A dining adventure in Venice, CA
I spent the past four days in Venice beach, California visiting a Chicago-founded gal pal group, and other friends. Nearly everyone, 7 in total, was there with a few exceptions (you were greatly missed!). Ramen Nights began originally as a ramen shop gathering, where we would order our food, walk to one of our apartments (whoever was closest), and socialize over games and/or drawing.
We did this at least once a month, typically on a Thursday, and I savored each and every moment; it was the one time I knew I could visit with an amazing group of friends to catch up on life, share stories, laugh. We would alternate the location, and rotate depending on who could/would join.
Food is meant to be shared with those you love, and ultimately brings people together - Ramen Nights were the answer for my Chicago crew of friends, and we carried on the tradition for as long as we could.
But, as we discover, things change. Time passes. People move: Some to Cali, one to NY, another to CO, and me up to the cold of MN.
It was sad to say goodbye, and break up our routine ramen meet-ups, but we all knew it wouldn’t stop us from continuing our friendship. After much discussion, through text messages and phone calls, our hope to meet finally came to fruition.
We were able to have our reunion this past weekend, and join once again over food and fun.
And for those in the Ramen Night clan who couldn’t visit LA, you were there in spirit. Start planning for next year: We are already in planning mode for another Ramen Nights meet-up in another city. Perhaps I could convince everyone to meet here in St. Paul, MN, the soup capital of the world...
In honor of Ramen Nights, here’s one of my favorite ramen recipes:
One hour to make, and not difficult - gotta love it!
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 1/3 oz miso
2 bok choi, quartered
6 oz bean sprouts
4 tsp sesame oil
4 portions of ramen noodles
soy sauce is optional
2 oz dried seaweed, cut into strips
Togarashi to taste, optional
Spicy Chicken Mince:
1 leek (finely shred the whiter half and rough chop the green)
1 1/2 oz miso
1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves
1 red chili
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
pinch black pepper
pinch Szechuan pepper
9 oz minced chicken (chopped or shredded will do as well)
1 Japanese eggplant, cut into ovals
3 tbsp oil
If you prefer pork or want a vegetarian version, simply adjust as you need by swapping out the protein and broth.
Other variations worth exploring:
**If you don’t have time to make your own and want to have your own pork-free ramen night meet-up, Tori Ramen in St. Paul is a fantastic option, and the only completely pig-less ramen shop in Minnesota. They also do vegan and vegetarian ramen that manages, somehow, to be just as rich and flavorful as the original.