Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Momofuku Noodle Bar / Is You Tweaking?

This is a summary of my post-work/weekend activities for the upcoming week:

Monday - meeting with the Friends of Greenwood Park (FROG) to plan the upcoming Fall Festival
Tuesday - rehearsal for Lolly's wedding
Wednesday - dodgeball (but we will likely skip)
Thursday - our friend A is visiting from NYC and coming over for dinner and hangs
Friday - dinner at B & G's house, their thank you for all the peeps who helped with their wedding
Saturday - Mandarin school and then a birthday party in Whitby and then one of us (only the Dotytron, probably) going to see A's show at the Rex
Sunday - hosting the Dotytron's former colleague K and her partner G for brunch followed by an afternoon Halloween party at a neighbour's house


The Dotytron added the brunch in yesterday and I was like, this is NOT a good idea but he heeded me not.  He says he's going to do all the work.  OMG - I'm SO TIRED just looking at that schedule of events!

This weekend was jam-packed but fun.

Friday night we went to Lolly's colleague's house and she bought us dinner and we listened to the Dotytron and her colleague run through the wedding music.  Lolly's colleague's wife also proceeded to TERRIFY the Big Yam with a series of activities/toys that I think she thought were going to be kid-friendly but really just ended up reducing him to tears (this included: a monkey mask, a toy rat that looked like Nicodemus from The Secrets of Nimh, and a wizard puppet).

Saturday I stayed home and prepped the house while the Dotytron took on Mandarin school duty with the Big Yam.  Who ran into the ping pong table and cut his lip and bled all over the place.  Running into the ping pong table at Chinese school is beyond perfect.  The only thing better would have been if he had tripped over a panda.

Then SMckay came over and I got to witness her and the the Dotytron doing individual fake slow-dancing in my living room as they figured out the tempo of a song.  I love that girl.  She is such a good friend and so positive and funny and warm.  

My youngest bro came over for dinner with his new girlfriend and told us tales from dental school which scared us STRAIGHT.  If you don't brush your teeth every 12 hours there's an impenetrable wall of bacteria that gets built up on your teeth.  And the school is INTENSE.  It's like four years of 12 classes each term or some craziness.  And he went through hell to get there.  But once you're in, they give you lots of chances - you can re-take exams and tests twice or something.  He told us his professor said the following, in response to some of the student's qualms about the heavy workload, "Do you know what they call the person with the worst grades in dental school?  Doctor."  BA-DUM, CHING!

 Saturday breakfast: English bacon, avocado, tomato, and egg sandwich (totally off the record)

I made us honey glazed ribs (that were marinated in a hoisin-sriracha-honey-ginger sauce), baked squash, brussels sprouts, and potatoes with sour cream and chives.  Pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert.

I also whipped up the Big Yam's Halloween costume which is looking more and more hilarious by the second.  I basically sewed up a nehru jacket, guys.  No big deal.  It was my first time sewing something from a pattern and it was pretty doable!  I think all-told with the cutting and sewing, it took me about 3 hours to do?  That's not too shabby!

Sunday morning the Dotytron whipped up a batch of his signature waffles and we ate that with sausage from our CSA.

Then we did backyard-y type chores at our house and at Momma D's house.

Then we met our friends MHui and her hubby for dinner at the Momofuku Noodle Bar.  We ordered almost the whole menu (I think we skipped 3 items) and the bill came to $148 (including tax, without tip).  Overall, I'd say the food was good, but not great (individual comments will follow the pictures of the dishes below).  I think David Chang is suffering from being over-hyped (not his fault) and that the concept has to be situated in a particular time and place.  When we first went to Momofuku Noodle bar, 8 or 9 years ago, ramen restaurants weren't as ubiquitous as they are now.  This was a time pre-Ippudo, in NYC.  No one was really taking Asian foods and making them with Berkshire pork or serving it in a no-reservations place in the East Village.  No one was doing updated, re-imagined Asian street food and serving it up all low-key styles.  At the time, what Chang was doing was revolutionary.

The problem is that this is TORONTO.  We have Banh Mi Boys (who are admittedly, in the debt of Chang for blazing a trail for them to follow), we have amazing regional Chinese, Japanese, all kinds of Asian cuisine, a billion ramen joints on every block.  So for Momofuku to touch down now, so long after the seismic shift, there's no way it's not going to feel like a bit anti-climactic.  The food was good, the service was poor (diffident, bordering on rude), but I'm not in a rush to go back.  It was aight, but at that price, and with that limited selection, (wait for it) (you know where I'm going to go with this)...I'd rather go to Guu.

 Momofuku rice cakes.  These were fat, dense, rice-flour gnocchi-like dumplings, which were very chewy.  The sauce coating them was nice, sweet and mildly spicy, but the sauce didn't penetrate the "cake" and so you got a thin coating of flavour and then a rubbery, bland rice flavour underneath.

 The famous bao.  Rice flour bread around pork belly with cucumber and hoisin.  Delicious.

 Chicken wings: lightly smoked, meaty, very tasty, in another sweet-spicy sauce.

 Chicken and egg - sticky rice with more thinly sliced pickled cucumber, crisp-skinned roasted chicken and the famous Momofuku soft-poached egg.
 A cold vegetarian rice noodle dish.
 Chilled spicy noodles with crispy-sugared cashews, pork sausage, baby spinach, with a spicy sauce that you tossed together with the noodles.  This was probably my favorite dish.

The ramen.  Somewhat anti-climatic.  The broth was very mild, but not too salty, which is nice.  The noodles were overcooked.  The egg runny - I doubt they make the fish cake in-house.  Good but not great.  I like it less than Kinton's.  

I will say that this was the PERFECT Sunday night night out.  We left the house around 4pm, finished dinner by 6pm, stopped by Baker Bots for ice cream sandwich desserts and we were home by 8pm, in time to put the Big Yam to bed and watch a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy.  SO GOOD!  That's exactly what I want out of a Sunday evening, nowadays.

This is the Big Yam's new favorite show that he gets to watch at J's.  It's called "My Big Big Friend."  I've never watched an episode, but the Big Yam started singing the theme and now it's in my head all the time.  I discovered that it's actually from Brazil, so the new rule is, if we let him watch an episode, it's got to be in Portuguese.  Ha!  Are there no ends to my diabolical attempts to ruin his childhood?  


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