Food Adventure Team

Exploring San Francisco, one restaurant at a time.

Archive for the 'Japanese' Category

Hapa Ramen

Hapa Ramen
Pop-up at Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Usual hours and locations:
Ferry Building Farmer’s Market,
10am to 2pm, Tuesdays and
Off the Grid in Fort Mason,
5pm to 9pm, Fridays

Suggested by Heather

In attendance:

A couple of weeks ago, Violet (one of our Food Adventurers) was hosting a party. While there, I ran into her good friend and acquaintance of mine, Richie of Hapa Ramen. Richie used cook at Nopa until about a year ago when he quit to start his own pop-up, Hapa Ramen. I’ve been meaning to check it out ever since but haven’t gotten a chance to because the hours are so limited. I was lamenting this fact to Richie when he informed me that he would be doing a pop-up at Bar Tartine on the 20th and the 27th of December: Mondays! FAT is on Mondays! I knew what I had to do. I rounded up the troops and made a reservation, eager to finally try the transcendent ramen that I’d often heard Violet raving about.

I was not disappointed. And it wasn’t just ramen, either. We started out by ordering every appetizer: Brussels sprouts, which were roasted in oil, salt, and vinegar (?) and were so delicate and crispy and rich that I couldn’t stop eating them. Some of the most amazing fried chicken I’ve ever had: every so crispy on the outside and fall-off-the-bone moist on the inside, resting in a pool of sweet/citrusy/spicy sauce. Dates stuffed with cheese curds and (pickled?) lemon zest, on a bed of clover greens with a light lemony dressing. Pig’s head. Pig’s head? Yes. I’ll admit, it wasn’t my favorite item but I liked it a lot more than I expected (I don’t do well with unusual meats). The flavor was great, even if the texture wasn’t my bag.

There was no question which ramen we would get. Eight Big Daddy Ramen Bowls, please. In addition to fabulously rich and nuanced broth and a towering nest of perfectly chewy handmade noodles, each bowl contained: a beautiful slow-cooked farm egg with a gooey, rich, deep yellow-orange yolk; balls of breaded and fried chicken breast meat; seaweed; kale (or was it chard? or some other deep green leafy veggie?); incredibly flavorful delicata squash; and a chunk of melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked pork belly. Oh, the pork belly. I could write songs about the pork belly. I tried to finish my bowl, but the portions were so generous that in the end I was defeated. My mouth wanted more but my stomach protested.

But somehow, as is always the case, I had room for dessert. There were two options: sesame seed fudge with a black & white sesame cracker and whipped cream, and a brown rice pudding with ginger (?), coconut milk, and orange peel preserves. We got both, of course. I tried the fudge first. It was dense and chocolatey, enriched with the earthy sweetness of the sesame seeds. It reminded me a lot of halva, a Middle Eastern sesame seed dessert. The sesame seed cracker it came with was slightly sweet and ever so slightly salted, and its crunchiness offset the smooth denseness of the fudge nicely. Next I tried the rice pudding. I should’ve tried the pudding first. The richness of the chocolate and sesame seeds in the fudge was so overpowering that I could barely taste the delicate orange, ginger, and spice flavors in the rice pudding. I felt the pudding was good but could’ve been a little sweeter, a little saltier, a little creamier. What can I say? I’m a sucker for ultra-rich desserts. I was sold on the fudge.

All in all, a truly wonderful meal. Richie puts a lot of time and effort into perfecting his recipes and sourcing the best ingredients, and it shows in how wonderfully satisfying and delicious his food is.

No comments



22 Peace Plz
Ste 202
San Francisco, CA 94115

Suggested by Mella

In attendance:
Mella     Andy
Heather     Dennis
Karen     Devin
Dani     Reed

Whoops, I never wrote a review of this one. What I remember of this shabu shabu dinner is that it was kind of crazy and a lot of fun. A huge party of us cooking a ton of delicious food at the table. The waiter brought us lots of extras, which was incredibly nice of them. The meat was delicious. Everything was fabulous! (I write this two years later, almost to the day – that’s how memorable this meal was!)

(Written December 6, 2010.)




No comments

Search this site

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • RSS

  • SF skyline photo by meta-man.