By this point I think I've proven that I'm passionate about ramen. My time in NYC has given me plenty of opportunities to learn what I love and what makes a great bowl. So now that I'm spending most of my time in Silicon Valley, there's no reason not to hunt for that perfect bowl out here as well. Since I'm working in Sunnyvale and Mountain View is a short eight minute drive from the office, that always seems like an obvious and easy choice for a post-work meal. Feeling a bit ill and in need of a great bowl of curative soup, I decided to find a good ramen joint in town. After a bit of research, I decided on a shop called Maru Ichi which sounded like it would serve exactly what I needed.
*Editor's Note 10/23/15: Best of Thai Noodle is under new ownership and is for some reason rebranding as Hippie Thai Street Food, presumably with a similar menu. Only time will tell if the food is the same. In the vibrant, artsy, dirty hippie-filled San Francisco neighborhood of Haight Ashbury, amongst the many clothing and bong shops, there are many dining options. Wading through the good and the bad isn't always an easy task, but I found a wholly unnoticed gem of a lunch spot called Best of Thai Noodle hidden in plain sight right on the main drag. It was a fairly small restaurant by Californian standards, but still had a tall, lofty ceiling and a big kitchen with fiery flaming woks open to the dining area. With just one glance at that wok setup and inferno, I knew this was gonna be great.
Located on a strange, dirty, vacant segment of town somewhere between NoHo, Nolita, and the Bowery you'll find the bright, orange signage for Cocoron. Inside, you'll find some of the cleanest, most comforting food in NY that'll leave you feeling fresh and healthy after. Inside is a tiny, bustling shop with two-tops, a communal table, and noodle bar seating. Despite the rapid turnover in the shop it's still quite a nice experience that would be good enough to work as a casual, low-key date night or a cheap eats cold-weather lunch.
For some reason, the East Village has like 30 ramen joints and the West Village has almost none. With that being said, when a new place opens up in the neighborhood, I get excited. One day, while walking up West 4th Street I noticed the spot that had once housed a nice sushi restaurant had closed and reopened as a ramen shop called Ramen Ya. I knew I'd have to check it out to see how it ranked within the competitive NYC ramen landscape.
On these stingingly cold winter days we've been experiencing, there's nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of noodle soup. So if you want the best, you should head over to Lam Zhou in the lower east reaches of Chinatown. There's not a lot going on in this remote corner beside Lam Zhou, though one could argue that Lam Zhou itself isn't a whole lot.