A heavenly ramen bar and another yogurt twist

It’s not every day that I get to write that a meal is a life-changing experience. But from now on I’ll probably be eating at Monta, a new Japanese ramen noodle bar at 5030 Spring Mountain Road (367-4600), at least once a week. It’s that good.

Ramen—long, skinny noodles slurped from a garlicky broth—is almost a religion in Japan, and far more common than nigiri, the fish-topped rice that we Americans think the Japanese eat. The menu here is simple and to the point. Tonkotsu ramen comes in milky white broth, while miso ramen comes in a broth flavored with bean paste.

Choose toppings from a short list at an extra charge: hard-boiled egg, roast pork in thin slices that virtually melt into the soup, corn or even butter. There are other dishes too, such as gyoza dumplings and a mini pork belly bowl (only $3.95), whose meat comes on white rice with pickles. The food here is exactly like it is in Japan, and the boys behind the counter snickered at my suggestion the place be renamed “Sick of Taiwan- and Korean-Owned Sushi Places Noodle Bar.”

If you love frozen yogurt, meanwhile, you’ll want to beat feet over to I Love Yogurt, at 11700 W. Charleston Blvd. This winsome shop offers a choice of more than 50 toppings for its many flavors, some of which, including Red Velvet and Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter, were invented in-house.

The place belongs to a pair of guys from the nightclub industry, Rich Bowen and Branden Powers, and has a cool, ’80s theme featuring retro video games such as Pacman, which you can play for a quarter a pop. The price for the yogurt and toppings is 39 cents per ounce.

In nearby Boca Park, meanwhile, Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria has opened a new location, with high ceilings and red-checked tablecloths to complement the black-and-white photos of old New York (its home base) and the Rat Pack. The thin, crisp crusts are amazing, and I especially love the white pizzas. The Red White & Lite Special, $37, buys you a large white and a full bottle of Coppola Sauvignon Blanc—an excellent deal. And on Tuesdays only, all wines on the list are half-off by the glass or bottle.

If this location is as busy as the one in Henderson, you’ll need a reservation: 479-1351.

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