Do the Noodle Dance

Anyone remember the noodle dance from PB&J Otter? So cute!

When the iconic vintage clothing store, Someone Else’s Clothing, closed on Magnolia Blvd in NoHo, we were anxious to see what would take over the empty space. So when we got word in July of 2013 that it was going to be some kind of ramen house, we were pretty excited.

Patiently we waited… and waited… and WAITED… until FINALLY when we were on our way to Poquito Mas to grab a quick Easter Dinner, we noticed a glowing red “open” sign.

Tamashii Ramen has another location in Sherman Oaks, but since we rarely venture west of Coldwater, I can’t compare the two. The NoHo location has yet to have it’s own website though, and in comparing the menu online it looks fairly similar except for a couple Chinese/Japanese hybrid options that seem to only be at the NoHo spot.

Since Easter, we’ve been back almost once a week… sometimes twice! Our most recent visit I thought to take some pictures and do a proper write up since there really isn’t one other than Yelp reviews.

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Tamashii Ramen House is an adorable spot located in the heart of the NoHo Arts District on Magnolia between Lankershim and Vineland. It’s walking distance to the Metro Red Line and has a good amount of metered parking both on Magnolia and the side streets.

The decor is simple and rustic with a number of wooden tables and booths and some art pieces on the walls.

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Isn’t he cute? He’s covering up the kitchen/sushi bar area, but they never seem to seat anyone there; it’s used mostly as a place for extra plates right now.

No beer, wine or liquor but they do have some pretty spectacular iced green tea, as well as some colorful sodas and interesting coffee drinks. I’ve never tasted anything pictured below because I’m hooked on the tea, but I’m sure my adventurous side will come out one of these days.

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They offer a huge variety of ramen choices with a number of broth options, including different variations of pork, chicken and vegetable broths. Also on the menu are some sushi rolls, rice bowls, udon soups, a spicy noodle dish, and a variety of appetizers.

Our past couple visits, we’ve shared the Tamashii Combo for two which includes a seaweed cucumber salad, chicken wontons, pork gyoza and pork chashu ramen.

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Seaweed salad is pretty hard to mess up, but I love that it’s included. It makes me feel less bad about eating THE BEST PORK GYOZA I’VE EVER TASTED. These crispy beauties are filled with succulent ground pork and spices, wrapped up and deep fried to perfection. They’re complemented by a spicy mayo that rounds out the flavors beautifully. The chicken wontons are also delicious; steamed, not fried, they’re juicy inside with a wrapper that melts in your mouth.

Let’s talk ramen.

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The balance of flavors in each bowl of ramen is unbelievable. The soft boiled egg is creamy and amazing, and the crispy onions are perfectly paired with the salty broth.

I spoke with the head chef on one visit and he explained that each broth is cooked down for hours until the perfect taste is achieved, and it is then strained to get the proper silky texture.

So far, my favorite is the spicy miso ramen which includes both ground and braised pork in a pork miso broth topped with veggies and spicy chili paste. It has a good amount of heat and the combination of textures from the two kinds of pork is really satisfying. Plus there are vegetables among the perfectly cooked noodles, so you can pretend it’s healthy.

Runner up is the spicy tuna bowl – spicy tuna sashimi atop a bed of sushi rice with some veggies as well. It’s a HUGE portion for the price and it definitely satisfies a sushi craving.

One thing I will say is that the first couple visits it was clear some of the servers were first-timers… however, with each visit they have shown a lot of improvement and overall the service is great.

Tamashii Ramen has a a nice ambiance and is a great spot to eat whether you’re by yourself or with a big group. The price range is incredibly reasonable (around $11 for a bowl of ramen) which leaves some dollars in your pocket to hit up Brickyard for post-dinner drinks.

It definitely fills the noodle sized gap that had been present in NoHo and with a 4.5 rating on Yelp, I don’t think I’ll have to worry about it disappearing anytime soon.

Tamashii Ramen House
11024 Magnolia Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 980-2388

*Opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated for this post in any way, and have no affiliation or relationship with the businesses mentioned.

Cheese & Wine

The neighborhood of Toluca Lake is a gem. I would call it a “hidden” gem except that it is kind of smack dab in the middle of everything. It’s about halfway between NoHo and Studio City, and is home to the Trader Joe’s that the boyfriend and I frequent (and occasionally spot a B-List celeb or two at). We’ve tried a few of the restaurants on the main Riverside strip – Malbec, Soo Ra Thai, Moe’s, and my alma mater uses the Falcon Theatre for their final senior showcase. I even have a personal training client just off the main drag! Despite all of this, we don’t spend a ton of time exploring; usually just a quick in and out, on a mission. I blame this on LA’s poor walkability and lack of solid public transit. In NYC, NoHo to Toluca Lake would be one or two subway stops, or a quick bus that comes every 10-15 minutes. Here, the subway takes you all the way PAST Toluca into Universal and you’re lucky if buses run every 30 minutes. But enough griping about transit.

Normally we grocery shop on Sunday nights, but in observation of Memorial Day (and general laziness), we post-poned until last night. I had been on set all day and wasn’t fed lunch (story for another post) so I was STARVING. I noticed the Grilled Cheese Truck parked across the street and pointed it out to the boy… who suggested we have it for dinner. Sold.

Grilled Cheese Truck

I’m familiar with the truck but I hadn’t eaten anything from them until last night. The menu is solid, offering a wide variety of grilled cheese combinations on different types of bread, including a couple of sweet dessert choices, and their signature Cheesy Mac and RibMacaroni & Cheese with Sharp Cheddar, BBQ Pork, and Caramelized Onions. I had a hard time deciding between the goat cheese and brie options, but ultimately went with the Goat Cheese Melt (on Nine-Grain Bread)Herbed Goat Cheese with Roasted Butternut Squash, Cranberry-Pear Relish, and Spiced Pecans. The boy got the Mac & Rib, and we also got a half order of tater tots to share.

Grilled Cheese

My sandwich was delicious; it tasted like the Thanksgiving of my vegan days. Nutty carbs from the bread and pecans, sweet from the relish, savory from the cheese and the roasted squash tying it altogether. Swoon worthy. I tried a bite of the short rib and it was also really good. Tender meat, slightly sweet from the BBQ sauce and solid mac & cheese. The tots were spot on; crispy outside, tender in the middle with a hint of salt and just enough grease to feel “naughty.”

Now, we knew the truck wouldn’t be parked on Riverside just for the heck of it; there had to be a bar around. Sure enough, tucked between store fronts was an adorable wine spot we had never seen called Spin the Bottle.

Spin the Bottle Storefront

We wandered in while waiting for our food and were greeted by a very friendly bartender who offered us a taste of whatever we desired. The menu had a variety of options both from the bottle, and on tap (so cool!) including my favorite – Pinot Noir (this one from Banshee). I got both a taste and a full glass of it. I also tried the boy’s taste of Grenache, as well as the Syrah/Sangiovese blend that he ordered a glass of. The pinot was vibrant and juicy, and the PERFECT temperature, which I’m guessing has to do with their tap system.

Spin the Bottle Bar

Glasses ran between $8 and $14 dollars, with a flight tasting option, and some snacks as well. We drank our wine with our sandwiches… super classy. We spoke with owner Doug LaGambina a bit and he mentioned that he’s planning on bringing the Grilled Cheese truck back at least once a month this summer (perhaps twice) and will also have the Urban Oven – an artisan pizza truck.

Spin the Bottle started as a pop-up wine tasting studio, with the majority of their events taking place at Hollywood’s wood and vine. The Toluca Lake location has been open since December 2013 and has wine available for purchase, as well as a bar for tasting.

Spin the Bottle

Not having a place like this in NoHo (sadly), we certainly plan to come back, perhaps to a Tuesday Tappy Hour (wines on tap are $5/glass from 4p-7p) or a Friday Flight Night (though I can’t really figure out what this one entails other than the flight is pre-selected). Like and follow them, plus sign up for the newsletter to stay on top of all their events and specials. Especially the food trucks. Yum.

*Opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated for this post in any way, and have no affiliation or relationship with the businesses mentioned.

Super Salad

It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s….fire

Wrong superhero. Although, props to Marvel for creating so many sexy redheads.

I’m talking about a super SALAD. Or rather, a SOUPer salad.

I try to eat at least one salad a day, but with the cold weather (and now with this stupid illness) the LAST thing I want to be eating is a cold, crunchy salad.

What I want is a steaming bowl of soup. Preferably accompanied by a grilled cheese.

Unfortunately, my tummy hates regular grilled cheese, and I’m not a huge fan of the chicken-vegetable style soups out there.

I do LOVE this pepper-tomato number from Trader Joe’s though.

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Lately what I’ve taken to doing is simmering some chicken breast in it and serving THAT over my salad. The greens get wilty and delicious, the protein in the chicken satiates hunger, and the soup keeps me warm.

All you need to do is fill a shallow saucepan with 1 to 2 cups of the soup…

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Throw in your chicken breast, and head over medium until the chicken is cooked through.

Eat it up with some quinoa or use my trick and have it as a salad. I’m really loving this blend of greens right now…

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You’ll be feeling super in no time 🙂