They come in all shapes in sizes and can be found anywhere. It’s true - they have already achieved world domination. Our only hope is a fork, or a pair of chopsticks if they’re handy. You can twirl them. You can slurp ‘em. All that matters is the noodles end up in your belly. To help you fight the good fight, here’s a list of places to indulge in the most delicious noodle dishes around.
The dark depths and flavors of the sea come to life in The Recess Room’s Seafood Pasta, which utilizes squid ink to imbue a subtle salinity and charcoal hue to the base tonnarelli noodles. A medley of succulent shrimp and calamari further enhance the brine and a mouthwatering beurre blanc ties it together. The petite tomatoes, lemongrass and a healthy shaving of pecorino Romano add some tangible pizzazz to the dish and will have you diving in for more.
NOODS NOODS NOODS | SANTA ANA, CA
In January 2018, the noodle culinary conquest comes to a head with the 2nd annual NOODS NOODS NOODS in historic downtown Santa Ana. Presented by FOODBEAST and sponsored by NISSIN, maker of the Original Cup Noodles, it’s all noodle everything in every variety you could ever want. Noodle aficionados: this is a must. In conjunction with this noodle-fest, a massive Super Smash Bros competition goes down simultaneously at the E-Sports arena. Slurp those noodles while watching pro-gamers go head to head! Attendees can expect newsworthy desserts, sandwiches, tacos and tons of noodle-inspired dishes.
You shouldn’t have to use your noodle to know that you can never go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs. At Jinny’s Pizzeria, your mind (and stomach for that matter) will be overjoyed as you dig into hefty beef-only meatballs, perfectly cooked pasta and a house-made tomato sauce that earned them an “OC Weekly’s Top 10” award. The grated Parmesan and side of garlic bread deserve a “molto bene”!
For a romantic night in an intimate, trendy setting, Firefly is the place to be, and the Mushroom Pappardelle is the dish to order. Delicate hen-of-the-woods and oyster mushrooms adorn the wide, flat noodles, which are covered in saporous truffle butter and light ricotta cheese. The creamy sauce emphasizes the richness of this one-of-a-kind entrée.
For a place known for mollusks, Shuck Oyster Bar’s fettuccine alfredo more than holds its own as an alternative for those who would rather yuck than shuck. The velvety soft sauce pairs wonderfully with supple roasted veggies and plump shrimp, so you’re not missing out on getting that seafood fix. For a seafood fix, order the Lobster Mac. It’s creamy, rich flavors will have you falling in love.
Noodles can be a bridge between cultures. Nowhere is that more evident than at Red Envelope, 4th Street Market’s standout Vietnamese Fusion Comfort Food eatery. Mexico meets Southeast Asia in their “Phorrito”, which is comprised of braised brisket, bean sprouts, jalapeño, white and green onion, lime sauce, cilantro and rice noodles wrapped in a flour tortilla. Drizzle some sriracha on that bad boy if you dare. If you’re more of a purist and prefer broth, their “Pho-lly Loaded” is incredible. Pho yes!
Do you ever get homesick for your mom’s cooking? Well, do yourself a favor and get to Mama D’s, where your melancholy for home will evaporate into the smell of delightful pasta and the welcoming, friendly environment. As you admire the artful, crayon creations that decorate the walls, pink is the only color you need to remember; as in the Original Pink Sauce, a masterful concoction of cream and marinara that elevates any noodle. Throw in some tasty chicken or bay scallops for a one-way ticket to bliss.
Variety is the spice of life but thankfully, Tatsu Ramen in West LA makes it slightly easier to choose via iPad menus. Their signature Tonkotsu broth simmers for 14 hours and the ramen noodles are al dente and scrumptious. Distinctive ingredients like seaweed, pork chashu and soft-boiled egg are available, as are flavor bombs like black garlic oil and sweet umami sauce. Try one of the trademark bowls or let you inventiveness run wild - Tatsu has a ramen for everyone.
Elbows on the table are encouraged when you visit Elbows Mac n’ Cheese — it’ll give you more leverage as you devour their robust macaroni skillets. Feeling a little under the weather? “The Hangover,” a breakfast mac of egg, onion, potato and of course Muenster cheese will do the trick. “Macsala” blends exotic spices, peppers and paneer cheese to deliver a taste of India. In this case, once you go mac, you’ll always go back.
Since the birthplace of noodles lies across the great blue Pacific, it’s no surprise that some of that squiggly goodness landed on the West Coast. If you’re yearning for an authentic taste of Cambodia, no need to change time zones, just head north to Seattle’s popular Phnom Penh Noodle House. The triumph of a decades-long dream, this delectable food is highlighted by the special rice noodle, which comes laden with gulf prawn, calamari, fish cakes, fish balls, sliced and ground pork, green onion, cilantro, and roasted garlic.
Written By: Ben McBee