October 21, 2016

The Umami Reader: Everyone’s Favorite Ramen Movie is Back in Theaters!

by Sarah Han

TAMPOPO2050

– Ask any food fanatic about their favorite movies and undoubtedly Tampopo will be on their list (if not #1). Juzo Itami’s delightfully playful 1985 “ramen western” tells the story of Tampopo, a woman on a mission to turn around her failing roadside noodle shop with the guidance of two truck drivers – an unlikely pair of ramen ronin. Janus Films recently gave Tampopo a 4k restoration and it’s returning to the big screen for a limited run, starting this week! Tampopo opens at Film Forum on October 21 (where actress Nobuko Miyamoto will appear for a Q&A and the concession stand will offer guests Momofuku ramen seasoning popcorn), at the Landmark Nuart in Los Angeles on October 28, and at select theaters. (Indiewire; via Louis Anderman)

– More ramen news (are you sick of ramen news yet?): Tonkotsu ramen chain, Ichiran, opened this week in Brooklyn after a decade-long process to open its first Stateside outpost. What’s so special about Ichiran? It’s the perfect restaurant for the anti-social, the extremely introverted, or those who are so serious about food that they need their full attention to enjoy every single morsel. Ichiran’s single-person “low-interaction dining” booths allow diners to seat themselves and not talking to anyone, including restaurant workers and other diners, so they can “concentrate on the flavor” of their ramen. Confused? Ichiran’s website has a whole System Guide to help you through the process. If you’re not down for this solitary eating experience, Ichiran’s Brooklyn location has a dining room where customers can sit with friends and interact with servers. (Gothamist/Tasting Table)

When in Japan, get a highball. It’s not just the drink itself, but the experience of witnessing a meticulous bartender prepare your cocktail for you. The entire process, from the hand-shaped ice to the perfectly measured and poured spirits to the lemon peel twisted just so – it’s a total ASMR head-tingling experience (sans whispering). (Food Republic)

– The Bay Area has its own group of impressive bartenders, and The San Francisco Chronicle has once again dropped its list of the upper echelon of drink makers, sommeliers, and bar consultants. “Bar Stars 2016,” chosen by Lou Bustamante, tips a hat at Christina Cabrera (Wildhawk), Matthew Harrison (Penrose), Anthony Parks (Mourad), Keli Rivers (White Chapel), and Andrew Salazar (Miminashi). (SF Chronicle)

– Did you know that the unemployment rate for trans people is 2x that of the general American population due to discrimination? Hopefully, this figure will be a thing of the past one day, especially with the creation of programs like the California Transgender Workplace Project. The first of its kind in the nation, the California Transgender Workplace Project will “connect transgender people looking for jobs with restaurants looking for workers.” Further enticing restaurateurs to hire trans people would be a state grant, which would pay for the first 60 hours of a new hire’s wages. (NPR)

GuzzleBuddy

– Do you eschew wine glasses for drinking from the bottle? “Why bother,” you wonder, “if it’s all going inside me anyway?” Well, besides the fact it’s kinda frowned upon to quaff straight from the bottle, (good) wine also tastes better poured into proper glassware. But if you’re drinking Tisdale, go ahead, tip that bottle! Still, if you want to class up your game a skosh, there’s the Guzzle Buddy. As its tag line explains, this novelty product “turns your wine bottle into your wine glass.” Plug it in, plug it in. (Gizmodo)

Meet the “Lamborghini of poultry.” The Indonesian Ayam Cemani is a breed of chicken that’s completely black, from beak to feet to feathers to flesh, and even, some say, their blood. Mostly used in spiritual ceremonies, these prized fowl are sold for as much as $1000-4000 a bird. And of course, there are some Americans who are hoping to make a killing on breeding and selling these black birds to gourmands looking for the next food trend. If so, these chickens will give “dark meat” a whole new meaning. (Vice Munchies; via Cindy Kumano)


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