The best thing about lark is that is malleable in so many ways. At the core of our business model is the idea of supporting and nurturing passion discovered in people we meet along the way – and sharing it with others. Chef Angelino’s enthusiasm, professional demeanor, and open mindedness impressed us and we soon learned of his desire to open a ramen restaurant and offered him an opportunity to “go on a lark”.
Lark #17 leads us back toThe Hood Kitchen Space to embrace Chef Angelino’s dream. Now is your opportunity to meet the chef behind the menu, but first this brief Q&A:
What inspired you to follow your culinary dream?
I wouldn’t say inspiration was really part of how this happened. I just really love ramen and Japanese food. Eventually I was really tired of driving far for Ramen and I just decided to do something about it. When the opportunities came up I just decided not to hesitate and I took them.
Do you remember your first ramen bowl?
I never had good ramen until I was in college. Until then I mostly grew up on the instant ramen.
Where do you want to end up?
I want to end up owning and hopefully changing the landscape of restaurants in Long Beach.
What is the thing about ramen that most people don’t understand or know?
This is hard. There’s actually a lot. I’m going to sound like I don’t make sense
Ramen is actually not from Japan originally. It’s originally from China.
Ramen is complicated and simple at the same time.
There is more than one kind of ramen. There are specific regions of Japan that serve distinctive styles.
Ramen has no rules and a lot of rules at the same time.
There’s more than one way to make the broth, but the devil is in the details, extremely subtle, but significant details for every style of ramen.
There’s more, but hopefully it should give you a good idea. There is a reason most ramen shops are small and most of the really good ramen shops only make one kind of ramen.
How long does it take you to make the noodles?
It actually depends on the time of year, how cold it is, the humidity, the kind of noodle I am making for the broth. Eventually I started working with Sun Noodles, constantly changing the recipe and adjusting what I needed. It took me about a 4-5 months of tweaking the noodles just right. Shout out to Sun Noodles.
What do you prefer to drink when enjoying ramen?
Cheap Japanese beer or whiskey high ball.
Where/Why did you choose the name Omiyage Kitchen for your restaurant?
I had to pick something related to my story of how I ended up here. Omiyage actually translates directly to souvenir, but the context is off. Omiyage is something you bring to someone when you travel and it is usually something edible specific to that region. I thought it would be fitting to have a name that represents the reason for me leaving to go to Tokyo just to learn about ramen so that I could eventually come back to start a ramen shop here in the States.
How did you get the opportunity to travel to Seattle/Japan?
Someone who knew I wanted to start a ramen shop called me and said they were leaving to go to Japan and they could make some introductions. So I left. I quit my job and a week later I was on a plane with some money and no idea on how to speak Japanese. There is a actually a lot more to the store I leave out.
I worked in Seattle because an opportunity had aligned with timing. It’s pretty straightforward; you just have to tell yourself to go do it.
Any funny stories to share about these experiences?
YUP. But I’d prefer to share them over beers in front of a person.
Did you go to culinary school?
Nope. Save yourself the trouble and just go stage somewhere nice for a really long time. You are much better off.
How did you get linked up with The Hood Kitchen?
I had originally started working there from a company a few years back.
How do you know Chef Kyle Powers?
Through an Amateur Dodgeball League. KIDDING!
Actually, we met by chance. I had just come back from Japan and Kyle had an opening and somehow we’ve just been working together ever since.
What is your next favorite meal/food?
I actually don’t have one specific meal or food that is my favorite. It’s just always a constantly changing. I’m just really curious about a lot of ingredients.
And this curiosity is what we love about Chef Angelino! Here’s to collaborating, creating, and knowing that anything is possible. See the ramen inspired menu and come on a lark with us!!
LARK UNDERGROUND DINING & MARKETPLACE
saturday 11/7/15 from 7:30pm-9:30/10pm
The Hood Kitchen
$95 per person, all inclusive good vibes, food & drinks
questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
purchase tickets*: let’s go on a lark!