#261: Fukumi Ramen

11:10AM 10/17/2021

Quick announcement, I’ve fired up a Twitter account that you can follow for new posts: @EatingThruRSVL

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since my last post. I needed a slam dunk after BOSS and knew just where to go. I first discovered Fukumi Ramen at their 2nd location, in Citrus Heights at Sunrise and Madison, this summer right when they opened. I’ve since been there a number of times for lunch during the week and have also visited this original Roseville location once or twice as well. They have a 3rd spot opening soon in Folsom as well.

The location here in Roseville is in the middle of a little strip with Sabores and across from the Nugget center on Fairway at Pleasant Grove. I arrived just after opening. There were already a couple tables seated. One of the two hosts working the dinaning room popped out of the kitchen within a few seconds of me stepping inside and had me seated immediately. I was left with their double sided menu while they went and grabbed me an ice water and then took my drink order.

Click/Tap for full size menu
Click/Tap for full size menu

In my time visiting Fukumi I’d accrued a free small plate / appetizer via their stamp card, which I knew I would on this visit eventually. Other than the gyoza, kimchi and edamame apps I’ve tried when co-workers ordered them, I haven’t ordered anything other than the ramen itself. Those are tasty but not hard to find. I thought one of the fried chicken options would be good and picked out the Spicy Karaage (Japanese style fried chicken with Fukumi special spicy sauce, topped with chili threads)[$8]. Towards the end of my visit I spotted the Kurobuta Sausage and Honey Garlic Chicken apps being delivered to the table next to me. Both looked great and I’ll have to check those out some time.

The pacing here is always very quick, which makes it such a nice place to go for lunch when you have a limited window to work with. My Asahi Black (A highly attenuated dark lager that blends the rich aroma and flavor of roasted malt with a dry finish. 350ml / 5.5%]($6] came out in just a couple minutes and my ramen was only behind that by 5 minutes. The Spicy Karaage Chicken took an additional 5 minutes or so.

I love these light fixtures!

My usual bowl is the Kara-miso Ramen (Thick noodles, Flavored with Fukumi original blend miso and spicy paste, topped with pork belly chashu, seasoned egg, green onion, sprouts, corn and chili threads)[$14.95] and I add Black Garlic Oil [$0.75]. When I’m extra hungry I’ll usually also add extra noodles for $1.75.

Today’s bowl was as great as usual. It arrived steaming with a small pile of the delicately sliced chili threads on top and black garlic oil glistening on top of the rich, cloudy broth. Two slices of the incredibly tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly sat atop the noodles and other ingredients, which were hid just under the broth. The soft boiled egg just barely broke the surface. The spice in this particular bowl is strong and clears my sinuses up a bit every time, though it takes a little bit to get there. Heat seekers should enjoy it but it’s not going to scratch the extreme heat that some look for. It’s a really nice hot and savory bowl and I really enjoy getting all the aromas and rich flavors when I’m slurping up noodles with my face just over the bowl. It’s going to be an extra nice treat to enjoy this body-warming soup when the rain and cooler weather arrives soon (fingers crossed on lots of rain).

I wasn’t sure if the fried chicken would be bone-in or not. Turned out to be boneless, which was nice and made it easy to eat without much mess. The batter was fried crisp (though it softened up a bit as the sauce soaked in while I went back and forth between it and the ramen). Inside the chicken was tender and juicy. The flavor was slightly sweet and it wasn’t super spicy, but like the ramen it built up a bit with several bites. Overall I was quite happy with these and I’m very much looking forward to try the other two chicken apps and other small plates at some point.

As you can tell, I hated it 😉

My experiences with Fukumi have been consistently excellent and this visit was no different. The service is fast, friendly and attentive and the food is always fantastic. I was pretty sure this would earn a perfect score and it did not disappoint. This is a great addition to the area (along with Ramen 101, which I am excited to check out again soon to compare).

https://www.fukumirestaurantgroup.com/

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#260: BOSS. Pizza + Wings

12:30PM, 10/2/2021

https://bosspizzapluswings.com/

I picked this place out earlier in the week and I’ve been gradually more excited about the day as it came up. I didn’t know much about this place other than it seems to be a ghost kitchen. They don’t have any storefront and looked like they might be operating from John’s Incredible Pizza. I recall seeing a positive mention on Reddit or social media a month or so ago. I finally visited the website today to figure out what my ordering options were as far as in-store, on a website or on an app. They are available by phone, the website or through a variety of the usual food delivery apps. There are 6 locations total, scattered throughout CA with a couple in NV.

Once I got to the website I was intrigued by the “Cali-Detroit” style pizza they were talking up. Besides Little Caesars (I guess you can call it pizza) I’ve only had one Detroit-style pizza I can recall (found a photo of it, below) from a place on K St in downtown Sac called Pizza Rock, now closed. It was phenomenal. Anyway this sort of piqued my interest and I was off to place an order.

(Detroit Red Top from the now closed Pizza Rock in Sacramento)

It’s a nice clean site and easy to get to the menu. I hate when sites make you start an order to look at the menu…oh and you want to start an order? Now you need an account. Not here, very straightforward. That said, I did need to start an order to see the pricing, but they still didn’t require an account at all, even through checkout. They did ask for an email address. I’m not sure why since they didn’t email me an order confirmation or any receipt.

I wanted to get a half and half with something simple and something more unique to this place (they talk about their bacon here and there: BOSS Bacon – Thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, caramelized with pepper flecks for an extra kick). Unfortunately half/half is not an option so I went all in with a standard combo (The Works – All the goods: pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives.)[$16.99]. I also wanted to get some wings, and the most economical way to do that allowed me to also try the Vampire Tots from the sides. I grabbed the 6pc wing combo, bone-in, half with lemon pepper flavor and half with sweet chili. It comes with a choice of fries or tots, including the jazzed-up Vampire tots (Vampire Tots Tots seasoned with garlic and Parmesan cheese with choice of ketchup or spicy ketchup.) as well as a soft drink [Total combo = $11.99].

I finished placing my order at 12:30PM and had a pickup time of 12:58PM. This is where things started to go sideways. I had placed the order using my desktop computer. The order confirmation page was clearly intended for a mobile screen, all scrunched down to a narrow column. On it was a button that you tap to check-in once you’re parked in their curbside parking spaces. Obviously I couldn’t click this button from a couple miles away (there is a phone number you can alternatively call when you arrive too), but I made it happen with remote desktop from my phone, just to play this out as intended.

(A lonely a-frame outside a red door is the only indication that you are in the right place)

I arrived and checked in at 12:59, entering information about the make/model/color of my car and putting the hazards on as instructed. After watching the steady stream of people going in and out of both John’s and Rockin’ Jump for a while, I gave the number a call at 1:15. This was a slightly jarring call because initially I was met by a robot that told me it was connecting me. Ok. Then a woman answered for John’s Incredible Pizza. I let her know I was here for BOSS Pizza curbside pickup and she put me on hold to check, then came back in less than 30 seconds saying it would be out in “a sec”. Back to waiting and watching, another 15 min went by and I called back at 1:36. This was basically the same phone call except it was a different woman and the time given was “8 minutes”.

I considered going in at some point but having peeked inside the red door when I arrived, to see what it looked like, I would have had no idea where to go to ask about it. Literally the only place you will see their logo is on that A-frame sign out front. It’s just John’s Incredible Chaos and a mass of kids beyond the door. To the second woman’s credit, her estimate was pretty close, although still a couple minutes short. At 1:47 someone brought my order out to the car, mentioned that utensils were in the bag (brief aside, what utensils would you expect to receive with pizza, wings and tots? There were none in the bag of course, just a straw) and that was that.

I brought it home and opened the box to reveal a heavy rectangular pie, about 9×13″. It was not as enticing as the website showed. What should have been a crisp, buttery crust was limp and clearly underdone. The toppings were all there, in addition to what looked a lot like Round Table’s fire roasted tomatoes, which was not as advertised.

This was a big disappointment. It was not very hot and ended up being a dense block of bread, cheese and greasy toppings that wanted to all roll off the slice the second you looked at them wrong. The toppings themselves, particularly the veggies and mushrooms were actually ok. The meats were not particularly notable. Although the cheese was well melted, it had long since solidified. I think this was made sometime after my first call and left to sit under a heat lamp while the wing combo were forgotten and then rushed after call #2. I am typing this the next morning and having thrown a couple slices into the oven (450º for about 11 min) for a balanced breakfast and I can say that this gave it some new life with a nice, crisp crust and actual, thermal-heat. Even that didn’t elevate it beyond anything very ordinary, unfortunately.

The pizza has some potential. Unfortunately it was fumbled and lost deep in a ball pit somewhere in that giant Chuck E. Cheese competitor. At it’s best I think it would only rank among the most average pizza we have available in Roseville.

The Vampire tots didn’t look like they had any garlic or Parmesan on them. They did have a bit of a garlic taste though. They were still relatively crisp and mostly warm. I had picked out the spicy ketchup to go with these, out of curiosity, but I think I was given regular ketchup because I got no spice whatsoever from it. I set it aside after dipping four or five tots. They were totally…fine.

Digging into the wings, one of the stars of this order (not that it says much) were the lemon pepper flavored wings. This was supposed to be an order of 6. They were pretty tiny little guys and I like to think I received 10 wings because the people making them also acknowledged this fact, but it’s just as likely to have been an error. That said, the lemon pepper was very strong. Bright lemon cut with the bite of a heavy dose of black pepper. These felt a little overcooked, though the chicken was still reasonably moist within.

Last but not least were the sweet chili wings. These were drenched in a dark, syrupy sauce. Unfortunately I can’t tell you how these tasted because they didn’t taste like anything. It was quite the mind-warp. They really looked like they would have a rich, sweet and/or spiciness to them. It was just nothing.

This was a bit of a roller coaster from when I first heard of them, to the concept of a Cali-Detroit style pie, through the long wait, non-existent customer service and overall disappointing food. I can’t see myself ever returning. The 1.5 rating is mostly held up by the strong lemon pepper flavor, the OK tots and that re-heating the pizza stepped it up a bit.

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#259: Chef’s on Wheels (Ft. Moksa Brewing)

Today’s post is not Roseville specific, since it’s a food truck!  Chef’s on Wheels was a suggestion on Facebook recently.  Today it was parked at my favorite brewery Moksa located in Rocklin, at the corner of Taylor and Pacific.  With the weather not stupid-hot it seemed like a good choice so off I went.

A bit about the brewery first to get us started.  They opened back in February of 2018, taking over the defunct Dragas brewery location.  I was tuned in to this early on and have been part of their membership club thing ever since.  They make a lot of IPAs (who doesn’t these days), with a roughly even split between West Coast and Hazys (my personal preference), and Stouts.  If you think of Guinness when you think of stouts, these are not that kind of dry Irish stout.  Rather they are big imperial stouts, often aged in bourbon barrels, brewed with all sorts of tasty things like coffee, vanilla bean, peanuts, cacao, and berries (to name just a tiny selection).  When I say big imperial stouts, I’m talking ABV, which is on the higher end, often 10%+.  It’s exactly up my alley and why I’ve been such a big fan since they opened.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge sometimes.  They share a lot with some auto shops which use some of the lot for all the cars they are working on.  Today was no exception.  Since last year the front spots have been converted to an outdoor covered seating area under a tent.  It’s nicely set up, even on hot days, with a number of large swamp coolers, plenty of seating and music piped outside.  I set up in my favorite little corner right away, a sort of counter top made from a row of semi-permenant pallets on-end with a wood top, away from the crowds.  Neither outside nor inside was too busy a little before 1:30. It filled up some more by the time I left an hour later.  The indoor seating has shrunk slightly over the years as they stack more and more whiskey barrels to the ceiling.  You can barely see the brewing tanks through them these days – a sign of more tasty barrel aged beers to come.

I started off by ordering a couple half pours and then went to place my order at the truck.  Universal Layers (Hazy Double IPA with notes of tangerine cuties and pineapple)[8.2% 5oz $3.25] was nice and pillowy soft with bright hoppy and juicy flavors.  Moksa Two (Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for 16 months)[17.3% 5oz $9] is syrupy-sweet with a strong barrel finish.  I saved this one for dessert.

On to the truck.  I love the look of this this thing.  All black, kind of beat up, paint peeling in some spots, with skull and crossbones inspired iconography of their logo with two chef’s knives.  It reminded me a bit of this moment in 1977’s Slap Shot:

I can’t recall if I’ve ever eaten from this truck before.  I probably have and it was probably right here at Moksa as they seem to come here somewhat regularly.  Today’s menu consisted of a bacon cheeseburger, a seared tuna sandwich, a BBQ bacon dog and a grilled chicken sandwich, complimented with a number of side items.  After going over the descriptions of everything carefully I settled on the burger and the sriracha peanut green beans.

Of all the food trucks I’ve tried over the years, there are a small percentage of them that hand out a pager so you don’t need to hang around the truck waiting to hear your name or order number.  This is one of the VERY few that give you a table number and bring the food right to you.  A nice touch that is much appreciated.  The gentlemen that took my order delivered it to my quiet corner of the patio in about 10 minutes and even stopped by briefly later on to see how everything was.

After some quick photos I dug in.  First off was the burger: The Bacon Cheese Burger (lettuce, tomato & onion with their signature 916 sauce)[$13].  This was a very soft burger in texture with diced onions and shredded lettuce that sort of melts in your mouth and goes down real quick.  I thought it was fantastic.  The 916 sauce is a type of 1000 Island sauce and the cheese was perfectly melted.  The beef patty was nicely seasoned and did not rely on fancy ingredients but instead worked with the standard burger toppings for a delicious meal.

The Sriracha Peanut Green Beans (fresh green beans lightly fried in peanut oil, topped with sriracha, hoisin, garlic aioli and chopped peanuts)[$10] were not the deep fried type many restaurants serve with a dip.  These came with a fork and every bite had a little of everything in it.  Cooked al dente, the heat combined with sweet hoisin sauce was delightful.  I demolished the whole thing and scraped up the last of the chopped peanuts, which added a nice little crunch.

Everything was great here.  Food was solid and as mentioned earlier I love that they bring it right to you.  Paired with delicious beer and great weather it made a fantastic lunch.  Don’t sleep on Moksa if you haven’t been here.  They’ve got a lot of good options on tap and a bunch to go in cans and bottles (dat Maple Magic…..drool).  I had to order the fan favorite Pastry Mode before I left (Imperial stout with coconut, hazelnut coffee and vanilla)[12.5% 5oz $5].  Such a treat.

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