Earlier this month Springfield, Missouri, became home to a giant 20-foot noodle.
Parked outside the city’s Kraft Heinz plant about two miles from Missouri State University, the one-ton yellow curved noodle was recently moved from its original location at the Kraft Foods headquarters just north of Chicago, according to an article in the Springfield paper News-Leader.
The 10-foot tall piece of pasta bears a five-word message: “you know you love it.”
That noodle ain’t lying.
Many consider noodles one of the world’s most perfect foods. Like eggs or rice, it’s an ingredient used prominently in cuisines from across the world, including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, Polish, Hungarian and others.
Corktown recently upped its noodle offerings with the opening of ima. Located where Rubbed sandwich shop used to be at 2015 Michigan, ima (pronounced ee-ma) is a casual spot with a simple, customizable menu. It’s open Tues.-Sun. 5-10 p.m. (lunch service is planned for the future).
The four noodle dishes offered are all broth bowls: porcini, bone, curry or miso-ginger. Each come with market greens, scallion and nori, and add-ons include roasted tofu, smoked pork loin, garlic chicken, spicy chili shrimp, ginger beef, egg and more. Customers can also get extra broth or extra noodles for a $2 upcharge.
For kids, ima has a buttered udon dish with vegetables.
Pop’s for Italian’s new chef James Henry has updated the menu at this popular, wine-centric restaurant in Ferndale (280 W. Nine Mile). With exception of the bolognese, gnocchi and fettuccine Alfredo, the pasta offerings have been changed.
Now, look for seafood pasta, gamelli pasta with sausage, chicken parmesan with spaghetti, a spicy bucatini and campanelle pasta. Also new: baked ziti, long bean salad and a fantastic beet bruschetta.
Alas, I’ll miss the handkerchief pasta with pesto and parm.
For more noodles in the same area, visit Assaggi Bistro a few doors down at 330 W. Nine.
On Monday, former Pop’s for Italian chef Emmele Herrold will co-host a noodle pop-up at Bosco (22930 Woodward, Ferndale) with chef Meghan Shaw. The women usually cook out of the Bosco’s kitchen as their permanent pop-up Black Eagle, which serves sandwiches and loaded fries. For one night only, though, it’ll be all about noodles.
Herrold says they’ll offer five pasta dishes from 6-10 p.m. Some plates may have an Asian influence, others American or European. One dish she revealed with be a rigatoni noodle with braised short rib, porcini, Brussels spouts and gorgonzola cream.
Walk-ins are welcome and a full bar will be available.
While we’re praising the almighty and versatile noodle, I have to give a nod to Eddie’s Gourmet (25930 Greenfield, Oak Park) and the massive bowl of Eddie’s zip pasta. Ziti noodles and the house zip sauce tossed with garlic, mushrooms, broccoli and garlic chicken breast. It’s enough to feed two hungry pasta-lovers.
Other favorites around town are the pan friend jumbo noodles at Thang Long Thai and Vietnamese (27641 John R in Madison Heights), the ever-changing zucchini noodle daily special at Cacao Tree Cafe (204 W. Fourth, Royal Oak), and the house-made noodle dishes at Southgate’s Hungary Rhapsody (14315 Northline). Downtown’s Maru (160 W. Fort) and Wasabi (15 E. Kirby) have exceptional shrimp tempura udon bowls, too.
■Artisanal market the Farmers Hand, 1701 Trumbull, now sells beer and wine. The tiny but well-stocked store and cafe has fresh produce, gourmet foods and prepared foods. While the prepared food can be eaten in the small cafe area, alcohol purchased must be taken home.
■Next week “Restaurant Weeks” kicks off in the Detroit and Birmingham dining communities. Feb. 3-12 in Detroit, multi-course menus are fixed at either $29 or $39, depending on the restaurant. There are 26 participating businesses, including Grey Ghost, Ottava Via, Antietam, Cliff Bell’s and the Rattlesnake. Visit detroitrestaurantweek.com for details. In Birmingham, the promo is Monday-Feb. 3 and Feb. 6-10. Take advantage of $15 three-course lunches and $30 three-course dinners at more than two dozen businesses, including upscale spots like Rugby Grille, 220, Big Rock Chop House and Forest. Visit birminghamrestaurantweek.org.
■The Townsend Hotel was named the best hotel in Michigan by the readers of Travel and Leisure. The website named the best hotel in every state and quoted one of their readers who said the Birmingham destination was “the best place to stay in Michigan, period.”