Tweetups are great places to meet people you encounter over the Internet. It’s nice to interact face to face with people whom you only know through usernames and talk to through Twitter posts. Nothing beats making new connections at a personal level.
Believe it or not, I’m a newbie at going to tweetups and gatherings like these. Maybe it’s because I go out alone most of the time, or I don’t get invitations, or when I do I end up being out of place or “alone in a crowd”, so to speak. Call me socially inept, but that’s how it is.
So when I came across this invitation to a tweetup, I was eager to sign up. While joining a tweetup is a nice experience for an adventurer like me, there was actually another reason I was motivated into attending it.
The tweetup was to be held at Ramen Bar, a newly opened Japanese restaurant at the ground floor of Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City. Okay, so it’s newly opened but foodies in Metro Manila are already raving about this place and its food.
(Now if it’s ramen, and if it is authentic as they say, I am SO there.)
Ramen Bar is owned by Charles Paw (also the owner of Digital Hub), Japanese chef Masa Ishikawa, and his friend Yoshi Kadowaki. As the name suggests, the place specializes in authentic ramen, the recipes of which are made by Chef Masa himself (who, I heard, has his own ramen bars in Nagoya, Japan).
There were other guests aside from the tweetup participants inside Ramen Bar; good thing there were chairs for those who were willing to wait for seats. The place is small with a fastfood feel in it; simple but a bit too plain for a specialty restaurant like this. The caricatures at the walls were funny though.
First stop is the R.B.S. #1 (Ramen Bar Special #1 – P380), a soy-infused tonkotsu ramen topped with tamago (soft-boiled egg), naruto (fish sticks), nori (dried seaweed), negi (spring onion), chasyu and kakuni (braised pork belly).
The kakuni is so soft and flavorful. The seaweed and fish sticks are tasty and go well with the broth. The broth itself has a hint of pepper and soy sauce in every sip. The noodles are al dente, they’re chewy, and every bite makes your palate aware of the other flavors in your ramen. I liked the RBS because there were so many flavors swimming in your mouth but they don’t overwhelm each other. My only problem with this is that the ramen cools down to room temperature quickly.
Shio Torigara Ramen (one of their specialty ramen), is, well, chicken soup with tamago, chasyu, nori, and naruto toppings. Think twice before you reconcile in your head that you’re having chicken soup with pork toppings. The flavors remain distinct, the broth tastes light, and the combination of toppings are as good despite looking like standard fare. Indeed, this variety is better than it sounds. Also, I’ve been told the Shio Torigara Ramen is just one of many varieties that Ramen Bar serves… which means, there’s a new flavor waiting for me everyday, or something to that effect.
I learned that Ramen Bar’s noodles are freshly made, and these can be enjoyed with either tonkotsu (pork bone) or ukokkei (chicken bone) broth. Given the tedious process undertaken to prepare ramen broth, I say Ramen Bar did its best to serve ramen that’s authentic as authentic can be.
The Tempura Ice Cream (P120) is made with vanilla ice cream coated with tempura batter and served with chocolate sauce. It’s an interesting dessert to end your meal; it’s refreshing, kinda tastes like a cream puff, and the ice cream goes well with the chocolate sauce.
Kevin Yapjoco (@kevinyapjoco), the organizer of the tweetup, was there by the door to greet the participants when I arrived. I heard that Kevin is an IT consultant, but he tweets and blogs about clothes, men’s fashion, and “living in style”.
Throughout the tweetup I was also able to meet Tweetmates from all walks of life. For example, there was Jeman (@orangemagtv), who owns an online magazine. With him were his friends Eunice (@yesyes_yo), a photographer, and Iya (@iyassantos). There was that girl they call Divasoria (@divasoria), Kiko (@nerveending), Fabian (@urbanfervor), among many others (there are too many of them to list down here).
The participants, especially the first timers, got to introduce themselves to the crowd. There were give-aways such as gift certificates, trinkets and other items, and even a trip to Cebu. The rest of the time was spent in loud, hearty conversation over sips and bites of ramen.
I won a bottle of perfume! Nice!
The participants were nice to talk with, they make you feel welcome, and they easily made quick, light and hearty talk and such. Sharing a good meal over talks about fashion, sports, and vacations is a great way to connect or blend in or jump into the fray with the others.
I learned a valuable lesson about myself here. Whether I’d think of myself as being “alone in a crowd” or not still depends on me. I could either approach people and engage in idle conversation or sulk on my seat and watch everyone group together . Then again, what if I really don’t have anything to say? Or what if I can’t genuinely relate? Judging by what happened to me at Ramen Bar, I hope I left a good impression to the people in this tweetup, or something.
In any case, if I get another opportunity to go to another tweetup by myself, I hope by that time I’d be more confident to be around crowds, to open up conversations with people I don’t know, and to make myself known. I’m certainly going to end up in another gathering where I know nobody, but I hope I’m ready.
Then again, when all else fails, there’s always Twitter.