Thursday, May 9, 2013

Foodie at Tsujita LA Annex

Initally, I was plotting a revisit to the hippie-feeling love child of Tsujita LA.  At barely 2 weeks old, as of this post, this fledgling, called Tsujita LA Annex, now nests on some former, yellow-walled joint called Miyata Menji.  Boy, we surely need more ramen restaurants in the street lacing through or nearby Little Osaka.


I thought about the "perfect" time to describe this West LA newcomer constantly, at least twice--suspiciously more!--per day since my supremely curious yet planned 1st visit.  But something from their quintessentially comforting soup crawled and then latched stubbornly onto me, and the way to eliminate this creep is to virtually tell the internet world.  Numbers of reasons my typing hands were held back include:

1. Oh, they're new.  Give them a chance, 'lil 5-Footer...
2. Weren't you supposed to experiment on their Miso Ramen after that Tonkotsu attack?
3. My metabolism wasn't ready for this ramen attack--and I regularly workout by sweating through step aerobics plus weights...

But my mind can't protect it anymore!  Oh yes, my friends...I succumbed to this gnarly monster of this Tonkotsu Ramen.  As a result, it gives me huge pleasure to state a forewarning before you dare slurp and chug on.  If you must sate the beastly ramen rapture:

1.  Regardless if packed or vacant, come to the Annex starving.
2.  The word "diet" or "calories" should either be tightly squished in the darkest part in the safety box, located somewhere in your brain, or temporarily has no meaning to this dinner.
3.  If you must take those food photos--snap it briskly!!
4.  Remember this: unlike the parent, the Annex brazenly serves NO Tsukemen--but please let me know if they have (finally) included it, because it's likely to be advantageous to collect more revenue during the entire business hours.
5.  By default their soup contains kotteri broth.  In case the terminology seems more foreign, in Japanese it roughly means "thick," and you'll see why in a bit...

Now, onto the scene of attack...

A charming and respectable waiter indirectly led me to the bar where I could observe the open kitchen, revealing their cooking technique of the thickest, straight-ish noodles I've devoured thus far.


In front of my seat there revealed the following condiments at convenience, pictured below:


The only two accessories, also pictured below, that I was eager to liberate to my Ramen with Soft Boiled Egg ($9.95 for Regular Size), were thankfully unrestricted, since I was virtually the sole, nonchalant eater occupying this long, wooden table.

 On the right, Onikasu, but on the left is Pressed, Fresh Garlic

More zealously, the Annex freely permits you to add as much of the aforementioned "confetti," so that 1 scoop would equate Good, 2 scoops mean Great, and 3 scoops (plus) award to Awesome.  According to their "rules," it was more leaning to the Miso, but when there's a garlicky opportunity...

Don't mind if I'm getting Awesome

So that my un-miso [Tonkotsu] ramen as is--at surprisingly a few minutes after I ordered...


Became bombarded to this...


Be honest, what really were you eyeing on 1st:

A. The garlic
B. The Chashu Pork
C. The Onikasu
D. The rim-filled Kotteri broth, simmered for 2.5-day lapse
E. The sprouts

If you answered D--alright, I give you a gold star for immediately thinking alike!

So that was my personal challenge, especially knowing that the broth originated from pork bones suffering so much pressure in the simmering pot that they had forcefully yet nonviolently released the components inside the bone.  If you've taken anatomy, you'd certainly be aware that within the marrow is more than just the originator of red blood cells.

If not, and/or you're not interested in studying the living thing, then watch out for globules, thickness.  Too much hinting?!  It's spelled f-a-t.

So, thanks to the constantly warm & absurdly luscious liquid, the noodles were amazingly al dente from beginning to end of my dinnertime.  If you've eaten Tsukemen at the original locale, those were the exact, thick strands you'll be facing.  The delicious chashu pork, served in 3-4 handsome pieces for by-the-book regular size, also attained consistent succulence from something that's clearly winning more calories.  The soft-boiled egg, or ajitama in Japanese, certainly holds honorable trophy for truly being soft-boiled--but it couldn't earn 1st place if soy sauce were injected fervently.  That red spice I haphazardly sprinkled to my bowl: that was tolerably spicy, but at the same time, I eat spicy like candy.


Come out, runny yolk

I probably lasted way over the time limit of the brain bugging me that I'm stuffed, but here's the aftermath:

Remember: the weighted ingredients raised the volume of the broth, so do the math...

Seriously, I own the losing title of this diabolical ramen--and I deserved it!  I wasn't entirely sure about how my tummy should be feeling, but let's put it in a slightly non-sickening manner: I walked out of the Annex like I'm carrying a foot-sized stone--not a baby--filled with some gelatinous blob.  Minutes and minutes after painstakingly walking through Sawtelle's block like an embarrassed, waddling penguin with a backpack, I hastily sipped straight-up, iced green tea in the nearest teahouse.  Surprisingly, this plus 2 physiologically normal visits to the unisex restroom treated more than half of the problematic weight.

Closing the case, in case the 5 detailed outlines weren't ingrained into the semi-long term memory, here's the brief version that I can easily quiz you on:

1. Starve!
2. What diet?!
3. Hurry, take a picture!
4. No Tsukemen...
5. Kotteri, what's that mean again?

You have been amiably warned!!!


Grade: C+ (because of the edibles excluding the Kotteri)


Tsujita LA Annex
2050 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 231-0222
http://tsujita-la.com/annex.html

Tsujita la Annex on Urbanspoon
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