Ippudo and Panda Express Hatch World Domination Plan – Eater NY

Privately owned mega-chain Panda Express is preparing to mount a full-scale assault on New York City. Portions of the Upper East Side will soon be buried under mounds of orange chicken. Rivers of broccoli beef will flow through the streets of The Bronx. And globs of honey walnut shrimp will fall from the sky, covering the city in an even layer of pillowy shellfish nubbins and tangy sauce.

But the NYC take-over is just one part of the Panda masterplan — the team is also going to help ramen favorite Ippudo expand across the country. Earlier this year, the Panda Restaurant Group formed a new company with Chikaranomoto Holdings — the organization that operates the Ippudo restaurants — called I & P Runway. A rep for Panda explains that “the objective of the partnership is to develop and expand the brand in the US.”  The spokesperson also notes that “the parent company in Japan may develop more restaurants in NY. ” So, we might get a few more locations of Ippudo at some point over the next few years. The blog Fukuoka Now hears that expansion will probably begin in 2016.



Nine Great Places to Eat Okonomiyaki in NYC – Eater NY

Of all the Japanese culinary passions, okonomiyaki has been the slowest to be embraced by Americans. The name means “cook what you like,” and what you like is a gooey pancake that can contain all sorts of added ingredients that, back in Japan, you often get to pick. The choices runs to squid, shrimp, bean sprouts, corn, pork, natto (fermented soybeans), bean curd, cabbage, bacon, enoki mushrooms, green onions, pickled ginger, egg, Velveeta (!), and even ramen noodles. The savory pancake originated in Osaka, but became popular all over the country in cafes and street carts. Typically, the top of the finished pancake is squiggled with mayo and doctored Worcestershire sauce, then sprinkled with bonito flakes and sometimes a seaweed powder called aonori.

In the okonomiyai restaurants in Japan called okonomiyaki-ya, diners also get to cook the flapjacks themselves at their tables. A hot plate, pair of spatulas (one large for turning, one small for patting), and batter are provided for that purpose, along with the add-ins requested. You mix, pour, sizzle, squish, and flip. This is a jolly participatory meal, and it’s harder than you think. The consistency of the batter with all the inclusions means it’s very hard to know when to pat, shape, and flip the thing. If you cut into the finished product and liquid oozes out, you’ve failed miserably at your task.

In the late 80s and early 90s we had a place near Grand Central (where many restaurants aimed at Japanese businesspeople were located) named Chibo that specialized in okonomiyaki. The address was 7 East 44th Street, and the room was high ceilinged and relentlessly dark brown, maybe mimicking the color of the pancake. Each of the dozen or so tables had an electric burner and a flat teppan griddle. Japanese patrons were allowed to cook the pancakes themselves, but Westerners ignominiously had to let the waitresses cook their okonomiyaki for them. These gals mixed in the ingredients, poured the pancakes, and kept complete control of the spatulas at all times, taking them along when they left the table.



19 Essential Detroit Coffee Bars – Eater Detroit

Whether it’s a bottle of cold brew, a pour over, or plain old cup of drip, Detroit cafes have you covered. Many companies are trending towards micro roasting or source from local wholesalers and a few even offer coffee classes. Here find a comprehensive survey of Detroit’s many divine cafes — both new and venerable — below 8 Mile.



Ivan Ramen’s Cold Noodle Tonkotsu Is a Good Reason to Quit Ippudo – Eater NY

There are many light styles of soup. Tonkotsu isn’t one of them. Everything that’s been strained out of your fancy French consomme – fat, calcium, and marrow – is emulsified into your tonkotsu. This explains why it has the texture of silk and looks like a lard-infused latte; fat rises to the surface like globules of edible Elmer’s Glue. And against all odds, its popularity can reach Cronut-like levels; New Yorkers will queue up at Ippudo for the delicacy in June, a sign of coming cardiac apocalypse and a rebuke to our collective notion of seasonality.

Now don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against hot soup in the warmer months. But there has to be a limit, and tonkotsu, depending on how it’s made, can evoke a fettuccine alfredo over cream of mushroom soup. Lucky for us, Ivan Ramen’s founder has these problems solved, and he’s put tonkotsu on his July menu to prove it.

“Tonkotsu has always made my stomach do a little bit of a flip flop,” Ivan Orkin tells me via phone from Tokyo. He’s the Long Island guy who rose to fame selling ramen in Japan before taking New York by storm in late 2013. The Orkin style of ramen is largely clean and clear; the chef is known for his double soups that are half-dashi, half-chicken broth. And he’s largely steered clear of pure tonkotsu. “It always made me a little bit sleepy. It was always a little too heavy for me as a regular style.”



15 Los Angeles Korean Noodle Dishes That’ll Make You Forget About Ramen – Eater LA

Yes, barbecue gets all the shine in Korean cuisine. But what about lunch? You’re not going to do three rounds of marinated wang kalbi and take advantage of the “buy 12 bottles of soju and get the 13th ‘service'” deal on a weekday afternoon, are you?

That’s where Korean noodles come in. They’re fast, they’re delicious, and won’t get you fired for stumbling into the office drunk. Korean cuisine has elevated the humble noodle in unique ways, set apart from your greasy stir-fries and unctuous pork broths. To experience Korean noodles is to engage with a staggering breadth of flavors, from the sweet umami in a bowl of Korean Chinese jajangmyeon (black soybean paste noodles), to the spicy bouillabaisse of a jjampong, to savory, steaming kalguksu (knife-cut noodles in clear broth) and beyond.

After reading up and eating up at some of these noodle spots, you can finally be that person in the group who says (with a touch of indignation): “You know there’s more to Korean food than grilled meat and alcohol, right?” And then you’d be right — for the most part.


See the list here