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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, April 24

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Restaurant Tue Apr 15 2008

Ramen, Oh, Ramen...

Just the other day the top quarter of my mouth was utterly violated by an evil minion. Actually, my dentist is rather cute and very capable, but dental work is never a positive experience, especially when the first of four sessions in a month’s time hurt as bad as that one did.

The whole hour and a half that my mouth was pried open and I watched the descent of various tiny metal torture devices into my “open wide” mouth, I distracted myself with the view from the window. Across the street was Tam Popo Japanese Restaurant. I soothed myself with fantasies that some wildly talented quirky Japanese woman was spinning out the bowls of noodles to inspire a great film.

After all was done, I went running across the street with one very non-responsive novacaine heavy lip to get my bowl of ramen. Warm and steamy comfort for my shockingly pained mouth.

I was greeted by a very sweet woman who continued to be the picture of gracious service throughout my solo lunch. I got Goma Ae to start, which is a perennial favorite of mine. I was delighted to see that tenderly sweet spinach dish was made with a black sesame sauce. I love the toastier flavor of black sesame seeds. However, I have to admit that I was concerned for the fate of my soup when I received the little banchan dishes, these are the side dishes more commonly served with Korean meals. Would the broth be the delicate dashi base I was dreaming of?

Sadly, it wasn’t. It was a nice steamy bowl of well cooked ramen noodles, with a pedestrian fish cake and a bit too much white pepper than I care for, but it was passable and somewhat satisfying. It wasn’t transcendental, but it was good.

It is yet another pleasant disappointment in my search for good authentic Japanese comfort food. But don’t let the lack of authenticity deter you, the soup was very warming and satisfying, it just wasn’t the Tampopo of my dreams.

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Naz / April 15, 2008 1:47 PM

Interesting and good to know Rachel. I'm quite fond of the various ramen found at Mitsuwa, in the food court. Downtown, surprisingly perhaps or not, Takashi Yagihash's Noodles stand, in the Macy's food court is pretty tasty.

More on that and Mitsuwa as well as others here.

rachel / April 15, 2008 3:45 PM

Yes! Mitsuwa! and the Okanomiyaki!!!
I will definitely try out the noodle stand at Macy's, thanks for the tip.
Also FYI: Hachi Kitchen Nabe Yake Udon is a great bowl

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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