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.
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info