Saturday, November 18, 2017
Cooking

From the food editor: As we get more ramen in Tampa Bay, a reminder on how to slurp

RECOMMENDED READING


It was a hot day, and I was craving an even hotter bowl of soup.

Specifically, a bowl of ramen, filled with complex shoyu broth and those signature chewy, pale yellow noodles.

I was in Tampa a few weeks ago around lunchtime, and I made my way to Ichicoro, the hip Seminole Heights restaurant that opened last year.

What followed was not a pretty sight. As a relative ramen novice, I am not yet totally skilled in the art of twirling the noodles with a pair of chopsticks in one hand, scooting them onto a large spoon with the other, scooping up some of the sumptuous broth in the process and somehow getting the whole thing into my mouth.

But with patience and tenacity, you can conquer the bowl without much experience — and it's worth it.

Just last week, a new addition to the growing Tampa Bay ramen field opened: Buya Ramen, on the 900 block of Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. The restaurant focuses on Japanese izakaya-style dining (think Japanese gastropub), featuring ramen bowls and small plate items. Times correspondent Carlynn Crosby was there on opening night, and in addition to trying the crispy duck ramen bowl and pork belly buns (delicious, she says), she noted the 2,500-square-foot space's exposed original architecture and Japanese charred wood walls; mai tais that came in chilled tiki glasses; and wall murals made by artist Michael Vahl.

If you're planning a visit to Buya, or any of our local ramen joints, here are some basic noodle-slurping tips I could have used at Ichicoro, courtesy of food critic Laura Reiley, who sat down with Ichicoro head chef Masa Takaru last year:

• You get a wide, often wooden spoon and a pair of chopsticks. These work in tandem: For a right-handed person, put the chopsticks in your right hand and the spoon in your left. You can pick up a few strands of noodles with the chopsticks and hold them from below with the spoon so they don't make big plops of broth everywhere as you suck them in using lung power. Then take a spoonful of broth alone.

• There's a lot of bad posture in a ramen house, everyone hunching to more effectively suck in noodles. It's also a speedy affair, maybe 10 minutes, with everyone diving in as soon as the bowl is set in front of them. As an etiquette thing, don't mix in all the toppers, eat them individually, and it's fine to put a bitten piece of pork back in the bowl.

• Once you're near the end, pick up the bowl and drink the dregs.

Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

Comments
How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

How to make a pie from scratch: filling ideas, decorating tips, crust recipes and more

Perfect your crust. Try new filling recipes. Learn some decorating tricks. And prepare for the biggest pie day of the year: Thanksgiving.   From apple to thyme You’ve got the crust down. Now it’s time to choose a filling for your holid...
Published: 11/17/17
Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

Thanksgiving 101: Everything you need to prepare for the big cooking day

From appetizers to pies and everything in between, we’re here to help you put together a low-stress Thanksgiving spread. Ideas for sidesThese recipes go beyond the traditional, with a corn casserole, Brussels sprout salad and moreSee what our food ed...
Published: 11/17/17
Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

Thanksgiving sides beyond the classics: corn casserole, Brussels sprouts salad, pecan pie carrots

There are probably a handful of essentials, things you must have on the Thanksgiving table lest some family members begin to riot. But I find there are often a couple of slots open for new things, chances to get weird or creative or, gasp, healthy. ...
Published: 11/17/17
How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

How to make solid turkey gravy before Thanksgiving Day

As far as we’re concerned, anything you can make in advance of actual Thanksgiving Day is a good thing, and this make-ahead gravy fits the bill. Plus, Tucker Shaw of America’s Test Kitchen says it tastes just as good as if you made it wi...
Published: 11/17/17
How to plan your Thanksgiving menu

How to plan your Thanksgiving menu

Planning a really good menu is the stealth approach to being a really good cook. Here are some tips from the experts. New York Times Put some thought into the menu What leaves an impression is not only the dishes you can make, but also how they t...
Published: 11/17/17
Everything you need to know to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey

Everything you need to know to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey

The turkey is the unquestioned star of the Thanksgiving meal. It can be the most daunting part as well. But with a little planning and care, it doesn’t have to be.   Before you start • A decent roasting pan, one heavy enough that it wo...
Published: 11/16/17
Taste test: prepared mashed sweet potatoes

Taste test: prepared mashed sweet potatoes

If you want to spend more time with your family and friends this holiday season and less time in the kitchen, our judges suggest serving Hormel’s mashed sweet potatoes. No need to wash, peel and heat potatoes. Just pop the container in the microwave ...
Published: 11/16/17
From the food editor: An expert weighs in on how to stay calm this Thanksgiving

From the food editor: An expert weighs in on how to stay calm this Thanksgiving

I can tell right away that Tucker Shaw has thought about Thanksgiving a lot, and not just as a home cook. As the editor in chief of Cook’s Country, a member of America’s Test Kitchen and the former dining critic and food editor at the Denver Post, Sh...
Published: 11/16/17
How to make a perfect pie crust (with recipes)

How to make a perfect pie crust (with recipes)

When I tell people I grew up in a family of pie bakers, it’s easy to imagine I’m bragging. My mother’s pies are legendary — rich, velvety custard fillings or mounded fruit pies, each cradled in an ornately decorated crust, gol...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Five ideas for meat pies

Five ideas for meat pies

Sweeney Todd ruined meat pies for me. e_SBlt For a while after seeing the famous musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in high school (and then again after watching the 2007 movie starring Johnny Depp), the thought of meat pies m...
Published: 11/15/17