Ramenventure 2: Ramen Parlor

South Bay is widely touted as the ramen hotspot in the Bay Area, despite the heavy-hitters that are settling in the city and the East Bay this year. The options for top-notch ramen are nearly endless: Orenchi, Maru Ichi, Ramen Parlor, and Ramen Dojo come quickly to my mind (and to the top of Yelp).


We decided to focus on Ramen Parlor and Ramen Dojo, which are both owned by chef Kazunori Kobayashi, a veritable noodle king in San Mateo. Ramen Dojo, the older sibling, offers more classical options, like miso and soy sauce ramen. On the other hand, Ramen Parlor is the wild child, offering garlic lobster and pork tan tan men broths that tempted our more adventurous side.


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Grapefruit, olive oil, and dark chocolate cake

Okay, I know what you’re going to say.


“Nooooo! ANOTHER loaf cake!!??!!”

But hear me out for a minute. Loaf cakes are sublime. Divine, even. Most of the time they come together in no time flat; they’re almost always terribly moist and delicious; and a slice is as good fresh out of the oven as it is the next day, especially if toasted for a little extra crunch.

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Ramenventure 1: Coco’s Ramen!

I like to think of myself as a scientist. This makes sense, because I am in grad school to study science. More importantly though, it means I indiscriminately apply scientific methods to everyday things.

This upcoming series, aptly named Ramenventures, is an example of that life philosophy.

When I lived in Boston, I often took a rather random-walk-like approach to finding great food. That worked because I had 5 whole years to sort out where the great food was.


Now I’m in the Bay Area, though, and I just want to know where all the great food is RIGHT NOW. Specifically, great ramen. In Boston, I was fortunate enough to stumble on an affordable apartment so close to 4 great ramen shops that I would often hurry to one or the other for a quick bowl on an especially chilly night.


Now I live in the East Bay, where great ramen is more scarce (but soon won’t be), and traveling to a great ramen shop can be a trek. So, two friends and I, Betsy and Stephanie, took it upon ourselves to put in the hard work and effort to answer the age-old question: who has the best ramen in the Bay Area?

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Braised chicken thighs with tomato and garlic

I love long, drawn-out recipes. I love the anticipation of a pork shoulder roasting in the oven for ragu or a beef stew simmering on the stove. So, not surprisingly, one of the other things I love about winter is how my cooking changes.


Don’t get me wrong — all the beautiful produce that’s available in spring and summer is pretty tempting.  I could never pass up a juicy mango or a perfectly-ripe tomato.


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Lemon blueberry yogurt cake

Happy New Year! You know what that means: winter is coming!! In SF, that mostly means rain. In Nigeria, where I just was, that means Harmattan, which is when Saharan sand blows towards sub-Saharan Africa, causing reduced visibility and “cold” weather (i.e. 70 degrees).


Back when I was in Boston, winter meant endless snow. Which I hated. The one part of winter I did look forward to, though, was citrus season.

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Orange cranberry chocolate chunk cookies

Remember when I told you guys I am a recently reformed cookie-ist*? Well, these cookies were part of my 12-step program. By the way, I highly recommend that program — it involved baking (and eating) 12 different kinds of cookies until I felt positively about them again.

*cookie-ist (n.) — someone who is prejudiced against cookies


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Orange Spiced Chocolate Cake with Penuche Frosting

In my last recipe, I ended making too much penuche frosting. I hate wasting food so I had to figure out a way to use up the rest of the frosting that I had stored in an air-tight container. The frosting itself was buttery and sweet with a hint of nuttiness, which I knew would pair well with a cake that was a little lighter. After searching all over the place for a recipe that I felt would fit the bill, I decided to simply mix-and-match recipes to get what I wanted.

For this orange spice chocolate cake, I used the chocolate yogurt cake snacks recipe from Smitten Kitchen and the spices from variety of spiced chocolate cake recipes (here and here). The spices and chocolate make the cake feel very festive.

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