Chapter 15 – Shalala

For the entire week, I was reading “Pour Your Heart Into It” by Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks. I wanted to pick his brain on how to build a successful business, especially in the retail/restaurant industry now that I co-own a creperie. Before picking up the book, I was dreaming about how we can open Lily‘s one store after another, and gradually expand it to other parts of California, other states and eventually even to Asia. But now, I realized how naive I’d been and how much of a far-fetched goal that is…well, at least for now. The book talks about how Howard Schultz, turned his poor upbringing around, became the first university graduate and eventually made Starbucks a global phenomenon. Undoubtedly, a lot of these biographies or autobiographies often lengendize the protagonist and make their stories seem like overnight successes. However, one thing is for certain – that is his extraordinary passion and pride in Starbucks and her coffees.

Anyway, the ramen today is “Shalala”, a place I’ve been coming since college or maybe before. I checked on yelp – their oldest comments date back to 2010, but it seems like they have existed even since before then. During the time, Shalala was probably on of my top 5 favorite ramens in the states. If I remember right, they used to serve tonkotsu and shoyo, as opposed to the toripaitan today. It’s worth noting most ramen restaurants around the Bay are tonkotsu-based. They may have shoyu or shio based on the condiments, but it’s rare to see them provide toripaitan, not to mention having it as the signature, go-to broth.

The interesting thing is, for some mysterious reason, the broth taste changes slightly every time I visit. One time I went twice in a week because the first time, the soup was so good in my mind that it could have competed with actual authentic Japanese ramens like Sanpoichi. The second time, however, I was fairly disappointed. The ramen tasted so much like pre-made instant noodles, even I could have done a better job with those packaged soups sold at supermarket. Whatever the reason, it still could be a fun mini-adventure for those who want to test their luck, just like how you get fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants.

Over the past two months, however, I started to transition to their tsukemen/dipping noodle, which I feel has a more consistent taste and is a lot better. Despite their Shalala’s tsukemen being a little Americanized, as it is just ramen and soup separated (versus the actual thick tsukemen noodle and mixed seafood broth in Japan), I began to like it more than their ramen. One thing though, if they could heat up with soup and noodles even more, or let you choose the temperature it’s served at, like tsukemen restaurants do in Japan, it would be even better.

By the way, I forgot to mention I’m having an orthognathic surgery next week. People have been asking me if I’m excited or nervous, but in truth, I don’t really feel anything at the moment. Maybe it’s because I’m not lying on an hospital bed yet (?) Anyway, the doc told me I’d be on liquid diet for at least a month, so to prepare for the surgery and post-op recovery, I went to three different ramens last week. Hopefully, that, along with a few more in my repository, would be enough for me to keep posting every week. Otherwise, I might have to make this “Smoothie Vagabond” for the time being. Haha.


哈囉~大家好!這週我看了由星巴克老闆-Howard Schultz先生寫的書,叫做「Pour Your Heart Into It」。裡面敘述著他怎麼脫離貧困潦倒的出生,成為家裡的第一個大學畢業生,然後與咖啡相遇,再把星巴克一步一步壯大為家喻戶曉的世界品牌。讀時的感想是這個人實在是太屌了!當然這種成功後寫的英雄傳很多可能是三分真實、七分誇大,但是讀著Howard先生在每一階段為咖啡的犧牲奉獻,以及他對自家產品那不尋常的熱衷,就不禁覺得之前想把麗麗拓展到全加州,甚至到攻打回亞洲的想法在現階段是多麽的好傻好天真。

今天的拉麵是從我大學時代(也可能是更早以前)就存在的「Shalala」。大學以前來美國大部分都是去南加州,但因為好捧油A先生的關係,大學放假來北加時就已經造訪過了。這家店大概是早期我覺得灣區甚至是全美最好吃的拉麵。沒記錯的話以前一開始好像是以豚骨為招牌,但曾幾何時變成主打雞白湯了。在美國的拉麵店大部分都是以豚骨為招牌,然後根據調味料的添加再提供醬油、鹽味、或是味增等。用雞白湯當招牌的店大概除了Shalala好像就沒了。不過有別於一般的雞白湯,這裡的湯比較濃稠,我猜可能有多少添加豚骨在裡面。

有趣的是這裡湯頭的口味變動蠻大的。有時來可能快跟日本道地的三歩一的雞白湯一樣好喝,但有時卻跟那種假日本店一樣,感覺像是調味包弄出來的。記得有一次一個禮拜連吃兩次,不誇張,第一次真的有種身心被洗滌的感覺,但第二次吃了之後就一個月內都不想再來了哈哈。大概是主廚剛好放假回日本或是墨西哥了吧哈哈(加州的餐廳很多大廚都是中南美人)?如果你想小試今天的運氣,或許Shalala會是個好玩的選擇!不過最近我有一個新發現-那就是如果想要保證有好吃的湯頭的話,那點這裡的沾麵準沒錯。不像拉麵,沾麵的味道保得持非常一致。在美國不像日本或台灣一樣有專賣沾麵的店。通常都是拉麵店在「順便」賣沾麵,所以這裡都不是用傳統的粗麵,而是把拉麵的麵跟湯分開放而已。但是因為有次喝了A先生的湯後就驚為天人後,從此來這都只點沾麵了。

說個題外話,本以為是下下週,但今天發現是在下禮拜三,我就要住院動正顎手術了。在帶了一年以上的牙套後,這天終於來臨了。說真的,現在還沒什麼實感。但一想到至少要一個月沒辦法吃東西(拉麵),就有點靠杯。為此,我上禮拜吃了三家拉麵,這週可能會再去吃個幾家,希望不能咬食東西的期間還能繼續為大家帶來歡樂的文章。


こんにちは、みなさん。今週はスターバックスの社長さんであるHoward Schultzさんが書いた「Pour Your Heart Into It」を読んでいた。なんか彼のコーヒーへの熱意や自社商品への誇りはすごいなと思った。それの真っ逆にして、自分が今までリリーズに対しての考えとかマジで甘すぎてビジネスごっこみたいで恥ずかしくてしょうがない。クレープ屋さんはあくまで投資だと思って、本業にしようまでという決意はないし…そうしたら、アジア展開は言うまでもなく、この中途半端な気持ちでカリフォルニアで5軒まで展開できるかというのは疑うようになってきた。もっともっと頑張んないとな、とりあえず。

今日のラーメンは「Shalala」です。大学時代やその前はロスを主にアメリカの拠点にしてたけど、友人のAさんのおかげで、北カリフォルニアに来た度に必ずラーメンを食べてた。Shalalaはその時からもうすでに食べてる少し歴史があるお店だ。最初は豚骨をマインに売ってた覚えがあるけど、いつの間にか鶏パイタンが定番になってて、今は西海岸で三本の指に入る鶏パイタンがメインのラーメン屋さんである。

とはいえ、この店の鶏パイタンラーメンは謎の理由で大外れの時もある。美味しい時は本当に三歩一やほかの日本本場のラーメン程美味しいけど、まずい時は一口食べたらもう一ヶ月以上行きたくない感じもする。その味の差の原因は一体なんだろう?ちょうどシェフがその時日本(か、メキシカ?)に帰ってたのかなw。まあ、運試しにはちょうどいいかもしれないね。

ラーメンの他にメニューにもつけめんが大きくに書いてある。実は、この数ヶ月にShalalaに来たら、ほぼ毎回つけ麺にしてきた。ラーメンみたいじゃなくて、味はいつも一緒でお美味しいのは原因だからだ。ちなみに、アメリカにつけ麺専門の店は、自分の知ってる限り、ないと思う。冷たいものが売れないのが原因かなぜか、こっちのつけ麺は大抵ラーメンの麺とスープを分けるだけで、本場の魚介ベーススープとか太麺じゃなくて、少し残念だね。

ところで、もともとは再来週だと思ったが、本当は来週の水曜日に下顎矯正手術をするので、それから一ヶ月以上もリキッドダイエットしか食べれないって言われた。その準備に、先週三軒のラーメンも食べてきたから、回復の時も毎週面白い投稿を届けられるように頑張っておきます。それでは、また今度。

Tsukemen Dipping Ramen $12

698 W Dana Street, Mountain View, CA, USA 94041

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