Archive for 'Soups'

Mountain Cafe Will Warm You Up (And Cure Whatever Ails You)


The New York City me would punch the Los Angeles me in the face for saying this, but damn it has been cold lately, right?  It almost makes me want to stop wearing short sleeve t-shirts and flip flops.  Almost.  Yesterday morning seemed particularly chilly, although I don’t have any empirical evidence of this since I don’t really check the weather report that much (in contrast to when I lived in NYC, where checking the weather is a required morning ritual in the wintertime.) I also felt a bit of a sore throat coming on, so that could only mean one thing… soup day!

The last time I was sick, Ramenya proved to be an inspired choice. Pa Ord is where you want to go if you have a stuffy nose that needs clearing up. And I’ve always thought kal gook soo from Myung Dong Kyoja would be the perfect replacement for penicillin.  But now that I’ve been to Mountain Cafe (or San as it’s called in Korean) I think I have found a replacement for my Grandma’s matzoh ball soup.  (Sorry grandma!)

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Ramenya is a Great Sick Day Alternative to Santouka


If you live or work on the westside, and are on the hunt for great ramen, most people will point you to Santouka in the Mitsuwa Marketplace on Venice. And it’s hard to argue with that recommendation. It’s a porktastic bowl of ramen, with great flavor, solid noodles, and tons of sheen (aka greasy greasy fat). But what about for those days when you feel like complete crap (i.e. how I feel as I’m typing this.) Yes, while this might be hard for most of you to believe, the last thing I feel like dumping on a fever, stuffed up nose, and sore throat is a hot liquid made up of 50% pork fat- and that’s a conservative estimate for Santouka’s ramen

So… what’s a sick guy, craving a lighter bowl of ramen on the westside to do? Ramenya of course!

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Mr. Ramen is a Decent Enough Daikokuya Alternative

Daikokuya in Mr. Ramen’s Shadow? We’re pretty sure it’s the other way around.

Finding ramen in Downtown L.A. is not a difficult task. Orochon has become famous for their burn your face off bowls of soup, and Chin Ma Ya is a great spot for those looking to top their ramen with fried chicken and Sichuan style ground pork; but for straight up pork ramen Daikokuya is the consensus best ramenya in DTLA (and all of Los Angeles, according to some.) The only problem with the last option is it’s a complete madhouse during lunch, and if you don’t have more than an hour you might be SOL. So, what do most people do on those days when the wait at Daikokuya isn’t worth it? Head over to Mr. Ramen!

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Robata Jinya Brings Top Notch Ramen to the Middle of the City

Robata Jinya

If you were to create a ramen compass of Los Angeles it would be fairly simple… any of the places in Torrance to the South, Santouka to the West, Daikokuya to the East (in Downtown), and the new’ish Ramen Jinya to the North (Studio City). For most people the decision over where to ramen is one of proximity, but what about those who are smack dab in the middle? That problem seemed to be solved thanks to the news that Ramen Jinya would be opening a new spot, Robata Jinya, on 3rd Ave. and Crescent Heights. And when I read yesterday that they were now open for lunch and serving up ramen, I rushed right over to check it out.

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Korean Noodle Soup and Garlicky Kimchi Makes Myung Dong Kyo Ja A Great Wilshire Lunch Spot


There are friends in New York who would kill me for saying this (we abandoned them for the West coast in the dead of winter) but the past few days have been soup weather here in L.A., don’t you think? (Uh, it was cloudy the other day. That’s as a bad as it gets, here right?)  I’m usually partial to the ramen (hello Daikokuya and Santouka!) but I’m always looking to branch out.  So when a good friend offered to take me to his favorite spot for Kal Guk Soo, Korean knife cut noodle soup with ground beef and dumplings, I was all over it.

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Daikokuya’s Pork Ramen is All About the Extra Back Fat


Ever since I told people I was moving to L.A. the recommendations have been pouring in from everywhere, and when a good friend/chef told me I had to hit up Daikokuya in Little Tokyo I wasn’t about to argue with her.  Unlike great thai food (which is scarce in Midtown Manhattan), there is no shortage of great ramen joints where I came from- from the places in Midtown that cater to Japanese businessmen (like Sapporo, Men Kui Tei, and Menchanko Tei) to the more expensive downtown spots like Ippudo and Momofuku.  I love them all.  But there was one part of the menu at Daikokuya that I couldn’t help but instantly fall in love with:


Uh… extra back fat in my pork soup?!  How could I not?

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