Category Archives: Noodles

Wait, I have a blog?

Hi readers. Yes it’s true. I am actually suppose to contribute to this blog, and it has been over a month since my last post. Shame. Starring Michael Fassbender. A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks. I tried Burmese food, Jersey Mike’s and Bobby’s Burger Palace for the first time. I organized a holiday sweets exchange at the office. Four couples I know got engaged, and I accepted the role of groomsman. I ran more than 1 mile straight for the first time on my own free will since high school. I got my wisdom teeth pulled out. I poured boiling hot pasta water on my right index and middle fingers. I found out I would be moving onto a new client early this year. I made lemon chess pie, lobster rolls and rack of lamb for the first time. And lastly, I went to a tasting of new menu items at a friend’s restaurant.


Mint Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Catfish Soup from Yoma


Coconut Chicken Soup


New Years Eve Hot Pot at my Sister’s


Hot Pot Protein Spread


Omni Parker House Boston Cream Pie


Homemade Lobster Rolls


Rack of Lamb with Pale Dinner Roll (from scratch) and Steamed Green Beans


Pan Seared Scallops with a White Wine Sauce and Penne with Pepperjack Cream Sauce

Food wise I still find myself day dreaming about dropping everything and going to culinary school or start planning a restaurant/food venture and getting in way over my head. I took a look at my post with last year’s food resolutions and got somewhat depressed about things I didn’t get to accomplish. So with that, here are food resolutions for 2012.

1. Make noodles and pasta from scratch (rolled over from 2011)
2. Make dumplings and spring rolls from scratch
3. Make Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Ad Hoc at Home (also rolled over from 2011)
4. New ethnic food to try: Russian
5. Meat to try: alligator
6. Fruit to try: durian
7. Dish to eat that I surprisingly never had: eggs benedict
8. Dish to make: souffle
9. Restaurants to try: Neptune Oyster, B&G Oysters
10. Additional skills to learn: properly eating a crab, scaling and breaking down a whole fish, making legit bbq ribs on a charcoal grill

What are your food resolutions for 2012?

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Thanksgiving Eats


Turkey Time

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and adjusted back to life in the grind today. I had all of week plus today off and was pretty happy with the food I consumed over the break. I got home last Monday, and my dad suggested we go to McDonald’s to get some McRibs. Knowing my parents, such a request was pretty shocking. I declined, and he suggested driving up to Edison so I could try some new Chinese restaurants. The first two we tried were closed so we found ourselves in heaven H Mart. Spacious, clean, reasonably priced and delicious food court options. We got a seafood pancake, a bowl of noodle soup, and some Korean fried chicken. Then, we shopped for lobsters and abalone for a late dinner.

On Tuesday my dad got KFC for lunch. My reality is seriously taking a U-turn. Maybe it was a little Thanksgiving warm up? The mashed potatoes and chicken were as I remembered, but the biscuits weren’t as big or fluffy. Recipe change? Sad face.

On Wednesday, the cooking began after some take out Chinese for lunch. I got started on baking treats for in house snacking, friends and neighbors. First up were Chocolate Chunk Cookies based off Tollhouse Cookies without the walnuts and chunks instead of chips. Next were the office favorite, Cookies n Cream Cupcakes, which friends also enjoyed However, they didn’t get them until 2-3 days after so they dried out a bit in the fridge. Finally, Thanksgiving desserts included Pumpkin Cheesecake and Apple Pie.


Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Cookies N Cream Cupcakes


Pumpkin Cheesecake


Apple Pie

The big day included waffles for brunch with a blackberry topping and fresh blackberries and bananas.


Thanksgiving Brunch

For the big meal, we had a 12 lbs. turkey brined and rubbed with sage, kosher salt and a little rosemary along with a half lemon and cinnamon stick in the cavity. Gravy was made using a roux, chicken stock and soy sauce. This was the most successful gravy I’ve made to date in terms of universal appeal, color, texture and taste. I did feel guilty about cutting out the pan drippings, since I had so much to do. Green bean casserole, dressing, sage and rosemary biscuits, sweet potato mash and spaghetti squash with cranberries rounded out the meal. The green bean casserole was the first time I made it completely from scratch, and while it looked sexy, the fried onions still didn’t measure up to French’s. The dressing was still inferior to Stove Top, but I’m still confident that someday I will have a recipe that will be better. The spaghetti squash was a new addition this year and was inspired by a meal at Oceanarie the week before Thanksgiving. The strands from the squash are pretty cool. When my dad asked if I cut the squash into the strands, I was pretty tempted to say yes. Overall, my dad said it was the best Thanksgiving meal to date that I’ve made, so my constant need for approval was satisfied for the time being.


Sage and Rosemary Biscuits


Spaghetti Squash with Cranberries


Green Bean Casserole


The Spread


Coma on a Plate

On Friday night, I met up with a few friends for burgers at 25 Burgers and had a Bull’s Eye Burger with sweet potato fries. The burger itself was pretty messy and greasy, but it’s the best burger within a 15 minute drive from my house. The onion strings and patty were the highlights, while the bun was lacking. The fries were decent, but the portion was rather small. Overall the burger, fries, and drink were a little over $12.


BBQ Burgers Don’t Know How to Disappoint

The next day, I ate at Shanghai Bun and got some sauteed pork and vegetables with Shanghai noodles, and my friend got chicken and mustard green soup. For dinner, I hung out with a few of my sister’s friends and went to the Olive Garden for the first time. The place was pretty empty when we arrived, but was packed by the time we left. I was definitely surprised with the decor and ambiance, since I always though the commercials were so corny. However, the prices were also higher than I imagined. I was thinking most entrees would be $8-15, but the range was more like $12-$20. The seating was interesting, with wheels on all four legs sliding in every direction. The bread sticks were on the salty side, but you can’t go wrong with unlimited warm bread. For my entree, I got braised short ribs. I’m not 100% confident that it didn’t come out of a bag, but the tenderness of the meat was still enjoyable. Overall, the meal was better than I expected, but at $28 with tax and tip, I’d rather spend my dining out money elsewhere.


If Only Plate of Food Grew on Trees


Healthy Can Taste Good


The Most Perfectly Shaped Breadsticks I’ve Ever Seen in my Life


Braised Short Ribs

the ramen monster

Ramen.  Just typing those five letters brings me back to late college nights, where fears of getting cancer or permanent brain damage from microwaving food in Styrofoam went completely out the window.  I’m not proud of myself, no.

I was first introduced to this stuff by my younger cousin, Laura.  I recall being at my grandparents’ house and seeing little Laura probably no more than 10, eating out of the ubiquitous styrofoam cup.  I had a very limited scope of exposure to ramen before college.  I knew Nissin’s Cup of Noodles from Laura and one “weird” girl from high school used to munch on uncooked ramen.  I don’t know how she stored it, but it was as if her left blazer pocket was a bottomless pit of broken noodles (GAG).

I went into college having a pretty negative outlook on these seemingly innocuous noodles.  Well, you know what they say about college… it’s your time to “experiment”.  Hit the books, hit the bottle, hit the ramen block (the shin ramyun block to be exact).  Somehow by the grace of God, I managed to evade the freshman 15 and other heinous weight gains in college.  Don’t worry, I’m expecting that to catch up to me soon (starting with this trip’s terrible eating decisions).  Since graduation in 2008, I’ve succumbed to the ramen monster maybe three times? Not too shabby, if you ask me!

Well, this past attack was a full fledged blow.  It wasn’t the normal moment of weakness I experience.  This was premeditated.  Ivy, Ray, and I headed into the heart of Little Tokyo and we waited.  Yes, we waited 45 WHOLE MINUTES … for ramen!


Heading into Little Tokyo Plaza

Enjoying some red bean treat while we wait // A very appropriate neon noodle sign!

Long ass line at Daikokuya Ramen

After some toying with hearts – there were three “Ray” parties on the wait list, we were finally called into the temple of noodledom.  Because we had ample time to decide what we wanted, we ordered immediately.  One tuna sashimi appetizer and three daikoku ramen combos – one tonkatsu, one shredded pork, and one teriyaki eel (not pictured).


Ramen packed with noodles, boiled egg, scallions, bean sprouts, and sliced pork

NOT tuna sashimi // closeup on that fatty sliced pork (Chashu

tonkatsu and shredded pork

The verdict? The tonkotsu, not to be confused with tonkatsu, soup base was so rich.  TonkAtsu – pork cutlet; TonkOstu – very creamy, pork bone based broth.  I know, very confusing.  Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”  Taking that quote completely out of context, the broth managed to have a profound and very rich flavor while still being subtle.  After eating half of the delightfully thin, springy noodles in my bowl and a few bites of my pork cutlet and Ivy’s shredded pork, I realized that yet again my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I woefully admitted defeat and couldn’t even bring myself to eat the boiled egg, which Ray said was delicious.

Ray and I both agreed we liked the noodles best and regretted getting combos, as I would have easily given up my pork cutlet to make more room for the noodles.  Ivy’s shredded pork was by far the best rice bowl.  Sweet, thick sauce on pieces of pork belly really can’t be beat.

While Daikokuya may not broken my vow of less ramen, it did show me if you can’t beat the ramen monster, EAT the ramen monster (in moderation, of course).

Easy Udon Noodles

This is fast becoming Asian week on Read. Cook. Digest. Daniel Boulud has been put on the back burner in favor of Asian ingredients. Opps. Today, rice took a back seat to my favorite Japanese noodle (sorry ramen). Udon noodles are great because they are filling, hearty, and fun to slurp up. They are also great in stir fry or soup mode.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs
10 stems of baby bok choy
1 lbs. udon noodles
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. mirin (rice vinegar)


Get Your Ingredients for a Group Shot

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add udon noodles. Let cook 2-3 minutes until softened. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside. Heat wok over high heat. Add vegetable oil and swirl around in wok to coat bottom and sides. Add eggs and scramble with chopsticks, spatula, or large spoon. Once eggs are cooked, set aside. Reheat wok and add bok choy. Toss and cook bok choy 3-4 minutes or until tender. Set aside. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add noodles, bok choy, and eggs back into wok. Mix and cook for another 1 minute. Plate and enjoy.


Nice to Look at, but Better to Eat