Tampopo

Do you have a recipe that requires egg yolks? This provocative scene from Tampopo is one hell of a way to separate an egg.

It was early afternoon and I was down in East Dallas, overheated and very hungry. As I contemplated the twists of neighborhood streets and grids of avenues I tried to think of someplace to get something to eat… something good, quick, cheap, interesting, on the way home, and, preferably, someplace I’ve never been to before.

One word popped into my dehydrated and sun-frazzled brain – Tampopo.

Tampopo, on Greenville Avenue in Dallas

Tampopo is a bright humble-looking little Japanese café on Greenville Avenue – just south of Northwest Highway (on my way home). I had heard of it, driven by it, but never actually stopped there. Its name (Japanese for Dandelion) has always fascinated me, because it is also the name of one of my absolute favorite films.

Tampopo (the movie) is an odd lark of a film, a Japanese comedy loosely modeled after a Clint Eastwood Western yet set in a Ramen Shop run by a young widow named Tampopo. It is a wondrous wandering mess of a movie – jumping around in tone and sliding sideways into odd set pieces that have very little to do with the main story….

Except they are all about food. Tampopo is struggling with her third-rate Ramen shop until a macho truck driver and his sidekick come along and end up devoting their skill and energy into creating the perfect ramen. It is greatness.

The movie is very difficult to see in the United States. I had to jump through some hoops to get a copy of a DVD and it is one of my prized possessions.

So, I stopped in at Tampopo (the restaurant) and ordered some Beef Udon soup. I was a little disappointed they didn’t offer Ramen – but I’m a bit of an Udon man myself anyway. It was good and a nice treat on a hot day.

My Beef Udon Soup. Unfortunately, I had a telephoto and couldn’t get the soup in focus… but you get the idea.


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