Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SoCal Checklist: Tampopo, Shin Se Gumi

On this trip out, I allotted myself more day time to spend with my friend Linda, and we had a mini-checklist of our own. One, which I wasn't that hardcore about, was the oatmeal at McDonald's, which she swears is better (and cheaper) than Starbucks:


I was really skeptical but it's not bad at all. It's on the sweeter side and kind of has this brown sugar flavor infused throughout that gets you hooked. Though I missed the nuts that Starbucks has, I really liked the fresh apples. The only trick is, if I'm going to McDonald's, I would lean towards the hash browns at breakfast as evidenced by the way I kept telling Oli "you want to give Auntie Frances a bite of your hash brown, don't you?". At Starbucks, their other hot food options blow, so their oatmeal seems fantastic in comparison there. Bottom line, though the cheap bastard in me balks at the price I'm paying for instant oatmeal at both places, both oatmeals are pretty darn good.

The place that Linda really raved about was Shin Sen Gumi's ramen. She had been raving about the place and said we HAD to go there. Of course, I love fresh ramen and I told her we should watch one of my favorite movies of all time, Tampopo, before we go. The movie has a main story line of a widow struggling with her ramen shop, so there are all these scenes about the best noodles, stock, etc. And by the end of the movie, you are dying to eat ramen. The movie is also interweaved with other vignettes about food relationships with other aspects of Japanese life, which I love. Because it's not on NetFlix and as a foreign film from over 20 years ago, Tampopo is really hard to get your hands on--fortunately, I was gifted (THANK YOU T!) with a DVD last year and was able to bring it so we could watch it.

We watched it and though Linda wasn't enamored by the non-ramen scenes, we both acknowledged it made you want to respect ramen a bit more. We headed out to Shin Sen Gumi and in some ways it was like in the movie--they only made one type of soup--but here they allowed some slight variations, like extra toppings, firmness of noodles, amount of oil, soup base strength, or if you found onions or ginger "Un desire able":


Aaahhh. Just like the movie:


Unfortunately, they offered only a pork-based soup (though I gave the actual meat to Linda) so I spent a lot of time distracted at how porky the soup was, but overall, delicious. I recommend it, especially after watching Tampopo.

Though it wasn't on the checklist, a number of us went out for karaoke in the evening:


This is my fellow East Coast remote co-worker--we've come to appreciate SoCal now that both of us have moved away from it, so every time we're out here, we fill our calendar with as much SoCal as we can. He's accomplished (played Lacrosse for Syracuse AND got a masters there as well) with a sense of adventure and wanderlust. We were the only remote employees that got dressed for Halloween--and he went all out as Tim the Enchanter. Plus he appreciates the ladies that are smart with a fierce sense of self. Is it any wonder we get along? And, taking a page from Linda's blog:  PS, he's single. 

Did I mention he's not afraid to get on the mike?  Uh, no, he's not a singer:


On a different note: CUTE KID ALERT! Did I mention I'm crashing with this adorable one? Well him, and his beautiful parents:


A great start to the week here in SoCal.

2 comments:

Pound said...

dang you know a lot of single dudes! the trick is taking a pic of them w/ your good cam, not your freaking iphone!!!

and only a vegetarian would be distracted by the porky soup. it just tastes like... soup to me. i went again this last fri. YUMMMM!!

and these things were so disturbing about tampopo- the drunken shrimp, and the raw egg french kissing. GAG.

Tomb said...
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