2008.03.24

Twilight intervention

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I have over eight thousand\n unread posts in bloglines right now -- kidding you not, love. I \nhesitate to overuse the word wagon, but... have you seen it anywhere?

I'd\n meant to write about this at the beginning of 2007, when my period of \nbeing incommunicado qualified as Claire-Danes-goes-to-college instead of\n the J. D. Salinger it's become, and when it might have actually done \nsome good, but somehow Seattle finally got a decent ramen place: Samurai Noodle, in Uwajimaya Village (though last week's Weekly\n claims that two more quality ramen joints have opened up in the city \nsince). I love ramen -- real ramen, not the stuff you buy at the \nsupermarket -- and this is the good stuff: soft but substantial noodles,\n maitake mushrooms, spring onions, bamboo shoots and a soy sauce-steeped\n hard-boiled egg. Thick slices of fall-apart-in-your-mouth tender roast \npork. The tonkotsu broth is -- oh god -- so umami that it might make you nauseous if you're not up for the experience. Pure liquid pig. If you're faint of heart, the shoyu-tonkotsu broth is a measure lighter and may give you some breathing room.

\n

Anyway, I digress. The reason I wanted to write, and the sadly \ntime-limited aspect of it, was that somewhere in the wintry months early\n in 2007 there was a yuzu-shoyu ramen on the menu, and it was glorious. Citrus in soup is a good thing (cf. avgolemono or pho, and I always like to squeeze a lime or two into the pot when I make posole),\n and this hit all the right notes -- the tartness of juice, \nsweet-bitterness of zest and salt-umami of the base broth. Perfect for a\n winter morning and sorely missed. I'd hoped that with a year having \npassed it would slip onto the menu again and I'd have a reason to share \nthis with you, but alas, all you get is a sad tale of lost love. Sorry!

\n

p.s. -- tips for dining at Samurai:

\n
  • You don't get some of the extra goodies unless you order the \n\"Samurai Armor Bowl\" version of a particular ramen flavor. Especially \negg: egg is key.
  • Tonkotsu broth comes with thin noodles. This may be because\n the soup stands up pretty strongly for itself (and probably would \nliterally do so if allowed to chill). If you like doughy noodles in your\n ramen, you can ask for these al dente, and they'll feel a little more \nsubstantial. On the other hand, all other flavors come with a \nsignificantly thicker noodle, one that's a bit much at full firmness, so\n you might stick with the default doneness there.
  • The tsukemen fish broth, along with its spicier variants, \nthe evocatively named \"Tetsu Hell Fire\" and \"Tetsu Hell Fire Max,\" are \ndipping broths. You get your noodles to the side, \"dry,\" and dip them \ninto a small bowl of sauce. Not my thing, really. If I want something \nlike ten zaru soba, I'll order ten zaru soba, thank you very much.
  • Apparently they have takoyaki, but I keep forgetting this when I'm there.
  • YMMV, despite my best intentions!
\n
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