Momofuku Flu. I caught it at their Noodle Bar last week. I think it’s contagious – at least I am pretty sure everybody there that day has it now too.
Recurring dreams. I now dream of pork buns, every single night. Two slabs of perfectly cooked pork belly, nestled in a taco-shell shaped steamed bun (genius!!). A smear of hoisin. Two lovely slices of pickled cucumber. David Chang calls the preparation of the pork belly “embarrassingly simple” in his first issue of Lucky Peach. So completely outrageously delicious. Even in my waking hours I dream of these gems.
Inability to concentrate. Every time I try to settle in to work, I am distracted by thoughts of ramen. Sometimes it’s the incredibly flavourful broth, with the bacon dashi. Sometimes it’s the perfectly slow poached egg – cooked to precisely 60°C to ensure a soft, yet cooked white, and a heavenly liquidy golden yolk. Mostly, however, it’s the noodles, with the incredibly chewy addictive texture. It was ramen unlike anything I have ever had before – and I almost forgot to order it. Imagine! Almost forgot….I was not thinking straight, the flu had started setting in even at the ordering stage.
Outrageous cravings and hunger pains. I know that two whole fried chickens for two adults, one ravenous teenager and an eleven year old mini-gastronome is a lot of food – but I had no choice. The only way you can make a reservation is to order the fried chicken meal. How else could I guarantee we’d sample some of Chang’s creations while in NYC? Every time I saw an email from ‘friedchixresy’ in my inbox reminding me of our upcoming lunch, I smiled. The sad part is – try as we might – we obviously could not eat all of the chicken. I think there were at least three chickens on our platter, or some kinda 3 legged, 4 winged chickens. It’s a lotta fried chicken and two kinds to boot – buttermilk with Old Bay, and Triple Fried Korean with Bibim sauce. The whole deal is served with rustic scallion pancakes, a ‘garden’ bowl of lettuce, shisito peppers, carrots, radishes, mint, Thai Basil…and three incredible sauces. Charrred scallion and ginger, jalapeno and garlic in a soy/sesame/rice vinegar base, straight up hoisin and sweet/spicy/tangy Koren Bibim sauce. You just tear into the chicken and create your own individual ‘wraps’. My fav combo was Korean chicken, lettuce, mint and both the ginger scallion AND jalapeno garlic sauce. We shared with our neighbors – took pity on them for not having a ‘friedchixresy’. Such a shame. Poor them. Even though we were full, and shared all we could share (folks were oddly reticent to take the chicken off our hands – they were being polite – but I could see in their eyes they really wanted it) how did I let the best chicken I have ever had get away from me? We could have brought the few stray pieces home. Had a little snack on the plane…..Could have. Should have. Would have. Fried chicken regrets – sigh – you never get those moments back.
Slight depression. We did not order dessert – we were too full. I know. You’re just as shocked as I am. We missed dark chocolate cake truffles, and pumpkin ale and pretzel soft serve. Soft serve. I cannot recall another moment in history when I passed up soft serve. We must have been delusional. This overlooked dessert opportunity just makes me…well…so sad….
Cure. The Momofuku Flu is serious. Not funny. Once you’ve had a taste of stuff that good, you just want to go back again and again. When I troll the airline websites looking for fares to New York, or peruse the Momofuku website…I start to feel better…like I am on the road to recovery. I bought their Milk Bar cookbook yesterday – I now know how to make the ice cream, and I plan on trying Compost Cookies soon. I take some comfort in that, but I don’t think I will feel 100% until I get back there…..or until Momofuku opens in Toronto.