Kat live…

Day 1274:

I got a surprise call from a Tokyo friend today saying that they were now living in Irvine. And that they were performing tonight at open mic night in Newport Beach. Whaaaat? Okay, but first I need to eat.

Jinya is another new shop that has joined in on the recent ramen invasion of Costa Mesa. With a few branches in socal already, it seems as though they are trying to rule the ramen world. Or not.

This is a good bowl, but it somehow tastes too manufactured. I’m not sure what it is but it’s a bit disturbing.

Perhaps these bowls just need a little more stink.


Kat McDowell!!!

What a surprise!

Great to see you guys! In Irvine of all places!! haha.

What’s up Men?…

Day 1273:

So the name…what’s up with that?! What’s Up Men is a new shop in Fullerton claiming to be “the best ramen in Orange County!”

Interesting name aside, let’s see what’s up with their ramen?!

Okay, the Kuro Ramen wasn’t bad and it might as well be “the best” tonkotsu in OC but…

But I still feel that ramen in general can be so much better here.

What’s up with that? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

Banh Mi!

Yum mi.

The birthday gem…

Day 1272:

“Uncle, why are you always taking pictures??”

“Take mine, take mine!!”

“It’s my birthday!!!”


Pastrami and gravy fries…

Party time!

Magic time!

Madness time! haha.

Happy birthday to my little gem. She’s growing up way too fast.

A lawyer, a police officer, and an architect begin to barbecue…

Sorry I forgot the punchline but you can probably figure out which one is which. lol.

And saving the best for last…my homemade chashu…grilled.

You’ll just have to believe me…it was sooo good.


Day 1271:

Time to give back and teach mom some of my ramen making skillz…chashu and eggs. And a little secret ramen magic…

Okay, let’s finish the rest later. Time to scope out another new joint!

Ken Ramen in Costa Mesa is a new shop on 19th between Games Plus and In-n-out. haha. I think it used to be a Mexican Restaurant when I was growing up.

Anyway, I ordered the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen.


Laguna Beach!!

Can you see the whale?

Alright, time to check out the newest shop in LA…Tsujita Annex.

Loosely based on the shop Bario in Tokyo (so I’ve heard), Tsujita Annex does a good job of copying it…at least in this picture they do.

As for the real thing? Um. Yeah.

Just to make one thing clear, this type of ramen is not Jiro-kei, it is Jiro-inspired.

Honestly, TA does a good job of reproducing Bario and representing Jiro-inspired ramen in the states…

But with that said, it was a little disappointing. I guess I was expecting a little more.

Like something brill-i-ant…but all I got was br-ill-ant.

Big ups to Rex and Peter for representin tonight!!

Go Ramen!

Oh see…

Day 1270:

I’ve dreamt about a breakfast like this for months! See, it’s all about hope. haha.

Since I’ve been gone there seems to have been a slight explosion of ramen shops in socal. In Costa Mesa alone I count 5 new shops. One of them is Ramen Zetton on Baker near Bristol.

Having recently opened at the end of 2012, there are several ramen to choose from but the Tori Shio Ramen seems to be the most popular.

It’s a little heavier than I expected with the chicken broth not being so clear, but I was pleasantly surprised by it’s depth of unassuming flavor.

The noodles matched fairly with the overly oily soup and once again I was pleasantly surprised.

I may have to revisit this place before I leave.

Another new shop is Ramen Iroha located in the food court of Marukai Supermarket.

If you didn’t know, Ramen Iroha is a chain which has successfully marketed the “Toyama Black” in Japan. Having witnessed how this chain has evolved over the years, I must say that I am not as overly shocked as I should be when assessing the poor quality of this bowl.

No offense to Kurihara-san, but I don’t see this shop lasting very long.

I can’t believe I even finished the bowl…it was definitely a struggle.


Day 1269 (Los Angeles):

Hello LA!

Hello home!

Hello carne asada!

Hello Wofo!

Hello Newcastle!

Hello Hello!

Okay, I can barely keep my eyes open. Good night!

My last DT…

Day 1269 (Tokyo):

Being that I will be leaving for LA this afternoon, today would be my last chance to slurp DT before they close forever at the end of the month.

A sad, sad day.

Thank you Kusamura-san. お疲れ様。

This will be a day that I’ll remember forever.

Thank you for the countless bowls of happiness.

Thank you for showing me how a true bowl of ramen needs to be appreciated.

After re-reading my first ever post of DT three years ago, my knowledge of ramen and it’s history has greatly changed, but my appreciation for this place hasn’t.

It’s not always about a bowl being the best bowl of ramen you’ve ever had.

It’s about respect. The respect a chef has for the customer and the respect a customer has for the chef.

Okay, off to LA.

I’ll see you yesterday!

ET hope…

Day 1268:

Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Hope…is where it always starts.

Hope…can you see it? It’s always there.

Hope…brings people together.

Hope…is how dreams begin.

And hope…is how this dream will continue.


Day 1267:

“IKEMEN is more than just dipping noodles. It’s certainly much more than a stylish handsome men.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. haha.

Anyway, Ikemen from Hollywood will be making it’s debut in the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum this week and today was its special pre-opening.

I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming.

But secrets are best kept when the truth is not shared.

But yeah, the menu is the same as in Hollywood.

And this is very exciting news for the ramen world in Japan.

Don’t you think so Banana?

Johhny Dip.

One difference is that the noodles are sourced from Mikawaya.

Ghostbuster dip.

Backdraft dip.

Mushroom Ramen.

Thank you Nakano-san (once again) for the invite!

And thanks to Taiichi (Ikeman) for hooking me up with an extra ramen!

Go Ikemen!

The making of 300 years in the making…

Day 1266:

Not to give too much away…

We first started with the filming of forging…

With master forger Yoshikazu Ikeda.

Then took a lunch break at the most popular ramen shop in Sakai–Menza Gin (麺座ぎん).

Which is known for their tsukemen.

But I was in the mood for ramen.

Surprisingly, it was better than most tonkotsu-gyokai shops that I’ve eaten at in Tokyo.

That would explain the high ranking.

Then it was back to filming.

Next up was the art of blade sharpening…

With master sharpener Shunichi Tahara.


And of course we couldn’t call it a day without some good food.

Thanks to everyone who made this happen!!

Unfortunately our funding fell short of its goal. But we will try again. This is too good of a story not to be told. A big thanks to all that contributed and I hope you will be so gracious again when we start it back up. Stay tuned!