First, Observe the Whole Bowl

Student of ramen eating:
[voiceover] One fine day… I went out with an old man. He’s studied noodles for 40 years. He was showing me the right way to eat them.

Student of ramen eating:
Master… soup first or noodles first?

Old gentleman:
First, observe the whole bowl.

Student of ramen eating:
Yes, sir.

Old gentleman:
Appreciate its gestalt. Savor the aromas. Jewels of fat glittering on the surface. Shinachiku roots shining. Seaweed slowly sinking. Spring onions floating. Concentrate on the three pork slices. They play the key role, but stay modestly hidden. First caress the surface with the chopstick tips.

Student of ramen eating:
What for?

Old gentleman:
To express affection.

Student of ramen eating:
I see.

Old gentleman:
Then poke the pork.

Student of ramen eating:
Eat the pork first?

Old gentleman:
No. Just touch it. Caress it with the chopstick tips. Gently pick it up and dip it into the soup on the right of the bowl. What’s important here is to apologize to the pork by saying “see you soon.” Finally, start eating-the noodles first. Oh, at this time, while slurping the noodles, look at the pork.

Student of ramen eating:
Yes.

Old gentleman:
Eye it affectionately.

Student of ramen eating:
[voiceover] The old man bit some shinachiku root and chewed it awhile. Then he took some noodles. Still chewing noodles, he took some more shinachiku. Then he sipped some soup. Three times. He sat up, sighed, picked up one slice of pork-as if making a major decision in life-and lightly tapped it on the side of the bowl.

Student of ramen eating:
What for?

Old gentleman:
To drain it. That’s all.

—- Tampopo

Spicy Tonkotsu from Agu Ramen, Dallas, Texas

My son, Nick, and I have been on the hunt for noodles lately. Not too long ago we had Laotian food at the Khao Noodle Shop and it was good.

The other weekend I was riding my bike around Mockingbird Station and texted him to see if he wanted to eat some Ramen for lunch. We met at Agu Ramen. It’s a chain with locations in Houston, Hawaii, and Korea – I usually avoid chains – but this isn’t exactly McDonalds. We both ordered the Spicy Tonkotsu. After thinking about the spice level, I settled on three, which turned out to be plenty spicy.

The food was good – I think I’ll stop by again – although there are so many other noodle places out there (and so little time).

There was a cool poster on the wall – a graphic novel hero The Immortal Red Fox gulping noodles. It’s called Ramen Crusher and I’d buy one, but they are a little too pricey for me.

Ramen Crusher – The Immortal Red Fox from Agu Ramen, Dallas, Texas

 

What I learned this week, June 18, 2017

David Mitchell on How to Write: “Neglect Everything Else”

When I asked David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, to discuss a favorite passage for this series, I was initially surprised by his choice: a plain-stated, rustic poem by James Wright. “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” bears no overt similarity to Mitchell’s maximalist, genre-busting epics. But, he explained, the poem’s pure sensory engagement inspires him to strive to be more present, attentive, and alert—an ongoing struggle with implications for his work habits, his craft, and the art of writing about the future.


The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it

A recent survey asked “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?”. In Sweden 10% thought things are getting better, in the US they were only 6%, and in Germany only 4%. Very few people think that the world is getting better.

What is the evidence that we need to consider when answering this question? The question is about how the world has changed and so we must take a historical perspective. And the question is about the world as a whole and the answer must therefore consider everybody. The answer must consider the history of global living conditions – a history of everyone.

This is truly the best of all possible worlds in the best of all possible times. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Two of Texas’ Best Vietnamese Sandwich Shops Share a Garland Parking Lot

Two of the best tennis players to pick up rackets are sisters who learned the game together on a public court in Compton. For decades, America’s confused letter-writers got help from two advice columnists, Dear Abby and Ann Landers, who were, in fact, identical twin sisters named Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman. And 85 percent of Hollywood blockbusters from the past seven years star at least one blond Australian named Hemsworth.

The Dallas culinary scene has its own version of the Williams sisters, and our outstanding coincidence involves Vietnamese bakeries. Two of the best banh mi shops in the region — arguably two of the best banh mi shops in the United States — make their homes in Garland, where they stare each other down across a shared parking lot. Just one suburban stretch of asphalt apart, Quoc Bao Bakery and Saigon Deli compete for the title of best banh mi in metro Dallas.

For banh mi – I go to Lee’s Sandwiches near my house (it’s also, technically, in Garland) or the Nammi Food Truck. These two are very close, however, maybe two miles… perfect bicycling distance. Sounds like a plan.

Banh Mi from the Nammi Food Truck. Giant sandwich with rooster sauce and cucumber sauce.


Welcome to the Korean Ramen Noodles Antitrust Litigation Website

This is the official website In re Korean Noodles Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 3:13-CV-4115-WHO-DMR (N.D. Cal.). This is a class action lawsuit involving the price of Korean Noodles purchased directly or indirectly from the Defendants Nong Shim Co., Ltd., Nongshim America, Inc., Ottogi Co., Ltd., and Ottogi America, Inc. (“Defendants”) that is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit alleges that Defendants engaged in illegal price fixing with respect to the sale of Korean Noodles and that as a result, any person or entity that purchased Korean Noodles directly or indirectly from any Defendant, during the Direct Purchaser Class Period or Indirect Purchaser Class Period paid a higher price than they would have otherwise paid in a competitive market. Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and the Court has not ruled on the merits of the claims or defenses.

Ok, let me get this straight…. A class-action lawsuit claiming some companies illegally conspired to fix the prices of RAMEN NOODLES???? I have no idea if I have ever consumed Korean Ramen noodles (I doubt it, though). How much money would I get if I did? Maybe a nickel?


How to Read James Joyce’s Ulysses (and Why You Should Avoid “How-to” Guides Like This One)

Ulysses deserves its reputation as one the best books in the English language. It generously overflows with insight into the human experience, and it’s very, very funny. And, most importantly, anyone can read it.

I have actually wanted to read Ulysses.

Maybe I should write a guide on how to read Gravity’s Rainbow. I have read it, really… I have. It only took me twenty five years to get through.


The Nine Best Coffee Shops in the Dallas Suburbs

also (some overlap)

Five New DFW Coffee Shops to Check Out Next Time You Need a Caffeine Fix

Es café macerado en ron, posee todas las propiedades organolépticas del ron, pero tiene grado de alcohol


Mass-Produced or Artisan Bread? Results May Surprise

“The really shocking result was that on everything that we looked at, we didn’t find any difference between the effects of the two breads,” a co-author says, per the Guardian.

I was into home-made bread for awhile – basing a lot of what I did on the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The bread was delicious and the house always smelled wonderful… but I realized that I was pretty much eating a loaf of bread every day. I bought a fifty pound bag of bread flour and ate the whole damn thing in a little over a month (I kept it in a freezer).

That was not good – I had to give the whole thing up.

Chipotle Sourdough

Finished loaf of Chipotle Sourdough Bread. A little too much Chipotle, it made the dough a bit wet and it came out very spicy. Still Delicious. There are kids over and it was gone in five minutes.

What I learned this week, January 17, 2014


A Janitor Secretly Worked On This For 7 Years. No One Knew Til Now… And It’s Baffling Everyone.


6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person



14 Photography Project Ideas



Sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov predicted the world of 2014 in 1964: here’s what he got wrong


The Serious Eats Guide to Ramen Styles

What I learned this week, March 15, 2013


The Strangest Beers in America


25 Ways to Use Sriracha

25 New Ways to Use Sriracha


train_animate

Brookville Awarded Contract to Manufacture First American Designed and Produced Off-Wire Capable Modern Streetcars for City of Dallas

petunia3


A List of Dreadful Phrases


What Are Some Strategies for Winning “Rock Paper Scissors”?


Bogus Grammar Errors You Don’t Have To Worry About


belmont9

The 24 Best David Bowie Songs


Perhaps security at DFW airport gets a little lax in the the middle of the night.


9 Ways to Upgrade Your Instant Ramen


12 Great Performances by Non-Professional Actors


From Esquire – a beautiful woman has a funny joke for you.


The Fifteen Worst Make Out Records Ever


Artist Re-Imagines Great Albums as Book Covers


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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What I learned this week, September, 23, 2011

From Physalia Studio


U-Ram Choe has a work on display in New York.

I have been a huge fan of U-Ram Choe since I first saw an exhibition of his work at the Crow Museum of Asian Art a few years ago.

U-Ram Choe Home Page




“Hit it Mr. Butters.”


Dr. Noodle
A page from my Moleskine Sketchbook

There is a Cup Noodle Museum opening up in Yokohama. I prefer the brick-type Instant Ramen to the Cup Noodle type – but when I’m in Yokohama I’ll definitely visit the museum – it looks really cool.Museum Home Page