When it comes to Japanese cuisine, most diners think of delicate bites of sushi and sashimi. But for me, noodles really steal the spotlight of Japan’s culinary culture. My heart is particularly sold on ramen, with tender egg noodles in a rich broth topped with a plethora of proteins, often including a soft-poached egg and pork belly.
Ramen has enjoyed a storied history—documented in the debut issue of Lucky Peach, a fine read I highly recommend—and has matured past the college staple of instant ramen noodles. Nowadays, high-end Asian fusion restaurants offer bowls of gourmet ramen, following the lead of chef David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant empire.
But the ramen trend has made a pretty lackluster showing here on the Monterey Peninsula. Really just a couple of shops offer this hearty noodle soup: Ocean Sushi Deli (Monterey) offers traditional preparations of ramen, while chef-owner Brandi Lamb often features Momofuku-style pork ramen as a lunchtime special at Cafe Lumiere (Monterey).
Needless to say, when news hit my inbox last week of a ramen pop-up dinner gracing the Monterey Peninsula later this month, my mouth started salivating.
Yulanda Santos—the pastry chef at Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur—will be teaming up with Elizabeth Murray to debut a pop-up ramen shop. Hashi Hotto Ramen will dish up ramen after-hours inside Carmel Belle on Friday, July 26.
So far the menu will include handmade ramen noodles, served in either the traditional pork broth or an option for vegetarian broth for herbivores. Santos and Murray will serve into the wee hours of the evening—dinner will be offered from 7 PM to 1 AM to give chefs and others in the food service industry the chance to partake. What better way to cap off a busy night—of work or play—than with a bowl of hearty ramen and a cold beer? Let’s hope this trend keeps up and pops up around town more often!
Keep an eye out here on the blog for more details as we count down to the main event!
Hashi Hotto Ramen will open inside Carmel Belle, inside the Doud Craft Studios, at the corner of Ocean and San Carlos in Carmel.