I also have dreamed of returning to a Ramen bar after many trips to the Yokuska Naval base in the early '70's. Walking in to the diner-like joint and pointing to the stainless bowls of ingredients like the usual Chicken, shrimp and such plus the more adventurous squid, urchin and roes, all topped by sprouts and toasted sesame seeds was a revalation. This goes so much deeper than mere soup.
One of the best memories of my entire life is closing time at a favorite local joint in an alley with the wonderous buzz you could only get from the proper mixture of Akadama Plum wine, Absinthe, Thai and Opium after a superb TomPopo (look it up, not the movie). Walking out under a full moon and hopping on a cart that was pulled down the alley by a slow donkey driven by an old and miserable Japanese gentleman. In the back over a brazier was a large pot of boiling water tended by his long suffering wife, surrounded by the magic ingredients. There were four stools on each side of the cart and two on the back.
You had to cling to the wall it was so narrow to let the ancient food truck by and jump on if you found an open seat. Then you would point to whatever you drunken desires commanded, flirt with the toothless old woman to make sure she snuck more into the bowl than he old man approved, and lsten to the music of the donkey hooves and the sizzling of the water that occasionally slopped onto the coals. And then you were served. Nirvana.
And just as you finished, you pulled up to the front gate of the Naval Base, and climed back aboard 100,000 tons of steel and death. But the Donkey and Ramen told you that this was only temporary, and life was still good Out There.
Can't wait to get back to the 'burgh this summer to try this place. It could never match my memories, but I bet it will put a smile on my old face.
Pittsburgh City Paper
Website powered by Foundation
National Advertising by VMG Advertising