Culturesplosion.

Ippudo + Mayahuel = Awesome

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On a recent Friday, a strong desire for excellent ramen came over me. It was time for some IPPUDO (map!). Sure, the clock said 10:30 p.m. (long week, barely anything to eat that day, super-sad), but I figured “oh, by 11, there should be no wait at all, who would be so silly as to eat dinner that late?”…not realizing the obvious. When the DH and I arrived, of course, the place was PACKED. 20 minute wait, what? Oh yea, it’s NYC, duh.

Of course, we waited. Ippudo has been an old favorite for a long time, so we knew that the best ramen in the city was worth a 20-minute sit. But oh, was it a hungry sit. We took advantage of the time to choose our ramen off the menu, and once our table was ready, barely before all the staff could finish exclaiming their customary “Irasshaimase!”, we had emphatically stated our orders to the waiter. In our garbled eagerness, we must have sounded more like “RAMEN NOW PLEASE. NOM NOM?” Either way, a short while later, our wishes were granted:

Akamaru Modern, DH's ramen

Kogashi Miso Ramen, my ramen. Mmmm, carbon goodness.

Ippudo changes up its ramen from time to time, so this was my first experience with the kogashi miso ramen. I thought it was great. The charred miso broth had a unique flavor that was delicious, and the ramen noodles were firm with just the right amount of chewy. I also ordered the kae-dama, which is an additional serving of plain noodles, so that my remaining broth would get another go-around. It was perfect.

I must note that one of the favorite things I like about Ippudo’s ramen is that I never feel like I have to drink a gallon of water afterward. The flavor is natural and not overly salty, a mark of true greatness.

Our check came with a complimentary cup of hoji-cha roasted green tea, which was the best way to finish up the meal. Ippudo stays open on Fridays and Saturdays until 12:30 a.m., which makes it a great spot for a late dinner. Its popularity at all hours is well-deserved.

With bellies full of meat and ramen, we strolled over a few blocks to MAYAHUEL (map!) for a drink. I had been wanting to visit this place out for a long time, so was quite excited when we arrived at the inconspicuously marked door. A polite gentleman greeted us. Quick I.D. check and we were in.

So many bottles, which one to choose?

Mayahuel is a mixology-style cocktail bar (and Mexican restaurant) specializing in tequila and mezcal drinks. It was started by the same team that created the cocktails for Death & Co.. The interior is a gorgeous space of dark woods and soft lighting that makes you feel like you’re in an Old West speakeasy-saloon for aristocrats. Check out these details:

Copper design embedded into the bar

Sit at the bar and look up through the ceiling to the second floor and its red umbrella light.

Beautiful chandelier above the staircase.

And the drinks? Oh, the drinks. There is something special here. Our selections were full of complex tastes and smells that really made an impression. Each one was a conversation piece.

Old Man Miller Swizzle

This was a combination of pineapple-infused mezcal, reposado tequila, 151 rum, lime, agave nectar, absinthe, and medly #1. The flavors totally expand in your mouth. Lots of ingredients, but they were all well-balanced.

Randy cocktail

I’m not going to inquire as to the origin of its name, but the Randy cocktail was a good choice for me. Reposada tequila, lime and ginger, with a rinse of mezcal. I loved the fact that, despite its simple appearance, the drink kept changing from sniff to sip to taste to swallow and after. The smoky mezcal really gave it an interesting kick. It was like a barbecue party in a cup!

So all in all, quite a nice evening. I really enjoyed the Ippudo and Mayahuel combination and give them both my thumbs up.

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