Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, December 15, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 15, 2018 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


Moon Cat Ramen

Think of it as having lunch at a friends house.

How about a short road trip to Monrovia? Don’t mind if 
I do. First off, there are certain dishes that well, should be 
left to the pros. Of course, I am a home chef versed in such 
delights as BBQ and Grilln’, and more BBQ and Grilln’, 
with the bachelor favorite of spaghetti thrown in once a 
week. I have become a creature of habit lately. The chef 
salad at Tops and the chicken from Uni Pollo have been my 
go-to the last few weeks. My pal, Phil Marte of Sapporo 
Beer fame, invited me to the Moon Cat Sushi Bistro in 
Monrovia. It turns out the sushi section is closed during 
lunch, so we went opted for the ramen. This is where the 
part of “let the experts handle the cooking” comes in. 

 I get the headlines all across Los Angeles; ramen is very 
popular right now. What I love about ramen is that there 
are few variations so it’s pretty much standard wherever 
you go - the restaurant(s) are typically very small and 
intimate. Service was right on, probably because there is 
no place for the server to hide. As far as atmosphere, there’s 
not much to speak of - just a few tables inside, and if the weather is nice, a table or two outside. The restaurant 
is small so you’ll be able to hear your neighbors’ conversation. Even though the sushi part of the restaurant 
is closed for lunch they do give you the option of sushi and ramen. We both ordered the Tonkotsu Ramen, 
which comes with red ginger, spinach and a soft-boiled egg, and the pork shoulder. Besides the ramen I had 
in college this was my first experience in a while. I loved it! I was able to use chopsticks and a soup spoon so 
my meal was extremely easy to eat. The idea was to have sushi and ramen, but with the Chicken Karaage and 
the Sapporo Beer, I will have to return for the sushi, and my eye is on the fried baby lobster. Short review? 
Yes: I’ll be back at dinner time!!

 I recommend that if you are in 10 miles of this restaurant to give it a try. I’ve read a few reports of slow 
service, but we were served right away - made me think I was at a friend’s house for dinner.

 On a scale of 1 to 10, and ten being best I give it 7.5!! Editors Note, no one has received 10/10

Moon Cat Ramen 110 E Lime Ave Monrovia Lunch 11:30 to 2:30 Dinner at 5:30. For complete photos go 

to my Instagram peterdills, next week my promised article comparing prices at Vons and Stater Bros.


By Bob Eklund

 This book invites the scientist and poet to set aside their differences 
for a night—to come outside, stand very still as the sun sets, feel the 
earth turning eastward, be dazzled by a moonrise, catch a falling star, 
walk with constellations, ride a rocket to Jupiter space, and finally 
look back at the Home Planet with new eyes. In poetry, prose, and 
picture, author/poet Robert Eklund and illustrator Virginia Hoge 
have created a unique mix of astronomy and art that asks you to 
join them in the billion-year mission of “descrambling the wonder, 
outside and inside.”


The evening burns,
The dark earth turns,
The mountains loom against the sky;

One star looks down
To bless the town,
While sunset clouds sail grandly by.

And if the light
Of noon’s delight
Moves on, and leaves us where we are,

The darkest night
But aids our sight—
The better to reveal the star.

Excerpt: Introduction

 One starry night many years ago, while driving alone up the wild 
and rocky Big Sur coast of California, I pulled over and stopped 
mycar for a break. Stepping out into the starlight, I walked a few feet 
to the edge of the cliff and looked down. From somewhere farbelow 
came a growl of surf. As my eyes grew accustomed to the dark, I 
looked with awe at the brilliant Milky Way stretching overhead and 
down the sky to the southwest, out over the sea. Then I did a double-
take—and thought I was going to fall off the cliff.

 What I thought I was seeing was the Milky Way continuing down, 
down, below what must have been the horizon and deep into the 
sea itself. The dizzying impression was that I was standing on a 
flat earth and seeing stars beyond and below its edge. What I was 
really seeing was the Milky Way reflected on the ocean hundreds 
of feet below me—but I was not immediately aware of that, and so 
startling was the impression on my senses that I panicked. Feeling 
lost, disoriented and frightened under that vast sky, I turned and 
ran for my car! I only felt safe again when I had the engine running, 
lights on, and the car in motion.

 As other recollections of that trip faded, that single moment of 
bedazzled stellar awe and panic remained with me as one of my 
most cherished memories. Later, when I began to read Japanese 
haiku poetry, I realized that my Big Sur night was exactly the kind of 
experience that the best haiku poems are able to record and transmit 
to others. The great haiku-master Matsuo Basho perhaps summed 
it up best. His own experience on the cold, lonely coast of northern 
Japan, on a dark night in the 1600s, must have been much like mine.
He wrote:

 How wild the sea! 
And, stretching over Sado’s isle, 
The Galaxy!

The poignant sense of space, of loneliness, felt in Basho’s encounter 
with the night sky becomes all the more intense when you know 
that, in his time, Sado’s isle was a penal colony.

A poem can intensify, compress, and store our experiences and 
emotions, just as a painting intensifies and preserves an artist’s 
vision—or as a capacitor stores and holds an electric charge. This 
is a book of experiences under the sky, most often the sky of night. 
In recording such moments, I frequently have used the compact, 
17-syllable haiku form of poetry, borrowed from the Japanese. This 
form seems especially suited to encapsulate and preserve meaningful 
encounters with nature, to “call forth in 17 syllables the limitless 
nuances of earth and sky,” as the classic haiku poet Masaoka Shiki 
put it.

 When I was a child, it was my good fortune to grow up on the 
grounds of Yerkes Observatory, a major astronomical observatory 
in southern Wisconsin, where my grandfather was employed for 
many years as a photographer and lecturer. No doubt the seeds for 
these poems were sown in those early years when, as a six-year-old, 
I would sometimes be roused out of sleep by my mother at midnight 
to go outside and watch a display of the aurora borealis or a shower 
of meteors. Over the years, while pursuing other careers, I have 
learned a few things about astronomy, but always as an amateur—
in the original meaning of that word: a lover. The naturalist John 
Burroughs said it so well: “To know is not all, it is only half. To love 
is the other half.”

 A word about the organization of this book may be useful. I 
have endeavored to so blend science and art that readers may gain 
unexpected insights in the twin realms of the mind and the heart. 
The book is structured as an encounter with a starry night—from 
nightfall through moonlight and starlight and on to bedtime—with 
excursions, along the way, into both outer and inner space.

You may find it helpful to refer to the “Endnotes” section (starting on 
page 205) while reading this book. The comments there, keyed to the 
book’s page numbers, add perspective to the main text and provide 
resources for further learning.

Basho wrote: “Before the light that things give off dies in the heart, 
it must be expressed.” My hope is that this book may inspire readers 
to go out, observe the “limitless nuances of earth and sky,” and 
then express, in their own words, “the light that things give off.” 
I write for all who love the starry sky, the setting sun, the full moon 
rising, and even the stormy night full of raindrops and snowflakes. 
The beauty of these things is never far from us.

— Robert L. Eklund

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