well, we're almost at the finish line... my recent trip to the bay area and it's improvisational itinerary of six ramen shops in two and a half days - ugh. the second to last stop on the journey, the evening before i drove back down to LA, was Santa Ramen - which seems to be the most popular favorite for you norcallers.
did i like it? i'd been there before, years ago, when my friend in the silicon valley took me there. i remember thinking that santa had a nice pork bone soup, and my memories were correct. it's the most savory tonkotsu i've had up there, although i suspect it's pretty heavy on the MSG. it's not perfect though, a little bit off taste-wise.
i had the mentaiko tonkotsu ramen, but what bugged me the most were santa's noodles. they're pretty generic, yellow egg noodles that kind of are all wrong for what they're trying to do, which is serve "hakata-style" pork bone ramen. my friend might have mentioned that they've changed ownership once but it was pretty much the same assessment i had the first time i tried the place back in like, 2002 or something.
anyway, i can understand why there's always a big line at santa, although i kind of think it's for lack of something better. if any of you guys know LA ramen, it's a brother-in-arms to daikokuya, which has a funky, porky tonkotsu soup and janky, generic noodles, but a line out the door because it's the best option in little tokyo.
as it stands so far, here's my homage to melanie lol:
1. kahoo ramen
2. maru ichi (mt. view)
3. halu ramen
one more to go!