Hail the Ramen Empire

Plus, the LV Scavenger Hunt, Book Reviews, and Upcoming Community Events

RAKIRAKI RAMEN

A few weeks ago, I was reading the restaurant section of the San Diego Union Tribune and stumbled over something I had never heard of — Chicken Karaage.  It was a different type of fried chicken available at RakiRaki Ramen at 4646 Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa.  Now, I know Convoy is not technically Linda Vista, but due to the pandemic, we have had to occasionally venture a bit further out, so I thought this restaurant might be worth investigating.  

RakiRaki Ramen is in a strip mall which boasts many restaurants including the Crab Hut, a Noodle restaurant, RakiRaki and the Yasai, a vegan ramen sister restaurant.  I looked online and placed a to-go order consisting of the Chicken Karaage (for our carnivore sidekick) and two sushi rolls for us.  The chicken karaage is chicken marinated in sake, soy, ginger and other things, and deep fried twice and served with ponzu dipping sauce and Japanese mayo.  Our carnivore declared it “amazing” and said it reminded him of the chicken he had in Tokyo where he studied during a college intersession.  He said the breading was very light and although very crispy, you could see the chicken through the breading.  

My husband got a Rakiraki roll (shrimp tempura, crab meat cucumber, cream cheese and spinach crunch with spicy Japanese mayo and custom eel sauce).  I got the California spicy crunch roll with crab meat, cucumber, avocado with spinach crunch and spicy Japanese mayo.

We both agreed these were the best rolls we ever had.  Very full with ingredients and so tasty.  They were also very filling; we will definitely order these again.

Although our trip to Rakiraki was successful, we realized we had not ordered or tried Ramen, which is what they are famous for.  They have been voted “Best Ramen” in San Diego for many years.  So, a couple weeks later, back we went.  

Again, our sidekick wanted meat, so he ordered the Tonkatsu Curry which consists of prime pork loin cutlet, curry sauce over rice with cabbage salad and 12 spice tonkatsu dipping sauce.  As you can see from the picture, it was enough to feed two people.  One bowl held the pork cutlets over the rice and salad.  The other bowl held the curry sauce.  He told us that the meal was awesome.  The pork was tender and juicy, not over breaded, and perfectly cooked.  The curry was also to his liking and he said there was so much that he planned to use the remainder on another meal he would make with chicken and rice.  

I ordered the Hakata Tonkotsu ramen with no meat, which consisted of handcrafted noodles and deluxe Tonkotsu broth topped with bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, 5 spice soy sauce, pickled egg, garlic chips, green onions, wakame seaweed and sesame.  It came in two separate bowls to be combined before eating.  There was such a large quantity, that I saved some for another meal.  The broth was delicious and the vegetables crispy and the seasoning was perfect.

My husband ordered the vegetarian ramen which consisted of handcrafted noodles (green), tofu cutlets, a variety of vegetables such as cabbage, scallions, salted corn, bamboo  and roasted Goma seeds.  He was very hungry and consequently ate the entire bowl even though it was very large.  He really enjoyed it and commented he would go back to try some of the other items.

RakiRaki has several locations, including Liberty Station and Mira Mesa, but their Kearny Mesa location is their first, opening in 2012.  The chef/owner Junya Watanabe according to their story online, was born in Tokyo.  He trained for many years perfecting his ramen before opening the restaurant, and it is obvious that his time was well spent.  There always seems to be long lines at RakiRaki, but we think the food is worth the wait.  After the pandemic ends, we hope to go back and experience dining inside and watching the action in the kitchen.

We hope you will try this excellent ramen restaurant.  Kayla was the host and did an excellent job, very friendly and efficiently managed several things at once.  Masks were worn and social distancing was in effect.   Call RakiRaki at 858-771-7254.  Their hours are 11:00 AM till midnight.


LV Scavenger Hunt Navigates Linda Vista

Over 100 people participated in the Linda Vista Scavenger Hunt, held this past Saturday.  Several participants earned prizes and Skateworld gift cards after navigating throughout the Linda Vista community in search of various locations occupied by vendors and community hubs.  Participants used a cell phone app to obtain navigation clues and participate successfully in the activity.

Community hubs located at the various sites included the University of San Diego (USD), Bayside Community Center, the Linda Vista Library, Access, Inc, the San Diego Chinese Evangelical Church, and Mesa College. In addition to these hubs, four food vendors were present at the sites, to include Rafikiz Foodz, Gabina’s Cuisine, Finest Sweet Treats, and Xita I’ini Sabor Mixteca. Rounding out the list of community hubs were San Diego Family Care, the Registrar of Voters, and Councilmember Raul Campillo.    

Due to COVID restrictions/precautions, the Scavenger Hunt took the place of the annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Parade and Fair, which is traditionally held during this time each April.  As stated by Fair Director, Lauren Garces, “the Linda Vista nonprofit board was excited to create the Scavenger Hunt as a safe and innovative way to transition the Linda Vista community back into events. With Linda Vista being affected tremendously from case rates, our community's safety was our top priority. Thinking to what makes the Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade so special though, we realized the community has so many resources and institutions supporting our neighbors every day. We wanted to highlight these unsung heroes and thus how they became the fun hubs of the Scavenger Hunt. Listening to the ways these hubs innovated to still serve the community throughout the pandemic was the perfect way to connect our Linda Vista neighbors into finding them during the Scavenger Hunt; especially if they didn't know them or realize how close they are. All our hubs and families we interacted said they had a fun time and were grateful for this safe transition back into community gatherings.”  

Becky Hunt and her family, residents of Linda Vista, were enthusiastic Scavenger Hunt participants. She had this to say about navigating through Linda Vista to find all the sites…”The Scavenger Hunt was fun and informative. Spending time with family and talking with the vendors was the best part.  We took pictures and uploaded them in the app and went on to the next destination. We learned that Tecolote means owl in English. We worked up an appetite by the end of the Scavenger Hunt and the food vendors at the last stop was a bonus. We taste tested the food from each vendor and especially liked the Kenyan food, music, and found all the food prices to be reasonable. Being able to support our community felt good. I thank the Linda Vista Multicultural Fair for putting the Scavenger Hunt together. It was a much needed outing, especially after more than a year of remote socializing because of the pandemic. We felt safe and followed the safety precautions per the app.”

Funding for the Scavenger Hunt was provided by USD, Access Inc., Civita/ Sudberry Properties, Investcal Realty, Community Housing Works, and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture.

Fair Director Garces wished to offer special thanks to “the students at the Kearny High School School of Digital Media and Design for designing wonderful posters for some of the hubs and congratulations to our mask art contest winner -Genevieve.”


Book Reviews

LV Update readers, we are happy to have our two awesome book reviewers back to provide us with their respective literary critiques. Marla M. submitted a book review on Trevor Noah’s autobiography. If you are a fan of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, or if you have an interest in learning about South Africa’s recent history, you will definitely want to read this book. Martha B. offered us a review of a memoir written by a poet. This book has been described on the Amazon web site as a book for anyone who has “loved and lost.”

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood is an autobiographical account written by internationally acclaimed comedian Trevor Noah about growing up in South Africa at the end of apartheid. He was born of a black mother and white father at the time when interracial relationships were illegal. Hence, the title Born A Crime. Because Noah was considered as "evidence" of a crime merely by being born, he spent most of his childhood indoors to prevent his mother from being arrested and imprisoned simply because of his existence. The book begins with explaining how apartheid created artificial divisions between groups along color lines. 

His mother’s family and a small Soweto community treated Trevor differently because he was light skinned and spoke perfect English. He had few friends because he was considered as either too black or too white to fit in. Noah's deep love and unbreakable bond with his mother is evident throughout the book. He reveals many examples of his mother's determination to prevent apartheid from suffocating her free spirit. She used her underground connections to secretly rent a place in downtown Johannesburg, where black people were forbidden to reside unless they were laborers. When she got caught, she paid the fines and continued to live in the area. 

Her primary goal was to keep him from internalizing his oppression and to convince him that he was greater than social labels. In spite of her physically and emotionally painful life, she dared him to dream beyond his present existence. 

Even with apartheid as a backdrop to this story, Born A Crime is packed with humorous exchanges between mother and son. It provides a history lesson a well as a chronicle of unwavering faith, determination, and survival. 

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

Poet Elizabeth Alexander’s book, The Light of the World, is a short and beautiful book about her marriage, her life with her husband, their family, and his early death at age fifty in 2012.  Although it is a book about death and grief, it is also a book about love and a life well lived.  Most of us who have experienced the death of a person we dearly loved will find poetic writing that resonates.  Since the book is about a mostly happy and at times gorgeous marriage, it is a book about love more than about grief.  Every lasting love, whether marriage or partnership, family relationship, or friendship will end with death.   This is a moving and redeeming meditation about a journey that most of us have already or will one day experience.

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The Linda Vista Update wishes to thank Marla M. and Martha B for their reviews!


Upcoming Community Events

Spring Showcase of Asian Films: From April 23 through May 2, the San Diego Asian Film Festival’s 10th Spring Showcase will be presenting films from Asia and beyond. For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit at https://sdaff.org.

District 7 Town Hall: On Monday, May 10th at 5:30pm, Councilmember Raul Campillo’s office will be hosting a Town Hall on the FY22 budget alongside the office of the Independent Budget Analyst. The Town Hall will aim to answer questions about our City’s crucial budget process and hear your input about the proposed budget and what you believe the City should be focusing on as the process takes shape. Councilmember Campillo’s office has developed an online survey for District 7 residents to fill out to make their voices heard on this issue.  The link to register for the Town Hall can be viewed here: bit.ly/IBAD7

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic: On May 13 from 9:00am to 3:00pm, Bayside Community Center will sponsor a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. This one day clinic will offer vaccines to 300 people. The primary audience is Linda Vista residents who are the hardest to reach, serve, and vaccinate. The event is being hosted in partnership with Bayside, the County Office of Education, District 7 Councilmember Campillo's Office, the SD Police Department, and the SD Fire Department. If you, or someone you know in the community, needs to be vaccinated, please call the Bayside Community Center for further information.


Hooray! Foster Kitten Adopted

We are happy to report that Texas, that awesome foster kitten featured in last week’s post, was adopted by a Linda Vista family. He is now enjoying his forever home.

We appreciate everyone who inquired about this popular kitten.


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