Friday, June 01, 2012

Guess how I felt about Kinton Ramen.

Just guess.  I LOVED IT.  Quelle surprise.  The space is beautiful - a long, skinny, wood infused room with a long standing bar (with bar stools), a long counter, a teeny tiny table at the back.  All the tables are VERY communal.  I think the Guu crew design their furniture for sylph-like Asians and not burly North Americans.

When I arrived at the restaurant just after 6pm, the Dotytron was parking the car and luckily the hostess deigned to seat me at the last remaining two spots at the standing bar.  The Dotytron arrived within 4 minutes so it was okay.  By 6:15pm, there was a whole restaurant's worth of people waiting in line.  Another good sign?  Not a single Caucasian in sight.  It was all Asian people as far as the eye could see.  I really, truly believe that only Asians know how to really eat, in an omnivorous way.  Other cultures also privilege food, but Asians eat widely without fear or prejudice and that's the hallmark of a good eater.

Now let's get down to brass tacks.  We ordered the gyoza, which were delicate, small, and a bit of a gouge at $4 for the portion.  We had the karaage (fried chicken), spicy, which was light and crunch in the Korean fried chicken style.  Did I tell you that I recently tried Korean chicken by way of Home of Hot Taste?  We had the original and the spicy.  Here's what differentiates Korean fried chicken from your more readily available, Western iterations: the entire chicken is cut up into smaller pieces (so you don't get a breast piece, it's all roughly 2" pieces of chicken), it is coated in some kind of light (rice?) flour which results in a very thin, crispy coating.  The chicken is way less greasy and it's often tossed with spices/sauce afterwards.  It's kind of like a bar food.  At Home of Hot Taste the spicy had KICK!  It was a sweet-spicy type of tacky sauce.  It was good.  The standard-bearer of Korean fried chicken is the Bonchon chain.  I'm trying to convince SMckay's FroYo King to go in on a franchise.  It would be murderation.  Maybe I can talk to MHui's hubby?

The Dotytron ordered the spicy garlic ramen with pork shoulder and I had the Kinton ramen, shio style, with extra pork (I chose belly).  You choose your broth type (miso, shio [sea salt], shoyu [soy]) then you decide whether you want your broth regular (where they thwack pork back fat through a sieve onto the broth) or light (sans pork back fat thwack) and then you pick whether you want kinton pork shoulder or kinton pork belly.  Simple.  The broth is full-flavoured and the ramen is exemplary.  Unlike Kenzo, here the ramen is thick, chewy, al dente.  Very satisfying mouth feel.  It comes with the de rigeur runny boiled egg.  It is delicious.  The broth was a touch salty for my liking, but it's a small quibble (find me a ramen place where the broth isn't salty!).  I would definitely go back.

In fact, when my Discerning Coyote friend bailed on me for lunch today, I DID go back with MHui.  This time I tried the shoyu ramen and we had the tofufurai, which are little tofu nuggets served with a sweet-spicy-mayo sauce.  Delicious!  So I was basically there twice in less than 24 hours, which means I should have just slept there.

We were going to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi but then we realized that a quiet little documentary about a monastic sushi-maker would play just as well on our small screen and that we'd get a better ROI with a big screen rock'em sock'em summer tent pole feature.  Now, as you may or may not be aware, I grew up in a pop culture obsessed family (my siblings).  From a very young age, when I was dragged to see Ishtar in the theatre, movies have been near and dear to my heart.  So while I enjoy the highbrow as much as the next person, summer for me is always about the blockbuster summer tent pole movie.  As one of those, The Avengers doesn't disappoint.  As a child weaned on Voltron, G.I. Joe, Thundercats and the like, I, like many of my generation (and anyone with a beating heart, really), love a good story about ragtag misfits banding together against a common good.  My favorite kind of movie montage?  When a ragtag group of underdogs start preparing for a siege (see: montage in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves).  The Avengers brings together a bunch of Marvel superheroes to fight against Thor's bro, Loki, who is in possession of this glowing cube thing that is a crazy source of power (see: Transformers).  Anyway, the main point of this film is that it is written and directed by Joss Whedon and you are either one of the members of the smart-geek crew who deify Whedon as a god, or you're not.  If you're not, then I feel sorry for you, because Whedon is a genius.  The movie was funny, hit all the right marks, and gave us an awesome Hulk (finally!).  The movie is a touch long, but when you're bringing together 6 heroes under one umbrella, it's gonna be hard to do quickly.  A full half of the movie is spent bringing everyone together and getting them up to speed.  I wasn't a fan of the use of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Phil as a major plot device, and I thought Cobie Smulder's acting was off and her role was dumb.  Otherwise, it had classic Whedon moments of levity.  He's a master of tone, that one.  Go see this!

No sooner had I vowed that my summer wardrobe was done then I was notified that a dress I had fallen in love with on Modcloth was back in stock.  So I bought it.  It was pretty inexpensive ($50?) and it came quickly and I didn't get ganked on customs, which was nice.

Here's the thing though - LOOK AT THAT DRESS!  It's perfect!  It's so flattering - the included belt makes everyone look skinny and the shape up top hides all the stuff you want to hide but accentuates the stuff you want to accentuate.  I love the ikat pattern and it's good for work or paired with skinny jeans and flats or a jean jacket for after work.  It's ladylike but still fresh.  Love it!!!

Softball got cancelled tonight, which is a blessing in disguise.  We had hotdogs and KD for dinner.  I fully intend to be sleeping by like, 9:00pm tonight and I'm near giddy with excitement at the prospect.

I've attached the recipe for the slow-cooker Thai coconut curry soup because it was so darn good.


Thai Coconut Curry Soup
serves 4-6

2 cans coconut milk
1 L. chicken stock
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package (or 2 T) Thai yellow coconut curry paste (the one I bought came in a little foil packet like what powdered Swiss Chalet gravy comes in and we bought it at T&T.  It was a single-use portion to make enough curry for 4 people)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into slices
2 stalks of lemongrass, bashed and bruised with a knife
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
10 lime leaves, torn into pieces
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 c. of bean sprouts, washed
1/2 package of rice stick noodles, the thin kind
1 red pepper, cut into 1" pieces

- put everything up until the rice noodles into a slow cooker, put the lid on, and simmer on low all day while you're at work.
- when you get home, crank the heat to high and put in the bean sprouts, the rice noodles, and the red pepper and stir it around.  Put the lid back on and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the rice noodles are cooked through.
- season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.  You can loosen with additional chicken broth or water, if you like.

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