Ramen Season

in Eating, Food, Fooding With Friends, September 24, 2018
Nothing is more lit than a Ramen shop where a dude with socks and sandals waits outside.

Since autumn took over, my life has gone from one kind of busy to another. As short film season slowed, my social life picked up. All the stupidly driven and talented people I met while working on the numerous indie films over the summer had turned from film set buddies to real life buddies. And what do real life buddies do?

We eat.

Welcome to the new category in my blog — Fooding With Friends, where I learn now to socialize while stuffing my face.

Ramen Danbo, Kitsilano

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a line outside of Ramen Danbo, rain or shine. I never thought I would ever stand in that line until Jaymee adamantly advocated for it. It was that kind of day when ramen made sense. Chilly, soggy, grey. Nothing like a brothy hot bowl of ramen to really warm our cold dead hearts.

We put our name on the mile long waiting list and went for a walk. Poor Jaymee started spacing out, slurring her words, losing her train of thought as we aimlessly browsed shops around the area. She was hungry. Understandably so — the waiting list was about 40 minutes long, and we had been walking from camera store to camera store for hours.

Collin had texted me and said he was leaving work, and could join us on our ramen binge, but as he said he was about 5 minutes away, our name was called. Ramen Danbo laid the smack down on us — we only wrote party of 2 on the waiting list, so Collin couldn’t join us in the snug tiny space. And the worst of all, they did not allow take away.

Sorry Collin, Ramen Danbo doesn’t fuck around.

Meanwhile, Jaymee’s eyes were aglow with hope.

Wake me up inside~ Call my name and save me from the dark~

The Ramen

There were a lot of options at Ramen Danbo — you can customize just about everything. Noodle thickness and firmness, broth thickness and richness, and the amount of umami sauce (I personally went with the ‘a lot’ option. Good option!) Jaymee the vegetarian had a lot of things to choose from. But don’t ask me, I tunnel visioned as soon as I saw the word ‘chashu’ — braised pork belly.

Friendship bowls! When vegetarian (left) meets porkbellytarian (right.)

Aside from the basic bowl broth-noodles-chashu, there were ample add-ons available. I went with soft boiled egg and pickled vegetables while Jaymee went for the same, but with more seaweed. Her bowl looked like a beautifully cultivated garden. Mine looked like an artistic carnivore’s chop shop soup.

Bratty millennials and their excessive food photos.

The Taste

I won’t lie, I struggled with this post. Ramen is a difficult topic for me because… well… I don’t eat noodles. There it is, my dirty confession: I don’t actually like noodles.

So, what was the point of going to a ramen shop??

Ok, just because I don’t eat the central ingredient doesn’t mean I can’t eat around it. In fact, I see ramen as any tropey movie with your totally average totally boring straight white male protagonist — the supporting characters are always  more interesting.

A sexy close up, not a single nood to be seen.

The broth, the eggs, and oh my my, that chashu. The flavors were amazing and mixed together incredibly well. Who needs noods?! Ah yes Jaymee, Jaymee like your normal carb eating human, definitely liked the noodles.

Our verdict of Ramen Danbo ramen? Unanimously, we decided the pickled vegetables tipped the balance on the sodium. They were too salty. Maybe we didn’t mix it in well enough, maybe we didn’t realize we needed to mix them in… If we had half the amount of pickled veggies in our bowls, it would have been fine.

But that was just a small nit-pick(le.) Everything else was good. While I wouldn’t wait 40 minutes again, I was happy we went so I could taste what the hype was all about. If I could sum up Ramen Danbo in one word, it would be, ‘harmonious.’ The flavors and texture were customizable, so mine was just right.

Brain has been rebooted after ramen fuel was administered.

The Company

The whole reason we went to Ramen Danbo was because we were window shopping for cameras after Jaymee’s office was broken into, and her camera stolen (THOSE BASTARDS!) After going to two camera stores in the area, I think I was pretty convinced that the Sony A7 was the right choice for her — a workaholic, highly driven filmmaker/actress eager and willing to learn some videography, and will probably need a camera powerful enough to shoot short films with. Unfortunately, that hot little camera is in high demand and there was a wait list for it at both locations (it seemed to be a day full of wait lists!) While she didn’t walk away with a camera, I got some pretty good ramen with extremely good company complete with creative ideas. My favorite kind of lunch, to be quite honest.

As for Collin, we took him to get coffee and donuts.

Tags: ,