Friday, November 12, 2010

Manhattan in the evening

yesterday O and i met up for dinner with K and S at momofuku ssam bar (, one of those "top 50 restaurants in the world" that foodie S had recommended. Run by Korean-American chef David Chang, it serves what i'd call experimental Korean fusion cuisine - with North American prices. we tasted the veal sweetbread (yes i know what sweetbread is and i don't care, it was delicious), honeyroasted apple kimchi served with pig jowl bacon (!!), the famous steamed buns stuffed with tender-tender-tender pork, and a $25 plate of spicey ddukboki that left me feeling conflicted. on one hand, it was absolutely delicious. on the other hand, it was $25 and i felt my entire Korean ancestry laughing at me. oh well. this is nothing new. one time in the Netherlands, O and i were so desperate for Korean food that we biked for an entire hour, got lost, had her bike break down, had her piggy-back on mine, just to finally reach an out-of-town Korean restaurant that served chajangmyun for EIGHTEEN EUROS. sometimes you have to do it. this time around O was unlucky once again, thanks to David Chang's bad boy attitude of "No Vegetarian Options", faced with meat for the third time that day, a day full of baby cow thymus glands, leather purses, pork chajangmyun that she gingerly picked apart with her fingers to separate from her noodles.

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, washed down with a Korean O.B. beer (what i call the tampon beer). Over dinner we caught up with each other, as it had been almost a full year since we had last seen each other and so much had happened since - we'd gone back to our respective schools, went crazy, graduated, traveled, wrote the bar exams, had our hearts broken and fallen in love again, moved back in with our parents and moved back out, started our careers. At the arrival of the steamed buns, S announced that he was ready to get married - he just had not yet quite made his mind up on who. after our dinner we headed to the momofuku milk bar attached to the restaurant, where i rediscovered the sweet innocent joys of strawberry milk. S got us to try the birthday cake truffles which launched us all into brilliant new religious experiences.

We stopped for a late evening drink at a bar down the street called the Ninth Ward, which had a great selection of beers (including Belgium's Delirium in its original bottle) and cocktails, including tall glasses of Hurricanes and Pimm's Cup, although they came at the hefty price of 12 dollars. Just as we finished up our drinks and had settled our tabs and gotten ready to head in for the night, G breezed in through the door, an hour late in his usual casual style. So we sat back down, took off our coats, and ordered another round of drinks while G shared with us the latest updates of his life. He had come with a girl who he assured us was "just his friend", which was also his usual style, and he had just moved from New Jersey into the city to hang around until his job started in January. It was a fun night of swapping stories and remembering our past adventures, missing our former lives on the other side of the world, and remembering how every single one of us in that particular group of friends were, although nice, absolutely crazy. mostly in a good way. always in an interesting way. fitting in well with the city.