Review: Yume Wo Katare

Yume Wo Katare, the ramen place in Porter Square, had a lot of hype for something that served only 1 dish: pork ramen. I had wanted to check it out long ago but long lines and the hours that they were open (5pm-11pm Tue-Sat) made it highly inconvenient.

As K was with her dad for Halloween night I finally had my ramen opportunity. It was cold-ish (40s) so the 30 or so minutes or so I spent in line only made me anticipate the hot savory soup even more.

IMG_4381.JPGthe goal was to get inside

The fact that I was sandwiched between 2 youngish so in love couples (not pictured) almost made me a little sad until my single patron status rushed me to the head of the line. Score. At the top I was given a choice of regular ($12) with 2 slices of pork or buta ramen ($15) which had 5. The small room had 3 bench style tables. The servers instructed you where to sit and sometimes they broke up the bigger groups. The place could probably fit 30 at a time comfortably.

Ramen was prepared by a chef wearing a baseball cap. The noodles looked substantial and the air warm and fragrant with broth. I was directed to wait with others whose orders were taken. Periodically, we were told to please pay attention to someone who had finished their meal and would say something like:

“Hi my name is Sean and I got a GOOD JOB. My dream is to finish my undergrad.”

Or

“I’m Shelby and my dream is to experience all that life has to offer. And I got a NEXT TIME.”

The room would then cheer and politely clap and the eater would excuse themselves and go.

The cashier helpfully explained that Yume Wo Katare means “talk about your dream” so patrons were encouraged to share theirs with all the others in the room. Striving to finish your entire bowl (PERFECT!) is like striving to accomplish your dream. After that, it was second nature to me to clap and awww over the shared dreams as well add an enthusiastic “GOOD JOB!”

My bowl arrived shortly with the extra garlic option. The first bite was savory and rich and did taste like a dream. The fatty pork was the highlight of the bowl- creamy and melt in your mouth. I burned my tongue slurping hot al dente noodles mixed with the soft crunch of lettuce and bean sprout.

IMG_4382.JPGof course get the extra yakiniku (garlic)

By time I got to about half my bowl it was clear that achieving perfection would take work. I ended up with a GOOD JOB (only a little broth remaining) and proudly shared my dream of raising my daughter to be a strong and confident woman. Was it the best ramen I ever had? Not really. But the experience was definitely unique.

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Yume Wo Katare is located at 1923 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA (Porter Square).

San Francisco is <3 (a very late post)

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Because of my blogging hiatus I was unable to share our most awesome vacation to San Francisco. This chilly winter day seems appropriate enough to look back (in Filipino: balik-tanaw) at our happy time there.

We didn’t really take a vacation last summer so when C&C invited me to their fall wedding, and friend MM offered for us to stay in her apartment, I decided the stars were right for a Nanay and Katie adventure!

I used Delta miles for my ticket and paid for Katie’s which cut down on a lot of the airfare. I bought each of us a San Francisco City Pass ($84/adult, $59/child) which gave entrance tickets to 4 attractions and unlimited rides on public transport including the famed cable cars. I also borrowed a Frommer’s San Francisco guidebook from the library and downloaded a Lonely Planet app. Once there, our host told me to also download a Muni tracker app. I relied on both apps extensively on my phone to get around as I have very poor navigational skills.

It’s a good thing we had those passes because Katie’s absolute favorite part of the trip was riding public transport particularly the cable cars. We must have ridden them at least 6 times! Without the pass it would have cost $6 per ride or $72 for both of us– eep!

Aside from the fact that they are a technological marvel, I liked using the cable cars because they were slow enough so i could almost always tell where we were or at least find where we were on he map or phone . We also learned to skip the turnaround and ride 3 stops ahead so we didn’t have to get into the loooooong lines to board.
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At the Powell Street turnaround with Fakecheese the turtle and Slither the snake

Out Citypass allowed us to visit the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park (5 stars! so much to see and do inside and within the park), take a scenic tour via boat (Blue and Gold Fleet– 5 stars and Katie’s favorite), and see the sharks at the Aquarium by the Bay (meh: 2 stars, go to Monterey Bay instead). We were unable to visit the Exploratorium, a hands on science museum for kids, because it was closed on Mondays (darn!).

We were able to do quite a lot of sightseeing in 4 days. Katie was able to ride 2 of the 3 carousels in the city. San Francisco was very accessible by public transport (bus, train, streetcar and cable car) and the weather in late September/early October was gorgeously sunny and cool. No fog until our last day there although it was scarf and hoodie weather off and on. The city had a nice laid back, chill and feel good atmosphere. We definitely would like to make a trip back someday.

Katie’s picks: the playground and carousel at Golden Gate Park, eating Doritos with hot chocolate at Ghirardelli Square (and getting free samples at their 3 stores), cable car rides and the Cable Car museum, carousel at Pier39, riding the F street car, boat tour via Blue and Gold.

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Nanay’s highlights: meet ups with former classmates and online friends, Union Square particularly the Dewey Memorial (Philippines reprezent!), fortune cookies made by hand in Chinatown, fun wedding (with childcare) at the Fairmont Hotel, riding down the crooked Lombard Street and quality time with Katie of course.
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We both liked: eating! Particularly these jumbo shrimp.

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We both did not like: the noisy sea lions

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The male guppy named Flower Princess

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Meet the newest member of our family: a blue and yellow male guppy named Flower Princess (FP). I should clarify that our receipt said he was male but I haven’t really done the anatomical investigation to confirm the gender.

FP is the result of months of persistence (Luke 18:2-5). Katie has wanted a fish ever since she met O’s 2 betas: Cinnamon and Superman. She has wished for one for both her birthday and Christmas last year and the desire has only grown since she found out that both her cousins M and K as well as her BFF Wubby had some.

I think pets are good. Fish are the perfect pets for us since
1. They do not have hair (I am allergic);
2. They teach responsibility; and
3. They are inexpensive (and if it comes to it, easily replaced).

I had been dragging my feet re: getting the fish for a while now because I was hoping the desire would wane. But as Katie received a starter 1 gallon fish tank for her birthday (Thank you A and T!), it was time to get our feet wet.

The Brighton Petco people were helpful in setting us up and pointing us to the right purchases. Katie was talked out of getting numerous fish because of our small tank (1 inch fish/gallon rule) and into getting a guppy instead of a goldfish (goldfish poop more) or tetra (better in groups of 5).
20130629-011937.jpgrinsing gravel

20130629-011951.jpgletting the tank run for 4 days

20130629-011920.jpgta-da! A new home for Flower Princess

Setting up the fish tank has been a lesson in patience. It involved 2 trips to Petco, once to buy gravel, plants and tap water treater and another to get fish and food. There was stuff to rinse, stuff to dry, stuff to acclimatize, stuff to assemble and a whole lot of waiting. My daughter and I are not very patient people and there were moments of frustration and threats. But in the end, we have a new friend who is happily swimming. She gets to feed it tomorrow and can’t wait!

Petco
304 Western Avenue
Brighton, MA 02135
617-254-8800

Birthday party at Build-a-Bear Workshop

Katie and I decided on a Build-a-Bear Workshop (BABW) party with a small number of friends instead of our usual park play date. BABW is a place where you choose and stuff an animal plushie. I booked the party at their location at Faneuil Hall, around the time the store opens (10:00am). Booking was done online, and I received a call 2 days ago confirming the number of guests and the $ budget for each child.

We were met at the door by Sean-Patrick, our engaging and delightful party host. He gave Katie a special badge, kept track of each child’s name and the name of their chosen animal, engaged the kids, stuffed their bears, and made taking turns fun. My favorite part was when he had the kids pick their plushie’s heart and an extra one for Katie’s bear so that hers had hearts from her friends!

The kids all seemed to know which friend they wanted to take home. Some even had chosen a cheaper bear so they could dress it up. Katie chose a pink and purple bear she named Elizabeth. She also brought along her old BABW friend, Hello Kitty. One of her friends chose a camouflage bear eventually named Army. Another child’s bear was simply, Bear. All her friends and Sean also signed an autograph bear which is still unnamed.

At the end of the party, the kids had a picture with their creations and each was given a cardboard “cub condo” complete with a stuffed animal birth certificate. Katie rang the store bell and everyone sang happy birthday. We then headed outside with a cooler of juice boxes, pizza from Pizzeria Regina, and more Keyks cupcakes. I even remembered to bring candles and a lighter.
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Many thanks to the parents who came and helped me by saving and setting up a place for us outside, serving the kids, taking pictures, cleaning up and being kind enough to take home presents and our cooler. You guys are so great! Everyone went home happy 🙂

Build-a-Bear Workshop
6 North Market Bldng, 6 N Market St, Boston
(617) 227-2478

Pizzeria Regina
226 Faneuil Marketplace Boston, MA
(617)742-1713

Keyks
333 Acton Rd, Chelmsford
(617) 855-5395

Flatbread Pizza, Burlington

I had eaten at Flatbread Pizza for an office lunch and am in love with their banana bread (it has ice cream). Since I had brought Katie to work with me today, I decided we would eat there for lunch. Their specialty is wood-fired pizzas (in more familiar Filipino terms, cooked in a pugon or stone oven).

We had the Jay’s Heart (mozzarella and parmesan cheese) with mushrooms on my side. The small was enough for both of us. The organic salad with berry vinaigrette dressing (I added goat cheese) was fresh and delicious.

Katie says: Next Bunker Hill day we should eat here because the pizza is sooo good!

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See that foil purse? It has 2 slices of Katie’s leftover pizza. Our server made it just for her 🙂

I wish the place had wee bit better service. Servers are attentive and pleasant, but on the slow side and made errors on our simple order (1 instead of 2 desserts, vanilla instead of choclate ice cream). But definitely will eat here again.

Flatbread Pizza is located at 213 Burlington Rd, Bedford, MA 01730.