I admit, I once thought ramen (the instant kind) was just the type of food broke college kids ate. And for good reason, since I was such a student, years before Menkoi, Columbia’s first and only authentic ramen house, opened downtown. Now, thanks to having a real ramen house in the Vista for the last couple years (and Netflix-ing the first season of the PBS series “The Mind of a Chef”), I’ve learned there’s much more to ramen than meets the eye. In Japan, ramen stocks and ingredients vary from region to region, not unlike the many barbecue traditions across the American South. And like barbecue, a good ramen stock can’t be rushed. Menkoi chef Sato says his tonkotsu pork broth simmers for two whole days before it is ready to serve. Two whole days. The flavor and consistency of this silky, marrow-rich, almost creamy broth is heavenly. Comes with marinated pork tenderloin, a soft boiled egg hiding under a sheet of nori, bean sprouts, green onion, spinach, the requisite naruto slice, and of course, ramen noodles — yellow, dense and chewy from their alkaline ingredients. Also pictured: an order of syumai (also known as shumai, $6.50), a set of five delicately hand-wrapped shrimp dumplings, steamed in a soft wonton flour skin and served with a little wasabi-infused soy sauce.
Going someplace cool this weekend?
Let The Backpacker help you go lightweight, comfortable and in style! Patagonia, Prana, Merrell, The North Face and more! Click for location, hours and more info.
Surreal Innovation Salon Now Open
Columbia’s newest total care spa is now taking appointments and offering $10 off services $25 or more for first time clients. Location, hours, and more info here.
This Week @ Social
Edward Shouse performs Friday the 21st, and on Saturday Absolut Vodka presents A Night in Sweden, with specialty Absolut drinks and live music by Christian Slick. Follow us!
A Re-Imagined Christmas Carol at Trustus
Watch as five actors perform all the characters of Charles Dickens’ classic story and create a live musical score in a production that had audiences and critics raving last year. Get your tickets here!
Now Hiring in the Vista!
Hickory Tavern is opening mid-December and looking for bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff. Apply in person: Click for details!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season: