Tag Archives: Empty Nesters Kitchen

When Ramen And Michelin Stars Intersect In Tokyo, Japan

“The ultimate ramen is something that exists perfectly in the moment”

~ Quote from the Ramen Heads documentary

On November 29, 2017, Nakiryu was awarded its first Michelin star.  Nakiryu is only the second ramen restaurant in the world to receive this prestigious honor.  Tsuta was the first and they are both located in Toshima, a Tokyo Prefecture.  We visited Nakiryu in early October of 2018.

To be awarded a Michelin star and ultimately be listed in the Michelin Guide is no easy accomplishment.  There are no specific guidelines available for restaurants regarding how to obtain this level of recognition.  Some known objectives are the chefs ability to achieve the highest levels of mastery in terms of flavors and cooking techniques.  Consistency in regards to the food and dining experience are also key.  If the first visit by the anonymous Michelin Guide inspector is favorable, a second visit will take place approximately one year later. The road to a Michelin star is not a rapid one.  Receiving one star is not a guarantee that more stars will be awarded in the future, and restaurants can lose stars if they do not maintain the Michelin standards. The most stars a restaurant can be awarded is three.

At Nakiryu there was a clear reverence for the ingredients and the noodle preparation.  The way the ramen noodles were expertly and visibly laid out on the counter waiting for their arrangement in the bowls elevated our anticipation.  From the precise placement of the noodles, to the ladling of the broth, to the moment the bowl is handed to the customer, there is a sense of ceremony.  This was my maiden voyage to Japan as well as our first visit to a Michelin star restaurant.

There is no question in our minds as to why Nakiryu received their star.  For us, the taste of the ramen and the moments we spent there were impeccable and we won’t ever forget it.

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Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed”

~ Maya Angelou

I was raised in a family where cooking for others is an act of giving that is equated with love.  We were always reminded to be grateful for what we receive, and more importantly, who we are blessed to have in our lives and around our table.  At our house Thanksgiving is a holiday meant to Share.Laugh.Eat.Repeat!

I hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving dessert recipes featured here.  They are just a few of my favorites.  They range in the amount of effort required.  I’ve done this intentionally with the knowledge that while we all want beautiful desserts for our celebrations, we have varying amounts of time to spend in the kitchen. You can find more of my harvest recipes in the November 2018 issue of Southwest Metro Magazine in the article titled Empty Nesters Kitchen Lives Fully.  Included are a skillet apple crisp + wine pairing suggestion, a festive cocktail from J.Carver Distillery in Waconia and my tempting recipe for pumpkin bread pudding (this one is also included here).

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Food Month In Review: March 2018

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating”

Lucky for those of us living in the Twin Cities; we are provided with seemingly endless opportunities to not only eat, but to do so abundantly well.  I field frequent inquiries from friends and family regarding restaurant recommendations and I love sharing my culinary experiences so I decided to create a new feature.  It will be a brief overview of our culinary adventures from the prior month.

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The Twin Cities Restaurant Scene: Eating and Imbibing During The Week Of The Big Game

The pinnacle of football game days is almost upon us and the anticipation has been building.  There are throngs of exciting events surrounding this colossal affair.  The Bold North is ready! We’re bursting with immense cultural activities, tremendous musical talent, ice bars aplenty and of course bounteous opportunities for dining and imbibing.

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Pantry Raid: Lisa’s Easy Tomato Cream Sauce Recipe

I get really excited about composing a great meal spontaneously, using only what I have on hand.  This recipe came together on a recent Sunday afternoon while I was perusing the pantry and mulling over what I could design for dinner in under 30 minutes.  I liken that sort of culinary exploration to a fashionista who creates new clothing combinations with basic items that they already have in their closet.  It may appear to have a unique flavor or appearance, but it’s assembled by challenging yourself to work with what you’ve got.

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Burrata Cheese

“We see the beauty within and cannot say no” ~ Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Burrata cheese has a beautiful essence about it.  It is a fresh Italian cheese made from water buffalo and/or cows milk mozzarella and has a center filled with a rich and silky cream.  It is also my latest culinary obsession.  It’s common knowledge among my family and friends that I love cheese, all types of cheese but Burrata has a metamorphic quality that I find very provocative.  I cannot say no.

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