Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Few Leftover Noodle Dishes

Leftover meaning photos that have been floating in my queue and not half eaten meals..
I'm going to try to go through these quickly but I do tend to ramble. :P

A Hiyashi Chuka cold noodle dish I had at Ramen Yakyudori a couple months back.. (My most recent lunch post at RY here.) The price was a bit up there, I think around $9.50 if I remember right. The portion was larger with probably 1.5~2X the amount of noodles served in their regular size ramen.

Toppings were fairly standard - par-boiled sprouts, shredded cucumber and tamago, kikurage wood ear mushrooms and two slices of their fatty pork. Was pretty good but the sauce was a teeny bit too tart and vinegary for me. Otherwise nice and I did manage to finish the entire plate.

The topped cherry tomato I at first thought was an Ume pickled sour plum. I wish places would go a little more creative/adventurous next year (the dish is usually Summer only) with their Hiya-Chu to try and stand out of the crowd. Just along these Convoy parts, Sakura, Santouka, Tajima, Ichiro and Chopstix all offer one and they're all more or less the same. Ume and julienned Shiso would be wonderful to sprite up the dish for additional Summer heat cool down power. Just an idea.. :)

Tried their Hiyayakko cold tofu appetizer ($3). The tofu had some decent soybean flavor but overall wasn't too ambitious to try to stand out here either. But I love my hiyayakkos.. :)

I need to go visit for dinner soon since I hear they've finally started the grilling of skewers. My friend and I tried last week around 7:30PM, on a Thursday or Wednesday and there were a small overflow of people waiting out. Glad they're doing well but I wonder why they stopped serving their Shoyu Ramen in the special white ornate bowl?? I thought that was cool. (Sorry, nerd detail.)

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

That night I spoke of, we ended up at Izakaya Masa. My last weekend lunch post of their Tonkotsu Ramen Set I just want to clarify that I didn't think the bowl was bad. It was good, just not to the level I've been hearing (drunken?) praises from.. :P

Tried their Shoyu Ramen this night ($6.95). It's actually listed as a Kotteri Shoyu Ramen, "kotteri" meaning rich, but this was actually pretty light.

I'd expect to see a little fat back or stronger flavor for a kotteri, but either way the soup had a much more honest scratch made flavor which I enjoyed. Personally trumped my last bowl at Tajima that was an extreme artificial salt bomb. Anyhow had the same thinner white straight noodles used in their Hakata Tonkotsu which was fine by me, especially since it was cooked firmer than last. The wakame seaweed here I thought was a nice touch.

We usually get the Masa's Fried Chicken as opposed to the regular karaage which has more flavor. Gyozas are decent. We were having ramen so it was sort of a given.

Overall the food probably averages on par with Tajima. But for my friends and I, Masa resides at a great convenient nearby location, and coupled by their cozy atmosphere we tend to find ourselves here more often than not when grabbing a pint and some fried grub after work. It's our local neighborhood haunt. :)

Izakaya Masa, 928 Fort Stockton Dr, San Diego, CA 92103

I totally forgot I tried the Kimchee Ramen ($8.99, medium bowl) at Santouka Torrance way back until I came across the photos in my album a few weeks ago. Maybe says something.

The flavors weren't very thought out and was a bit of a disappointment. Inexpensive vinegary Kimchee placed on top of their spiced up tonkotsu.

The most memorable part of the meal for me was the Korean-style Nori (dried seaweed) with its light sesame oil and lightly sprinkled salt flavor. Yum.

Noodles were slightly overcooked and too soft for my liking. I've had regular bowls here and while all good the whole special aura the Torrance locale of Santouka gets is really unwarranted these days. While SD Santouka had its hiccups early on I can say now So. Cal. Santouka's are pretty much equal. (With only Costa Mesa's being mysteriously slightly more light-milky.. Are you guys in fact adding gyuunyuu as a hidden kakushi aji behind headquarter's back? haha.)

Santouka Ramen - Torrance, 21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

Last is a meal from a new place in the La Jolla UTC food court called Noodles & Company, supposedly a Portland based chain. There's been a lot of changes in this food court recently where Burger King on the far East end had closed months ago and even that Fusion Asian place next to Panda that seemed only open for a short while is boarded up. Noodles & Company that offers almost all that is noodles (no ramen though, haha) occupies the Northwest end of the court that used to be I think a French sandwich spot.

It was kinda funny seeing more than a few people chowing on a large bowl of Wisconsin Mac & Cheese in front of them. The menu is split in Asian, Mediterranean, and American. I had what was the Bangkok Curry (large) and made it a "trio" with chicken as protein (all standard dishes are priced as vegetarian) and a small Thai Curry Soup on the side ($8.50 total).

I'd be totally kidding myself if I weren't expecting something very Americanized but I still felt they're one step ahead of most fast food chains where I'd categorize what I had this day as Healthy Americanized (as an oxymoron as it sounds).

The rice noodles were nice and firm and the dish had ample vegetables. The flavors were very light though and in fact a bit watery in the case of my Bangkok Curry (noodles). They should crank up those jet burners cause last I heard a little char or wok hay is calorie free.. ;) The topped skinless chicken was very lean but fairly moist. The curry soup was tom yum inspired with a limey zest and fresh cilantro but again too light. Had more of the flat rice noodles that was in my main dish.

Well I felt filled, didn't feel like I needed to take a nap, my meal had lots of veggies, could've had more flavor but was low in sodium. Knowing the majority of clientele at this La Jolla mall food court I think Noodles & Company will do quite well. I'll personally probably be trying the Mediterranean and American side of the menu next time.

Noodles & Company, 4545 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122


K and S said...

too bad about the kim chee ramen, I personally enjoy when you ramble :)

Mary said...

Keep on ramblin', rambler.

caninecologne said...

hi dennis - there used to be a noodles and co down in chula vista- a couple of years ago. it lasted about 3 years. kinda miss it. just recently ate at the point loma location. it's a dollar cheaper, i think for the trio. the cavatappi is good and so is the mac and cheese. i also liked their stroganoff.

Dennis K. said...

Haha thanks K&S.. :) Yeah this bowl was spicy but didn't have a any of that deep umami flavors of quality kimchee. Oh well.

Ha, thanks Mary.. :)

Hi CC, I didn't know they were around before.. The trio here is $7.50, but with the small bowl. A dollar more with a regular size which I got. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to try those. I thought the portion and price was reasonable for this mall food court..

Anonymous said...

I like your posts the way they are, too. ;-)

Bummer the kimchee ramen wasn't good, but it looks good. Been forever since I've been to UTC food court. Last time was to have Mongolian noodles.

Dennis K. said...

Thanks CAB.... I get self conscious at times but I guess it's not like things will change, haha.
Great Khans is my favorite option in this court. I didn't have time this day and didn't want McD's drive thru so Indian it was..