#1 lesson learned from the Ramen Marathon: NO ONE agrees on what makes a good bowl of ramen. This must be true about all food, but I thought there would be little more of a consensus? My cousin, a Tokyo native and ramen aficionado, told me that ramen has to meet three standards to be considered good quality:
1. The noodles must be firm.
2. The soup must be hot.
3. The soup must be strongly flavored.
I stand by his teachings while adding one more requirement:
4. The egg must be soft-cooked and marinated well.
Plus, I have other personal preferences: I like the yellow wavy noodles over the white straight kind, and as an assari ramen person, I’m generally not a tonkotsu fan. But I found, to my surprise, that plenty of my fellow marathoners wouldn’t agree with me on any of the above points. For example, Jenne and I were happy about al dente noodles, while other reviewers deemed them too crunchy.
Next goal (which we may or may not get to): We hope to create a flowchart to help San Diegans choose a restaurant based on their preferred ramen flavor profile!
It’s not fair, you might say, that each restaurant was reviewed by a different number of eaters, according to who was available that day. For those who might object to this uneven methodology, we present to you: The Ramen Core Results & Rankings! The Ramen Core is our group of reviewers who tried all 10 restaurants during our June Marathon. There are four of us: Jayzee, Jenne, Laura, and me. (I now think of us as the Ramen Core Four.)
Ah, but the only thing constant on Convoy is change. It’s been two years since we visited our favorite street with any regularity. In this time, we have bid farewell to a good many restaurants, and now in their place, we have a whole line of new spots to try.
And so we resurrect our old quest and begin anew, in order by location from Clairemont Mesa to Aero and back again. We went on a scouting mission to locate target restaurants we have yet to conquer, and here are our findings: Continue reading →
This year our rule was that we could only order ONE dish at each restaurant. We could order as many as we wanted, but only that one favorite thing. As you might expect, this was a bit awkward at times…we got some funny looks and some side-eye, and the server at Original Pancake House still remembered me months later! (And believe me, they see a LOT of people.)