Ken’s Ramen | Providence, RI

you guys sick of me posting about ramen yet? so many exciting ramen news recently if you follow my facebook page. im really not that crazy about ramen as it seems. its jus all the sudden everyone wants to a ramen shop.

anyways, last weekend i wanted to drive to burlington to get some popcorns due to my addiction, somehow pork belly drove me all the way to providence rhode island to try ken’s ramen which recently opened up (2/3 weeks?).
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place was packed, we had to wait for about 30 mins. cash only! make sure you have cash
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yamazaki 12yr whiskey
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they were still in their soft opening period and it was a set menu with a choice of appetizer + choice of ramen.

yaki-buta bun – soy braised pork belly with ken’s spread sauce.
the flavor of the pork belly was on point although i wish the lean meat was more tender.
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shio tori don – pulled chicken, micro sprouts, ken’s unagi sauce, rice
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ken’s paitan ramen – ken’s whole chicken broth paired with custom thin white ramen noodles, pulled chicken kikurage mushrooms, menma, nori, scallions
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the broth tasted thick, i believe it’s from the flour of the ramen. flavor wise it tasted decent, but didnt wow.
i have to give some credits to their noodles which were al dente, just how i like it.
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ken’s chili oil
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ken’s tan tan mazemen with cha shu pork, micro sprouts, menma, nori scallions. i ordered an egg, kikurage mushrooms, and ken’s chili oil as extras.
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the noodles were, once again, al dente
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the sesame sauce was given to me and meant to go with the mazemen.
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i truly regret mixing the sesame sauce in. if you ever had chinese cold sesame noodles, thats what exactly it tasted like, and sweeter. the sauce was just too overpowering and i didnt appreciate the sweetness and a bit of sourness hiding behind it.
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food aside, i felt ken’s ramen was lacking originality and the room full of supreme stickers didnt help either. i noticed they have some similarity with totto ramen in new york: logo fonts are similar, the way they cut the scallions are similar, and the appetizers had the same concept, and the chicken broth that totto is famous for.

they will also serve TSUKEMEN after the soft opening period and it looks very similar to tsujita‘s famous tsukemen from their website.

i did some research after i got back home and this article by eater confirmed my observations. they are indeed “a fusion of Totto ramen NYC x Tsujita LA x Ivan Ramen Tokyo x Ken’s Ramen” as it’s written in the article.

and im not a hypebeast, so probably wont come back til they find something that defines themselves.

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Ken’s Ramen
51 Washington St
Providence, RI 02903
DownCity
Phone number (401) 859-1998
kenramenpvd.com

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Hokkaido Ramen | Santouka | Boston, MA

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ramen has become so popular now. just about every japanese restaurant started to offer ramen on their menu and new ramen shops keep popping up everywhere, but sadly, not many shops can get it right.

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if you are a ramen fan, mostly likely you have heard or eaten santouka ramen. santouka ramen is one of the biggest franchise ramen noodles in Japan and they have opened their stores in the US as well as Canada (several shops in California, Seatle, New Jersey, Hawaii and Toronto). they are hosting a test marketing event in boston now, so today, i had the honor to get a preview of their ramen and interview the president of santouka ramen.

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most of their shops in the states are located in mitsuwa, the largest Japanese Supermarket in the US. ive had their ramen countless time in new jersey, san diego, and LA. and no doubt it’s one of the best bowls of ramen ive had at all times.

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santouka does offer a variety of ramen in their shops, but for this event, they only offer shio ramen which is their very first and signature ramen, also my favorite one.

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not only i love the simplicity of it, every component of the bowl is just perfect and they are consistent every time i have it. they are known for their mild, pearl colored tonkotsu broth which takes about 20 hours to simmer the pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients. the broth just has SO MUCH depth to it; rich, creamy, flavorful, while still remain mild. the flavor is so complex but so clean, simple, and pleasant (ha, i bet you know what i mean).

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the pork is cooked to perfection. not only so well flavored, but also super tender and melts in your mouth. they use pork back ribs instead of pork belly so the their cha-shu has the perfect balance of lean meat and fat which goes perfectly with their clean but complex broth.

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the noodles, which i care for the most, had the perfect texture. they are on the thinner side (thicker than hakata style), but still al dente, chewy to the bite.

the pickled plum is their signature topping which is only served with shio ramen. it has a sour taste and light crunchy texture which gives a nice contrast overall. it’s also topped with kikurage mushrooms and bamboo shoot which both add more texture to the soup.

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i also had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Kikuta, the President & CEO of santouka ramen. they are planning to grow out of mitsuwa and open real shops possibly in Boston and other cities. they are here in boston right now serving 200 bowls of ramen per day from 4pm to 9pm to test of the market in boston and hopefully will help them to make a decision whether or not to open a store here. he said japanese people love boston, since it’s such a historical city and full of great colleges with a lot of successful people. he wishes santouka can grow more successful as the city grows.

they are very serious about their ramen and they make sure every bowl is exceptional. i could feel his passion for their ramen as he told me that he was very excited for me to try their ramen because the broth was outstanding today. indeed, it was extra tasty. just the way he personally and meticulously laid out the napkin and utensils on the table for me showed so much care.

i highly recommend stopping by 269 newbury st today or tomorrow if you are a fan of santouka or just ramen in general. slurp down the best bowl of ramen you can possibly get in boston and give them some suggestions. i really wish they can open a store in boston.
March 02, 2014-photo

http://www.santouka.co.jp/en/

they are hosting the event at Itadaki
269 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116

*I did not pay for this meal. All opinions are my own.

The Good Ones | SOUS-CHEF SHOWDOWN | TOP SECRET TOP CHEF | Boston, MA

last week, we attended a charity party hosted by the good ones boston, ‘a social-matchmaking company that brings people together based on shared interests’, at a private loft in the leather district. it was a special celebration for some folks in food, film, and fashion and some of the proceeds were donated to raising awareness for Vitamin Angels. most of the food and drinks sponsors are local brands.

there was a live cook-off between two Top Chef contestants
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chef Brendan Andrew Burke, Former Sous Chef at Red Lantern Boston
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chef Juan Pedrosa from The Glenville Stops ev6

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veggies from siena farms
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hake
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island creek oysters
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oyster shooters
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mozzarella cheese from mozzarella house
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PRIVATEER RUMsexy winesdeep eddy vodkanarragansettev16

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sparkling matcha tea
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popcorns by corn & co. these popcorns were SO BOMB!!!!!!!!! they have so many different and unique flavors. i had the salty caramel ones and totally hooked. they have a store in burlington mall and about to buy more tomorrow.
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super good, totally rocked my world.
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Taza Chocolate | stone ground chocolate
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caricatures by mark penta
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pork belly and i in the middle
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he was drawing pork belly
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the dress code was: red, white, grey
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it was a fun night and i am hooked on the popcorns =D

TW Food | Cambridge, MA Boston

tw food used to be one of my fave restaurants in boston. i took my mom there for her birthday.

Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy 2012 - floral and fruity with bright minerality and a touch of honey!
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spring onion + mint shot
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SMOKED ONION BISQUE
maine sea scallop, mint-almond brown butter
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CRÈME BRÛLÉE FOIE GRAS
“for my mentors,” seckel pear, brioche
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WILD MUSHROOMS
crêpe, wheat berries, pineapple, spiced rum, lime
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WHOLE WHEAT TAGLIATELLE
braised beef shortrib, yellowfoot mushrooms, rutabaga, pecorino
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GRASS-FED BEEF
ribeye, confit tongue, braised cheek, leek dumpling, chioggia beet, green peppercorn jus – this was disappointing, the beef was very tough.
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SWORDFISH
wild nettle butter, potato mille-feuille, carrot bouillon
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T.W. CHOCOLATE SUNDAE
hazelnut praline, vanilla ice cream, valrhona chocolate ganache, cassis whipped cream
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SCOTCH AND CIGARS
beignets with tobacco ice cream, macallan 12 scotch syrup, valrhona
chocolate ganache
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BUDINO
valrhona dark chocolate custard, candied hazelnuts, sea salt, olive oil
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food was still good overall although they still served some of the same dishes as a year ago (they have a small menu). there were 2 brush hairs in my mushroom crepe and service was very disappointing that night as well. not attentive at all and they forgot to bring my mom a candle as i requested. like i said at the beginning of the post, TW food used to be one of my fave spots in boston, but this meal, our experience was rather disappointing. for the price, i do expect a smoother operation, no hair in my food, and some changes in the menu over time or more choices.

TW Food
French, American (New), Breakfast & Brunch
377 Walden St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone number (617) 864-4745
twfoodrestaurant.com

T.W. Food on Urbanspoon

i made my mom a japanese matcha green tea strawberry souffle cheesecake. turned out great.
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Belle Isle Seafood | Winthrop, MA Boston

a fan of anthony bourdain or no reservations? then you probably know about belle isle seafood as featured in no reservations season 7 in boston ep. the show is entertaining to watch for sure, but are they really the best restaurants in town or representative of the city? not so much. ive been to some of places in beijing, hong kong and vancouver that were featured in no reservations, there are def better places to eat, easily.

anyways we did check out belle isle seafood as my friend suggested. it’s on water, but we couldnt see much at night. (they moved since no reservations was filmed)

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belle isle

not too much ambiance to this place; it felt like a huge cafeteria.
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you order here and pick it up when food is ready.
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we just ordered some fried seafood
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lobster roll (pictured half). lightly dressed with mayonnaise. the bread was toasted and i appreciated how little skin was on the bread
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belle isle was decent but not destination worthy.

Belle Isle Seafood
Seafood
One Main St
Winthrop, MA 04364
Winthrop
Phone number (617) 567-1619
belleisleseafood.com

Belle Isle Lobster and Seafood on Urbanspoon

Alden & Harlow | Harvard Square Cambridge, MA

jbjk

one of the most anticipated openings this winter was alden & harlow by chef Michael Scelfo who used to work for Russell House Tavern.

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the restaurant is pretty spacious.

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it was a rough start of the night: not only we were fighting on the way there, we got seated next to the crazy bright green exit light which pretty much f’ed up all my pictures. they were also out of my fave mezcal drink and the lamb sirloin dish i really really wanted.

pickled green beans
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MARKET CRUDO (Cauliflower Kimchee, Chili Oil, Uni Aioli)
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Skate Cheeks – delish, buttery.
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ISLAND CREEK OYSTER GRATIN (Uni, Creamed Leeks & Guanciale)
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CLAMS FROM PAT WOODBURY (Smoked Pig Tail, Parsley & Chile Toast) – i usually dont care for clams, but i really enjoyed this one. the smoked pig tail def adds another layer of flavors.
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WOOD ROASTED BEEF NECK (Parsnips, Vinegar, Radishes)
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CHICKEN FRIED LOCAL RABBIT (Celery, Apple, Blue Cheese, Chili Oil)
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CRISPY BERKSHIRE PORK BELLY (Cold Smoked Grits, Roasted Kumquat, Earl Grey Cure) – anything you wish for in a piece of pork belly although i thought the skin couldve been not so hard.
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GRILLED FOIE GRAS (Spiced Fruit, Sherry Vinegar, Warm Crumpet)
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SECRET BURGER (Our 8oz House Creekstone Grind, Your Faith, House Made Roll) – ugh pork belly also has to order the burger. nothing special
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SINGLE COMPOSED CHEESE SELECTION
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ROASTED PARSNIP COBBLER (Ginger Ice Cream, Blueberries, Star Anise)
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i really liked the ambience, very spacious but still cozy and casual. service was ok. i just remembered the mushrooms i ordered never came as im writing this post. anyways, we def enjoy all of our small plates, all very solid and well executed. BUT we all hated the desserts. i really didnt want to order any desserts because none of them looked appealing to me but pork belly really insisted. the cheese was passable i guess, how can you hate cheese, but the roasted parsnip cobbler was terrible. i couldnt even swallow it. if you are not into ‘salty desserts’ either and still craving some sweet endings to the dinner, i suggest walking down the street to LA Burdick Chocolate. for the most part, it was an enjoyable dinner and i ll def come back to try the mezcal drink and lamb dish soon.

Alden & Harlow
40 Brattle St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Square
Phone number (617) 864-2100
aldenharlow.com

Alden & Harlow on Urbanspoon

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