NYC 2006. Momofuku

Momofuku is currently Paul’s favorite restaurant in the whole world. It is also what sparked this spontaneous trip to NYC. After telling him my idea for the restaurant, he told me to go eat noodles at Momofuku.

The place is a hole in the wall. Only enough room to sit at the bar and watch the chefs prepare food behind the counter. It had an all glass facade with a tiny “Momofuku” sign on the door. I would have missed it if it wasn’t my ultimate destination. Pretty much everything was clad in a light wood, which gave the whole place a trendy, yet traditionally asian feel.

Ting ordered steamed buns with Berkshire pork, pickled cucumbers in a sauce. They were the more traditional style where the buns are like a taco wrap, and the meat isn’t full incased in a “bun”. Best steamed buns ever.

I had Momofuku Ramen with the Birkshire pork, shiitake mushroom, poached egg (not hard boiled!), lots of chopped scallions, more Birkshire pork-but shredded and tasted a bit like bacon, cucumber, daikon, kale, and rice (or fish?) cakes that looked like they were grilled. They said they got their noodles fresh from chinatown rather than making their own.
This soup was the best by far that I had in NYC (or possibly ever).

Best of all, one of the chefs was playing music from his ipod over the restaurant speakers and two Radiohead songs came on. Eating the best ramen ever while listening to Radiohead with Ting in NYC …

The chefs were nice and talked to us while we ate. It was hard to avoid confrontation with customers in such a confined space. The menu was probably the closest thing I had in mind for my restaurant (just not as big of a selection as I would like). They also served multiple kinds of Sake and asian beers (I would like to do that as well, but with a huge selection). They also closed in the middle of the day, had a $15 minimum, and didn’t offer any vegetarian selections besides shiitake mushroom steamed buns-which I had to get even after eating the whole bowl of ramen and one of Ting’s pork buns- and ginger scallion with nooodles (but no broth).

We shopped around in SoHo (south of houston st) at numerous small boutique stores and walked by the outrageously expensive designer stores. We had hot chocolate and a latte at Vosge- a brand of chocolate that we sell at Zingermans. They carried our book too. Mark came back from Princeton from his interview and we met up with him and wandered around Chinatown for a little while.

Since it was Friday, we went to the Guggenheim Museum where they only ask for donations on Fridays. Zaha Hadid, probably the most famous female architect and top 5 current overall architects, was the main (and I think only) display going. All of her work took up the entire spiral museum. She has a LOT of shit which is impressive knowing how long it takes to do one studio project.

We walked the tourist route and saw Times Square, Madison Square Gardens, Rockefeller Center, passed NBC studios, saw a live FOX newscast on the street, and everything you should do on your first visit to NYC.

Things then got crazy. We met Ting’s boyfriend and his friends (all asians) at a kareoke bar called Muse on the east side. 8 1/2 asians, a tall white guy, 3 1/2 hours, multiple pitchers of beer, two 5ths of liquor and $500 dollars later, we were all pretty happy and singing. It was straight out of Lost In Translation.

Laughing my ass off at Mark falling on the kitchen floor in a puddle of water was the highlight of my night.
Chefs hard at work.

The hole in the wall that is Momofuku. sitting at the bar.

steamed buns with sauteed shiitake mushrooms

Kevin, one of the chefs at Momofuku

Momofuku Ramen with Berkshire pork

Steamed bun with Berkshire pork
Times Square

New York City as I’d imagine it

Rockefeller Center- first weekend they had the ice in.

Dried mushrooms, shrimp, octopus, etc. at a Chinatown market


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