Removing the stink…

Five years ago paved the way for today. And today I made this new ramen. A ramen that has been in the works for awhile now. So much so that I’ve already trademarked it. Stay tuned…

Meanwhile, this is how to remove the stink from a smelly tonkotsu.

But sometimes the stink is not to be removed.

Slept like a baby…

Five years ago today was a long, long day and I can only remember it as being a crash course in how to prepare for ramen event. I couldn’t take any pictures that day, but I can vividly remember trying to transport several supplies on the train and one of the guys that was with me was extremely embarrassed to be carrying cardboard boxes.

Other than that, all I can remember is that I slept like a baby.

A roasted tomato…

Five years ago, I began my career as a ramen groupie who decided to learn from a ramen junkie. Looking back and reading that post, I went to eat at Ramen Nakamura in Eifuku and wrote “supposedly it was run by the brother of Taishoken Eifukucho.” Apparently that was completely false. Whoever told me that was mistaking Nakamura with Kusamura down the street aka The Bush. But ironically, a couple years later the owner of Nakamura walked into Kusamura as I was sitting at the counter and I overheard the master telling him that he has no relation to the guy at ET.

(November 4, 2009)

Even from that first full day five years ago I fell in love with the streets of Tokyo.

(November 4, 2009)

Yes, in case you forgot I started this dream of mine working for Ivan Orkin of Ivan Ramen. Famous for his roasted tomatoes and unique take on Japanese ramen. Five years later, Ivan is one of the biggest players in popularizing ramen in America.

(November 4, 2009)

Fast forward to today, I was inspired to make a roasted tomato ramen burger.

(November 4, 2014)

In honor of Ivan, I think I have to call this one the Ivan Ramen Burger, right?

That first day…

Five years ago I arrived in Tokyo with one dream…a ramen dream. After 55 bowls in 28 days from 21 cities throughout Japan, I needed to learn more, slurp more, and make more of my favorite food since childhood. And as crazy as it sounded to my friends and family, giving up a six-figure-a-year salary for less than minimum wage sounded like the perfect thing for me to do. Fittingly, my first friends to welcome me to Tokyo were none other than Brian and Nate. Back then we were so pure. We each had our own tastes for ramen but to look back now and see how far we’ve come, several thousands of bowls later, it’s crazy.

In the years leading up to this day, there was one shop I always dreamed about working at and learning from its master. No, that shop wasn’t Bassanova, but it was close. I’ll reveal that shop someday but for now I’ll just keep you guessing.

When my sister-in-law picked me up from the airport I remember telling her that someday I will work at Bassanova. At the time, I was incredibly intimidated by the shops manager and realistically never thought it would happen. Or could happen for that matter. But it did. And that story will take an entire drunken night to tell. Sorry but I don’t think that night is tonight. 😉

Ahh the GCS. To look back at all the drama I’ve been through in the past five years in regards to Bassanova, I miss this bowl the most. I miss looking at it. I miss prepping it. I miss slurping it. I miss everything about it.

My phone wallpaper for the last five years.

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I think this calls for a reunion. A ramen reunion. A meeting of the mouths reunion…

(All pictures were taken on November 3, 2009)

5 years…

Dear friends,

Five years ago today I embarked on a ramen dream that has forever changed my life. It was a long five years that passed in only a few heartbeats. I do not regret a single moment (well maybe a few drunken nights), but I would like to say that nothing came easy. I may not have told the whole story on my blog and from afar the dream may have been a bit glamorized, but with all the success that has come, there have been many nights of contemplating the many decisions I have made. Everything, everyday, every second is a learning experience. No one is perfect, nor am I, but all I can do is hope to dream. I think I’ve reached the peak. But there is still another peak out there to be reached. From today I promise to keep my promises and blog more frequently. Hopefully we can make things more interesting and show you all the ramen I’m still eating. Right now, this is my favorite bowl. 

And there is a story about that too. I miss telling stories. I do. I miss it dearly. So stay tuned for some behind the scene stories from the last five years of my dream. Thank you so much for sticking around. 

Go Ramen! Go Life! More than ever.