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Portlandia (TV series)

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For those of you fairly new to this blog, you may not know, that I work as a full-time freelance writer, outside of this little cooking blog. As such, I am often called upon to review restaurants, books or movies.

Because of this, when I started GF over a year ago, I decided it would be EVERYTHING Foodie (from the rootie to the tutti — see the tagline above) and that means I will, from time to time post the occasional foodie movie or foodie book review. (These are also being compiled in the static pages on the site titled GrooVy Books and GrooVy Movies in the navigation.) Maybe, one day, maybe, GF will house the most comprehensive lists of both online.

I am also going to be moving my Portland area food reviews here to GF, so that locals (or those wishing to visit Portlandia) can read a review or two when they get the hankering to try something new. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I enjoy writing it all.

Below are two foodie movies I recently enjoyed (I can’t believe I missed The Ramen Girl when it came out (RIP Brittany Murphy.)

The Trip

RECIPE: Take one, Steve Coogan, having been asked by the Observer to tour the country’s finest restaurants, remove girlfriend who was supposed to accompany him and replace with best friend/comedic competitor and source of eternal aggravation, Rob Brydon — put them on a road trip across the English countryside and shake.

INGREDIENTS: Director — Michael Winterbottom, Starring — Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon

REVIEW: This dish may be best served if you have a taste for English comedy or a history with these ingredients (aka actors/director) but even if you aren’t well-acquainted with Coogan and Bryson’s work, it’s still really funny, in a wry self-deprecating way. There is, of course, loads of delectable food being served, tons of delightful banter and impressions, gorgeous scenery and some subtle commentary on the state of  “too much/too fancy presentation in food today.

A TASTE:

The Ramen Girl

RECIPE: Take one young and unsure American woman and strand her in Tokyo, by having her boyfriend break up with and leave town. Whip into a frenzy, as she flails to find a direction in life. Add one tyrannical Japanese Ramen master begrudgingly agreeing to train her in the art of Ramen, blend with a language barrier and season with a pinch of adorable.

INGREDIENTS: Director —  Robert Allan Ackerman, Starring:  Brittany Murphy and Toshiyuki Nishida

REVIEW: Though I have read reviews that call this the “American Tampopo” — I heartily disagree. There are two women learning to make noodle soup — end of similarities. Brittany Murphy is charming and lovable, as usual, and the story uses noodle soup and her training as a vehicle for self-discovery– Tampopo on the other hand is most assuredly a food first. Even so, I loved The Ramen Girl for her as much for her confusion as her tenacity, I also felt this film summed up beautifully, in one line my entire philosophy when cooking — you have to cook with your heart, not your head.

BONUS: Tsutomu Yamazaki, the cowboy hat brandishing hero from Tampopo makes a cameo as the Grand Master of all Ramendom judging Murphy’s noodle soup to be good but lacking in restraint.

A TASTE:

Happy Watching!