Not about the noodles

This may sound strange to you but I’ve never had ramen before, the restaurant version, that is. I don’t believe in ordering something that can easily be made at home, you know, like bacon and eggs, or fried rice, or ramen. But this post isn’t about the noodles. Far from it. Read on…

So it was a cool winter’s afternoon earlier this year that our search for takoyaki led us to a little restaurant in Japantown, San Francisco with glass walls that overlook the street outside. Cute, cozy and lots of natural light.


Our server, a young woman with short hair and checkered shirt, took our order of takoyaki and a bowl of ramen. The takoyaki was pretty good, loved the shavings but didn’t quite care for the mayo… that’s just me 😝!


As promised, our ramen came steaming hot with a thick home-brewed pork soup base which tasted much too strong for me though I have to say, thick soup is definitely better than watered down. The serving left us still hungry but we didn’t order more. To be fair, three of us were sharing 2 orders so ya, we deserved to go hungry 😏.

Anyhoo, enough about the noodles. It’s our server that I mean to talk about today. Well, since we were done eating in a snap and sat around for a bit afterwards, I had a chance to observe her. What struck me most about this place was the complete lack of staff. In fact, this young lady was the only person working the 10 to 12 tables. As customers walked in, she would show them to their table, take their orders (without even writing them down or punching into a machine), relay their orders to the kitchen, serve each table, take phone calls, bill the customers, clear tables and even found the time to look in on each table with the usual “how’s everything?” Yup, that sure is enough to overwhelm anyone!!

True, I’ve seen a few others like her, incredibly organized and cool as a cat, but I’ve also eaten at places where ten people can’t do half what she was doing. Remember, this is just one person working! You would imagine her rushing around like a headless chicken, confusing orders, forgetting stuff, keeping people waiting… But no, nothing like that at all. She was such a joy to watch – almost like a well-oiled piece of machinery waltzing to classical music playing in the background. Imagine her in any number of places where you’ve ever torn out your hair and hurled flowery language inside your head while being served. For that alone, I think she’s amazing. I’m not someone who is easily impressed but here, I definitely am. Very impressed.

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