random weekend stuff

i would’ve posted this last week, but the poolSynergy article had to go live on the 15th, so apologies for the delay.

had a really good practice couple of weekends ago.  don’t know why it was so great, but i haven’t had that much fun in a while.  i was even able to stop myself and leave when everything was great, something i rarely do.  even better, i was able to help an acquaintance i know.  i gave him a couple of tips he could use to improve his stroke.  he saw an immediate improvement after trying out my two pointers.  not trying to brag, but it was enormously satisfying, perhaps more so than my practice.  seeing the dude practicing, drilling, and working up a sweat was wonderful to watch.  so many times where i get into an discussion of pool techniques, and watch the guy basically ignore/dismiss my pointer(s) with no meaningful reason but pride or stubbornness, it’s refreshing to see someone who would listen, think, try, and absorb the information.  i’m not here to say that my pointers are so valuable that people should instantly embrace them–absolutely not.  (in fact, you’d be a fool if you do that with anyone’s advice.)  i AM saying that if you don’t want my pointers, don’t ask for them; asking for tips/pointers from someone then completely ignore them right in front of that person is just plain rude.  in this case however, i’m glad to say my tips were not given in vain.  i’m no pool instructor, but i can see why a person would want to teach: to witness these moments when someone breaks through the bottleneck after absorbing your advice.  very neat.  🙂

speaking of ignoring usable information, ck was once again there.  and by some cosmic coincidence, he played right next to my table.  anyhow, ck practiced by himself this time.  although no outbursts, you could still hear him mutter to himself after the many missed shots.  i wonder if his angry explosions only happen when he plays with someone else; seems to me that when ck practices alone, he doesn’t have those insane blow-ups.  maybe that’s the key to shutting him up.

since i had so much fun practicing, i decided to cap off the day by getting some ramen to feed my hungry belly.  i decided on asa ramen.  (they don’t have a website, so i’m linking this to yelp.)  i’ve heard about this place by chance; i got to talking with some folks and they recommended this restaurant to me.  this is your typical tiny hole-in-the-wall type of japanese ramen joint; in asa’s case, they define tiny by leaving enough space for about 15 diners.  this is including the counter seats.  like i said, tiny.

i had decided on just the regular ramen, until i saw the word “special” on the wall.

knowing zero japanese, i asked the waitress what that meant.  she told me it’s the special black ramen.  what the . . .

upon further questioning, she told me it’s the regular ramen with a special sauce.  the sauce was made with garlic and “oil from the pig”.  my brain translated that as garlic-infused pork fat.  why, yes please.  two ladles of that special sauce, if you would.  she also told me it’s limited to 10 bowls a day.  well now!  i also asked for the egg, which cost extra.  the resulting dreadnought looked like this:

i have to say that this is the heaviest-tasting ramen i’ve ever eaten so far.  this bowl was the gastronomical equivalent of running into a brick wall.  there seemed to be so much of the garlic flavor infused into that special sauce.  then you add the pork fat, the soup base . . . i’ve no doubt the ramen was heavy, but it was also heavy-tasting.  the flavor was thick, salty, and oily, a taste that could easily overwhelm those who were used to lighter dishes.  the noodle was done al dente, so that was good.  interestingly, although there seemed to be so much garlic flavor, it didn’t taste as overbearing as you’d think.  the special sauce tasted of roasted garlic, so it was a mellow garlic flavor, not the usual pungent taste of raw garlic.  nevertheless, a lot of mellow roasted garlic flavor still tasted like a lot of roasted garlic.  (yes, i stank like a mofo afterward.)  if you like lots of stinking rose in your dish, this ramen is definitely for you.

i also heard that asa did a really good takoyaki, so i ordered the regular one.  (they make it with many different flavors.)  people weren’t kidding when they said the takoyaki was really good here.  below is a super crappy video of the thing.  pardon the poor video quality; it’s my very first video i uploaded.  i thought of not using youtube, but with so many smart phones shipped with built-in youtube app, i decided to stick with the old standby.  ignore the background music; i’ve no idea what the restaurant was playing that day.

that’s one of my favorite things to watch: dancing bonito flakes under heat.  the outside of the takoyaki was chewy, and the center was totally creamy, with little chunks of octopus (calamari?) inside.  that dish blew me away, and i’ve had many takoyakis before.  when all were eaten, the waitress presented me with this little ditty:

a bowl of ramen, an order of takoyaki, plus iced tea came out around $19 before tip.  (the ot is oolong tea with refills.)  definitely not cheap eats.  in fact, i’d call it expensive.  ramen to me should be affordable and delicious; although asa was delicious, it was not affordable in my opinion.  but i think if you only ordered the regular ramen, you’d be okay.  anyway, i’ll probably go back to try their other stuff.  a noteworthy part of asa: they open until 2am.  late night food fanatics take note.

tv-wise, i’ve watched some new shows and came away pleasantly surprised.  since i like cops ‘n robbers shows, i checked out rizzoli and isles, covert affairs, and memphis beat.  i went away liking all three shows, kind of rare for me.  for now i’m recording these guys.  i’m also glad to see that burn notice and royal pains both got renewed for another season.  my tv fixes seemed to be set for now.

last but not least, i’ve had a blast watching those old spice commercials.  below are some faves.

until next time.

5 comments on “random weekend stuff

  1. Damn, the “special black ramen” dish looks fattening. I wonder how many calories that dish is alone. But who’s counting.

    You’re like me, I love eggs on everything. Even at a salad bar, I’ll grab a whole egg, and as you know, restaurants / supermarkets charge an arm an a leg if they need to boil it.

    Even though the meal was pricey, I bet it was very satisfying.

    • i’m sure the ramen was fattening, but it also tasted like it. i guess the best way i can describe the flavor is like eating a huge mouthful of roasted garlic in one bite. plus the pork fat, the soup . . . the thing tasted heavy & fattening. it was pretty good though; not sure if i’d order the same thing next time. the egg was good; it’s that semi-runny egg typically served at ramen restaurants. overall a pretty fun weekend for me. 🙂

      • Yummy… those flavors are up my alley, especially the garlic. I wonder what the japanese name of that ramen dish is, maybe they have it over here…

        • the name of the dish is in the first pic of this post. unfortunately i’ve no idea what it means or how to pronounce it. 😦 if u have japanese friends maybe they can translate for you.

        • i dug around and found that asa serves the kotteri ramen, a pork bone-based soup stock from what i could find. that’d be their regular ramen. so i guess they combine this kotteri stock with that special sauce.

          found a pic of a different kind of black ramen online; it’s from a shop in nyc. the pic is the very bottom one; check it out.

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