Bon Vivant's written and pictorial diary of her culinary adventures that will amuse and excite your virtual taste buds...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Noodle Soup Series: Daikokuya's Daikoku Ramen

Below, my big bowl of Daikoku Ramen before I dig into it. I ordered my ramen with extra pork (they use only kurobuta pork.) Notice the egg at twelve o'clock: it's a harb-boiled egg that has been soaked overnight in a secret sauce. Yumzola!

Since I don't yet live in New York City and thus I am far away from the greatest ramen place on earth, Momofuku Noodle Bar, I have to settle and get my ramen groove-on at Daikokuya and Hakata Ramen (not too bad for settling!). Some days I like Daikokuya better and other days my fave is Hakata Ramen (to be reviewed here at a later date.) Daikokuya is pretty minimalist when it comes to their ramen: you can get extra noodles, extra pork, and/or order it Kotteri style which means "richer broth" but many feel that it's more like "fattier broth." But in this case the minimalist approach works just fine for me since this is a damn good bowl of noodles! (I fail to understand why people even go to Orochon - blech! - when Daikokuya is half a block away? Who cares if there is a wait when the food is a million times better.)

Below, my bowl of ramen at the half-way point:

Below, Monsieur de... ordered his ramen with extra noodles. I tried doing this once and the nice waitress recommended that I order the LARGE ramen. Uh, ok.

Below, the Daikokuya salad. This is the only sweet dressing that I like. At Daikokuya's sister restaurant, Ebisu (located in the old Mandarin Deli space on Second St.), the salad is made with gourmet baby lettuce instead of shredded cabbage. Oh, by the way, Ebisu has killer shishito.

327 E. First Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Noodle Soup Series: Mami Soup at Asian Noodles

Below, the infamous Filipino dish Mami Soup. If you have a cold, head to Asian Noodles in Downtown and you will be assured a cure. Mami is an amalgam of Tagalog words for chicken ("manok") and egg noodles ("miki").

I'm one of those people who dislikes Filipino food but every time that I eat it, I'm always moaning about how good it is; what is the cause of this dichotomy?

My Doppelganger had a "Soup's On!" event here a while back, and I was a little hesitant to attend considering that I don't like Filipino food. But I do love noodle soup and I figured, "how bad can it be?" It wasn't bad at all, and as a matter of fact is why quite great and I could eat at Asian Noodles daily especially now that the weather is getting cold again. (Ok, apparently it's not cold, it's like 80 degrees and above during the day but I'm in my office where I think someone might be aging beef it's so damn cold)

Below, a slight variation on the classic Mami Soup: this soup had wontons and a different type of noodle. I preferred the thicker, flatter noodle served in the classic version.
Below, some fried wontons. These looked really good but they were so-so and the dipping sauce was really boring.

But luckily, someone ordered Lumpia! These were excellent and came with a great sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
Below, my Bola Bola Siopao. A Siopao is similar to a Chinese Bao but three times bigger. There were many types of Siopao on the menu but I went all out and ordered the Bola Bola which was supposed to have chicken, pork, sausage, and a salted egg but mine was sans salted egg(though, I still enjoyed it.) I used three different sauces for dipping: the sweet spicy sauce from the Lumpia; some Sriracha sauce; and the all-purpose dipping sauce that they served which is made from soy sauce, sugar, water, and cornstarch.

Despite how good our food was, we were dying to take photos of the garlic fried rice and deep fried pork shank that the table of 20 somethings next to us ordered. However, when we saw their food and started oohing and aahing, they did what any 20 something worth his or her salt would do: they rolled their eyes and then glared at us with that perfect balance of disgust and contempt. Oh, how I weep for that generation! But I delight in shadenfreude thinking about how when they are "slightly" older they too will experience this.

Asian Noodles
643 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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Monday, December 04, 2006

The Noodle Soup Series: Thai Boat Noodles at Sapp Coffee Shop

Below, a bowl of what many say is the best Thai Boat Noodles in the City.

I told Mr. Taste of Thai that he had to have a dinner at Sapp Coffee Shop before eatdrink&bemerry's episode of "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain airs and all of the guai loh (that's foreign devil ghosts to you) descend onto the place. Since he's a November Scorpio and I'm an October Scorpio, he complied.

And boy, were we glad he did! If you are sick and tired of the same ole, same ole that you get at practically every Thai restaurant in the City, you must make your way to Sapp Coffee Shop. Ok, ok, it has a C rating but I always say, "the lower the grade the better the food!" I think that the C rating might have to do with the fact that momma, who cooks, hangs out in the restaurant with slippers and a quasi bathrobe.

Now, there are two kinds of Thai Boat Noodles one the menu: one has just beef, and the other has moltissimi offal in it. I ordered the beef (and pointed to it on the menu) so when the waitress said, "with everything?" I said, "Sure!" Well, apparently that means you get the second Thai Boat Noodles with not only beef but beef ball, plenty of liver, tripe, chicharrones (crispy pig skin for my Dear Readers who do not live in LA), and other stuff that I couldn't recognize. There is one thing to say about all that stuff, it sure gives the soup a lot of flavor!

Below, for the faint of heart there is Jade Noodles. A typical Thai broth with roast pork and duck and the addition of crab. I will be holding a Jade Noodles dinner here in January.

Below, a very beautifully presented bowl of Tom Kah Kai (spicy/sour coconut milk soup usually with chicken). This had so much coconut milk in it! It was like drinking a milkshake (albeit a weird one.)

More noodles! Below, Pad See Ewe. I liked this though it was a tad too sweet for my taste, but I would still eat it (with a ton of the chile vinegar on top.)

Below, my ground chicken with bamboo shoots and two kinds of chile. On the side was served some type of chile sauce that I poured over the dish. Damn!

Below, squid with basil. This was deceptively the hottest dish that night. The guy who ordered it would say, "hey, want some squid?" and you're like "yeah!" and then five seconds later you are gurgling, "help me!"

Below, some pretty good Pad Prik King. I kept eating Mr. Taste of Thai's green beans. Yummy.

So the only way that I could "borrow" $20 from mumsy was if I promised to bring her back something. So what does a dutiful daughter get her mumsy with funky tastes? Below, Spam Fried Rice!

After you go to Sapp, make sure that you stop by the Thai snack place next door. They have some interesting snackies. As the young girl who worked there said, "you eat when you sit and watch movie." I bought some chicken curry pastries (mumsy ate them all so I never got to try them.)

Sapp Coffe Shop
5183 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027