[Preamble: I'm going to try this newfangled thing where I write entries that you can actually finish reading in less time than it takes the Earth to complete one rotation. Let's see how this works.]
"I hate you."
When Tristan says he hates me—an expression he uses about once every three days—he doesn't really mean it. He only hates me when I make him do things he wouldn't normally do, hurling him into a slippery vortex of sin lined with poisoned spikes of regret.
The agent of his hatred was the fatty pork that came with our bowls of ramen at Minca. While I'm totally cool with knocking back a few slices of the sweet, tender pork blanketed by a layer of rich swinely fat, Tristan—who follows a roughly 99% vegetarian diet, the missing 1% mostly being my fault—is less accustomed to such atherosclerosis-causing hedonism.
Which is fine. Actually, it might be better so that when he does take that plunge into porky heaven, the experience is something that leaves a deep canyon-like impression on his taste buds. My taste buds are probably like, "Oh, it's pork again? Well. Alright." While I can't claim to know exactly what Tristan's taste buds said, I would guess something more along the lines of what you may hear in the heat of a football game, like, "HOLY SHIT YEAH, BRING IT ON!" This delicate string of words would be communicated thought a series of electrical impulses to the brain. Possibly. My biology is rusty.
So, if you haven't figured it out yet, the reason that Tristan hated me was because I introduced him to pork so delicious that it demanded to be eaten in a quantity higher than what he would deem acceptable under normal conditions. My bad.
But we know that Minca does not fall under "normal conditions." Minca is for the strong, for the stomach that craves a seemingly bottomless mass of firm noodles bathed in salty, collagen-rich broth made even more delicious by the aforementioned fatty pork, half of a soy sauce-soaked hard boiled egg, black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, a sheet of nori, and a sprinkling of raw chopped scallions. You've got your meat, your wheat, your fungus, your meager amount of vegetable matter, your generous dose of MSG—don't let anyone tell you that this isn't a balanced meal.
While I went with the basic Minca ramen in pork broth, Tristan craved the pain of the spicy ramen. It was similar to my ramen—noodles, pork, etc.—but replaced scallions with a few fistfuls of corn and soybean sprouts. Oh, and the broth was spicy.
This is how I prepare for monching.
This is how Tristan prepares for monching.
While I do not have an end-of-the-meal shot, I assure you we did a good job of ingesting most of the contents of our bowls despite that those contents most definitely exceeded the daily recommended intake of ramen and meat juice. My stomach was probably all distended and wobbly. Which, according to no one, is the true mark of today's refined woman. And probably why no one loves me.
At Tristan's request, we had also polished off an order of shrimp gyoza as an appetizer. I was expecting dumplings filled with some kind of ground up shrimpy mass, but each dumpling was actually a shrimp wrapped in dough and...other stuff of flavor-giving properties. The skins fell apart a little too easily, but I otherwise have no complaints. They're different from your regular gyoza and worth giving a try. Think "pigs in a blanket," but "shrimp in a gyoza wrapper," a name that isn't nearly as endearing nor linguistically pleasing.
By the way, in case I forgot to mention it, I love Minca—it's my favorite ramen shop in NYC. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the best, but that the combination of noodly mountain, fatty pork, salty both, and price gives it an "A++ WOULD DO BUSINESS WITH AGAIN" in my book.