So after a couple of excellent pizzas at Vapiano, we walked over to the Strand for some book browsing. I'm sure I don't have to tell you about the Strand; surely everyone who has ever set foot in NYC has been to its 55,000 square feet containing over 18 miles of books. And if you haven't been there in some time, you should return - a recent(ish) renovation has left the store more spacious and easier to navigate than in years past.
We didn't plan to buy any books. Famous last words, right? After our recent trip upstate, we returned with a shopping bag full of fiction, economic theory, Richard Scarry and the odd embroidery stitch dictionary. It's not like we need any more books. But I have a weakness for the children's section, and the last time we went I hadn't had enough time to do any browsing for myself. As my high school math teacher often said, "You people can rationalize anything."
We exercised restraint. Mr Apparently discovered the exact book I was planning to give him for his upcoming birthday. Apparently Jr came home with a chapter book and a lavishly-illustrated book about Picasso. I found Richard Russo's second-latest in the fiction specials. But the one snatch-it-off-the-table, game-over find was a copy of the inaugural issue of Lucky Peach, a new food quarterly conceived and executed by Momofuku's David Chang, writer Peter Meehan, and the team behind Tony Bourdain's No Reservations.
And to seal the deal, the first issue is almost entirely devoted to ramen. In a previous iteration of this blog, I wrote a post outlining the Apparently family's mid-2000's obsession with the noodly stuff. It turns out that in NYC, we have barely scratched the surface. Japan offers no fewer than 20 regional variations - on what is originally Chinese fare - and even has a museum devoted to ramen history and lore.
I can't think of the last time I've spent so much time with a magazine, and I'm only halfway through its thick, glossy pages. Did you know that the Deep South has its own variation on ramen? Or that Ruth Reichl used to toss the packets, doctor up the instant noodles and serve them to her son's friends? Next in my queue: two articles by Harold McGee (whose classic On Food and Cooking, by the way, is illustrated by a Sunnysider). And then off to McSweeney's for a subscription, which they wisely begin with Issue 2.
See a peek of Lucky Peach at the Huffington Post. (Steel yourself for some profane language, although in a surprise move, it's Bourdain who comes off as the soft-spoken one in this lot.) And let me know what you think in the comments.