|At 12:06. Packed.|
We ordered the pork buns and the brisket bun. This might have been a mistake, since our mission was ramen, but we had to try these reputed buns. Here is the bun master – only tasked with cranking out these lovelies with precision – one after the other.
|The making of the buns.|
|Brisket buns were our favorite, over the pork.|
|And this guy was dishing out the kimchee and other sides.|
Our ramen is here! Pork ramen. And yes, it was executed perfectly…from the soft-poached egg, to the pork 2 ways, to the fish cake, to the springy/chewy homemade alkaline noodles. I was in a bit of a ramen haze while I was eating this, only recalling the beginning and the end. The very sad end to our time at Momofuku. You don’t dilly-dally and chit-chat at a ramen shop. You eat, you leave. Hungry people are waiting, and your seat is getting a tad too warm. But before we parted, we were sure to scoop up a cookbook and a tote. The book was signed by Chang – happy surprise.
If we had to choose a favorite, it would be Totto. We had to endure much more of a line (only because of the time of day). And with the bitter cold, it was nice to have a heated, enclosed vestibule to wait. The energetic hostess kept us smiling as we placed our orders during the wait. A clever system they have in place:
- Put your name on the clipboard. *Important* Just because people are waiting outside, don’t mistake this for the line. The “line” is the list on the clipboard that hangs on the front door. Open the vestibule door, grab that list, and get your name on it. Now you’re in line. Also, don’t miss your name being called. Your name will be crossed off, and the next party will be called.
- Take a menu. The hostess will take your order when she’s ready.
- Your name is called. You’re seated.
- Ramen is served!
We loved the vibe here. The loud music, the smiles, the genuine “I love what I do” attitude from the staff. Another well-oiled machine, but we weren’t left feeling like a number.
And the ramen! I enjoyed Totto Miso Ramen. Mild, savory, buttery. The koji miso and ground pork in a scoop on top would be mixed in for a deeper, richer broth.
He happily slurped the Totto Spicy Ramen. He likes it spicy. And this was just spicy enough, assuming the extra spicy version may have been over the edge.
And here they are, all mixed up and showing their gorgeous noodleness…
In total, we had 3 variations of ramen in 3 enjoyably different places, yet left with the experience defined as much by what we didn’t sample, as that which we did. Can’t wait to go back for more and continue to build our noodle-fluency. Love in the city, putting the Amen in Ramen.