On a mission I was. Try out as many places on this "Best of" ramen list:
I was headed to this place called Ippudo, which is in Tokyo, a 5-7ish minute walk from the Ebisu station off the Yamanote line. The address is: 1-3-12 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
Cherry blossoms as of Saturday were 50-80% fully bloomed. This weekend will be really nice as most cherry blossoms in the part of town should be in 100% bloom. I'll be heading to check them out on Saturday.
And here is Ippudo. I was excited, super excited.
Hells yeah, english menu! I learned how to say "Nihongo ga wakarimasen," which means that I don't understand Japanese, but I'm not sure how well it's going over, haha.
I was gonna try the classic Shiromaru tonkotsu, but then I saw the newschool Akamaru one and knew I had to get it. You should be able to read about the differences once you click the picture.
And they also ask how firm you'd like the noodes. I went with soft, which is still slightly al dente.
And here we are, you can see the separation of the three different elements of the soup, the base tonkotsu with all the floating bits of fat (SO DAMN GOOD), the "fragrant oil," and the "savory ball." I'm not sure which is which, and I sure as hell didn't care. It looked great.
This is what it looks like after you mix everything up. Remember the "lieu" I was talking about in the previous ramen outing? This has lieu to the MAX. You know it's good just by looking at it.
And I have found the best ramen I've ever tasted. Here at Ippudo. The broth is so rich, but it's not overly salted, so it's not "cheating" to get to its super flavorful state. The noodles were of the lo mein variety that's typical of tokyo, but hell if I cared. You could have served this broth with spaghetti noodles and I wouldn't have complained. The char sui was 8/10, very good, but still not better than the once place I tried at the ramen museum. Easily forgivable though considering how tasty the ramen was (I think I've mentioned that at least 5-6 times by now!
AND this place just opened up shop in NYC so Ellen and Jason, you know what to do!
It was windy on way back home. I will be back!
I keep forgetting that cider more or less = soda. So I thought this was gonna taste special, but it tasted like cactus cooler, haha.
And so I jumped back on the Yamanote line to circle all the way back around towards Tokyo proper to arrive at Ueno park, where the cherry blossoms were nearly in full bloom. Take a look.
And here you can see "hanami" which is cherry blossom viewing. It's basically a day at the park, underneath blooming cherry blossoms. People come out and reserve these spots early on, I heard as early as 8am in some cases. Here it's like a picnic, where they bring food/games/alcohol and just have a fun time. I saw some mahjong going on too.
Those Japanese and their creative makeshift tables...
...and their attention to detail with just the recycling containers for this specific event.
This is some wile e. coyote shit right here. I see what you did there! Not fooling nobodyyyyy =p
It's Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple!
Influenced from the WW2 days? Or was it WW1... no history buff, I am.
These looked like those yellow pancake things that mom makes with the sprouts, onions, and shrimp. I'm not that big a fan of mom's creation, but this place looked super tasty. Unfortunately I didn't try it though, I was still stuffed from the ramen, haha. I didn't wanna wash down the residual broth from the corners of my mouth, not yet anyway.
Traffic jam with pedal boats, hehe.
I designated the weekend as a Ramen weekend, so I needed to follow it up with something decent. I didn't have any specific place in mind, but I recalled that there was a tasty-looking ramen place near the base. Specifically right across from the TGIFs and right next to the yakitori stand I frequent.
Booyah, more tonkotsu. This place was good. Not orgasmically good like Ippudo, but still pretty_damn_legit. Forget that other stupid place near base, that place sucked. I'm coming here. Not an American in sight (which is usually a good sign for good Japanese food), so it's legit.
Broth was very good, there was depth to the broth, ramen was the familiar type, and egg was free (it's usually not).