Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Limited Edition Ramen at Animal

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I had heard chef / owners of Animal Restaurant, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, were working on ramen.  I remember thinking that the proteins would be amazing and wouldn't be surprised if they created a new style of ramen.  

It's good to have foodie friends that share info from around town. @BackyardBite informed us that Animal's Limited Edition Ramen was at available on Mondays and Tuesdays (from 9 pm to close) at the bar only.  We arrived at about 8:15 or so and got our names on the waiting list, the bar only seats about 7-8 people.  I forgot to mention, there are only 20 bowls each night...

Chopped Chili and Garlic 
on the bar for ramen

We were seated around 9:30 and after our drink order
was taken, the ramen seemed to arrive right away.

It was suggested to us that we have the ramen first
and then order any additions after.

See What Jay Eats...

The Limited Edition Animal Tonkotsu Ramen

with pork belly cha siu, ham hocks, and topped 
with bean sprouts, kale, and Swiss chard.

The bowl seemed a bit smaller than
(what I consider) a regular ramen bowl.  BUT, I have
to say that it's Packed with noodles, pork, and veggies.
The tonkotsu (pork) broth reminded me of Chinese flavors,
with spice but not spicy. 

I knew that chef/owners Jon and Vinny would not disappoint
and it would be a really good bowl.

I enjoyed it!

The thing I really liked was the "Noodle Reload" as you're finishing,
you can get an extra order of noodles for $3.

Instead of dessert, we opted to end the meal with
Chicken Liver Toast.

It was delicious!

I wouldn't think of comparing it to a traditional bowl 
of Japanese ramen.  But it's this creative, free-thinking style
that will change Japanese food in L.A.

Do you remember the California Roll?
It was this free-thinking creativity that probably set up
the huge sushi growth at a time when sushi was just yucky raw fish.
The California Roll was created in Los Angeles (Little Tokyo).

I'm hoping that this #trialrun turns out to be something of a new
concept and will have the chance to enjoy their ramen on
a regular basis (and hours too).

435 N Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Exotic Meats...A Walk on the Wild Side

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Photo Courtesy of Val of Trippy Food
"A Walk on the Wild Side" begins...

Before we get to the exotic stuff, just some background
on how all of this came about.

I've been fortunate to meet some really interesting
and passionate food people along my food journey.

While attending a restaurant tasting with food 
adventurer, @KristieHang, we happened to sit next to 
@trippyfood and @cuethecritic.  A conversation began, 
funny thing, we've been following each other on 
social media and a true pleasure meeting both of them IRL.

Next thing I know,
exotic meats are mentioned and weeks later
@trippyfood sets up a tasting at Exotic Meat Market in Perris.

I love Extreme Cuisine, so I was thumbs-up for joining in.

Now you're caught up...

Our host, Anshu, of Exotic Meat Market.

No one mentioned Thanksgiv..., I mean, the "T" word.

Of course this ranch had some lambs.

A llama.

A llama?
Oh, that's right, this is the
Exotic Meat Market Ranch.

There's ALWAYS someone trying to meet Kristie Hang.

Birds of a feather flock together...

An ostrich and emu,
just some of the ranch inhabitants.

A Flock of Emus

 I learned the male emu has a blue neck and
makes a drumming sound.

Whenever I'm at an event with Kristie Hang,
there's always a someone telling her they're a fan. 

Photo Courtesy of Kristie Hang
Thanks, but I've already met Kristie Hang.

Before we leave the ranch, we got a chance to
taste some really rich goat's milk.

A cobra and a scorpion walk into a bar
or was it a bottle?
 It was something like that...

(The cobra has the scorpion's tail in it's mouth)

See What Jay Eats...

First on the tasting menu is a
Scorpion Fish
(before being roasted)

Toxins are found in the toothpick-size spikes on the top.

While the fish is in the oven,
Kobe Beef
Japanese Wagyu  
Grade A5

You don't find this grade of Kobe Beef in the U.S.,
although some will say it's the same thing.


There are two ways to enjoy beef at this level,
raw or seared.

It was served raw with wasabi and soy sauce.

This reminds me of my trip to Japan
and I tasted a true Kobe Beef for the first time.

It was from an award winning ranch,
which happens to have the same last name as me.
No relation that I know of...

Today was just as good!

There are no words for me to properly describe this...

To top it off, Anshu served it with fresh grated wasabi.


Out of the oven
the roasted Scorpion Fish
on a bed of rice served with lime slices.

You can see the poison spikes on it's back.

It's a white fish with flakey meat,

I've had many different kinds of fish,
this was a very unique texture.

The texture is similar to lobster
and the flavor is really good.

And now the piéce de résistance... 

Extreme Cuisine!
This was a form of culinary jeopardy,
we had no idea what was in each bowl.

I haven't tried a wide range of exotic meats,
except for seafood,
so I have a smaller reference to go by.

As in poker, I was all in.

First up, what I found to be Yak.

When I think of a Yak, I think of a long haired cow looking
animal up in the Himalayas.

The flavor was very mild, but it kind of made sense,
since it's a family member to domestic cattle.

The most interesting IMO was the beaver.

All I could think about was this would make
good tacos.  I never thought I would enjoy
beaver, but it was actually pretty good.

If I lived on a river, I would fill it with beavers
and would sell tacos on the dam they would build.
That's if they don't give a dam...

This was the eye opener of the day...

I was surprised to find that lion looks like a white meat after cooked.
I would think the meat of a large lion would be a darker color,
but has a similar color and texture to pork when cooked.
(all meats were sous-vide) 

BTW, I didn't make it to the Double Jeopardy round,
I think something was wrong with my buzzer...
(I had no clue what was in each bowl)

Yes, I got to try some legal exotic proteins that I would've not had the 
opportunity to try before.  It's not like my local Ralphs has iguana
(popular in parts of Mexico and Central America).

When I would serve customers exotic seafood, I 
wouldn't tell them what it was until they tried it.  Some trusted 
me and enjoyed it.  Others wouldn't get past their fears and 
I guess they'd never know if they liked it or not.

Today was one of those days, I was glad to have the opportunity 
to try something new.  Without pre-judging, all of them really didn't 
taste like you'd think it would, whatever that would be.
It just goes to show you, try it before you say you don't like it.
Would I be able to taste the difference between bison and 
water buffalo?  Probably not today...
But I do now have an appreciation for beaver, 
I'm still thinking TACOS!

More info on Exotic Meat Market HERE  

Thank You!
Exotic Meat Market

It was nice meeting fellow foodies

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Unless noted
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ramen Burger and Mama Musubi Creates Something Delicious!

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if two of the most popular night market vendors got together and created something really good?  


It Happened!!!

One of the most popular vendors 
and longest line at this year's 626 Night Markets.


One of the original 626 Night Market vendors
and IMO the second longest lines at this
year's 626 Night Markets
(behind Ramen Burger).

What happens when Mama Musubi's popular pork belly
is paired with the Original Ramen Burger noodle buns?

If you like Mama Musubi's
pork belly musubi,
you'll like this burger...

Introducing the
Mama Musubi 24 Hour Pork Belly 
Specialty Ramen Burger!
(Limited Time Only)

Mama Musubi's 24 Hour Pork Belly
(Berkshire pork belly) 
served with cucumber pickles,
arugula, onion marmalade, 
and a hoisin karashi mustard sauce
on the famous Ramen Burger noodle buns.

The pork belly is tender (cooked for 24 hrs)
with a sweet mustard sauce that goes
well with the pork, onion marmalade,
arugula, and crunch of the cucumber pickles.

Ramen Burger's L.A. brick & mortar location
is working with local chefs
to create specialty Ramen Burgers.
(be sure to check the board in the window)

This collaboration with Mama Musubi
is available for a limited time only,
through the month of November 2014.

239 S Vermont Ave
(at 3rd Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90004 

Follow Ramen Burger

Available at the Ramen Burger takeout window.

Tuesday - Wednesday:  5p - 12a
Thursday - Friday:  5p - 2a
Saturday:  12p - 2a
Sunday:  12p - 12a
Closed Mondays

Now that the night market season is over,
follow Mama Musubi to find their next event:

It's been a pleasure meeting these folks
and being invited to take a ride with them this year.
They've both invited me into their kitchens
and have had the opportunity to work with them 
and their teams.
I'm looking forward to see what 2015 will bring.
Until then, I'll be enjoying this burger...

Thank You!
Kristie Hang
Carol Kwan
Phillip Kwan
Jeffrey Shimamoto
Keizo Shimamoto
Miho Shimamoto

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Blocks of Food at KTown Night Market - October 2014

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The Last Night Market of the Season!

organizers presents the
Halloween Food Fest

October 25 & 26, 2014

My post of the first KTown Night Market in April 2014

6th Street was closed to traffic in KTown.

 Over 70 vendors lined the street
between Mariposa Ave and Berendo St.

 The Ultra-Popular Original Ramen Burger was in attendance.
They're so popular, they even had a line before
the event opened!

OK, so it was the Original Ramen Burger crew
in their new red shirts...

See What Jay Eats...
Just a few things I had

 I stopped by the Chilly Ribbons' ski chalet
to try their latest flavor,
Red Bean.

You can see the red bean pieces...

Now ready to go
with red beans, mochi, and almonds.

It was sweet without being sweet
and had a nice flavor. 

Now that the night market season
is over, I guess I'll have to get out to
their store in Westwood.

I tried the Sweet Mixed Grain Smoothie

It's made from different grains, tasted like
barley tea.  It then hit me, barley is a grain...Duh!
I enjoyed it very much, without being too sweet. 

Photo Courtesy of KTown Night Market
A return vendor from the 1st KTown Night Market,

Besides grilled chicken skewers,
they introduced Niku Maki

Niku Maki

Pork wrapped around a rice ball.

It was good, but the rice
was a bit too wet with sauce.
IMO needed more of a char on the outside.
Otherwise something new.

Yes, had to stop at the Lobsta Truck
for a crab roll with butter.

Nuff said... 

Mama Musubi returns with their
"KTown Night Market Special Musubi"

The Super Spicy Tuna Musubi

Cooked albacore tuna w/spicy aioli,
spicy gochujang, and spicy furikake.
(A Ktown Night Market Exclusive)

Photo Courtesy of KTown Night Market
If you follow Mama Musubi, you find out
all of the secret menu items and specials.

You might even win a Mama Musubi T-shirt
or Limited Edition Musubi Boxes.

Follow them on Instagram

Jinya Ramen
brought their Spicy Ramen.

I thought it needed a bit more heat if you're
going to call it spicy.
It wasn't a bad first time dish tho. 

I seem to attract new products...

Met the Toki Hot Sauce guys
at the night market.
They gave me some samples of their new hot sauce.

The sauce is a bit sweet
with a kick at the end.

It was a nice end to the 2014 Night Market Season.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram
or right here for my food finds...

See you in 2015!

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Unless noted
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Delicious Experiment at Ice Cream Lab Pasadena

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What's a Delicious Experiment?
You've heard of an experiment gone wrong,
this one went delicious!

Ice Cream Lab, which opened it's Beverly Hills location 
in 2013, uses liquid nitrogen with natural ingredients 
to make ice cream.

Yes, the kind of ice cream we grew up on,
except just a bit different.
(I'll explain more later)

 It's Opening Day!

At the Grand Opening of Ice Cream Lab's Pasadena
store on Fair Oaks (just South of Colorado Blvd.)
a line was out the door for ice cream.

Not Just Any Ice Cream! 

Photo Courtesy of Ice Cream Lab
Co-founders cutting the ribbon with 
Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard.

It's Officially Open!

You won't find ice cream tubs
in freezers like most places.
They have mixing stations,
since it only takes a few moments to
make your selection.

Ice cream ingredients are placed in a mixer

Liquid Nitrogen is added

The Magic Happening

And ice cream is made!

The liquid nitrogen ice cream is creamier
and has a very smooth texture
and takes a few moments to make.

I don't know all of the scientific facts,
please don't fault me if I'm incorrect,
but since the ice cream is not in a freezer 
ice crystals are not forming.
When you eat frozen ice cream, you're
really tasting ice vs the cream and flavors.

You can really taste the flavors from this version.

How many of you remember making ice cream
in the backyard with the hand-crank ice cream makers?
Did I just show my age???
It seemed like it took forever to make.

Then there was the electric ice cream makers,
having to pack ice and rock salt to keep
the canister cold.

The latest home ice cream makers have a gel
packed canisters that you freeze before using.

With the use of molecular gastronomy,
liquid nitrogen can freeze something in an instant.
By using this method, unusual ice cream flavors can 
be created, including savory ones.

Wonder what's in store for us in the future?

But Today, here's what you can order

 Pasadena's menu

Also, look for the Seasonal Menu.

See What Jay Eats...

 Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

As I mentioned to someone, it's tastes like it should,
only blue...


Fresh Bananas with Nilla Wafers

I loved the cookie with it

The other Signature menu item to try is the

Salt Lick Crunch
with Salted Pretzels and Caramel

Yes, they even have swag...

I have to get one of these on my next visit...

Ice Cream will Never be the Same Again!

Ice Cream Lab Pasadena
16 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

I'll be back and will have to bring my parents,
they love ice cream too!

Thank You! 
Ice Cream Lab
Joseph Lifschutz
Tommy Ngan
Lauren Song

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Unless noted
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi