Friday, March 30, 2012

Food outings - Mexican and Ramen

It was Friday night, I just had finished working out at the gym and I was hankerin' for some mexican food.  There's one mexican food place near base that I hear people talking about all the time.  I've heard that the mexican food is pretty decent and that their margaritas are good.  

So here it is, Mike's Mexican Restaurant.  This one's easy to find, you cross the street at the main gate, and walk about 100meters to the right.  It's on the second floor.  The easiest way to spot it is to look upwards, you'll see their window decorated with the Mike's Tacos branding.

Mike's offers up mostly combo plates, you'll find that most average Mexican dishes are offered: burritos, tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, nachos, etc.  Unfortunately no pina, horchata, or orange bang.  Shit, wannabe Mexican place, get it right.  

Anyways, knowing that I'm overly critical when it comes to Mexican food, I decided to not go for a large meal like a taco and burrito.  Instead I opted for a "beef taco" and a "beef enchilada," seen below.

I was expecting carne, but it was shredded beef.  The shredded beef was acceptable, I prefer marinated carne, but that's ok.  

Score Card:

Presentation : 7/10 - It's in line with most other sit-down Mexican restaurants

Cost : 7/10 - This meal was ~950ish yen, not much meat though

Emulation of Los Angeles Mexican Food : 4/10, the food kinda looks like what you'd expect from a super white-washed "Mexican" restaurant, but the details are just not there.  The tortilla wasn't grilled.  There's lettuce in the taco.  There's no special salsa (I'd argue that the best mexican places don't even use a salsa in the traditional sense, they use a very special thick sauce that does not use tomatoes as the main ingredient).  

Taste not based on emulation, but on its own merit : 6/10.  The food was fresh, but it was just lacking in flavor.  Imagine trying to emulate traditional Italian cooking by using Ragu poured over spaghetti noodles.  It's kinda like that.

The next day I decided to go back to the Ramen place right next to base, to try out a different soup.  Here I got spicy miso ramen with chicken karage.  

The spicy miso broth definitely had much more depth and richness to it compared to the shio ramen that I had tried prior.  But, compared to the ramen restaurants at the Ramen Museum, the broth was lacking all the little fixins.  In cantonese, the word I'd use is "lieu," basically all the constituents of the soup.  Plain chicken stock is free from "lieu," it's more or less kinda like flavored water.  You get the plain chicken stock, boil it with a whole chicken, some pork bones, and the congealed broth will contain the "lieu" that I'm talking about.  It adds depth to the soup, depth you can literally taste AND see.

Stingy bastards also only gave me ONE piece of pork.  Last time I thought I had accidentally ordered the small size bowl because I got one piece as well.  This time when I saw that one piece I knew they were cheap sonsofbitches.

Chicken karage was good!  I found the pickled ginger, which paired perfectly with it.

This restaurant specializes in shio, shoyu, and miso ramen, but not tokotsu.  That being the case, I be done sampling their ramen!  Onward!

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