Saturday, July 4, 2015


Berkeley, July 1, 2015—
VISITORS TO THIS BLOG will have noticed by now the limited range of my culinary delights, whose center is, I would say, somewhere in a triangle whose three points are Nice, Venice, and Siracusa. Of course the San Francisco Bay Area is involved to, but basically as it coincides with the Triangle. In other words, Asian cuisines are not my thing.

Add to that my inability to deal with crustacea — any kind of invertebrate with legs — and you see the problem, social as well as culinary. I readily concede my failure to engage with some of the world's greatest culinary triumphs, not to mention exotic and arresting and intriguing tastes. But there you have it.

Still I make the occasional effort, as at this table. It's true my plate is the blank one, but that's only because I remembered to take a photo first. In the lower right-hand corner you see my main course: Charshu Miso Ramen: chicken and miso broth with braised pork belly, bean sprouts, minced chicken, and bamboo shoot. I suppose I ordered it because of a subliminal association of my own name with that of the ramen.

As a first course I had one of the triangles you see on the plate at upper center, and I liked it — an eggy sort of Japanese quiche, with interesting textures and flavors; I'd gladly have had a couple more of them. The ramen was good at first, while hot, but cooled off so quickly in its huge bowl that after gobbling all the pork belly — reminiscent of porchetta, I thought, but there's my italocentric taste talking! — I lost interest in the broth.

Still, it was a pleasant lunch, sitting outside on a warm balmy afternoon hearing the occasional train go by. I made my effort; I even attempted yet another unpersuasive engagement with sake.
Dewazakura: Oka; Dawasansan; Sobomare: Karakushi (the most neutral and driest of the three)
• Lyasare, 1830 Fourth Street, Berkeley; (510) 845-8100
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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