Andrew Novick is a fixture in many of this city's creative scenes, and tomorrow his worlds will collide with a food-as-art extravaganza. For one night only, he will open Andrew Novick's Ramen Yatai inside of the 100 on 100 group art show at Love Gallery. The pop-up noodle house is an actual mini-restaurant that will unfold within the venue; the idea was to create an installation of sorts that would only exist for one evening.
"I was in Fukuoka, Japan, where they specialize in these kind of night-time food carts," explains Novick. "They fold them all up so in the daytime you don't even notice them — they're just like, locked to a pole and it's just a box. But at night, they pop out in several directions and hang curtains and tarps up and there are seats — it's like a mini five- or six-person restaurant." Novick has been hard at work, collaborating with friends to construct his version of one of these late-night shops, which will feature limited seating and a walk-up window.
The new restaurateur says that he and Anthony Garcia Sr. of the Birdseed Collective — who is putting on the 100 on 100 show — had talked for a long time about collaborating on an event. Novick, who'd done cereal and other food-related art installations before, wanted to do something that was a combination of cuisine, art and interaction — and the pop-up noodle house seemed a great fit.
He's been working all week in his "test kitchen" with wife J9, creating the dinner ramen dish that will be served at the gallery in small portions, all in disposable palm leaf bowls. They've also invented a special dessert ramen, which Novick thinks may be the first of its kind. Diners will be able to choose from flavors like mango sticky rice and salted caramel coffee broth for their noodles, complete with a marzipan "fish cake" and an array of customizable toppings. Oh, and there's one more thing about this one-of-a-kind dessert ramen: Customers will have to work for it. J9 has designed a Nagashi-somen Noodle Slide — another idea inspired by their trip to Japan. "It's a summer game where you take a really long piece of bamboo and run water through it," explains Novick. "Then the noodle master — who will be J9 — puts clumps of ramen at the top and it goes down the bamboo slide and the players have to grab the noodles with their chopsticks as it flies by."
Each attendee gets a free miniature bowl of either dinner or dessert ramen with admission to the show; additional tastings can be purchased by donation. Andrew Novick's Ramen Yatai will be open for the duration of Friday night's 100 on 100 show or until the tiny noodle house runs out of food. For more information on the exhibit, the event's Facebook page. For more on Novick's noodle spot, visit his website.
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