It didn't hurt my excitement about the afternoon, of course, that Anthony Bourdain showed up with Peter Meehan (author of Momofuku) and sat down next to us. Jude knows Peter, so I got my thrill of the day with our tables conversing and passing photos of Ruby around (Anthony Bourdain called her "beautiful, " and so what if he was put in an obligatory position?!).
Tien Ho, you're a shining star! Congrats! There were some real standouts in this meal. I'm still licking my lips thinking over those pork ribs. Damn. And the snails and pork sausage? Who would have thought, years ago, when I was growing up in Hong Kong and had two giant captured "pet" snails (Cutie and Smiley) in an aquarium, that I would love eating them so much all these years later? And the pate was killer. When we were reading the menu and Jude saw the pate, his immediate thought was: "Well, we have to get that. Tien always makes killer pates." He wasn't wrong.
Perhaps I was a little drunk (when you've barely had any alcohol for a year and a half, your tolerance for even one delicious lunch cocktail is virtually nonexistent) after this meal, but as I walked around MoMA, I kept thinking about the meal I had just eaten. And, while thinking about it, I kept repeating Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's Sonnet 43 to myself. So I sat down and spilled out this silly version. Enjoy!
Oh, Momofuku Empire. How do I love thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
Your food can reach, when management is tight.
For the joys of eating and ideal taste.
I love thee for making so little waste
Using all the animal parts, by neon kitchen-light.
I love thee freely, even as I write.
I love thee purely, dreaming of pork ribs in caramel glaze.
I love thee with a passion put to booze
In my old beliefs of food, and with a healthy dose of praise.
I love thee with a love for every little amuse,
From crab to beef tartar; I love thee with the hunch,
That I'll think of you all my life; and, if I had to choose,
I shall but love thee better for dinner than for lunch.