Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Ramblings, Ramen Radar And More Curry Consumption

Fall is like my favorite season evar. Has it really been a year since this post? Tonight a few more subjects, photos, random thoughts pertaining to food, shared by this media called the online blog.

Well another Mitsuwa's Umaimono Gurume Fair coming up, this time for Autumn. Oct 18 (Thursday) through the 21st (Sunday). The Summer UGF event I went to in June can be read about here.

The drill is to report on any special ramen showcases and happy that there would be another two. Tanaka Sobaten would be serving their Kitakata-style Chuka Soba at Costa Mesa and Sendai Takejiro would be at Torrance doing their Sendai Miso thing.
I'll definitely be checking out Tanaka Sobaten. This brothy style, majority pork based soup with niboshi accents sounds right up my alley. From reading up, the pork chashu should be a highlight too. Never heard of Sendai Takejiro but it could be these shops. If so they seem to be more a tsukemen place but sounds a mild miso ramen would be served the visit. I'm not the biggest fan of mild flavored miso ramen but I'm still very curious in checking out a bowl from Sendai.
Other special goodies both savory and sweet. Find out more here. [Update: Check out my sampled bowls at the event here!]

Ramen in San Diego we've got two new spots this year, our own Yamadaya branch for the kotteri tonkotsu fans as well as wild card RakiRaki that seemed to come out of nowhere for a lighter assari torigara chicken based Shio. I enjoyed my Premium Shio there last and made it back again Wednesday night before closing (10PM). I won't be able to become a true regular until lunch service starts which won't be until another couple weeks after official opening (25th). I noticed the soft opening menu was slightly updated with a few extra items. [Update: I've since posted a more thorough First Month post. Check it out!]

Now I never heard or Mr. Takeo Araki, nor the Jyosui group. They may or may not be famous in Nagoya but I have to give them credit for bringing the first decent tsukemen to San Diego. The chilled thicker noodles very chewy and the all important concentrated dipping soup guilty tasting as if it were made with those pan drippings after roasting a whole chicken. Bummer that they don't offer a stock to thin it out later and enjoy as a soup cause a lot went wasted after I was done with the noodles. Currently best tsukemen offered in SD. Though at this state of competition (or lack thereof) that'd be like trying out for the Olympic bobsled team in South Africa. Still, we gotta start somewhere and I'm generally excited about RakiRaki.

RakiRaki Ramen And Tsukemen, 4646 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111  

As I've mentioned in a previous post I've been having a gradual falling out with once (one of) local favorite Ramen Yakyudori. They started out pretty promising but then slowly started to become inconsistent until my recent few visits were pretty lackluster. And I only speak of the ramen, the yakitori here is still pretty good. I've long have had enough newer documented meals to do a dedicated post but haven't felt inspired to. Plus I'd rather share things like these on a transient rambling post in hopes of them getting back in the groove of things.

While I've always appreciated the more subtle flavors here, the (Tokyo-style) shoyu often have been plain bland on many occasions. Noodles more than once clumpy, and the soup temp not hot enough. At least for the temperature the cause is a combination of a few factors that can be easily remedied. First is obvious, the soup can be individually heated (like how I think RakiRaki does), second there aren't enough oils on the surface that help maintain the heat (while adding flavor isn't a bad side effect). If they're trying to serve a healthier style, fine, see comment one. Third the toppings are often fridge cold, both the egg and the pork. That's like dropping ice cubes into your soup.

The miso ramen here is far from a true good representation but I've always appreciated the tangy flavors of the red aka miso. The flavors were thinner again this day but first things first they need to fix the temperature issue. Mini rant over.

Ramen Yakyudori, 4898 Convoy St - Ste 101, San Diego, CA 92111

I had to run a work related errand to Irvine twice couple weeks back and very short on time dropped by Mitsuwa Costa Mesa's food court for a quick lunch. My post on Fukada during an earlier Irvine visit would be coming soon but thought I'd try out Mugimaru again the day.

I forget from whom or where but I've heard there's been leaps in premade Udon refrigeration technology where the days (at least in Japan) of limp udon noodles in a fast food setting are of the past. Could explain places like Mugimaru popping up as well as a few I've encountered in airports in Japan. But anyway I've actually been curious for a while in trying one of their non-udon dishes, a Wa-fu Curry Rice plate. (Only $4.25!)

I imagine this is what's served in their Curry Udon except simply plated with some rice. It's a lighter mild curry where you can taste the Japanese wa-fu dashi stock and the pieces of stewed crunchy Gobo burdock root and Renkon lotus root, carrots, onions and Shiitake mushrooms were all pleasant. I actually preferred this over Miyabi-tei's a few stalls over.

The other great thing is I could choose from a wide variety of fried items as sides. These are previously made and picked up individually with metal tongs but pretty typical. I got a Chikuwa-ten and chicken karaage. The rather quirky tempura'd tubular fishcake chikuwa-ten is a quintessential fast food udon/soba topping. Also had some aonori green laver in the batter which is often the way, and it thicker but also typical in the context, designed for broth sopping. The karaage was large and for being previously made pretty moist and tasty, partly thanks to being well seasoned. Each were only a buck or so.

Sanukiseimen Mugimaru (inside Mitsuwa Costa Mesa food court), 665 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Speaking of Curry Udon this post brings me back... Man those were pretty bleak curry udon days. One of my go-to dishes at Wa Dining Okan during lunch has been it. Their lunch menu had gone through an overhaul about a year ago and it took me a while to figure out what suited me but I'm now a regular again and probably ready for a Part-Six lunch post fairly soon.

The newer lunch menu here, but I often find myself ordering one of their daily specials. The great thing about them for lunch is that I can be in and out in twenty-minutes if I'm on a time crunch (which these days I often find myself in). Also a disclosure here that I'm a fast eater... ;)

Wa Dining Okan, 3860 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111

This is one of those "finally after living in San Diego for over 12 years..." visits (and I do have many), but I finally checked out Dos Brasas, a greasy Mexican food shack by the i-5 on-ramp near Washington St.

For greasy Mexican fast food shack standards, I really enjoyed the Enchiladas which was made fresh and had a milder yellow sauce that I instantly became a fan of. They were nice enough to give me one chicken and one beef. This is a side order and not the plate ($4.99).

A later visit I had the pork adobada mini tacos and it was pretty decent, though my friend who lives close by said he had a chewy one so I guess your experience can vary. Heard the soups are worth a try.

Dos Brasas, 1890 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110

Gyoza Night! At friends.

Three choices of rayu hot oil. I chose the ganso (the original) Ishigakijima Rayu of course. The chunky umami rich style started the whole "eating" taberu rayu fad in Japan.

Gyoza on za raisu... 餃子オンザライス。。。

Chilled beeru in a chilled glass. I could use one of these right now.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. The weather is finally cooling down. Did I mention Fall is my favorite season evar?


K and S said...

mmm Fall next to Spring are my favorites :)

kirbie said...

Oh good, so I wasn't totally off in liking the tsukemen that I had at Rakiraki. Nice to see they have already added a few new menu items. I'll be curious to see what their full menu looks like, though I want to visit again before the grand opening because I have a feeling they'll get quite crowded once that happens.

Minxi said...

Mm still looking forward to trying the tsukemen at RakiRaki. I haven't been to Yakyudori in so long - used to be my favorite but I wonder what I'll think now.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kat, me too!

Hi Kirbie! The toppings for the tsukemen was rather skimpy, otherwise I thought it was pretty decent. I already had one dud, the jalepeno krab tempura I felt was a bit pricey for what it was. But yeah, I think it's going to be a pretty alright place.

Hi Minxi! Hopefully you're not too sensitive to salt and fat, but next time I'm going to load up on more toppings. As for Yakyudori, it seems many still enjoy them so maybe it's me and/or some bad luck.