Ramen_Lord Mike Satinover's Sapporo-style miso ramen
Sapporo-style miso ramen Credit: Mike Satinover

Mike Satinover’s doors of perception were blown wide open some ten years ago when the 21-year old study abroad undergrad was sent to a famous noodle shop in Sapporo, Japan, for a bowl of miso ramen:

“What arrived was ethereal. A scalding hot bowl of rich, intense miso and pork soup, with punches of garlic and ginger and a slight tinge of spice. A blanket of melted lard floating on top, trapping the soup’s heat in the bowl. The aggressively chewy, crinkly yellow noodles, the delicate sprinkling of thinly sliced green onion, tender slices of braised pork. This was unlike ramen, no, any food, I’d ever had. Prior, I’d assumed ramen was tasty junk food. With Sumire, this whole idea of ‘kodawari,’ or obsession with quality, became obvious to me.”

That’s from The Ramen_Lord Book of Ramen, Satinover’s exhaustive, open-source e-book on the glorious Japanese noodles in all their many forms. The description comes pretty close to what he’ll be ladling out in a few days on week 11 of Monday Night Foodball, the Reader’s pop-up series at the Kedzie Inn in Irving Park.

Satinover spent a decade teaching himself to make ramen in his apartment kitchen, and over the last four years he developed an increasingly rabid following that devours all tickets to his Akahoshi Ramen pop-ups within minutes. I’ve been driven to the brink of madness each time I was too late to score a bowl, so it’s with the sincerest selfishness that I asked him to play a round of Foodball.

You’ll want to set your alarm for this one. Tickets go on sale at noon sharp on Thursday, November 4. That’s tomorrow, friendo.

Meantime, you can obsess over the idea of Satinover meticulously building flavors and textures in chicken liquid gold: the crinkly, springy, Sapporo-style Sun Noodles; the fatty slab of pork belly chashu; the jammy ajitama egg; and the seasoning, i.e. the tare, a blend of shinshu, sendai, and hatcho miso that, as he taunted me over the phone, “balances out the spectrum of what miso can be. From the most alive and vibrant flavors all the way to a very robust depth and density—and all the milieu in between. It allows you to hit all those notes.”

Oak Street Beach Pie and Snowskin Mooncake
Credit: Jaye Fong

That’s not nearly all. Jaye Fong and her arrestingly beautiful pastries will also be in the house. It was Sakura season the last time I checked in with Fong, but I never stopped staring at her Maa Maa Dei Insta and its constant progression of unearthly Asian and Asian-inspired sweets. For the consummate miso ramen complements she’s created a sweet white-bean-paste-and-roasted-kabocha mooncake, and a tangy, citrus custard pie with a buttery, crumbly, crispy SkyFlakes Crackers-crust.

“Desert would have to stand up next to the miso, so something a little bit sweet like the Snowskin Mooncake would be a good palate cleanser,” she told me. “For the pie, Mike and I decided what would really stand up to the miso would be citrus. I wanted tangy-sour but still light enough that you’d be able to eat it right after a big bowl of ramen.”

And that’s still not all. Satinover is limiting pre-orders to 50 bowls this Monday, November 8, and it’s dine-in only. To avoid stampedes there won’t be any ramen available to order for walk-ins (though you can still walk in and have a beer). But if you miss out after they sell out—which they quickly will—Satinover and Fong are holding a raffle: one $5 ticket buys you and a friend a chance at winning two bowls of ramen, a Snowskin Mooncake, a “large” slice of Oak Street Beach Pie, your choice of two brews from the Kedzie Inn’s vast craft beer selection, on Jon Pokorny. All proceeds will benefit the South-East Asian Center in Uptown.

The hunger games start at high noon Thursday. That’s when you want to make sure your cursor’s hovering over Satinover’s Akahoshi Ramen Tock page while you hit refresh. At 1 PM you can buy your raffle tickets here. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Monday Night Foodball continues:

11/15 Thai food from Palita Sriratana of Pink Salt

11/22 Barbecue Life Coach Gary Wiviott

11/29 Thanksgiving/Hannukah break

12/6 TBA

12/13 12/13: Jennifer Kim (Alteconomy) and Nariba Shepherd (Trini Zaddy)   

Kedzie Inn
4100 N. Kedzie
(773) 293-6368