Mr. K and I have eaten at Noodles & Company several times and I’ve posted about some of those visits. It’s quick, with reasonable prices, and very convenient when we are at the UTC mall.

Recently, we were invited to come preview their new menu items, and given our enjoyable past experiences, we decided to accept the invitation.

Garden Pesto Saute

My previous go-to favorite has been the pesto cavatappi, but I loved this new pesto dish even more. I was really surprised that this dish uses gluten free noodles. They were light and bouncy and I couldn’t tell at all that they were gluten-free. This dish is like a warm salad. It’s not too heavy and a good meal option, especially with the hot weather.

Ours was served with their parmesan crusted grilled chicken. I’ve never had the chicken here and really enjoyed it. The parmesan crust gave the chicken a slightly crispy exterior and a good flavor but didn’t taste too heavy. We will definitely be opting for the parmesan chicken addition next time we visit.

Springtime Flatbread

I think they now have a summertime flatbread, which is similar but with some different toppings. I actually wasn’t as big of a fan of this one. I thought the bread tasted like pita bread rather than the flatbreads I enjoy. Mr. K enjoyed it though and polished off the whole plate.

Asparagus stack

This was a pretty simple side dish. Lightly cooked asparagus, topped with feta cheese and bacon. It’s a good healthier side option, especially if you omit the cheese and bacon.

A few weeks ago I made classic spaghetti carbonara for the first time. It’s actually quite easy to make and now that I know how simple it is, I plan on making it often.

I mentioned previously that Mr. K and I have a history with spaghetti carbonara.

During one winter vacation of his college years, Mr. K spent the break in Rome, visiting family. While there, his aunt cooked him many delicious pasta dishes including spaghetti carbonara. She taught Mr. K to make it so that he could make it for me. Well, when he returned from his trip, he was so excited and wanted to show off what he learned.

So for our one year anniversary, he “surprised” me by making me dinner. Until then, he’d never cooked for me before, so it was a big deal. His menu consisted of spaghetti carbonara and chocolate cookies for dessert.

For those of you familiar with spaghetti carbonara, you know that an integral step in the making of it is breaking a raw egg and tossing the hot noodles until the egg is fully cooked. Well, Mr. K is notoriously slow in the kitchen. So by the time he had drained the pasta and added his egg, his noodles were already cold. He didn’t know enough about cooking to try putting it back on the stove, so he just tossed the raw egg in the cold noodles, which just resulted in noodles covered in slimy egg whites and yolk…

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I just had to stop by and try Marugame Monzo, the recently opened restaurant that specializes in handmade udon noodles.

If you can, request a seat at the bar, where you’ll have a great view of the dough being kneaded and noodles being cut. While we did get a seat at the bar, we arrived pretty late into the lunch hour and so we didn’t see any noodles being twirled or cut, just the dough being pounded and flattened into disks.

The menu features a variety of udon dishes ranging from the traditional to the Italian influenced. There are a variety of tempura items you can add on as well, ranging from $1-3.

Uni Cream Udon

This is one of their most popular items and the one I was most looking forward to trying. Be warned, it’s not on the lunch menu but it is served during lunch as long as you ask for it. The sauce was creamier and lighter in color than I expected. I had imagined a sauce made mainly of sea urchin, but instead it was mainly garlic and cream, with little bits of uni floating inside. I wonder if my version was a little off from the standard one because the sauce looked a lot lighter than other photos I’ve seen of the dish.

I enjoyed the handmade noodles, which were bouncy, slippery and slightly chewy. The sauce was too heavy handed on the garlic for me and I felt like the noodles were almost drowning in the sauce.

The bowls were quite large and deceptively deep. From the surface, it doesn’t seem like a huge amount of food, but there is a good amount of noodles buried underneath.