Saturday, April 23, 2005

Noodles and things overheard in the Yarn Cafe

Customer: "So, where's the acrylic yarn?" (um...Wal-*art, maybe?)
Salesperson: "Well, we have some over here and some over there..."
Customer: "So, what's the popular thing everyone is knitting now?"
Salsperson: "Felted purses."
Customer: "OK, so scarves are out, then huh? (oh, no, not the ones knit from that nice 100% acrylic yarn)

Yes, lady, scarves are out. In fact, you might as well stow them all away with your flower printed knit overalls and tapestry vest with a scrunchie in back. PUHLEEZE!! The mindset of some people never fails to amaze and frighten me.

For superfabulousfunFriday, boy and I headed over to St. Paul to check out the St. Paul Art Crawl. Hunger management was first on the evening's agenda, and we were fortunate enough to find ourselves next to Tanpopo Noodle Shop so we ducked in for some dinner. I had been wanting to try this place for quite a while and we were not dissapointed. They're definitely deserving of their consistently good reviews.
We started with a bowl of edamame and the sushi roll special, spicy tuna. It's pretty hard to mess up the edamame, and the tuna roll was one of the best I've had in quite a while. I could have eaten four. For our entrees, we both ordered the Nabeyaki Udon, and it came out steaming hot and gorgeous.

What a great dish to enjoy on a cold, windy and rainy evening. Conversation ceased as we slurped our way through the delicious, chewy Udon, sliced chicken, Japanese omelet, fish cake, spinach, shitake mushroom and a tempura shrimp all in a big bowl of yummy broth. Soup perfection.

Considering the care and attention that is given to the food here, the prices are extremely reasonable. Our entire meal including two appetizers, a glass of wine and a beer came to less than $40 with tip.

Next, it was on to seeing some art. Tanpopo happens to be located in the lower level of an artists co-op called the Northern Warehouse which had quite a few studios participating in the crawl. After dinner, we worked our way from bottom to top, probably visiting 20 or 30 studios, and saw decent, weird, shocking, a little good, a lot of not so good. The fact that the art wasn't stellar was more than made up for by the fact that many of the studios are residential, so we got some great looks at what people have done with their artspace/home in an old wooden post and beam loft building. (The posts and beams, btw are AMAZING, and all cut from single pieces of timber bigger than any tree I've seen outside the giant redwood forests of CA. )
We ended the evening with a trip into Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, that's also located in the Northern Warehouse building. It was packed, blissfully smoke-free, and with a delicious sounding menu that I am going to make it a point to go back and sample. We ordered a couple of drinks and two different kinds of cookies, molasses (again in honor of Sugar High Friday) and peanut butter. Now, I typically find coffee shop or purchased cookes hardly worthy of a second bite, but these babies wowed me, the eternal cookie snob. The molasses was the clear winner, and at least as good as my homemade if not a little better. It was packed with flavor and had the perfect amount of slightly crunchy white icing on top. Again, I could have eaten four.

I love Tanpopo! I haven't been there since they moved downtown from Cathedral Hill, but I've gotta do that one of these days.

You're right about the attention they give their food - they wouldn't let me order anything take out, because the delay before the food would be eaten would hurt the integrity of the noodles. That's commitment!
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