Thursday, December 9, 2010

Noodles and Carrots, With Apologies to Kitchen Aid

In my eternal quest to find homemade noodles, I was turned on to Jibek Jolu by a video posted by the Chicago Reader's Mike Sula earlier this year. It's a Kyrgyzstani restauraunt just north of Lincoln Square on, well, Lincoln just south of Foster. In Sula's video below we're shown an impressively simple method of making noodles--not as flashy as the soba makers in Japan, or the Chinese noodle maker in the the second video--but I can assure you they are just as good and have the delicious backbone of really well done homemade food: a feeling more than it is a flavor or texture.

When describing the food I ate here to friends, I found myself having a hard time doing so in a way the place deserves. It isn't sexy; it's solid. It isn't outrageous; it's comforting. It's not the next hot thing, but it is the place I'm going to head to quite a bit this winter. The noodles made in the video wind up in a dish called lagman with a rich broth and stewed beef and peppers; a carrot salad sharpened things up, and the lentil soup they brought me after I sat down was rich and salty in the best of ways. Check it out. And here's to these alternative ways of making noodles--no machines, no cranking--just some patience and skill passed down through the generations.