Everyone knows that having braces is a pain in the ass. They cut your mouth, your teeth hurt for days after an adjustment, things get stuck in your teeth, it takes forever to floss, and you have to brush your teeth in public restrooms. Gross.
But you do have a great excuse to eat soft foods and soups, and for me, that means RAMEN. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a ramen fiend. (Luckily, so is my best friend Annabelle, and she’s usually my partner in crime when it comes to trying different noodle houses.)
Never mind that I have never visited Japan and have not had an authentic bowl of the stuff, so I don’t have an accurate yardstick with which to measure ramen here in the States–all I know is what I like, and I haven’t been able to find ramen I like here in the DC area yet. (Although I do hear things about Toki Underground, a funky little Harajuku-y place in DC.)
This past weekend, I flew to Boston to see my orthodontist in my old ‘hood (yes, I like my orthodontist THAT much) and every time I go, I make it a point to stop by Sapporo Ramen in Porter Square in Cambridge for the signature House Ramen, made with a really rich, comforting chicken broth made with chicken bones and veggies boiled over high heat for 10 hours.
It’s pretty much the only place in the Boston area that serves a kickass ramen. Trust me, I’ve checked firsthand, and the only other place that rivaled Sapporo closed down because the owner went back home to Japan. Check out Tiny Urban Kitchen’s review of the place–incidentally, Jen is my friend’s sister-in-law, and I can tell you that this lady really knows her food.
My other go-to ramen place is Santouka in Costa Mesa, and I hit it up whenever I visit my parents, although trekking all the way cross-country for a bowl of ramen is a little much.
I have yet to find my go-to ramen joint here in the DC area, so if you have any recommendations for me, please share! Otherwise, I’ll have to make the trek out to New York, which is only four hours away by bus. It’s pretty much the only other city that’s a sure bet for good ramen.
The legendary Ippudo in East Village supposedly brings down the noise on all other noodle houses in the U.S.–why else would people wait two hours or more for this place?–but after my experience with Shin-Sen-Gumi, which is supposedly the West Coast’s answer to Ippudo, I’m skeptical of any ramen place where the wait time is two to three times as long as it takes to actually eat and enjoy your meal.
If I end up not finding any decent ramen over here, I think I will have to try making my own. Oh yes. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and yes, I’m THAT crazy.
Thankfully, by the time I get to down another bowl of decent ramen, my orthodontic treatment will finally be over and done with. The ingredients may be pretty soft and delicious, but man, they are a mother effer to pick out of your braces. So worth it, though.
Perhaps it’s time to invest in one of these puppies, then, because the soup splashback can get pretty ugly.