Williamsburg, Comedy, & Hipster Asian Food Part III

The next day, I wake up slow and head over to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn for a cup of coffee and a browse at an awesome record store. Starting with a cappuccino at Devocìon—a shop that serves strictly Colombian coffee beans, I video-chat Thyme in Europe at our new home and we plan our record label’s next moves. Between the caffeine, talking to my girl, and working on art, I find myself in a great mood. I walk over to Rough Trade NYC and watch the neighborhood go by as I do.

This is the Brooklyn you’ve heard about—hip, lovely, and white, a stark contrast from the under-appreciated and fiscally ignored Brooklyn of the neighborhood where our host lives. There is a hipster food vendor event near the water on Saturdays, and looking back to it I am sorry I missed it. At Smorgasburg, over a hundred vendors come together for a neckbeard food event Anthony Bourdain must have loathed and loved.

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Devocìon–an awesome coffee shop.

At the record store I look through the modern composition, electronic, metal, and post-rock vinyl sections and am impressed—they have just what I like here. It is a hard choice, but I end up buying Nil’s Frahm’s latest record, All Melody. I have my eye on a lot of different records, but recently I saw Frahm at a church filled with what must have been 15 or 20 pianos and left without a souvenir because I was low on cash. I decided this record would be souvenir of both the show and this trip.

My brother is still doing his thing so I cross the water on the subway over to Manhattan to try the fabled Momofuku. If you haven’t noticed, there is a theme here. I am trying all the acclaimed hipster-Asian eateries. And this one does not disappoint.

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Superb vinyl selection at Rough Trade NYC

I wait for my spot with a local beer and sit at the counter watching the crew at work. There is a crowded harmony to this kitchen, everyone has to get along. I order the beef noodle soup and catch myself amazed at the tenderness of the meat, the flavorful and savory broth that isn’t too salty, the spice of the peppers, and the deliciousness of the Ssam hot sauce placed at every table.

I order beer after beer and finish the bowl off slowly. As I drink them, I’m feeling a bit excessive. I’m going to try to the “extremely spicy noodles” as well. The guy next to me seated next to me had ordered it, and it looked awesome. He warned me of the spice, but I am a spicy food fanatic and I just have to try it. I order the noodles and a new guy sits to my right. He seems to be drawn to me, and asks me what I ordered almost immediately. I tell him the extremely spicy noodles and he seems pretty interested.

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Momofuku’s beef noodle soup.

We get to talking and it turns out he’s from San Francisco and is here on a business trip. We talk about the famous spicy fried chicken place in Koreatown, and when my noodles come, I offer him a bite like the guy before him did for me. I refused, but this guy takes the bite.

Chilled noodles with pickled serranos, fresh chili, and thinly sliced cabbage, it is incredible—and incredibly spicy. My lips burn, and it is the beginning of an uncommon spice overload for 24 hours. I don’t regret it at all.

I leave the restaurant full, tipsy, and laughing about how much I just spent for myself. Hey, I tell myself, I am on vacation and soon I won’t be able to do this.

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Clean, organized kitchen of Momofuku

On the way to meet my brother at Milk Bar, the Momofuku-associated desert stand by acclaimed pastry chef Christina Tosi, I stop at Fight Club themed bar called Durden and wait for him. I don’t realize what the theme is until I’m inside. I get a shot and beer.

At the desert joint, I order the crack pie, which is good but not as good as people rave it is, and we try to fabled cereal milk soft serve. I can’t tell you how surprised I am, it’s terrible. It tastes like curdled milk, but it seems it may be the flavor that it’s going for. The funk is strong, and it has more sourness than sweetness. We laugh at how our experience doesn’t match the hype. Looking back on it, the spot we unkempt and, quite frankly, dirty. I expect it wasn’t their best location, or their best day. Perhaps money has taken hold of Milk Bar.

Even though it has been an eventful day, the main event is just beginning. It is time for a comedy show at the world-famous Comedy Cellar. So many famous comedians have come through here and tonight we will see some of them. We get our corner sits and order our drinks. The show starts shortly after and the lineup is pretty good. One guy isn’t my taste, but I really enjoyed the other three acts before the comedians I am familiar with are up.

Long-time veteran Dave Atell is next, and he cracks me up in a decently long set. Then closing up the show is Ari Shaffir, who I have recently become interested in from a dirt bag podcast called Your Mom’s House. I am excited to see him live. The night is full of laughs, and even though the subway back is time-consuming and confusing, it was truly a great day.

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Famous stage at the Comedy Cellar.
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