Birthday Noodles at Nishiki Ramen

On September 23, Bryan’s niece and nephew turned two years old. We sent them a birthday package with harmonicas and banana shakers, but more importantly, we went out for ramen on Friday night. Eating noodles to celebrate birthdays is a Chinese tradition Bryan’s family recognizes and, since I’m considered family now, it’s a tradition I’ve grown to love.

For birthday noodle nights, you won’t find Bryan and me eating macaroni or bow tie pasta. It has to be something like spaghetti, soba, or ramen, because the noodles symbolize longevity and the hope a loved one enjoys a long life. I love the symbolism behind this simple (and tasty) act.

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Always a sucker for a great bowl of ramen, I suggested noodle soup to celebrate the twins’ birthday, and Bryan and I wound up at Nishiki Ramen. At Nishiki, they make their own noodles in house, serve up generous portions of pork belly chashu, offer a killer vegetarian option (and a vegan bowl!), and provide patrons death sauce upon request, which, of course, Bryan wanted to try. The sauce is a fiery combination of ghost pepper and Carolina Reaper, and it adds a delightfully smoky flavor to the ramen. Though tasty, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. A few drops in my bowl of Black Bomb Ramen was enough to make me sweat. And while Bryan can stand more heat than me, he didn’t use the full portion in his bowl. (Apparently, Nishiki hosts death ramen eating challenges, and each of those bowls boasts ten servings of their death sauce. I feel like you have to have a tank for a belly to survive that!)

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Post birthday noodles, Bryan and I were craving a cool dessert, something to assuage the spicy, heavy quality of the ramen. Naturally, we walked over to Boba Bar where they serve up puffles, waffles full of air pockets, topped with Italian ice or soft serve and other delicious toppings. And Bryan got to taste his first Dole Whip! It lived up to the hype. He loved it, and we’ll definitely be back for more puffle goodness.

All in all, it was a wonderful date night and a great way to celebrate family.