Sad News (and Some Consolations)

March 24th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Shibumi Ramenya, the delightful ramen and izakaya restaurant, has closed. The uncompromising chef Eric Stapelman is moving the operation from Santa Fe to Seattle. HG will miss the tonkatsu pork ramen and the cod fritters. HG thinks Seattle will enjoy Stapelman, a true original, and his cuisine. There is some consolation for Santa Fe lovers of Japanese cuisine. Izanami, a new restaurant, has opened at the beautiful Ten Thousand Waves resort. Have not sampled the food yet but the menu (no sushi but a variety of izakaya type dishes) is appealing. HG’s standby, Shohko Cafe, continues to serve scintillating tempura, eel and soba. The age tofu, a miracle of crispness and succulence, is the best HG has ever tasted. Talin, the international grocer, has a ramen bar. But, real excellence is provided by a Chinese pop-up there. Open only on Monday, a Chinese family serves great dumplings and a huge bowl of dan dan noodles (this is really a tasty combo of traditional dan dan with mopu tofu). Ask for the milder condiments. The hot ones are numbing. HG will have to wait until April to taste ultimate Japanese cuisine. That’s when SJ, Exquisite Maiko, handsome Haru and adorable Teru arrive for a New Mexico visit. With EM in the kitchen, miraculous gyoza, curry and ethereal fish dishes are in HG’s gourmandizing future.


HG’s Eccentric Taste Treats

November 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s go-to lunch (when HG isn’t eating sumptuously at El Parasol, Sopaipilla Factory, Tune Up Cafe, Shokho Cafe, Shibumi Ramenya, The Talin Market or any of the other good noshing places in the Santa Fe area) is a big bowl of Spicy Flavor Saymyang Ramen, a hearty Korean, instant-noodle soup. HG orders it by the carton from H-Mart, the Korean online grocer. Some weeks ago, HG learned that Korean immigrants in Los Angeles often served their hungry kids packaged ramen topped with slices of American cheese. Sounds strange but HG gave it a try with some aged cheddar and gouda. Really good. (Purists like SJ and Exquisite Maiko might turn up their noses but HG finds the cheesy addition yummy). HG also likes another bit of culinary eccentricity. The oldster often accompanies the remains of dinner red wine with peanut butter and peach (or mirabelle) jam on a few crisp Keebler’s Club Crackers. Oenophiles would be shocked.

Samyang Spicy Ramen

Santa Fe Dining Musts

September 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Santa Fe seems to have more restaurants per capita than any place in the West. A very wide range from the pretentious and pricey to the down home and cheap. Permanent population is small but when the legislature is operating there is a deluge of politicos, lawyers, lobbyists, etc. And, of course, there are the omnipresent tourists. Once more a wide range: Dusty drifters, plain folks, multi-millionaire art collectors — and everything in between.

HG is often asked for dining advice in “The City Different.” Here are some must-visit spots that HG has posted about previously: 12 minutes north of Santa Fe in Pojaque is El Parasol and O’ Eating House. El Parasol is where the Latino folks eat and it is homey, cheap, delicious. Real Northern New Mexico cooking. Do not miss the green chile menudo and the chicken tacos. O’ serves sophisticated Italian food and creative, thin-crusted pizzas. In Santa Fe, go to Tia Sophia’s for Tex-Mex food, Jambo Cafe for Caribbean and African food, Tune Up (a real neighborhood hangout) for a great breakfast burrito smothered in green chile sauce. Tune Up also has wonderful pies and cakes (so save room). Shohko Cafe has surprisingly good sushi and crisp, light tempura. HG’s favorite New Mexico chef, Eric Stapelman, has two wonderful places: Shibumi Ramenya (ramen and Japanese izakaya dishes) and Trattoria Nostrani (sophisticated Italian food and splendid wines). Be forewarned: Eric runs fragrance-free restaurants so omit perfume and cologne. HG;s luncheon favorite is The Compound on gallery-lined Canyon Road. Do not miss the chicken schnitzel with caper sauce. Bon appeit!!

Great Japanese Lunch At Shibumi Ramenya

April 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Its true: Santa Fe doesn’t immediately pop up when thinking about Japanese food. While you do find a lot of New Mexico chili peppers, there’s also very good Japanese (and Italian) food available. HG’s favorite for sushi, sashimi and tempura is the very good Shohko Cafe. But, for delightful creativity and outstanding ramen and izakaya-style food, Shibumi Ramenya is the place. Here’s the lunch HG and Gifted AR, HG’s granddaughter, had recently. Started with a delightful burdock and carrot salad — slivers of burdock root and carrot sprinkled with sesame seeds and spiked with some fiery sesame oil. Healthy and delicious. Then, spicy pork gyoza, which, for some reason, reminded HG of the beef stuffed kreplach that HG’s Mom used to craft. Be assured, Shibumi’s very unkosher gyoza are better. Followed by big bowls of Tonkotsu ramen soup with springy noodles and melt-in-your-mouth slices of korubata pork. And, then the perfect dessert of strawberries and blackberries with custard and jam. Heaven. Will soon be back to sip superb sake and browse through the array of small plates utilizing the grill (yakitori) and the fryer (tempura). Must try the barbeque pork belly with eggplant; the cod and potato croquettes; the chicken yakitori and many other mouth watering plates. It’s all a tribute to chef/owner Eric Stapelman, a man totally dedicated to freshness and flavor. Before lunch, Eric gave HG and AR a tour of his back yard garden where he’s growing his own tomatoes, greens and herbs. From the garden to the plate with a touch of magic. That’s what Stapelman and Shibumi are all about.

International Santa Fe

November 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Two cliches that should be buried: You can eat well in London if you only eat breakfast and you can eat well in Santa Fe if you only eat burritos. Okay, English breakfasts are great if you hold off on the tinned mushrooms and beans and burritos smothered in green chili are a blessing. But, London is now one of the world’s great food cities, on a par with New York (better than New York for Indian food, not as good as New York for Chinese dining). And, Santa Fe, though resolutely New Mexican, offers the eater a wide variety of exceptional international food treats.

Jambo Cafe, located in a strip mall on busy Cerrillos Road, is an HG favorite. Chef-owner Ahmed Obo offers a distinctive Afro-Caribbean cuisine. On a chilly afternoon this week, HG warmed body and soul with Jambo’s “Island Spice Coconut Peanut Stew.” Flanked by a plate of fluffy jasmine rice, this was big bowl of layered flavors. There was plenty of heat (Jalapeno or Scotch Bonnet peppers?) gentled by coconut milk and chicken stock. The peanuts gave the stew a Szechuan Tan-Tan noodle zing. The chunks of chicken in the stew had a juicy, free range taste. There were some halved cherry tomatoes in the stew and it was topped with grilled scallions. A super generous portion designed for all day nourishment. There are other great stews at Jambo — goat stew reminiscent of Jamaica, East African lentil stew, Moroccan lamb stew. There’s jerk chicken, plantains, lamb burgers, hummus — cooking that hops and skips from the Maghreb to Eastern and Southern Africa and over the seas to Caribbean islands. Everything is assertively spiced and served by charming wait persons in a very busy, casual room.

Other Santa Fe destinations for the discerning internationalist: Eric Stapelman’s Shibumi Ramen Ya for outstanding ramen and small plate izakaya treats; plus his adjacent restaurant, Trattoria Nostrani for sophisticated and creative Italian cuisine. Another good Italian bet is Steve Lemon’s “O” Eating House, located a short drive north of town (HG has written about it often). There’s Shohko Cafe for wonderful sushi and tempura, La Boca for Spanish tapas, New York Deli for bagels and bialys and Geronimo, for classic cuisine in the elegant European style. Raaga is the spot for Indian food (whole curry leaves enliven a number of dishes). Nile Cafe has good middle eastern fare and Pupuseria y Restaurante Salvadoreno fills its customers up with hearty pupusas (like tamales but more robust).

Lots of good international dining. But, don’t skip burritos and green chili.

and green chili.

Down Home Dining In New Mexico

June 19th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

HG has long discovered that even the most humble of restaurants (excepting the very worst) have something that they do wonderfully. And, that’s the way it is in Jacona, HG’s New Mexico neighborhood some 15 minutes north of Santa Fe. There’s El Parasol for a wonderfully soothing and earthy menudo. Gabriel’s for the ultimate mixed-at-the-table guacamole. Sopapilla Factory for (you guessed it) sopapillas ( they also do a giant chicken burrito smothered in green chile and a killer bowl of charro beans). All eateries are located on Highway 84/285.

HG never eats New Mexican food in Santa Fe. Too touristy. Santa Fe is HG’s venue for Japanese food: Shohko Cafe for sushi and tempura and Shibumi for Ramen.

On a cross cultural note. Last time HG was in Sopaipilla Factory, HG saw a large gent in a turban, long cloaks, etc, digging into an appetizing and spicy
platter. HG made inquiry. Sikh gent replied: “Tofu carnitas in red chile sauce”).

Santa Fe Evening: Exciting Art And Food

June 1st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG and BSK enjoyed the perfect Santa Fe evening. Following a day of intense, blue sky and golden sunshine, HG and BSK went to the William Siegal Gallery for the showing of the paintings of Jane Cook. Indebted to the legacy of the action wing of the abstract expressionist movement, the physicality of Cook’s paintings yield to an immediate visual pleasure; yet, beneath the grand gestures, there is a deep, contemplative element that seems grounded by and inspired by nature.

Art encourages appetite so HG and BSK joined Colorado friends for dinner at Eric Stapelman’s Shibumi Ramenya, a lovely, small restaurant that features both lusty Ramen and an Izakaya menu of small plates. Started with Izakaya: squid salad with a very light lemony dressing; cod and potato croquettes and house smoked salmon croquettes. These croquettes were fish cakes that died and went to heaven. Crisp, greaseless exterior. Fluffy, flavorful interior. Grated daikon set them off nicely. Then some Ohitashi spinach, an inventive preparation that balanced sweet and sour flavors accented with bits of raw tuna and dry bonito flakes. Tsukune ( ground chicken meatballs) grilled on wooden skewers. BSK had the special pork Ramen “Fujimaki Gekijyo”, a big bowl of the most robust flavors with hints of seemingly more than a dozen herbs and spices. Unforgettable. HG and his Colorado companions opted for Eric’s more conventional pork Ramen — a flavorful broth, juicy pork and perfect noodles all melding together for a perfect bite or slurp as it may well be; the delicate lick of pork fat in the broth lingering on our lips and mouth. Icy Kirin accompanied the feast. Only disappointment was our inability to try everything on the Izakaya menu including such delectables as bacon wrapped mochi, meatballs with leeks and corn; Steak Kusiyaki, chicken yakitori and more–much more.

HG and BSK will be back.

Many times.

Izakaya Arrives In Santa Fe

April 26th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Outside of the cuisine of Exquisite Maiko. HG’s daughter-in-law, HG’s favorite Japanese dining experience is “izakaya.” Izakaya restaurants are noisy, informal and joyous. They serve a large and eclectic variety of small plates and focus on the consumption of beer, shochu and sake.

Happily, Shibumi Ramenya in downtown Santa Fe has introduced Izakaya. Thursday night is Izakaya night at the little bistro. HG and BSK will be there. Here were some of the items on last Thursday’s izakaya menu: Cod and potato croquettes; barbeque pork rib with grilled quail egg; grilled squid; yakitori chicken; meat balls with corn in spicy yamajirushi; spinach and napa cabbage ohitashi. And more. Much more. A mug of beer or some nice, chilled sake should go nicely with this cuisine.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Shibumi Ramenya at HUNGRY GERALD.