Tuesday, September 5, 2017

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

. . . and we're working our way back up to the best of times again. We went out today as a couple. JC's been the hunter-gatherer since Harvey blew through. 

I do like ramen. The new ramen bar opened last week. Our server told us the best hours to visit because the wait line is 30 minutes during peak hours. Our condiments tray managed to flood itself before we got there but the irony wasn't lost on us.

I like that. Ramen is all the craze, huh? If that's true, I've been crazy for a really long time then. The last time I had the best ramen was when Shin made it for us. While Jinya's recipes are different from his, and I like theirs, I'll always measure other ramen by Shin's. 

The last time I sat at such a bar, I was eating sushi in Colorado. Yes, it was a first. Thank you, Ethel Shansato. Eel is my favorite.

Sorry for the less than stellar photo but this ramen needed eating. It's Tonkotsu Black. The egg is the star here. It's the star because while I have eaten my fair share of ramen, I have never had such an egg. It's a miracle egg, I do declare. My mouth has never tasted such a delicious thing from a hen before. It's a "seasoned" egg. 

Brb. Gotta Google that.

Oh, my stars! There's a recipe for them. Who came up with this idea? Here's a link to the recipe: Japanese Marinated Seasoned Eggs

We shared green tea ice cream for dessert. I had leftover ramen. Not JC. The portions are enough to fill a lumberjack. Or a super-duper hungry limner who doesn't have to watch her waistline. Take away!

We almost ended up sating our hunger at McAlister's after my spirits were seriously dampened by the neighborhoods we passed through. JC gave me today's mail just before we left, and there was mail at the post office. Ooh la! I dropped letters in the out-going mail slot and refused to wait in line to mail two packages. There was a chemical odor like burned rubber and a long, long, long line of people waiting to get their mail because there was no mail delivery in their neighborhoods. There's very little that's scarier than a sullen woman standing in line, when she's been standing in that line for far too long, and she's already dealing with residual stress from Harvey. The one I encountered reminded me of a cornered water buffalo I've watched on Nat' Geo as it stared down a pride of hungry lions.  She wasn't giving ground. It's true that she blocked the only path to our mail boxes but I wanted my mail more than she didn't want to move. The stand-off lasted long enough to count as a single blink but it sure felt longer. Then she moved. I just know I heard her sucking her teeth first.

So I was totally engrossed in reading my great mail, and looking at a batch of cute mini photos from a penfriend that I lost track of our location. When I finally looked up I was stunned. I inhaled and forgot to exhale. Everywhere I looked there was stuff. Entire homes had been gutted, and the guts spilled across yards and all over sidewalks and curbs. 

We see the same scenes in news clips but it's severely different up close. All the furniture, carpet, clothes, toys . . . Entire lives. Well, evidence of lives . . . And sheetrock. So much sheetrock. It's sobering. The sights suck the joy from your day and you instantly have to wonder what right do you have to feel so bad when those people . . . Yes, yes, yes forever! I'm so grateful that we were spared. But it doesn't hurt less because it isn't us. 

I believe that's another reason I've not been far from home. Nothing makes you feel worse than bad except seeing bad and not being able to change it or make it better. People from out of state have been hired and sent to our state to help people. Too many come to steal. A man dragged donation boxes from a temple that held donations given to help victims/survivors. It's hard being a criminal in all this aftermath, or one would think so. It took us too long to drive to the post office, and even longer to come home. We had to circle Katy. Traffic was a headache. Not everyone was patient. I sought answers from others because my mind couldn't understand the scope of all we saw. "JC, why are fences destroyed?" Thinking: Wind did all this? 

I am not a weak person. I promise you I'm not. We lived through Ike, Katrina and other storms. I survived a blizzard in Colorado. On the side of a mountain. On foot. With no propane and very little wood for the fireplace. 


We passed Jinya because I was so absorbed. And confused. The worst damage of the day was in the Raintree subdivision. A block beyond and everything was as right as rain. JC was kind enough to make a U turn under I-10 and bring us back to the restaurant. I saw McAlister's first, so I said, "We might as well eat here . . ." I'm glad he understood. And read my mind.

And that's how I finally got to eat at the new, week-old Jinya Ramen Bar. Lesson learned:  Don't read mail and ride.

. . . to be continued


  1. something else we have in common as well I love ramen too . are those tea pots or hot water pots ? just curious . what a lovely place and ever so progressive . I'm so glad you had a good food experience sorry you had to see devastation before getting there and yes what a mess . I had to drive through some of those same scenes here when Columbia flooded and it was a mess too . Be well and stay well .

    1. Ramen hugs to you! I like Pho too. Do you? Those little pots are filled with condiments.

      If you ever visited me that's the first place I'd take you for lunch. :) We'd slurp our way through my pen money. LOL.

      I haven't gone out and about in that direction since that day. It's all so much worse than we imagined, and I'm glad my imagination failed me before then. People are already in recovery mode. We're doing what we can to help.

      I'm glad you're not in Florida. Be well.

  2. I followed that link...mmmm. Have you tried making the seasoned eggs? I've never had freshly made ramen, but the dish you had looks very nice. I'd happily order that.

    I hope you will all be safe from Irma when she moves in. It's very worrying to think of all the people there. We used to get very bad hurricanes where I am from, so bad, once a man actually canoed down the street, but just water, not the kind of destruction you describe.

    1. No, I haven't made the eggs yet, and I'm not convinced that I should try. There's a warning on the noodle bar's menu about eating food cooked in such a way. Fine print is fine for a reason. :)

      Oh, Anna! Nothing beats fresh ramen. If I were a millionairess, I'd fly you in just to take you to lunch there. I've never eaten such an egg before. It's so light and flavorful it's the way I imagine eating a cloud might be. A simple boiled egg has weight you feel even when you press your lips against it, never mind its heft. I cut the egg against my spoon. And I ate until I'd lost eaten all of it. I have to tell you all this in a letter. :)

      I pray that Irma is blind in her one eye and cannot see us. I hope she's so blind in her one eye that she gets confused and turns on herself, and goes back to where she was formed. When I was a kid I promised God that when I grew up I was gonna live someplace where there were no hurricanes and no tornadoes. We lived in Oklahoma, our Hurricane Alley and there were storm shelters and we learned to crouch under desks. I was just a kid but I knew there wasn't a desk in the world that could keep a tornado from snatching me and carrying me up up and away if it chose to. I've lived across the US, along three coasts, and in between. I have since learned that safe is where ever you are.

      Thanks for thinking of us, Anna. I send my love out to join all the Love being sent out to cover the Earth. I don't know what else to do. :)

      The most endearing image I have of Harvey is a photo of a man outfitted in a surfing onsie, on a surf board, paddling down a flooded street, and his son is on the board crouched between his straddle. I hope I can find it to share.

      It's funny but I never imagined hurricanes where you're from.