely lacked any personality. With the mainstream approach of the ramen that Yakyudori creates (except maybe for the Nagoya) it's really easy for a small slip to personally slide it from great to just OK for me.

And when I say mainstream I mean flavor profiles close to any of the refrigerated packages you might be able to pick up at your local Asian Market starting with the Tokyo style Shoyu (that I personally wished it had a stronger dried fish stock flavor). Of course the scratch made soup is far brighter, healthier and you wouldn't have noodles as springy as these or the fresh toppings for that matter.. Anyway, the egg was a nice soft boiled this time. The marinated flavor was subtle but really enjoyed it.

Still pretty excited about the place opening this year while the actual grilling of skewers should happen in a months time (though I read that it will be limited to dinner only).

I also read that they are studying the soup-less dipped Tsukemen as well as the popular pork bone Tonkotsu broth version. We all benefit from variety and competition, so Yay to that! :)

Their Japanese gyoza I have had a few times more as well. The unusual sweet corn that I tasted in the filling originally I guess was a fluke (probably for the better). These are standard light gyozas that are designed to cook up quickly and act as speedy appetizers. Not very substantial (both in construction and flavor - reminds me of Tajima's and Chopstix') but at least for me does suffice as decent bites. No matter the rendition it's hard for me to pass up potstickers I guess.. haha.

So I don't know if today's bowl was a reaction to some comments of the Miso being salty. It's hard to satisfy everybody I know. While I think it's possible to create a thicker hearty Miso Ramen that isn't salty maybe the tangy red Miso flavor was too much for some. I have no idea. But I miss the version I had originally and maybe they'll start taking light or rich broth requests in the future. While I can understand that may open up a whole bag of complication to an endless list of potential other requests, that would be pretty awesome if Ramen Yakyudori decided to step onto the customization ballgame plate. Agh, I'm craving their Shoyu now.. :)

Ramen Yakyudori, 4898 Convoy St., Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92111

For dinner I met up with friends and we were planning for some tacos. Someone suggested El Gordo which I was all up for (haven't been in ages) but we settled on La Fachada which one person including myself had never been..

You know, for a Monday night this place was happenin' like a small fair.. (!)

The restaurant portion was very curious but we were having quick bites at the taco truck area up front..

A quick survey of the size of the tacos, they looked a tad bigger than the TJ style I was used to so I decided to have only three.. At first. :)

Cabeza, Pastor and Asada..

I loved their Cabeza tacos! The meat was extremely tender with a nice amount of buttery fat (shown with cilantro, onions, and their salsa verde). Surprised wasn't at all gamey to me. These would've passed as a chopped slow roasted shoulder...

The Pastor was pretty good while I really enjoyed the smokey Asada. Not sure if any liquid smoke was used secretly but it was enough to enjoy and not overpowering. The tortillas used here was a single thicker but I thought held up nice as soft as they were.

Some condiments from the night. Cucumbers, my must-have radishes.. The orange colored fine slices in the onion mix is habenero. They're freak'n HOT.

I was having such a great time that I decided to order two more.. Pollo and Carnitas.

The Carnitas was really great. A lot of caramelized crispy bits and very flavorful. (Shown with some guac sauce along with cilantro and onions.) The Chicken was tender and pretty moist. Had a marinated flavor similar to the Pastor. Oh man was I stuffed by then though..

I was first to realize that we may be dining under a used movie billboard.. One of the friends recognized it as from Eagle Eye.. How the heck did she know!?

What a great evening with friends. Had a lot of fun with my camera too.

As we were leaving I was reminded of not trying any of these grilled veggies and peppers.. Doh! I'll have to be back for those.. And the Gordita some were having the table next to us.. And I'm curious in trying some Buche now.. :)

La Fachada, 20 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102


Mike said...

Coincidence - we were at Yakyudori for lunch on Monday as well. It was our first time having ramen in an actual ramen shop.

I quite enjoyed it. I had the shio, and my wife had the shoyu. I liked the shio broth better, but she got the luck of the draw on the egg - hers was nicely soft-cooked (although not as nice as in your pictures) while mine was too hard, I think.

I am looking forward to trying it again.

Dennis K. said...

Darn! Now I know you weren't that single younger asian guy with the massive DSLR! haha. I left right before noon. I'm glad you enjoyed the place. Have you tried Okan for lunch yet? I think you and the missus would enjoy the place as well.. :)

K and S said...

love the look of those tacos

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - I haven't been particularly enamored with the Miso Ramen their either. To me there seems to be a bit of artificiality in the flavor. As for La Fachada, those pickled onions with habaneros are pretty hot, aren't they?

Dennis K. said...

Hi K&S, they were pretty good!

Hi Kirk, I actually really enjoyed my first bowl of Miso. Quite opaque with the tangy red miso. This day's lost all the character of my first.. :(
I was trying to remember your La Fachada post while there but you've been doing many taco trucks recently they all blended together in my head, haha. But yes just one of those strands of habenaro went a long way for me..

Kirbie said...

Aww, sad to hear the miso ramen is now thinner and not as rich in flavor. That was my favorite one. Hmm, I want to go back for ramen now.

fliu said...

Nice post!

Did you how they made their Pastor? Anything special about it? Not sure if i've asked you before, but is there a fave place that you go to (in SD) for al Pastor tacos? I enjoy the ones w/ the pineapple bits and /or flavor in 'em.

I have yet to try out Yakyudori#2! Not a big ramen fan but for sure i'm a huge yakitori fan. Do you think they'll offer their yaki items by end of the month?

Michael said...

Great pix Dennis! making me hungry...and making me want to take my camera more seriously.

Mike said...

Dennis - we didn't get there until 1pm, so we didn't overlap with you.

I haven't been to Okan yet, but my wife has and she really liked it.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirbie! I enjoy their Shoyu and Shio a lot but my first darker Miso here was such a refreshing experience for me.

Hi Fliu! I don't remember seeing the vertical spit here so I'm not sure.. Masa Assassin and of course Kirk of mmm-yoso would be a great resource to ask about good spots (they're real foodies unlike me, haha).
Ramen Yakyudori mentioned a May timing for the liquor license and grilling to start. If I find out anything different I'll be sure to post.

Hi Michael! I think I enjoy what I do cause I don't take things too seriously, haha! But thanks so much for the compliment.. I do religiously take my compact camera wherever I go. :)

Hi Mike! Well if you ever hear someone actually slurping that might be me.. ;) I was just at Okan for dinner tonight with friends. Looking forward to posting on it.