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dinner/ Japanese/ San Francisco

Noodle in a Haystack: Creating Bowls of Ramen Delight

Inspiration can come from a number of sources and this pair of foodies is one of mine. Clint and Yoko, husband and wife, host Feastly meals highlighting their love for Japanese cuisine, more specifically ramen. Their goal is simple but challenging – to bring reliably good ramen to SF.

If anyone has lived in SF and is fairly obsessed with ramen, you’ll find our situation distressing; we have a plethora of Japanese restaurants/izakayas/ramen joints that have one or a combination of these traits:

  1. Expensive
  2. Long extended waits
  3. Just not “good” e.g. flavorful, extremely salty, dry meat, etc.
  4. Don’t make their eggs right (this makes me particularly angry)

How is it that in a city where there is over 30% Asians, this is this our reality?

Just moving back from Japan, Clint and Yoko missed ramen where finding a delicious bowl and access were never an issue. Unlike most of us, they did something about it. They made their own, and it’s awfully delicious.

They honor the traditional with the use specific Japanese ingredients and spices, often requiring them to scour SF markets for these items. In addition, being in the Bay Area, they take advantage of what’s around to make their interpretation of optimal delicious ramen. Sous vide meat? Yes. Incorporate Meyer lemon to lightly bring out citrus/sweetness to offset the fat in the broth? Oh yes.

Needless to say, every detail is carefully thought through – flavor, texture, presentation – with what reminds them of their experiences in Japan to their daily inspirations living in the Bay. They don’t hold back either e.g. their chicken skins may take up to two-three hours to make, their broth requires a multi-step process to gather umami flavors. The best part of this is, we get to enjoy what they passionately create for each bowl and dish. #winning.

Here are a few photos to help bring to life their welcoming and satiating meals.

Chicken-skin with ikura “deviled egg”


Shio ramen

Okinawa sugar panna cotta with kinako graham crackers

Show your support, and check out a meal with them. They host their dinners via Feastly in the Mission and Daly City. Relish in each bowl you eat, and guarantee you will leave wanting more on any given day.

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Takashi: Late Night “Secret” Ramen Soothes the Soul

As noted in NY Mag’s article on late night ramen joints, Yakiniku Takashi has joined the list of Japanese restaurants that provide a different menu into the wee hours of the night. The seating is only available on Fridays and Saturdays on a reservation basis only. You can email them ( to ensure a spot for maximum of 4 people. It wasn’t too difficult to score seats (surprisingly). After enduring several hours of hunger pains, I arrived at Yakiniku Takashi hungry and ready to pounce on my ramen.

They only have one type – the beef broth based ramen served with scallions, seaweed, beef belly and beef intestine (spicy or not). The glean on top is the oil, and that’s when you know you’re about to taste something hearty. The thin noodles were cooked just right, al dente, and soaked in the velvety broth. Other ingredients and seasonings made the broth come alive: The crispy beef intestine provided additional texture with each bite. Scallions helped cut the fattiness of the ramen while the seaweed provided the extra layer of umami flavor amongst the pork belly and beef.

All in all, I would go back especially considering this tough cold winter. How many below freezing nights and snow storms can we really endure? It definitely warms the body full of fatty flavorful goodness, and assures you that you’ll get through the winter just fine.

Yakiniku Takashi
456 Hudson Street (near Barrow St.)
New York NY 10014
(212) 414-2929



dinner/ Japanese

Ramen: My Go-To Meal

Nothing beats a really good bowl of ramen.  It is reliably good, soothing to the stomach and soul.  With the ramen crave in NYC still going strong, I think it’s important to think about – how much do we really love ramen?  Check out this infographic to see how much we consume, innovative ramen recipes, and interesting general facts!

We Love Ramen Infographic
Created by: Hack College

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Hide Chan Ramen: Up to the Hype?

As some of you may notice I love eating noodles. Luckily ramen is all the rage in this city, and I stay a happy soup noodle eater. Recently there was an article in Serious Eats ranking the “Best Ramen in New York City” where I saw the 1st place ranking did NOT go to Ippudo (which got 2nd place), but instead went to Hide (pronounced HEE-DAY) Chan Ramen. Oh yes that meant I had to try it ASAP.

I gathered some friends (props to those who came!) who were interested in eating good ramen, and ventured to Midtown East. We were a large group and unfortunately, Hide Chan Ramen does not take reservations. However, it is substantially larger than Totto Ramen so you can actually sit on tables that will fit more than four. I knew it would be hard to seat us all, considering the number of other people waiting for a table. After numerous attempts to speak to a very Japanese-speaking host / owner, we managed to seat EIGHT altogether!

My choice was quick and definite – I am going to try the Hakata Tonkatsu Ramen ($9.50) – the traditional pork-based broth ramen. The broth was satisfying, not too fatty but had just enough pork flavor to it. The noodles were nicely cooked (“al dente”), and the scallions gave it a refreshing touch.

Of course we also needed to try out pork buns (another huge trend about a year ago) to see how it stacks up against Momokufu, Baohaus, Ippudo, etc. Unfortunately it was more of a let down. It came AFTER we started eating our ramen and had too much mayonnaise. I find that the pork bun didn’t stand out amongst its competitors so I would vote to skip it next time.

So, how did Hide Chan stack up against its competitors? I would say that this is solid ramen joint but I still find that Ippudo has better pork based ramen (Akaru Modern), and Totto Ramen’s chicken based ramen outdoes Hide Chan’s ramens. Of course all are entitled to their opinions, but on my list this place would under Ippudo and Totto Ramen. It is still a place to check out, so if you’re in the area, hopefully you can grab a seat if it’s not completely packed already.

Hide Chan Ramen
248 E 52nd St (Btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10022
(212) 813-1300

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Totto Ramen: Worth the Wait?

Being a person who loves eating Japanese food, naturally this place would catch my eye – Totto Ramen. The owner who opened Yakitori Totto and Soba Totto has recently opened this ramen restaurant. Who can resist the urge to cash in on the latest craze? The Japanese comfort food, ramen, has infiltrated Manhattan and caught the eyes and stomachs of many.

So, how does Totto Ramen stack up against restaurants like Ippudo and Ramen Setagaya? I was very interested in finding out. After several attempts to gather people to eat with me, I finally get a group of 4 to come with me. It turns out that this restaurant is better equipped for smaller parties and one cannot make reservations. That’s right – you write your name and party size on a clipboard and wait your turn.

After waiting 45 minutes for a table, we happily sat down by the counter. Its huge line is probably attributed to its size. Totto Ramen can probably fit around 25 people in its space. It is comprised of a counter and a few tables in the back. Yes, a typical Japanese sized restaurant indeed. We started off with the Chashu Mayo Don.

This is comprised of  broiled pork with yuzu mayonnaise on a rice. Pretty good, though I didn’t find the pork to be particularly memorable. At the same time, it’s broiled pork so it can’t be bad, right?

I got the Chicken Paitan Ramen, which its soup base is comprised of a whole chicken and premium soy sauce. It is topped with scallion, onion, char siu pork, and a nori (seaweed). Delicious? Oh yes. I would say it is the perfect ramen for the winter, and even the summer. The soup was very flavorful, not too oily and had the proper amount of saltiness to it. Noodles cooked just right, and the char siu was not too fatty and nicely suited the broth. The minced onions added to the ramen’s texture by giving it a little more of a bite. All in all, two thumbs up!

Their spicy bamboo shoots provide quite a spicy bite. As seen above, it looks pretty much covered in some sort of hot paste, perhaps similar to something that Koreans use, so that it has a kick.

I have to say, it’s probably the first Japanese restaurant that actually serves spicy food. Its menu features a spicy ramen with several hot peppers symbolizing how spicy it actually is. None of us got this ramen though I am interested in tasting it.

I didn’t order Spicy Totto Ramen, but figured some of you might like to see it anyway!

If you’re in the area and craving ramen, or even not in the area and craving ramen, this is a place to try to hit up. Be aware of its small spaces and seating restrictions. Otherwise, a good value and highly recommend their Chicken Paitan Ramen. I am still a fan of Ippudo because of the other ramens, but this is certainly a close second.

Totto Ramen
366 W.52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 582-0052