Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Search Of: Noodle Kugel

Ever since reading Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union, I was intrigued by deli food. Specifically Jewish deli food as served in Alsaka. Ok, so that's not happening except in his alternate reality. Therefore, the next best option would have to be Kat'z Deli in New York in the middle of winter.

Most of the items that he mentions in the book, I could picture or at least had a certain level of familiarity with. Kugel, on the other hand, was completely alien to me. What could he be talking about, noodles being cut into squares? It took a trip to Kat'z to figure it out.

Wow! These were good! Moist, sweet, chewy and warm on a freezing day. I could eat a whole tray of these. Now my question to you: Where to find something like this in Denver? Leave me a comment if you have any ideas for me to try.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oishinbo: The Ultimate Menu

I've been reading the amazing manga series Oishinbo by Karity & Hanasaki. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's a series about two competing newspapers in Japan coming up with the Ultimate/Supreme Japanese menu. It is an exploration of the world of traditional Japanese cuisine and its place in the modern world.

I've learned so much about Japanese food while reading this series, but I'm frustrated in not being able to actually taste what they are discussing. Also, not having a good foundation in the basic ingredients, makes it difficult for me to begin imagining what it is they are looking for as they explore the canon of Japanese food. I can only liken it to trying to describe what a good salsa and a bad salsa should taste like to someone who's never had a tomato or a chili pepper.

Though I continue reading with interest, it is starting to feel rather academic and sterile. Should I hold off on continuing and start doing some tastings? Should I figure out what dashi, miso, and shungiko taste like; maybe sample diferent ramens and udons?

After reading the Ramen and Gyoza edition of Oishinbo, we decided to go to Oshima Ramen on Hampden Avenue for dinner. I'm not sure what to say about it. What would Yamaoka think about this place? Again, not having any experience with real ramen or even it's basic ingredients, I'm not sure. My personal taste, influenced by pho tells me that it wasn't all that great. The broth wasn't very hot, though, it was very rich. The noodles were good, the pork was so-so. Hmm.

I'm going to have to do more research before I come to any conclusions. I will try Oshima Ramen again, and I will try some of the other Japanese restaurants in town. I promise, I'll pay more attention, and go beyond sushi.

As soon as I have something to report, I'll check in.

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