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Thread: Real Life 'Superheroes'

  1. #91
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    Stuff that happens at Texas Walmarts...

    This is one of those stories that you couldn't make up if you tried...

    CRIME 06/22/2017 02:02 pm ET
    Batman Cop Nabs Alleged Shoplifter With ‘Lego Batman Movie’
    “I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted,” the officer said.
    By Nina Golgowski

    A police officer dressed like Batman saved the day at a Texas Walmart after a suspected shoplifter tried to make off with several DVDs, including ironically “The Lego Batman Movie.”

    Fort Worth Police Officer Damon Cole was off-duty meeting with children for a safety program on Saturday when he said the alleged sticky-fingered fiend blew past security with unpaid merchandise.

    “I was dressed as Batman but I was not going to let someone just walk out the store without paying,” Cole recounted on Facebook. “I identified myself as a Fort Worth Police officer and detained him and took him back inside the store.”

    View image on Twitter



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    Officer Damon Cole @HeroesandCops
    I was at Wal-Mart as Batman for kids day. This male attempted to steal 4 DVD's,I stopped him as Batman. He asked me for a selfie as Batman.
    9:43 PM - 17 Jun 2017 · Fort Worth, TX
    46 46 Retweets 80 80 likes
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    As it turns out, it wasn’t just the children who were impressed by Batman’s appearance. The shoplifting suspect was too.

    “As I started to walk away to go back in the store to see all the kids as Batman the male asked me, can he please take a selfie with me,” Cole recalled, while noting that the man had apologized for the theft, which resulted in a citation.

    “I told him sure, he tells me it’s not everyday that you get arrested by Batman. I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted. This was the first time in my 17 years as a police officer that I have ever arrested anyone as Batman.”

    This isn’t the first time Cole has made news.

    The dynamic officer also runs a foundation called Heroes And Cops Against Childhood Cancer and is a member of Dallas organization Heroes, Cops And Kids. Through the programs, Cole and other officers dress up like superheroes to meet with children that are battling illnesses or who are in need of positive role models.

    “I have a Batman cape in my back window. I have an Iron Man mask and a Spider-Man mask in my back windows,” he told the Houston Chronicle of his costumes.

    “My goal is to go to all 50 states and Canada to see every child that wants to see me,” his foundation’s website states.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #92
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    $500,000 for Puerto Rico relief

    Avengers Cast Members Raise $500,000 for Puerto Rico Relief
    BY MAX EVRY ON NOVEMBER 7, 2017



    Avengers cast members raise $500,000 for Puerto Rico relief

    Scarlett Johansson, her fellow Avengers cast members and The John Gore Organization raised $500,000 toward the relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Maria with a star-studded benefit reading of Thornton Wilder’s classic play “Our Town” on Monday, November 6th at Atlanta’s iconic Fox Theatre. The evening featured Tony Award winner Scarlett Johansson along with her Avengers co-stars: Academy Award nominee Robert Downey Jr.; Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner; Tony Award nominee Mark Ruffalo; Chris Evans; Frank Grillo; and Maximiliano Hernandez. The evening was directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and organized by Ms. Johansson and The John Gore Organization.

    “We are all deeply touched by the outpouring of generosity and support from the local community,” Johansson said. “We knew we could count on you, Atlanta!” John Gore, Chairman and CEO of the John Gore Organization, added, “We couldn’t be happier to support our friend, Scarlett, and her co-stars in producing this evening for such a worthy cause.”

    The event played to a full house and a very enthusiastic crowd. With over 3,500 tickets sold, it is one of the largest audiences the play has ever been presented to in one night. Johansson was joined on stage for opening remarks by director Kenny Leon and Xiomara Caro from the Maria Fund, sharing an inspiring message about the purpose of the event and the relief effort. They brought the crowd to their feet when they revealed that the evening’s efforts resulted in half of a million dollars raised to help Puerto Rico in their hour of need.

    “We are deeply grateful to Scarlett Johansson, Kenny Leon and everyone involved in the production of this play for stepping up and contributing their talent to help towards the equitable and just rebuilding of Puerto Rico. This event demonstrates the importance of collective solidarity and responsibility and how powerful it is when we come together to help our communities,” said Xiomara Caro, Director of New Organizing Projects for the Center of Popular Democracy and coordinator of Maria Fund. “A month after Hurricane Maria, millions are without power, or regular access to clean water and food. But there are also hundreds of grassroots organizations and community-run initiatives that are building community everyday to provide relief and organize a short and long-term response to all of these issues. This is the kind of initiatives Maria Fund is supporting,” Caro added.

    The Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund is housed at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) and funds will be used to support immediate relief, recovery and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico for low-income communities of color hit hardest by the storm. The fund will support organizations working on the frontlines with these communities.
    The Avengers as Real Life Superheroes.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #93
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    Too weird not to post here



    'Batman' Breaks Record After Eating Chipotle for 500 Days Straight
    Not the hero we asked for, but the hero we deserve
    By Mary von Aue on March 17, 2018

    While Tommy Wiseau is quickly turning into a real-life Joker, another Batman has entered the scene. But this Dark Knight is after one thing: burritos.

    Clad in his signature leather batsuit, Bruce Wayne – yes, that’s his legal name – received his 500th consecutive Chipotle meal on Wednesday. The auspicious day has solidified his place in world records and made him a hero with the American fast casual restaurant chain.

    Prior to accepting this challenge, the record for most consecutive Chipotle meals clocked in at 425 orders, but the Caped Crusader flew past that number on December 30. The last 75 meals were more of a victory lap, one which he describes as “an amazing journey.”

    Batman’s path to victory made him a celebrity at the local Chipotle in Tiffin, Ohio. Wayne is known for wearing his batsuit around town and attends children’s events dressed as his alter ego. “I always said that I would finish the challenge as I started it, and that’s in the batsuit,” he told his local paper The Courier.

    But with 500 meals behind him, Batman is ready to hang up his cape and take on a new challenge. On Tuesday, he took to Instagram to remind fans that his latest victory does not mean the work is over. “It isn’t just the end of one adventure; it’s the start of a new one.”

    Batman’s career as a burrito assassin is garnering him international fame, and Chipotle, a chain that was once accustomed to bad press, was honored to serve as his Batcave. To celebrate a job well done, Chipotle donated $4,260 to Financial Assistance for Cancer Treatment, or FACT, in Wayne’s name. The donation matches the $10 a day spent during Wayne’s first 426 days trying to defeat the original record. Looks like not all heroes pay extra for guacamole.
    I can hardly wrap my head around this story.
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  4. #94
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    A Very Special Message from Deadpool

    Gene Ching
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  5. #95
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    Go Gal!

    JULY 08, 2018 10:41am PT by Ryan Parker
    Gal Gadot Surprises Children's Hospital in Full Wonder Woman Gear


    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Ratpac-Dune Entertainment LLC
    Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman' (2017)

    "The kids loved it...and so did the staff," one doctor said.

    Gal Gadot on Friday put a smile on numerous faces when she visited a children's hospital in full Wonder Woman costume.

    The actress stopped by Inova Children's Hospital in Annandale, Virginia, and lit up every face she saw there — adult and children alike — clearly seen in pictures shared via social media.

    "Thank you ⁦@GalGadot⁩ for visiting us ⁦@InovaHealth⁩ Children’s Hospital. You are a true Wonder Woman. The kids loved it...and so did the staff #wonderwoman84," Dr. Lucas Collazo tweeted, along with a photo of the staff and the actress.

    A number of other heartwarming photos were shared by Wonder Woman fan accounts on Twitter and reddit.

    Production is underway on Wonder Woman 1984, which reunites Gadot with director Patty Jenkins and co-star Chris Pine, who all worked together on the 2017 hit Wonder Woman.

    Wonder Woman 1984 is due out Nov. 1, 2019.

    See pictures of Gadot's visit below.


    View image on Twitter

    Dr. Lucas Collazo
    @DrCollazo
    Thank you ⁦@GalGadot⁩ for visiting us ⁦@InovaHealth⁩ Children’s Hospital. You are a true Wonder Woman. The kids loved it...and so did the staff 😉 #wonderwoman84

    12:27 PM - Jul 6, 2018
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    Wonder Woman 1984
    @WonderWomanHQ
    · 7 Jul
    (PHOTO) Gal Gadot stopped by a Inova Children’s Hospital to visit some employees and patients yesterday during Wonder Woman 1984 filming! (📸: @PSeoMayer) pic.twitter.com/ttv0MDcben
    Wonder Woman 1984
    @WonderWomanHQ
    (PHOTOS) More photos of Gal Gadot visiting Inova Children’s Hospital yesterday. ❤️ #WW84 pic.twitter.com/tgqHiMmmq0

    11:58 AM - Jul 7, 2018


    View image on Twitter
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    And to think I dissed Gal when she was picked over Gina Carano.

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  6. #96
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    Batkid lives!

    Batkid
    Batkid Begins

    5 years after saving San Francisco, ‘Batkid’ is cancer-free
    Photo of Steve Rubenstein
    Steve Rubenstein Nov. 15, 2018 Updated: Nov. 15, 2018 5:37 p.m.



    Five years ago, San Francisco was saved from unspeakable evil.

    A 5-year-old boy dressed in a cape rescued a damsel in distress, defused a bomb and chased an archvillain around AT&T Park. The police chief dispatched his cops to help, and the mayor gave the little hero a key to the city.

    Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of that day, which was unlike any other in San Francisco history. It was the day Miles Scott was granted his dream by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and 10,000 people — all chanting “Batkid! Batkid! Batkid!” — turned out under sunny autumn skies to cheer him on and witness a rare bit of good news and collective goodwill.

    In a black Lamborghini decked out to resemble the Batmobile, Miles was whisked around town as an elaborate set of staged scenes played out involving cops, firefighters, cable cars, bad guys and special effects. Social media went nuts, and if it was all a charade, nobody told Miles.

    But as it turns out, the good news was just getting started. Miles is now 10, and his leukemia is in remission. His daily visits with doctors are down to once a year, and five years after his epic adventure he’s now cancer-free.

    Miles lives with his parents and two younger siblings on a family farm in Tulelake (Siskiyou County). The fifth-grader plays Little League baseball and enjoys science and robotics. Not long ago, he sold his first goat at a local fair.

    But the family hasn’t forgotten the day Miles captured the bad guys and the hearts of everyone else.

    “This wish meant closure for our family and an end to over three years of putting toxic drugs in our son’s body,” said Miles’ mother, Natalie.

    The wish meant so much to the Scott family that, not long ago, Natalie applied to be one of the foundation’s official wish-granting volunteers. With 60 chapters across the U.S., the Make-a-Wish foundation grants 15,000 wishes a year to children with critical illness.

    For a long time, Miles truly believed he was Batkid.

    “He just thought he was doing his job,” said Jen Wilson, one of the Make-a-Wish directors who put the citywide event together. “He took his work seriously. He thought Batkid might need to stick around.”

    Batkid’s wish inspired others to wish big, too.

    Kaheem, a 5-year-old boy in Owings Mills, Md., was granted a wish to become Super Kaheem. Another kid in Texas got his wish to have a Bat Cave built in his backyard. Many other wishes that the foundation grants involve family trips to places that have roller coasters.

    But it was Batkid who was responsible for working the biggest miracle of all. In the weeks after Miles’ heroics, donations to the Make-a-Wish Foundation soared higher than any superhero.

    “It was an incredibly powerful boost to our organization,” Wilson said. “Batkid was responsible for that.”

    Steve Rubenstein is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: srubenstein@sfchronicle.com
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  7. #97
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    Now if they can just deal with Thanos...

    APRIL 05, 2019 12:14pm PT by Ryan Parker
    Disney, 'Avengers' Stars Team Up for $5M Children's Hospital Donation


    Courtesy of Disney
    (From left to right) Paul Rudd, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Iger, Brie Larson, Chris Hemsworth and Jeremy Renner.

    "The superheroes in 'Avengers' personify traits like courage, perseverance, bravery and hope — the same traits countless kids and their families in children's hospitals exhibit every day," Robert Iger says.

    The stars of the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, along with Disney CEO Robert Iger, appeared at Disneyland Resort on Friday to announce a $5 million donation to children's hospitals across the country.

    The donation of cash and toys to Starlight Children's Foundation is through the Avengers Universe Unites campaign, which is Walt Disney Company's signature philanthropic commitment to Disney Team of Heroes, according to Disney. The LEGO Group, Hasbro, Funko and Amazon all donated.

    Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd and Brie Larson were all on hand at Disney California Adventure Park to celebrate the donation.

    "The superheroes in Avengers personify traits like courage, perseverance, bravery and hope — the same traits countless kids and their families in children's hospitals exhibit every day," Iger said, according to a news release. "We are grateful to have the Avengers cast take time out of their day to be a part of this effort to lift spirits and bring comfort to children during a difficult time."

    The Avengers stars were later joined by children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Anaheim and Garden Grove.

    "Nobody understands magical experiences better than Disney, and we've been proud to partner with them in bringing those experiences to kids in children's hospitals for more than 20 years," said Adam Garone, CEO of the Starlight Children's Foundation, according to the release. "From delivering hospital care packages to storytelling through Starlight Xperience virtual reality to our recent Disney-themed Starlight Gowns, millions of seriously ill children have benefited from our amazing relationship together."

    Avengers: Endgame is due in theaters April 26.
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  8. #98
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    Now this story has the making of a great movie...

    ...or at least the opening of a 'walks into a bar' joke.

    PHOENIX JONES, SEATTLE 'SUPERHERO' VIGILANTE AND MMA FIGHTER, ARRESTED FOR SELLING MDMA AND COCAINE
    BY AILA SLISCO ON 1/29/20 AT 12:25 AM EST

    A Seattle man who patrolled the city's streets in a costume and described himself as a "superhero" has found himself on the wrong side of the law after police arrested and charged him for allegedly selling drugs.

    Ben Fodor, 31, was the leader of a group of costumed characters known as "The Rain City Superheroes" under the pseudonym "Phoenix Jones" until the group was dissolved in 2014. He was charged Monday on two counts related to dealing narcotics, according to The Seattle Times.

    Police said Fodor was caught selling MDMA, also known ecstasy, to an undercover officer in November. His girlfriend Andrea Berendsen, 26, is also alleged to have been involved in a scheme to sell cocaine to undercover agents in January.

    Court documents reportedly indicate that a Seattle narcotics officer initiated a series of text messages with Fodor in November 2019 after having earlier been tipped off to Fodor's alleged drug dealings. The officer arranged to buy $500 worth of MDMA, which Fodor allegedly agreed to on the condition that $300 would be sent in advance to his Venmo payment account. He is said to have then met an agent at a Starbucks coffee shop, where he delivered a brown paper bag containing around seven grams of the drug in exchange for the $200 balance.

    A second attempt at a meeting to purchase another $500 of MDMA was made nearly a week later, but Fodor did not show up. The agent created a new persona and arranged a different drug deal on January 6. Fodor was arrested three days later when the exchange was allegedly made, with police confiscating four grams of cocaine during that transaction.

    As "Phoenix Jones," Fodor urged drug dealers to refrain from their activities in Seattle and instead "sell somewhere else," according to a November 2010 article in the magazine Seattle Met.

    The former self-described superhero also competed in mixed martial arts and reportedly relied on some of those skills in his costumed persona. Public reactions to his supposed crime-fighting activities were mixed. In recent years, his activities as "Phoenix Jones" have trailed off.

    Fodor announced that he was retiring as a self-proclaimed superhero in 2019, claiming to be tired of attempting to solve the problems of Seattle, although he said he might put on his armored costume again if there is "a riot in the city."

    "I'm not saying I'm never going to fight another crime," said Fodor in a March 2019 interview with NW NERD Podcast. "I'm just saying I don't owe you anything anymore. I don't feel like I owe people anything anymore. I used to feel like because I have this power it was my duty to use it, but it's not."

    "If you're not using your ability to help people, I'm not using my ability to help people unless I want to," he added. "If I see a crime in front of me, I'm going to take care of it. But I don't own anybody anything anymore. I have a very special skill set and you no longer get to use it if you're not gonna play your part."

    Law enforcement have always been skeptical of Fodor's superhero status. He was arrested in 2011 after allegedly dousing a group of people with pepper spray in an attempt to "break up" a street brawl that police later said did not happen. While charges against Fodor were eventually dropped, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes described him as "no hero, just a deeply misguided individual" after the incident.

    Newsweek reached out to the Seattle Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Fodor and Berendsen are scheduled to make an appearance in court on February 3.

    Correction 1/29, 10:31 p.m.: This article has been updated to correct the title of the referenced podcast from "NW Nerds Podcast" to "NW NERD Podcast."


    Self-proclaimed Seattle "superhero" Phoenix Jones, pictured with actor Rainn Wilson and director James Gunn at the 2011 premiere of "Super" in Hollywood, California on March 21, 2011.
    KEVIN WINTER/GETTY
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  9. #99
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    Mysterious People With Unbreakable bones:

    https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2020/...eakable-bones/

    Someone like that would have no need of “iron body” gong, such as “Golden Bell,” “Iron Shirt,” “Iron Arms/Legs,” etc., training methods if they did CMA.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 01-31-2020 at 09:20 AM.

  10. #100
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    Power Rangers

    Bay Area ramen restaurant employees save woman from attack while dressed as Power Rangers
    Ryan General
    15 hours ago

    On Friday evening, workers at Noka Ramen in Oakland, California, fought back against an attacker who followed a woman into the store on Friday evening.

    The staff, who were wearing full-on “Power Rangers” costumes, hid the woman in the kitchen and confronted the man.

    The man allegedly shouted Asian slurs and threw punches at the employees.

    The employees were eventually able to throw the unruly man out.

    The authorities later arrived and said the man had started another fight elsewhere.

    A team of Mighty Morphin’ restaurant staffers foiled the plans of an evildoer in Oakland, California, on Friday evening.

    Dressed as Power Rangers, employees of Noka Ramen became actual heroes after a woman entered the restaurant seeking help at around 8 p.m. A man who had been chasing after the woman reportedly ran into the restaurant and put her in a chokehold.

    The ramen shop’s servers dress up as the beloved heroes every Friday to promote the establishment’s signature cocktail, called “The Noka Rangers.”

    Customer Ploi Pirapoken, who witnessed the ordeal, documented the events in a Twitter thread that went viral on Oct. 14.

    According to Pirapoken, employees dressed as the Black Ranger and the Yellow Ranger confronted the man and told him to leave. However, the man refused to go and began throwing punches, which the Yellow Ranger reportedly blocked.

    The woman was ushered to safety in the kitchen before the man started spouting Asian slurs and ran towards her, but the Yellow Ranger grabbed the man by his collar and dragged him out of the restaurant. The man reportedly returned with a friend to try and force their way inside but were both kicked out.

    “All of the servers, slash Power Rangers were moving towards the scene to help one another out,” Ploi said. “The patrons started getting involved in a way that was supporting and making sure everyone was safe.”

    The authorities later arrived and said the man had started another fight elsewhere. Meanwhile, customers inside were reportedly told by the Pink Ranger that they would not be charged for their meals.

    Noka Ramen also posted about the incident on Instagram, where they hailed the staff as “real life heroes” for “going above and beyond in our time of need.”

    Power Rangers is a popular entertainment franchise from the ‘90s and early 2000s that is currently owned by Hasbro.


    Featured Image via Noka Burgers
    Real Life 'Superheroes'
    Power-Rangers-(2017)
    Gene Ching
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  11. #101
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    Noka Ramen

    This Power Rangers-Inspired Ramen Shop Is Mastering the Art of Kick-Ass Noodles
    Alan Chazaro
    Jan 19

    The classic tonkotsu (pork belly, bean sprouts, bok choy, mushrooms, seaweed, noodles, egg) is a signature at Noka Ramen. (Alan Chazaro)
    ¡Hella Hungry! is a column about Bay Area foodmakers, exploring the region's culinary cultures through the mouth of a first-generation local.

    If you scan ramen threads on Reddit or Twitter, you’ll find the occasional hater who claims that the Bay Area’s ramen “sucks” or is “overrated" (particularly when compared to LA's offerings). I don’t completely disagree with those statements. Many times I’ve been told about a top ramen joint in NorCal only to be underwhelmed by spaghetti-like noodles or an odd ratio of toppings that overpower the actual ramen.

    Occasionally, though, I’ll find a spot here that reminds me of the top-tier ramen I experienced during a trip to Tokyo, where each brothy spoonful delivered a soulful warmth that transcended any language barrier.

    That’s exactly the kind of good vibe I found at Noka Ramen in Oakland’s Jack London Square. You may recall the restaurant going viral last fall, when its staff stopped a man from assaulting a woman inside the dining room — while dressed up as Power Rangers. As the story made the rounds on social media, it also brought attention to the eatery’s flamboyant staff and quirky decor. The establishment’s most essential element — its actual ramen — was given a well-deserved signal boost, too. They haven’t held back any punches since then.

    Since it opened in the summer of 2022, Noka has been serving up some of the tastiest (and spiciest) ramen in the East Bay. The colorful shop has mastered the art of flavorful presentation, with its stylish Power Ranger–themed tiki drinks, anime playing in the background and over-the-top menu items like the Ikari Steak Ramen, which features slow–cooked beef rib confit, creamy spicy miso and a splash of 151 rum that’s been lit on fire ($36).


    A server at Noka Ramen embodies the restaurant's stylish vibe. (Alan Chazaro)
    But for me, it’s the simpler ramen dishes that keep me coming back for more. The spicy miso ramen, in particular, is one of the fiercest broths I’ve found in the Bay and packs more than enough heat (hack: order the shi****o pepper appetizer and mix some of its spicy sauce into your bowl for an extra kick).

    What helps Noka stand out from the competition is the vision of Pop-Kasem Saengsawang, the creative owner of a local Thai restaurant mini-empire that includes Farmhouse Kitchen, Son & Garden and Daughter Thai Kitchen. With the help of Kenichi Ota, the consultant and teacher behind the Los Angeles-based Ramen School USA, Saengsawang is now adding his own spin to the ramen circuit.

    Here’s what the two collaborators and friends had to say about serving noodles on the docks of the Frisco Bay.

    This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

    ********

    ALAN CHAZARO: You both grew up in Asia before immigrating to California. What brought you here, and what has been your experience with the U.S. food industry?

    POP-KASEM SAENGSAWANG: I’m originally from Thailand. I moved to the States with the hope of becoming Bill Gates (laughs). I was a computer scientist and moved here to continue my studies. During college, I had to start working and learn how to live on my own. I worked in a kitchen and served as a manager for six years and fell in love with food. I opened my first restaurant back then, but only nine months later it closed down (laughs). I was 26 years old. It was a Japanese sushi restaurant. My chef taught me a lot about raw fish, sauces and to care about the traditions. It was all new to me. One day my chef didn’t show up, and I realized that I didn’t understand it well enough, that I needed to learn more. Eventually I opened Farmhouse Kitchen. It was fun. My wife [Ing Kumo] and I enjoyed that, because it was totally us.

    KENICHI OTA: I came 18 years ago and started working at a Japanese grocery shop in San Jose. I eventually opened a ramen shop of my own, but I had some issues at the time and had to return to Japan, so I closed it down. Five years ago, after I returned, I wanted to enter the ramen market, but nobody was making the sort of ramen that I wanted to make. I decided that I could help others who wanted to learn how to make ramen. I thought, let’s try to support the restaurants who have a passion for Japanese food and products and who want to learn to make it. That’s when I started to do consulting and teaching.

    Why did you decide to open Noka? Why ramen?

    SAENGSAWANG: After the pandemic, I learned a lot about comfort food and what people wanted. I was always dreaming about a noodle bar for so long. I grew up in Thailand, [where] the two key ingredients are rice and noodles. I had time to learn and study during [the pandemic]. I went to different noodle shops, tried to get a feel, talked to the chefs. But I didn’t have the answers until I found Ken. The way he taught me is to jump in and make it your own experience. I feel like it’s something that I really enjoyed and could adapt and turn into my own recipes. With his knowledge and help, we created a beautiful broth and chewy noodles. I didn’t want my ramen shop to feel like traditional ramen, so I added lobster, short ribs, those kinds of things to the menu. I didn’t want to mix with Thai or anything else, though. I wanted it to be Japanese ramen. Over many months, Ken returned to check the recipe and make it better. I’m super grateful for him.

    OTA: For Japanese people, ramen is an important part of food. I started making ramen about 14 years ago. I was working at the grocery store and making ramen there. I was working with ramen chefs to make it and started going to outside events and pop-ups as well. People think ramen is just general. But it’s a whole process with many varieties and styles. It’s about details and careful directions, but the whole process is enjoyable. It’s not stressful for me. Making ramen is simply fun.
    continued next post
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  12. #102
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    continued from previous post


    The Spicy Miso Ramen (spicy ground pork, chili paste, bamboo shoot, corn, egg, thin noodles) is a personal favorite for this writer. (Alan Chazaro)
    Where did the whole Power Rangers concept come from?

    SAENGSAWANG: The Power Rangers idea is about having fun, first of all. It’s also a good look. I grew up with Japanese cosplay, so I really enjoy the Power Rangers. The Power Rangers don’t have just one guy or person — it’s a team. That was our goal. Then my wife, Ing Kumo, created the Power Ranger cocktail. When we bring it out, the server might do the Power Ranger move (chops the air). We might as well wear it and have fun. For our shyest servers, they become different people when they wear it. Customers can’t see you. It changed the way they walked from when they would dress regularly. It just brings a unique experience to everyone — customers and workers. At first everyone laughed and didn’t want to wear it. But now they love to pick their colors each week: pink, black, green, white.

    Noka Ramen went viral last year after an incident involving staff members dressed as Power Rangers — when your employees helped to end a physical altercation in public. How did you all deal with that and in what ways did it affect the community?

    SAENGSAWANG: The first couple of days I told everyone I don’t want to say that we were heroes. I don’t want to twist it since we weren’t really sure what was going on with the gentleman and lady who were fighting in our restaurant. Our goal is to protect our customers, always. The cosplay heroes were the story that day by coincidence. My manager pushed the guy out of the restaurant. It’s difficult because we don’t expect our staff to fight like that. It’s dangerous. There is one instance in San Francisco where a worker was stabbed because they ran after a customer who didn’t pay. I told everyone that we didn’t want to celebrate or share what happened because it’s a tricky situation. When the media came, I didn’t want to put my workers in the spotlight. What if the man came back and tried to attack my workers? So we focused on what we serve, how we value the customers.

    "Our goal is to protect our customers, always. It’s difficult because we don’t expect our staff to fight like that. It’s dangerous. ... So we focused on what we serve, how we value the customers."
    Pop-Kasem Saengsawang
    We went to court as witnesses, and we had to make sure the woman who was attacked got the support she needed. We hired a lawyer to make sure that one of our employees wasn’t involved [with any charges]. We were just trying to protect ourselves and everyone. That guy who attacked went to other locations nearby; he was also at Plank, and the police were involved there and arrested him. We don’t want our employees to be in those situations, but we appreciate the community that keeps supporting us because they feel like it was a heroic thing. It turned out positive. In Oakland, we have many people who are protecting the community and making sure no one gets hurt here in this city.

    That incident brought a lot of positive attention to Noka and put it on many people’s radars as a ramen destination. What are your thoughts on the ramen scene in the Bay Area, and what is Noka doing differently, besides dressing up as Power Rangers, to stand out?

    OTA: There is high-quality ramen in San Francisco, and there is a huge market in the Bay Area. It’s competitive for the United States. Noka is joining that market later, so Pop and I talked about concepts. We don’t need to only follow the exact authentic recipes. It’s not our goal. Our goal is to have ramen lovers come back; maybe they’re new to ramen. We focused on the mix of American people here and what we could do to make them like Noka. That’s how we approached it.

    SAENGSAWANG: To my understanding, when people experience something and they enjoy it, they want to return because they liked it, whether it’s traditional or non-traditional. Some people grew up with ramen being cooked at home by mom. Noka Ramen can’t recreate that. Noka Ramen is about bringing a fun new experience. Ramen is about joy and we try our best to represent that feeling. Of course, we can’t replicate the most traditional. It can’t ever be exactly like home-cooked ramen. There are too many factors. So we focus on providing a good experience with noodles with love and joy. That’s the concept.

    We don’t like to compare ourselves with others. Every ramen [shop] has their own unique story of making ramen. Some restaurants here are owned by Koreans, so they add kimchi. Some are Chinese-owned and have catfish or ingredients mixed from Chinese culture. That’s great. The generations that grew up with mixed cultures can adapt and adventure easier. But I told Ken that I wanted Noka to be Japanese without any Thai [influence].


    Noka, which is the Thai owner's ode to Japanese cosplay and culinary traditions, translates into "farmhouse." (Alan Chazaro)
    What’s the secret to making good ramen?

    OTA: My teaching program is about making everything from scratch and using premium ingredients. Everything from scratch, including appetizers and other dishes. Lots of people use [pre-made] concentrated stuff, and the broth isn’t as good. Or [they use] cheap ingredients. We use so many steps to make our ramen that it’s almost too much to follow (laughs).

    SAENGSAWANG: We probably use about 40 pounds of bones or more in each batch of our broth, and it takes about six hours just to make the broth. Ken brought his technique to Noka, which is the high-pressure machine. We use that, too. Ken imported that from Japan. Traditional style uses an open-faced pot, but this high-pressure pot pushes all the ingredients into water and makes it super creamy. That makes it different and isn’t a common technique here. Ken’s [noodle] recipe is really unique. It’s high-end flour imported from Japan. I also purchased a noodle machine from Japan. Everything is written in Japanese and I can’t read it (laughs). Google Translate didn’t help. Ken came in and showed us the steps and how to operate it.

    I thought you could just buy noodles and put it in a broth (laughs). Not at all. It’s all worth it though. I want our customers to eat with love. That’s our goal.

    Besides Noka, where is your favorite place to get ramen in the Bay Area?

    SAENGSAWANG: My spot to go for ramen is Nagi Ramen in San Mateo.

    OTA: Yes, Nagi is good. Very unique ramen. They come from Japan. I enjoy it. But also I have to say: Go Noka!




    Noka Ramen is open Mon. through Fri. from 11 a.m.–2 pm and 5–9  p.m., and Sat. and Sun. from noon–3  p.m. and 5–9 p.m. The restaurant is located at 90 Franklin St. in Oakland.
    Real Life 'Superheroes'
    Power-Rangers-(2017)
    Kung-Fu-Restaurants-amp-Bars
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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