Sunday, January 29, 2012

Richmond ramen quest

I have my erstwhile roomie Mimi to thank for this post. We made plans to hang out and have dinner together this rainy Sunday, and she was bound and determined to have some really good ramen. So she did some research and discovered a place in Richmond called G-Men Ramen that’s supposed to be one of the best in the west. It took some driving around — they’ve moved from their original location; luckily they left a sign with the address of their new location stuck on the door!

When we finally found the place (at 1160-8391 Alexandra Road, in front of Lansdowne Mall), we were shown to a table right away, and we were so pleased with ourselves we gave each other high-fives, much to the amusement of our waitress.

Mimi ordered a bowl of tonkotsu miso ramen and I had the tonkotsu eo soba (pictured below), a “soupless” ramen dish with tender slices of pork, sprouts, shredded seaweed, an egg poached in soy sauce, and just enough broth to moisten the noodles and collect in a shallow, rich pool at the bottom of the bowl. Both were delicious and we drained our bowls to the last drop.

The folks at G-Men are very serious about their ramen. The broth is simmered for nine hours for maximum flavour, and each table is provided with a full battery of condiments and detailed instructions for properly consuming ramen.

We also give G-Men top marks for fast and friendly service, reasonable prices, an attractive ambience, and clean washrooms (in the ladies’, there was even a little tray of q-tips, mouthwash, and floss wands - very thoughtful!)

So our ramen quest was a success and we’ll definitely be going back to G-Men again. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Grocery-shopping, menu-planning firemen

With my classes running every afternoon and evening, Monday to Friday, I’ve discovered the joys of grocery shopping on weekday mornings. There’s no better time to get it done. Produce piled high for the picking, supermarket staff fresh and cheerful, and near-empty aisles — nobody there but me, the seniors...and the firemen.

My favourite grocery store is kitty corner to the neighbourhood fire station, so by now it’s no surprise to find a fleet of firemen there, in full uniform, with crackling radios on their belts and market baskets in hand, doing this most homely and mundane of chores. One time they received a call in the middle of their shopping and had to drop everything and run. I looked at the deli counter lady and we smiled at each other.

“I love firemen,” I said.

I really do love firemen - from the time I was a kid. Just ask my mother. I loved watching any TV show or movie that featured firemen. I still do. Third Watch, Backdraft, Ladder 49 —I've seen ’em all. A few years ago, the World Fire and Police Games were held in Vancouver: it was heaven! The city never felt safer.

Don’t get me wrong — I never wanted to date or marry a fireman and I don’t ogle firemen calendars. I just like the whole idea of firemen, and the knowledge that if you are ever in any kind of trouble, you can call them and they will come and help you. I guess that to me, they are the real-life, every day embodiment of my childhood hero, Superman.

Today there were three of them in the produce section, wondering aloud what to buy “for the salad this weekend.” I hope they were able to get everything they needed without getting a call.

Thank you, guys, for everything you do!

Brisbane Library Firemen’s Storytime is on the third Monday of the month. The children love to hear the Firemen read stories, talk about fighting fires and exploring the firetruck after storytime. Downloaded from Flickr Creative Commons.


Saturday, January 07, 2012

Words of wisdom from Marguerite

Marguerite is a very dear, very great lady I know who lives in Montreal. She’s been an inspiration to me ever since I met her eight years ago. Over ninety now, she has had a long and distinguished career in social work, and an even longer career in serving others outside her profession.

My friend Sonia took a visitor to see Marguerite recently: a young girl who Sonia says wants to change the world. Marguerite had this advice for her.

“If you want to change the world, you need to change one thing at a time, and do the little things very well, with a lot of love.”

 Marguerite also said that complaining wastes what little energy we have. “So, a long time ago, I decided to stop complaining.”

Two excellent ideas, I think, to carry with us into the new year.

Happy 2012, everybody.

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