bonus points for anyone who remembers that old commercial for a yummy (now defunct) product from the 70s.
when i was in the fifth grade, i was pretty advanced in the english/reading department. i always mowed right through the classroom assignments and ended up sitting there looking around, bored as hell. and after observing this for a couple of weeks (!), the teacher finally decided to find something for me to do. i was given little workbooks that taught vocabulary words, and they were themed - each booklet was about food.
it's all clicking in your head right now, isn't it? heh.
anyway, i remember learning about random ass shit like scrapple (which sounded gross as all get-out), haggis (even nastier, ew), sushi, and culinary terms like braising, succulent, and saute. i learned about different cuts of meat, cake pan sizes, and the proper order for setting flatware on a table. of course, english class was right before lunch, and i ended up ravenously hungry for gourmet or exotic foods that were nowhere to be found in an elementary school cafeteria. oh, well.
last night, i met with the JLC for dinner at daikokuya in little tokyo. after scheduling and rescheduling the GTG a few times, we were thrilled to finally have a date that everyone could attend. and what better way to get caught up with each other on a chilly evening than to sample some delicious, authentic ramen?
(i love how that "b" rating is hiding behind that windchime)
i managed to get from BFE to downtown l.a. really quickly - like, i left an hour early and got there in 30 minutes. but parking was a bitch - i ended up circling the restaurant several times, hoping for street parking, before finally giving up and coughing up the $6 for a lot close by.
i thought this sign was cool, in a historic kinda way.
and although i drew a couple of curious stares, i snapped this as i crossed the street. come on! i [heart] boba! it's awesome!
i joined amber, who'd already put us on the list, and we chatted and giggled as the rest of the group arrived one by one. with tater running a little late, we entered the restaurant and squeezed into one of the tiny booths. and then a few minutes later, the booth behind us opened up and the monkey and lilcee scooted into it.
the food came super fast, which was good, because i was super hungry. big surprise, right? anyway, we all opted for the specialty of the house - daikoku ramen. it was a huge, steaming bowl of happiness: broth slowly simmered overnight, tender ramen noodles - and this is where some of that fifth-grade culinary education kicks in - succulent chashu pork, sliced thin and cooked and seasoned to absolute perfection. add some bamboo shoots (not my favorite, nor amber's), a marinated boiled egg (which i also passed on), crunchy bean sprouts, and about a dozen sliced green onions. seriously. i commented to the others that my bowl was freaking green onion heaven. sheesh. but it was delicious. i'll never look at top ramen the same ever again.
i totally powered through my ramen and kept my big trap shut as the others proclaimed themselves "stuffed" - while still having food left in their bowls. it was further proof for me that i'm a total bottomless pit, because i could easily have gone for another bowl. in my defense, i hadn't eaten much all day. the bean's teething again, and she's in "klingon" mode these days. doesn't leave much opportunity for me to stop and make something to eat for myself, and i was too lazy to go out for anything.
after paying the bill and leaving the two booths for grateful customers still waiting outside, we headed out the door and down the street for dessert - yogurtland!
we were amused at the row of fire trucks parked right in front, with hordes of cute firemen standing around, chatting and munching on yogurt. yes, i took this through the window.
despite the random "no dogs / cameras" sign posted on the door, i whipped out my camera to capture my delicious dessert - a trio of pumpkin, n.y. cheesecake, and plain tart yogurt, topped with bits of cheesecake, mini-m&ms, and, of course, my beloved mochi bits.
we munched and talked and laughed for quite a while, and then we noticed that it was getting louder and louder in there. a really large group started scooting chairs and tables over just behind us, and the monkey mouthed to me "we should go." i agreed, and we swung through the door, goodbye-hugged all around, and after dropping off amber, tater and the monkey at their parking lot, i was homebound.
oh, man. i SO want another bowl of ramen. yes, it was THAT good.