Eat Drink Style Garbage Pail Food #1: Yokohama Ramen, Los Angeles

It seems like there are accolades for virtually everything. In high school, it was the “Best ________” awards. In college, students with 6.0 GPA’s were recognized and hooked up with some scholarship money to continue proper schooling. In the workplace, ass-kissing employees will get some kind of “Team Leader/Brown-noser” award. There are even awards for porn stars. How proud must the parents of those ‘actors’ and ‘actresses’ be? So the same goes with the food blogosphere. There’s the recently completed, 2005 Food Blog and Urb Awards in which some of my friends over at the site were nominated. Well, I’ve decided to create my own category. Not really an award, but more of an ongoing category commemorating some of the worst piece of shit places I’ve eaten at. Introducing…

The Garbage Pail Food Accolade

This highly coveted award is derived from those notoriously gross and humorous trading cards that were banned from schools – Garbage Pail Kids. For those that may disagree with my selections, this is all in fun and probably a huge financial loss for the unlucky eateries. But who am i anyway? It's just one person's opinion.

The first recipient of the GPF award goes to Yokohama Ramen in West Los Angeles. On Saturday, before driving off to Hollywood Hills for a catering event, I wanted to get a bowl of ramen. I drove down Sawtelle Blvd. for my usual Kinchan’s ramen. On this day, it happened to be way crowded. I didn’t have time to scour for parking, so I just took off. My friend had told me about another ramen shop over on Barrington/Gateway called Yokohama. I drove down Barrington, excited that I’d be eating at a ramen place besides the Sawtelle Trio – Asahi, Kinchan’s and Ramenya (Olympic Blvd.)

Yokohama sits at the end of an old strip mall. Looks really depressing. It’s very easy to drive by this because Gateway isn’t really that busy of an intersection. I walked in and saw about 6 out of the 12 tables occupied. Ok, not bad. Should be good. The waitress handed me an sticky and oily laminated menu – a common sign of restaurants that prefer to focus on the food rather than a clean eating environment. Wow. I perused the menu to find 21 types of ramen! Nice.

Yokohama Ramen
Kyushu Ramen
Tokyo Nori Ramen
Shio Ramen
Shoyu Ramen
Shio Ramen
Spicy Miso Ramen
Chashu Ramen…

And the prices were reasonable - $5.50 to 7 for a big bowl of noodles. So I ordered the Shoyu ramen. The waitress tried to convince me to try the #1 Yokohama special, which was ramen topped with seafood, pork and veggies. Naw. Anytime I go into a ramen shop, I wanna try the popular stuff – either shoyu or miso. You don’t go to a Vietnamese Pho restaurant and order a Banh Mi sandwich – you gotta try the pho. I also ordered some gyoza. Also on the menu, was Korean and Chinese food. Odd. Could this be one of those fake Japanese restaurants – like Kabuki, which is Korean-owned? I like Kabuki though.

10 minutes later, my food arrived. I happily rubbed my hands together and attempted to split the wooden chopsticks perfectly. Never happens. So with my retarded chopsticks and spoon, I dove into the bowl and fished out the broth. Uh oh. This wasn’t good at all. It really tasted like they added soy sauce to hot water. Did they even make their own pork stock? I then tried the noodles, which were soggy and similar in taste to Nissin packaged noodles. I then tried the cuts of spinach – they had been precooked and maybe even frozen. I could still taste old water in it. The bamboo shoots looked tasty, but had this weird smell – like it had been kept in a metal container for a long time. And finally, with one last attempt at redeeming itself as a decent bowl of ramen, I grabbed the Chashu pork slices. Ok it was tender, but there was this weird liver-like smell to the meat. Could it be somewhat rotten? I didn’t even finish this bowl of noodles. I pushed it aside and waited for my gyoza.

Before I even reached for the gyoza, I could tell they were frozen just by looking at the soggy skin. They looked like they had been sitting out under a heat lamp for a good hour before they were microwaved and dished out to the Chinese guy who just ate some really bad Shoyu ramen. Even Todai’s dumplings looked better than this. That should tell you a lot since Todai is the Asian cousin of Hometown Buffet.

There you have it. The first recipient of the GPF award. For anyone else that’s been there, I’d really like to know what you thought of their food. Again, this is all IMO.

Thanks for reading.

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