Weekend Dining 12/10-11/2022

Hokkaido-style shoyu ramen, gyoza, aji-tama, edamame

Had to run an errand in Harvard Square on Saturday, which was a perfect excuse to go to Santouku Ramen for lunch. The weather was freezing cold and windy, so a hot bowl of ramen really hit the spot. As usual, the place was packed, but we didn’t have to wait much more than 10 minutes to get a table.

Hokkaido-style ramen uses a miso-based broth, which you can easily tell from the cloudy beige color of the soup. I am more partial to tonkotsu ramen, where the broth is made by slowly braising pork bones, but Santouku makes such good soup that there’s no reason to quibble. My other favorite ramen joint, Amateras Ramen, made the best tonkotsu, but they closed for business a few months ago. I ate the gyozas, which did not come out of the kitchen hot, but I skipped the aji-tama egg this time, mainly because the soup itself was very filling.

Ramen had a real moment in the Boston dining scene a few years ago, but it has definitely faded somewhat. The large number of Japanese students at Harvard, along with tour buses of Japanese tourists in Harvard Square keeps this restaurant doing well, so I don’t expect it to disappear any time soon.

Pepperoni pizza

On Sunday, we went to see Phil Rosenthal, the star of Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil”, doing a book tour appearance at the Wilbur Theater. Phil is as adorable in person as he is on the show. He’s one of our favrotie things to watch, and has been inspirational to us as we plan and dream about places to go on vacation. Even though it was the first snowy evening of the season, we took the train into town and trudged to the theater. The show began at 7:00 and was over by 8:30, but the train back home wasn’t until 10:00, so our plan was to go back over to North Station and check out the new food hall there. Even though there was a big concert at the TD Garden, most of the places in the food hall were closed, so we ventured across the street to Halftime Pizza and had a couple of slices.

Pizza-by-the-slice is always a crapshoot, because who knows how long the pizza has been sitting around, and a lot of pizza places manage to barely re-heat the slices. This pizza must have been pretty fresh, and they definitely got it back to piping-hot to the point that I would not have guessed it was reheated at all. It was exactly what I had been in the mood for – the right level of greasy, the right proportion of sauce to cheese, thin crust that had a little crunch but wasn’t overbaked. During his appearance, Phil admitted that his favorite food is pizza, and I am right there with him on that.