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Hockey team makes big fuss over bill; wonders of ramen; wedding cookies; world's best pizza

Edmonton Oilers hockey team makes a big fuss over an $18,000 bill for 45 people at Calgary's high-profile Osteria de Medici. They were especially shocked by the liquor tally and insisted on a discount. Report at nationalpost.

Edmonton Oilers hockey team makes a big fuss over an $18,000 bill for 45 people at Calgary's high-profile Osteria de Medici. They were especially shocked by the liquor tally and insisted on a discount. Report at nationalpost.com

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Making the world's best pizza -- YouTube videos:

-- a CBC TV report about Italian pizza makers who can't agree on how it should be done

-- an American pizza maker who is clearly a perfectionist; he ripped out a wood-fired oven shortly after it was installed because it wasn't quite right; he offered only four kinds of pizza because, well, that's the way it should be. Since the video was made, he has closed the restaurant and embarked on new adventures. (In the comments section, a couple of folks say unkind things about his pizza -- maybe they're competitors?)  Here's another video of pizza action at the now-closed restaurant. Looks like it was a bit of a pizza shrine for some people. Many others hated it.

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Cookies are a must -- thousands of cookies -- if you're having a wedding in Pittsburgh. Families spend weeks baking cookies and freezing them until the big day. Home-made is expected. Report at nytimes.com.

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I've discovered fresh ramen and soba noodles -- semi-fresh at least -- at the grocery store. Fresh is way tastier than the dry stuff, and preparing a ramen-based meal can be a fast, one-pot effort.

Here's one approach (with the usual apologies to the purists):

Boil water in a pot.

Loosen a ball of ramen (putting it into the water in a clump is a bad idea)

Boil for 1 to 1.5 minutes. Or a touch more if you prefer a mushier noodle.

Remove the ramen with a wire strainer. Douse with cold water if you want. Set aside in a shallow bowl.

Briefly boil some vegetables in your pot -- carrot shavings, peas, zucchini, whatever you have on hand.

Poach an egg. 

Plop vegetables and egg onto the noodles using your wire strainer.

Use some of the boiling water to make a sauce. Mix in soya sauce, hot sauce, bonito flakes, brown sugar, rice vinegar.

Combine ramen, sauce, egg, vegetables. Or, leave the sauce separate, and dip your noodles into the sauce.

Here's an latimes.com story about the art of making and eating soba noodles. Leave the real thing to the masters; but you can put together something acceptable at home.

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I had a really good bowl of soba noodles at Futaba -- 1420 Quadra St., Victoria

It was topped with plenty of grilled chicken pieces, so much that I couldn't see what was underneath until I started eating.

The broth was super-hot when the bowl arrived; I had to wait a couple of minutes for things to cool down before I could start digging in.

Floating in the broth, amid the noodles: slivers of mushroom (shitake, I think), carrot, zucchini, and some surprisingly crispy bean sprouts.

It was a generous portion for $8.95.

Chicken soba noodles at Futaba in Victoria, $8.95