Tag Archives: vegetarian

Ippudo – the best!

Ippudo is still the best ramen I’ve had…ever and anywhere, and is absolutely worth the sometimes 2 hour wait!  Of course, I recognize this is my personal taste, but the NY version has all my favorite things on top of the beautiful presentation there’s always a few different bits in the bowl no matter what you order.  I actually went to two different Ippudos in Japan, but the NY version is my hands down favorite.

My go-tos are the vegetarian and the miso ramens.  The vegetarian ramen comes with a clear intense broth with tofu and scallion, and the miso ramen comes with the soft broiled egg and pork belly. Yum yum yum, and be sure to order the kae-dama (a 2nd round of noodles to refill your broth).  Compared to the sweet broth at Terakawa or the mediocre ones in midtown, if you are vegetarian and about to give up on the pork-broth-only restaurants, get ready!

The noodles will be different depending on which type of broth you order, so if you are into noodles, get your friends to order different broths!  As for everything else, it’s all great.  The shishito peppers and karaage are as delicious as any other.

They don’t take reservations, but you can call ahead to gauge how long it’ll be until you get a table.  Put your name down and walk around the corner for some Sundaes and Cones.

Shishito Peppers at Ippudo

Miso Ramen at Ippudo

Vegetarian Ramen at Ippudo

Bouchon Fail

We had a really strange experience at Bouchon at The Venetian!  They didn’t handle it very well when we asked if they could make a vegetarian omelet with something other than just eggs, and I didn’t expect that from them!  The only set vegetarian entrees they had were the sweet things like french toast, but even the waffle had bacon in it.

Anyway, I ordered the Croque Madame, a grilled cheese with ham and fries covered in sauce.  The bread wasn’t anything to write home about, but the fries were delicious!

Don’t be fooled by all those “tips” on Foursquare–you can totally skip the Croque Madame for poached eggs on toast with a side order of fries.

Looks good though…

Croque Madame at Bouchon

First Steps with Indian Spices

Getting Acquainted with Your Spices (if you don’t know the differences already)
Indian spices shouldn’t be as intimidating to you as it was to me.  I think I now understand why I thought Indian cooking was this foreign realm that I wouldn’t be able to touch: because of the foreign flavors.

A simple solution to understanding cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom is to start adding it to black tea (with milk and sugar).  It’s funny, but I had always known about this “spiced” tea and the Chinese in me refused to believe that it would possibly taste good compared to my straight green and black teas without milk or sugar.  You can isolate all of them, or you can start with one then keep adding so you understand each one and have a good memory of what is what!  (fundamental for figuring out which is which when you are cooking, and what you still need to add into an incomplete dish)

Oh man… “chai” is so delicious and one easy way to acquaint yourself with these spices.  Everyday you feel like drinking tea, only use one of the ingredients (a little at first, and more in future batches if you like it).  I have it down to a science that I actually prefer mine with only cardamom and a small amount of clove.

As for cumin, tumeric, coriander, and mustard seeds, I recommend trying them with chicken if you are a meat eater one at a time similar to the chai concept.  One of my favorite chicken dishes is just the  chicken smothered in coriander powder, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Spices Used at the Destination, not in the Journey
Something I realized about my approach to these spices is that I don’t expect the flavor to seep in over long cooking times–if anything most everything is ground up so I expect to have a bit of the flavor in every bite, or I use so much of it that I will definitely taste it.  It’s not like cooking down chicken to get the chicken flavor in a soup, nor is it using tons of peppercorns or basil to flavor a stew only to take out the peppercorns in the end.  This is probably because I am mostly cooking vegetarian dishes with strong vegetable flavors, and not necessarily creating a stew where the chicken needs to absorb the flavors.

It is definitely possible my approach isn’t right, but so far in most of the recipes I’ve read for basic vegetarian dishes, I haven’t been very wrong.