meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: Carmel Belle and the Hashi Hotto Ramen Pop-Up

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carmel Belle and the Hashi Hotto Ramen Pop-Up


Everything was ready. The Tonkotsu broth was made from organic, free range pork bones simmered for three days and nights. Brown, green, blue and beige eggs immersion poached in a big transparent vat...  ramen noodles were cut practically to order before our hungry eyes. The Kimchi and pickled cucumber were handmade just days before being served from large glass jars. Organic. Handmade. Homemade. The $8.00 question was... who (and how many) would actually come?

Chloe (striped shirt) and Jay (green shirt) can pretty much always be found at Belle
As a little girl, the Doud Craft and Art Studio was a cozy place, in a winding indoor arcade, that was great to explore while getting out of the mist and fog. The heart of the place was an open Italian restaurant, Paolina's, run by the Aliotti family. Sometimes our Brownie troupe would meet there and snack on the most delicious pizza or lasagna made by 'Brownie Maria''s mom. It's been a long time since those days and for decades there wasn't really much heart in the old arcade.  All that changed about four years ago when Carmel Belle opened it's counter for business.

Owners Chloe and Jay Dolata take great pride in Belle, what they serve and the way it's served. In fact, your whole experience from beginning to end actually matters to everyone who works at Carmel Belle.  That's rare these days.  The ingredients are locally sourced (I often see Jay and Chloe with their daughter Brogan shopping for Belle at the Friday Organic Farmers market) and the menu, while reliably consistent, changes seasonally.  Since being back in Carmel I've become a regular at Belle. Sometimes even being guilty of being there for both breakfast and lunch on the same day...  I'm not the only one either.

Kombu(seaweed and shitake mushroom) broth simmering away
Cucumber pickles and Kimchee at the ready!
See? Hand made Ramen!
Enter Elizabeth Murray (Chef de Cuisine at Sierra Mar in Big Sur).  Elizabeth and I met in Paris at a book signing about 3 years ago.  We hit it off, exchanged Facebook information (I know, right?) and sort of kept in touch.  Then a couple of months ago when she moved to Big Sur we reconnected and have been cooking and eating together since.  Anyway, she and Yulanda Santos (the Pastry Chef at Sierra Mar) began talking Ramen... Elizabeth spoke with Chloe and Jay about a night time Pop-Up at Belle and Voila! A great idea was hatched!

Organic free range eggs from Fogline Farms, poached and at the ready

By 6:45 there was a line... it was shortly after this that Jay said "Don't look".
Turns out, no one needed to worry about how many people would come to eat this amazing bowl of soup...  because serve up Ramen we did... until 1am! How do I know so much about this fab event?  Guess who 'womaned' the register and took the (100's of) orders from beginning until the end?  Wow! It's been a long, long time since I've talked to so many people in one evening.  And things went off without a hitch because Elizabeth and Yulanda really ROCKED IT in the kitchen!

Green Tea & Yuzu ice cream in Buckwheat cookies

Yulanda (Left) and Elizabeth -  Still smiling at the end of the night!
There is talk of doing a Puerco Pebil Pop-Up in September using my banana leaf wrapped recipe adapted from - I kid you not - a 10 minute bonus video on the DVD of Once Upon a Time in Mexico by Robert Rodrigas (where in the Johnny Depp character eats Puerco Pebil throughout the movie).  Words can not begin to describe the tender, savory deliciousness of this dish. There would be a vegetarian version of the dish (we have yet to create) cilantro rice, Caesar salad, tortillas, a salsa bar and those fabulous pickled carrots (all organic of course).   We'll just have to see...  

 See you soon!

Carmel Belle      (831) 624-1600
Monday - Friday  8am - 5pm
Doud Craft Studios  
San Carlos St, Carmel, CA 93923

1 comment:

mimi chiang said...

Absolutely delicious! Thank you for posting.