Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

This is totally unrelated, but has anyone else been obsessed with Serial recently? I wanted to listen to it for a while now, and finally I found some time to, on my long bus ride home. It’s excellent story telling. I am halfway through the series and grossly captivated. Highly recommend!

I can’t think of a logical transition here, so I’m just going to abruptly change topics.

There seems to be a lot of quality food courts popping up all over New York from Hudson Eats to Gotham West Market. My friend and I went to check out Gotham West Market, which was quite the commitment to make because it is so far from any semblance of a subway stop. All the way out on 11th Ave, only the bus would take you there, and waiting for the bus out in the cold is miserable business. We held true though and trekked our way to the wild wild west.

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This is not your typical suburban shopping mall food court, dominated by your Sbarro’s and Panda Express. The inspiration for Gotham West Market comes from the food markets more typically found in Europe and Asia, and I love how they’ve translated that into a version fit for New York. It’s an innovative use of public space, and I hope to see more similar business ventures springing up across the city.

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The interior was very cool and industrial, with 8 different food vendors from Blue Bottle Coffee to The Cannibal. The vendors are varied in the types of food served but all delivering food at a certain level of quality. There is plenty of seating both at tables and along the bars.

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Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is a popular choice. Ivan Orkin is probably the only white guy to have made a name for himself in Japan for making ramen. After spending a number of years in Japan and opening up 2 wildly popular ramen shops, he came back to New York, and this Gotham West Market outpost is his first restaurant in the United States. He has since opened up the flagship Ivan Ramen in Lower East Side, which I still have to go check out.

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On this particular day, Ivan was there, and we actually met him and chatted with him for a bit. He told us how the menu right now is pretty basic, and how he wants to amp it up to include more creative dishes, but he figures he’ll ease New Yorkers into it slowly. I admit that I was kind of starstruck. He also gave us recommendations and even took our order! Here, I have the shoyu ramen, made of a dashi and chicken broth. I added an egg as well. The broth is full-bodied and rich, and the rye noodles are cooked just right. I typically find all ramen to be way too salty for my taste, and though that is still the case here, this is ranking as one of my favorite shoyu ramens in the city.

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This is the vegetarian shoyu ramen, which for having a vegetarian broth, surprised me in how flavorful it was. The enoki mushrooms are a really nice touch as well that I wish were also in the regular shoyu ramen.

If you’re ever in need of a long trek to the far west side or if you find yourself out on 11th Ave for some reason, consider Gotham West Market as a food stop. Over the summer, Jeni’s Ice Cream had a stand in there as well for really expensive but amazing ice cream. Not sure if they’re still there or if it was just a pop-up, but you can tell that each vendor is serving really quality food. I don’t think you can go wrong with any choice there.

Ivan Ramen
Gotham West Market
600 11th Ave (btw 44th and 45th St) New York, NY 10036

Paris Baguette

Happy New Year!

Here is something sweet to wish everyone a sweet sweet 2014, filled with love and laughter.

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Paris Baguette’s strawberry shortcake is super light and fluffy. Layers of cake and whipped cream with slices of strawberries in between make a lovely dessert that hits just the right amount of sweetness. Not too cloying, and it satisfies that dessert craving.

Paris Baguette
6 W. 32nd St (btw 5th & Broadway) New York, NY 10001