at my house, for sure. juuwari soba at that. though it is hard to find, impossibly so as freshly made, virtually anywhere outside japan, what with the beautiful new york branch of 'honmura an' now closed for some years and no substitute to be found. of course there is ichimian and otafuku, but it is LA food, and not really the same. what is? in portland? fogetaboutit. the best you can do is the dried. at uwajimaya you get dried juuwari soba. of course this does not compare to the fresh, handmade, handcut version. takes time to learn the ways. a year to learn the dough, another to roll, a third to cut and get it right. you do know the difference between fresh, handmade, semolina pasta and the one, though imported from italy, comes in a box. two different notions entirely. like rose petals from some scented hybrid tea and those of the cuisse de nymphe.
so, i'm in a quandary. furthermore, memory, though often faulty, in this case indelibly accurate. i had the real soba a few times at 'honmura an', and once as part of ruth reichl's party. she who dared give the place three stars. and rightly so. fuck bryan miller, whose ever so lovely wife was my editor at the times. fuck his fancy for four stars at the elegant 'le bernardin'. i ate with him then, when there was a note, passed under the table: is it a four? from next table's sulzberger, chairman of the times. po-boy, what was bryan to do? but bitchin' about reichl's three stars for 'honmura an', because it 'simply was a noodle shop'? gee, glad the guy got ditched, if for no other reason.
i stray, again, it is a bad habit, stephanie can support that.
but about soba, truly, comes down to it, it's mostly just another noodle. if made well and if made with nothing but buckwheat it can be amazing. done fresh, by hand, cut with the cleaver, it is astounding. still, if from a box, gently simmered in clean water, very al dente, virtually brittle, it holds a bite of its own. in portland that is likely all you'll ever get. it's what you'll have at my house, cold, on a zaru, with a dipping sauce. i don't really like sugar, so i mix soy, dashi, wasabi and sake, i like chives, and there it is.
i'm often too sentimental. over things just ain't realistic today. then again, i dream. often about 'honmura an'. and about the old japan. about boiling water over charcoal. cherry blossoms sans fukushima.