Cup o' Mud, a Bowl of Ramen, and Dacquoise

As most of you who are familiar with my blog, I tend to eat…well. Ok, more than well I eat freakin’ extravagant. Like any normal human being, I need a break from all this luxurious, fatty foods and need some simple yet tasty grub that isn’t from my kitchen (just because I feel lazy from cooking my own food).

Since I made an old promise to one of my friends, Julie that we would drink Mud’s coffee (nearly a year ago) and I have time during the morning before an afternoon concert, we set the date and meet up late morning. With Ariel of course. When isn’t he in the picture?

I’ve heard that Mud‘s coffee is strong and dark like “mud.” Since I do like my coffee strong, and I do drink espresso straight (and yes, no sugar), I had somewhat of a high expectation of getting a good cup o’ joe.

Mud Spot Signage

Looking toward the back MUDIFY

The back area
Mud’s sign and Interior shots

Ariel, Julie and I all met inside Mud since it’s freezing the past Saturday (1/19) morning and Ariel had the cold (again). What surprised me was that the place was really dim, especially when we got seated in the back. Julie commented that it’s dark enough for her to go back to sleep. Ariel said that the decor looked so funky and hipster-like that he would’ve hung out here if he was in his college days. As for me, I don’t mind the decor but the music was a notch or two louder than I would like but at least it was upbeat that Ariel had an urge to dance in his seat.

When we perused the menu, we’re just interested in the coffee since we’re getting lunch somewhere else. Even though it should have been ordered but we all digressed from the signature Mud coffee and went for their espresso based drinks instead. Ariel and Julie ordered the mocha and I had the cappuccino.

Mocha My Cappuccino
Mocha & Cappuccino

What Ariel said about the mocha was that it’s milky. Julie agreed. He commented on that if he was in his healthy state, he “would have been pissed.” But since he’s sick, he doesn’t mind. Actually he enjoyed it.

As for my cappuccino, the first thing I noticed was the huge mug and it’s frothy. Cappuccino isn’t supposed to be this big nor this bubbly. When I attempted my first sip, all I really got was the milk foam not much in terms of the actual espresso until I took a gulp. This is not my cup of coffee. I would think of this as coffee flavored milk with extra foam. *Sighs* At least I know what Mud’s espresso based drinks are like.

Our destination for sustenance was a hot bowl of ramen. You might be wondering why would I eat there? Well, I watched the movie, Tampopo that Ariel touted as a great foodie movie that I would love. I watched the whole thing we loved the first scene and will reenact (Just keep reading to get to the clip.). Also, it’s suitable since Ariel’s illness harks a need for a bowl of soup (technically broth for ramen) and it’s freezing out there. So where better than the much hyped ramen place over the past summer, Ramen Setagaya.

Signage Ramen time!

Looking toward the kitchen Looking toward the kitchen

As we all perused the limited menu of shio ramen (with or without pork and if you want a regular or large serving) with five or so side dishes. We all decided on having the same thing, char siu ramen. Ariel just thrown in a side dish of salted egg since he saw the table behind us had a bunch of them.

Ariel's Salted Egg Ariel’s salted egg

I didn’t bother trying Ariel’s egg since I’ve eaten quite a number of them over the years since my family’s Chinese and we make our own salted eggs if we wanted to. Also just eating salted egg without rice or anything is a bit odd to me since my tongue would be scream for WATER or RICE, just to dilute the salinity of the ovum. Going back to Ariel’s feedback on his egg, he liked it a lot – not too salty and cooked properly.

Another view of the pork ramen Mmmm…Bowl of comfort

Strands of noods...

I don’t know about you, but soup noodles of any kind scream comfort food to me. Something about eating (and slurping) noodles in a hot broth makes me feel so much better. It’s magic I tell you! Magic! Anyways, the huge bowl of ramen that we all gotten was filled with fresh, thin ramen topped with four slices of roasted then grilled pork, half a salted egg (hence Ariel’s slightly wasted expense earlier), mushrooms, and some kind of seasoning on top that I don’t know the name of. I liked the ramen since it’s not too chewy, the pork was lean and the mushrooms were chewy and gave a delicate hint of earthiness to the noodles. But the broth was way too salty for me that my palate is preventing me from finishing the broth. At least Ariel finished everything and drank every last drop of the broth. Julie ate everything but drank about half the broth.

Going back to the Tampopo scene I was talking about earlier, Ariel and I supposed to reenact it. Since I took a long time taking photos, he went on doing it silently. What I mean was that he asked the question, “Who would apologize [to the pork] with me?” (Just watch the clip below). I said, “I would if I wasn’t busy taking photos.” But he proceeded and happily ate his ramen.


After getting a full belly of ramen, Julie left us since she had to go to work at her sister’s place and Ariel and I went uptown for the Lincoln Center matinée. Yes. I like classical music, ok?

Post-concert, we wandered around the Upper West Side since Ariel wanted to check out if Cloverfield is playing in the nearby IMAX theater. After he got his ticket, I had a chocolate craving and thought of Levain’s intense chocolate chip cookie, so we walked up further on Amsterdam. However, since we saw Jacques Torres’ new outpost, we went in.

Jacques Torres
Jacques Torres

I just liked the flowers Coffee & Drinks MenuInterior

Being tempted from all things chocolate, what appealed to us were the pastries and the remaining slice of banana chocolate dacquiose. For some reason, Ariel inquired the woman behind the counter, what’s tastier the caramel or blueberry tart or the dacquiose? The woman replied, the dacquoise; “hands down.” So that’s what we got and split it between us since we’re still stuffed from the ramen we consumed hours earlier.

Chocolate Banana Dacquoise
Chocolate Banana Dacquoise

The dacquoise was pretty good. The light, banana flavored meringue encased the plain, dark chocolate (60% cacao content) ganache. Ariel said this cake was good but “homespun.” The latter referring to its flavor combination.

After finishing our dessert, we went our own ways – I went home and he went back to the movie theaters to watch his movie.


307 E 9th Street
New York, NY 10003

Ramen Setagaya
141 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Jacques Torres
285 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10023


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. Dennis says:

    I had a latte from the Mud truck downtown and it was definitely on the milky side. Tasted kinda like a hot milky yoohoo :(

    Setagaya is yummy. You might prefer the char shu broth over at Minca since its a little less salty. Caffe Emilia (next door to Setagaya) is one my favorite places. Would love to see you take some pics of their stuff.

  2. Marge says:

    The eggs served at Setagaya weren’t salted eggs! They are Japanese style boiled eggs called “hot spring” egg (onsen tamago). They are boiled and the egg yolks come out a bit on the runny side. They surely should not taste salty!

  3. thewanderingeater says:

    Dennis: Setagaya is tasty! I need to try more ramen places like Minca and others.

    Ooooh…Caffe Emilia’s menu sounds tempting. I have to go there soon!

    Marge: I dunno…I tasted salt in the egg. Not an explosive hit of sodium on my tongue but more like a gentle zing. It’s not runny per se; it’s like soft-boiled egg that’s been sitting on the counter for a while that the yolk settled.

  4. Robyn says:

    I was about to say that the broth at Minca is salty up the wazoo, but then I read Dennis’s comment…ooops. ;) I could be wrong; I just remember loving Minca and its salty porktastic bowl of…awesome. (That’s my favorite ramen shop so far.)

    As for an onsen egg, I still remember the one from Momofuku in their namesake noodle bowl. Oh my god. So tasty. I remember the non-noodle parts of the dish much more than the noodles, haha.

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