Don Too- The Ramen Debate

I love ramen, you love ramen, half the people I follow on twitter love ramen, and I am sure those who have not owned up to it love ramen as well.

I guess the only problem with ramen in Melbourne is, none of it is all that great.  We have, what you may call, a handful of passable ramens amongst shady imitations.  It had taken me a while, but I finally made it to Don Too after all the raving on their soft-centered eggs.

The eggs, the toppings and the noodles themselves don’t disappoint.  At night, Don Too serve nothing but ramen (there was a suspect laksa ramen which I am not game enough to try) and at a very low price.  When ordering Kirin at $5.50 instead of their standard $5 for all other beers, they say, “Are you sure,” as if you’re about to break the bank.  Their servings are generous, but they give you the option to order an extra serve of noodles in your bowl, if you are up to the challenge (don’t do it, I have not seen a single human win).

The noodles come with a toothsome bite, the eggs are gooey, the corn is buttered and the charsu is soft againt the crunchy abundance of the bean shoots which have been carefully picked of their tails.

The few complaints are, that while the broth is hot and the noodles are freshly cooked, their toppings are cold out of the fridge and turn a potentially warming dish into a tepid meal, and while their broth is subtle and has a deep depth of flavour, it is not nearly fatty or thick enough to stand up against an authentic tonkotsu.

So, the story continues, and the ramen hunt remains.  Don Too does provide a great relief from the constant visits to Ramen-Ya, and is just as good for entirely different reasons, but the unfortunate thing is that I may just have to go to NSW to be fully fulfilled within Australia.

Don Too

6/340 Lt Lonsdale St
Melbourne, 3000

(03) 9670 7113

Some Amnesty.

So, I may be lacking much of my appetite for the moment, and thanks to those with well wishes, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have backlogged posts.

It has been a while, in fact, it has been well over a week since this dinner, but after the much loved and recent addiction to kickboxing, I was craving ramen.  If you read far back into this blog (I’m not sure who is crazy enough to decipher through all my hunger-rants) you may know that I have a thing for noodles, noodle soups and stock.

Seriously, I love stock.

Real stock.  I think it is liquid heaven, and it may just be because I was raised on herbal soups.

If I ever go to visit my parents in the burbs, one of the first things I do, other than donate an awkward hug and kiss to the rentals, is to check the soup pot to see if anything is going (no, seriously, it is awkward, I almost never hug people shorter than me, it’s impossible).  Fuck cookies, they’re so…boring.

Um, I cooked.  I had to.  I’m in the bloody Fitz and it is almost impossible to find a decent ramen on a Monday night unless I venture far and wide (meaning, walk 45 minutes or get on a bus).  So, my disturbing logic believes that cooking bones and belly for 8 hours is less trouble.

First, let me show you one of the most hilarious and charming videos I have ever seen:

Seriously, dog and dubbing.
Awesome.
I almost follow the recipe exactly.
ALMOST.

I added bones to the stock which I blanched and cooked for several hours, and then the pork belly in the last 3-4.

Oh yes, it is also important that you cool the pork belly after you cook it so you can slice it properly when you grill it.  And OMG, this was awesome, the fat melting on your tongue is something you want.  Seriously, worth every heart attack.

Oh, and also, this is enough pork belly for 4-5 serves.

Portion control, who knew that’s the antidote to fatness?

Ah, and the marinated eggs which I could have eaten just on its own.  1/2 an egg per serve, seriously, so much flavour.  And, in the background the blanched, drained and rolled spinach cut into portions.

And this is me putting all the elements together; a perfect illustration of my ridiculousness.  Just-shaved and in an oversized trench coat, putting together ramen on a Monday night.

Ta-da.  That stock was awesome.  I also finely chopped some spring onions and snow peas for this.

It did make me want some bigger bowls, though.

It does take a long time to make, but it is well worth it, especially if you’re sharing it around.

WOW, and I didn’t even mention Tampopo once!

No Disco!

For those of you who are cool or like to have an excuse to wear lycra, polyester or things with sequins, then you were probably at Roller Disco last Saturday.
For those of you who like to have an excuse to roller blade throughout the city without getting entirely beaten up for being “a fag,” then you were probably at Roller Disco last Saturday.
For those of you who just like shiny things, or are addicted to your Facecrack events, then, you were probably at Roller Disco last Saturday.

I…well, I was at work.
And then I partied on a roof somewhere and didn’t drink.

That’s right, I didn’t drink on a Saturday night, in fact, I couldn’t even finish my knock-off drink.

And because of all the Roller-discoing-mother-fellas having “the best night of their lives,” I believe they sucked the fun out of me.  It was transposed into hipsterville, translated and buffed into something so-disco.

That being said, my favourite man happened to be DJing at the town of wheel-shoe and had about 5 costume changes, or so I heard.  We ended up going out and getting fed up and then playing childhood sleep-overs by dragging a mattress and a sleeping bag onto the first floor at five in the morning.

And what are we going to do, if not eat the next day?  He disco-ed his ass off and I grumbled my way into oblivion.

No, that is a lie.  I grumbled my way on to Brunswick st and to a “new” Japanese place called Yume.

They’re alright, I don’t know.  This hunt for decent Japanese food in Fitzroy/Collingwood is getting me down.  I can no longer get up and stumble into the CBD for a good Japanese feed. So much sad-face.

The chicken gyoza.  We originally wanted the vegetarian gyoza, but they were out.  Sad, just…so sad.  In fact, this place has a lot of vegetarian options.  The gyoza were alright, a bit greasy, and could have afforded more cooking and the skins were a little thick/starchy.  I was more into the salad on the side.

My spicy chicken ramen, you choose either a shoyu or miso base.  I chose miso as last time I had their shoyu, it was a little lackluster.  This was much better, but their noodles were overcooked.

Phil’s kitsune don. He liked the dish, but I get so wary when there is capsicum in any sort of stir-fry.  I know, it’s the annoying Canto in me screaming WHATTHEFUCK from the inside.

I think the best part about this meal was when Phil wanted to fold a celebration crane, and there wasn’t any actual paper lying around.

He’s the napkin folding master.

But seriously,this meal, like my weekend was not a notable one.

There, I said it.

Hate me.

Yume

367 Brunswick St,
Fitzroy, VIC ,3065

(03) 9415 6099

Stuff I Eated.

I can’t remember all the details of these, I mean, I have done me some good eatin’ since these were taken.

Found…somewhere.

Ramen in miso broth with egg at Happy Kappa, about 2 weeks ago.

Phil’s teriyaki chicken don at Happy Kappa.

Mum Cha session over a month ago…Mother’s Malaysian Laksa at Coconut House, Elizabeth st.

My rice noodles at Coconut House, other parts in next picture.

The other part…

Unadon at Shoubu, Smith st.

The adventures of Phillip and Jess.

And you’re meant to be saying that as if you’re reading the title of that childrens’ movie, “The Adventures of Milo and Otis.”

Yes, and the mention of puppies was totally for Ned.

So, on the Saturday, it was a little celebratory celebration for Luke’s survival for a quarter circle and we had somewhat of a Party-Party.  Before all that, though, I dragged my hung-over arse out of bed and to the market to pick up some stuff for lamb shank-ness of the day after.  I knew it wasn’t going to happen on the Sunday, so I planned ahead.  On my way in, I ran into Phil, and we arranged an afternoon of eating and shopping.

Ok, I really wanted to show him the Martin Margiela boots that I was dying to buy, and needed someone I trusted to justify it.  He couldn’t, so I didn’t, so as a result, I am not in shoe-debt…or rather, broke.

The point?  Take a fake(ish) Jew who loves food, clothing and design with you if you cannot trust yourself.

We did a bit of a circle from the Zambezi store to the GPO and then to Kenzan in there.  Phil was craving the roll-yourself handrolls and onigiri.

I got a soft shell crab hand-roll and Phil got the tempura prawn onigiri.  We took step-by-step photos, but they are all pretty shitty, so none of that for you.

I got the charsu ramen in miso broth, $14.  They give you the option of miso or soy based broth, and I am not too crazy about soy.  This had a thick, deep, richness to it and comes with wakame, half a medium-boiled egg which is great, dripping into the broth, fatty pieces of pork, spring onions and bamboo shoots.  Perfect for the cold weather, and exactly what I had been craving for a week.  The noodles were cooked perfectly, as they still had bite and were springy.
And I thought about Mellie while eating this.
Very cute, as I realise I unconsciously watched Tampopo the day after.

Phil’s buck-buck udon in a soy-based broth with wakame, $14.   This looked pretty tasty, but I was waaaaaaay too full after eating all my food to go near Phil’s.  He got defeated by it.

And I was going to call his grandma and shame him, but didn’t know her number.  So, I called his mother, but got his father instead.

“What?  Jess?  How did YOU out-eat Phil?”

Magic, pure magic…and Phil had what we named a “Jew-Burger” for breakfast…which is a chicken schnitzel burger.  Impressive, but he has some stomach training to do to get back into shape.

Phil’s impersonation of Howard Moon’s humiliation of a salesman at not finishing udon.

SO DEFEATED.

We did more of a walk around the Monster Burger dude (which is actually a chick), and ended up at the Commercial Bakery.  I had an espresso and mineral water, while Phil had a lemon tart and Chinotto.

Phil couldn’t chose between chocolate or lemon, I too think they’re pretty hard to divide unless the tart is really tart.  I asked the waiter and he wasn’t sure of what I was asking, and responded by going, “Well, it’s pretty tart cos it’s small.”
What?
Was that a real answer?

Thankfully the tart was very tart, and the pastry was so thin it melted in your mouth.  A smack of tart and butter.  Brilliant.

And because I’m me, I decided to play around with bottles and rearrange their tables while we guzzled fizzy things and injected sugar into our blood streams.

Yes, I am aware I am very childish. I just don’t understand why they have a local mineral water and then San-Pell Chinotto…confusement.

Oh, and then Phil made me a facebook because he is evil and I don’t know how to deactivate it…and no one will tell me.  It hurts, oh, mummy, it hurts!

Kenzan @ GPO

350/28 Bourke St,
Melbourne, 3000
(03) 9663 7767

and

Commercial Bakery

360 Little Collins St,
Melbourne, 3000
(03) 9670 7214