DAY 2: FINDING RAMEN GROUND

January 3, 2015

THE HUNGER JAMES OFFICIAL RATING:

After I successfully completed one day of my no-dairy challenge, I felt the need to celebrate on Friday night. And celebrate I did (Saturday morning was not so fun…)

 

I met up with a friend in the East Village for dinner and drinks. Usually, when me and this friend go out for dinner, it is to a tapas restaurant where we feast on a cheese plate and red wine, but knowing I couldn’t enjoy my gouda and Manchego, I suggested we try a different cuisine altogether.

 

This is another thing that I need to work on in 2015: trying new foods. I am pretty proud of myself this past year for trying foods I never thought I would try (fish, to be exact) but there are so many different types of food I have never had. I told her to pick someplace that I had never been with a different type of meal.

 

She first sent me a restaurant whose main ingredient in every dish was tofu. I kindly expressed my dissatisfaction (and hunger) and we continued to peruse Yelp! We finally agreed on Ramen.

 

Now, I have had ramen once before (read: Ramen: Nothing Like College) and I enjoyed it, so I figured I would give it another go.

 

We went to Rai Rai Ken on 10th between 1st and 2nd and sat down at the counter. The one thing I remember from my initial experience with a ramen house was the pork buns. I just remember how amazing the pork was paired with the pillow-y texture of the bun, so before we even looked at the menu, we ordered the pork buns.

 

 

While I was looking over the menu, it was all a foreign language to me – both literally and figuratively. All of the ramen dishes had a unique name and even more unique ingredients. I mean, what exactly is kombu and a fish cake?  

 

Desperate to try new foods, I didn’t bother to ask what menma  was and ordered the Shio Ramen. A few minutes later, the pork buns had arrived.  And they were heavenly. I think I finished mine in one bite…

 

Shortly after, our ramen (aka soup) arrived.  The presentation was beautiful and I was really excited the dig in. The one thing about Ramen is that it takes forever to eat – not something I am a fan of when I am starving. It took quite a bit to get the hang of using chopsticks to pick up the noodles, but after 11 failed attempts, I was a pro. 

The broth was really delicious and the noodles were cooked to perfection. The raw egg inside was probably my favorite part, but really, everything in the soup was amazing. Even the menma.  

 

I am glad that I got out of my comfort zone a little bit and tried something new. Did I want to stop at Artichoke Pizza an hour later? Of course. But I didn’t. So I would call Friday night a success.