Daily Archives: October 19, 2006

Ici-la (or Ici tasting part deux)

I’ve had this post cached since Christine published her write up of Ici, but I’ve just been too busy to edit. So here goes:

I think that I can always eat ice cream, no matter what the weather. The way I look at it is, if the weather’s cool and cloudy, there’s less of a line at the ice cream parlor! After all, I trudged to Berthillon in 30 degree weather on my first day in Paris… but there was still a line going out the door! (I had the salted butter caramel and the marron glace flavors) And a few weeks ago, I caught my coworkers giving me incredulous looks when I returned from a rainy lunch with a Jamba Juice. Luckily, the clouds dried up the weekend of our tasting and our Indian summer began.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I’d arrived, because I’d been looking forward to tasting the fig flavor, which I’d noticed on my first visit. Ici always has chocolate and vanilla, but most of the other flavors are seasonal. Fig was no longer on the menu, but there were ten other flavors, and there’s nothing like ten scoops of ice cream to cheer you up! I surprised myself – my favorite ice cream was the chocolate. If I were just picking out a single scoop, I’d go for something a little more unusual, like the rose or the earl grey, but if I were taking home a quart, I’d choose the chocolate. Under normal circumstances, I would pick rocky road over plain chocolate, but this chocolate was rich, full flavored, smooth and creamy. It was really well balanced – not too sweet, but not too bitter or grainy. It was so good that the rocky road (usually my favorite ice cream flavor) paled in comparison. We suspected, and upon further inquiry confirmed that the chocolate used in each flavor was a different one. I think that if I hadn’t tried each of the flavors available, I probably would have been satisfied with the rocky road.

The concord grape sherbet was also very unique. No one chose it as a favorite, but we were all wowed by the sheer grapy intensity of the flavor and color. It almost tasted artificial. I was reminded of Barney, and Susan commented that it tasted just like grape juice. I think this is exactly the sort of flavor that little kids would like, sort of like bubble gum ice cream or rainbow sherbet. I’m sure if you ate enough of it, your tongue would be dyed purple!

The ice cream sandwiches have gotten a lot of press, so of course, we had to try them. Two were available – one was malted vanilla ice cream with a chocolate cookie, and the other was lime ice cream with a gingersnap. The vanilla and chocolate combo was yummy, but we really loved the lime and gingersnap combo. Instead of using the sherbet, Ici actually used a lime ice cream which also had a faint gingernote that was really highlighted by the lime gingersnap. Somehow, the cookie didn’t get soggy and retained its crispiness.

Sooooo since Ici rotates it’s flavors, I think we should do another tasting soon! Or we could try one of each flavor at Gelateria Naia…

Santa Ramen

Santa Ramen, originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.

I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking, so there haven’t been many posts here. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating some great meals!

I’m looking for some tasty ramen,” I asked a friend at work a few months ago.

“Oh, then you have to go to Santa Ramen,” he said.

“Santa Claus Ramen?” I joked.

“No, Santa Ramen, and you won’t be joking about the name after you taste it.”

Hrm. And then I had to go into a meeting and promptly forgot about the conversation. But last week, he nabbed me in the hallways. “We are going to Santa Ramen, want to join us?”

“Hold on, let me go grab my purse!” And away we went.

Apologies for the fuzzy cameraphone picture above, but that’s a picture of a bowl of tonkatsu (pork flavor) ramen at Santa Ramen (805 South B Street, San Mateo, CA 94401). I make it a rule not to eat pork, but I was convinced after my dining companion said, “They are known for their pork flavor ramen, it’s the BEST. You’ve got to try it.” Well, he said it with much more enthusiasm and fervor and a description that sounded like heaven.

He had about 30 minutes to sing his praises of Santa Ramen, because that’s about how long the wait was to get seated. Just to tell you how long the wait usually is, he remarked, “Wow, that was a pretty short wait,” as we plopped ourselves down, salivating for this heavenly ramen.

There were six of us at the table (a bunch of us from work drove down to San Mateo for ramen), and we let him order for us: Pork flavor ramen extra spicy with stewed pork with a whole egg, garlic, and extra noodles. Woo! We looked up at the wall to decipher what he’d ordered (the menu is on the wall and resembles a bingo board of ramen flavors and concoction–one of them is “corn”–corn ramen sounds good).

Santa Ramen

When that bowl arrived several of us said, “There is NO way we can finish this bowl!”

Ha. All of us finished our bowls.

I tasted that ramen for a week, and I’ve been dying to go back, if only to get a better photograph of the food. Oh, what the hell, who am I kidding? I want another bowl! It is the BEST ramen I have ever had outside of Japan.

After having read some reviews on the place, I’m just so sad I didn’t know about this place before the crowds all discovered it; it must have been such a gem to eat her before it was “discovered.” To have it all to yourself!

Update: I went back for another bowl and took a proper picture:

my ramen at Santa Ramen--is it telling me something?