One of my most cherished memories of living in New York took place at the original location of Momofuku Noodle Bar. It was a busy night, and elbow to elbow I squeezed with a glass of nigori in one hand and a pork bun in the other, when a guy ran in off the street and shouted 'JetBlue's about to crash a plane!' Two words I never wanted to hear together - crash and JetBlue, my employer.
The next 30 minutes were some of the most stressful of my life. We had a plane with damaged landing gear circling an airport to burn off fuel, and it was my job to help get the word out to the rest of the JetBlue crewmembers because I helped manage the corporate intranet. The problem? That glass of sake legally prevented me from going to the office, so I worked that night at Momofuku. One guy came in with a brand new video phone so I could see what was happening. Others lent me cell phones so I could round up staff.
We gathered around the tiny screen to watch the plane come down, down, down...and after a long wait, finally to a stop. The room erupted, and after a few tearful moments thinking about how close to disaster we'd come, I took a deep breath. I turned around and there was a steaming bowl of noodles that had just appeared. Yes, it was all going to be okay.
PS - There's no way to explain the horror of what might have been that evening. The plane circled for over 2 hours, much of it broadcast on national television, and right into the seatback TVs on the plane itself. I feared for everyone on the plane, everyone who had to watch, all of us held our breath together that night. And a few hours later, when I discovered my friend Scott was the one who'd brought that plane down, I can't tell you how proud I was. There's an amazing video of the last minute of the flight that still gives me chills.
Todd took to the Momofuku cookbook and went after the famed ramen broth one weekend - head, feet, and all. Eating a steaming bowl of it at home, especially with some good, chewy noodles, instantly brings me back to that night.
The bowl's filled with chewy fresh ramen that we found at our local Asian grocery store. It took several attempts before we found a noodle that we both liked, and was chewy enough, so I've included a snapshot of the packaging so you can see it too.
He tops ours with
Confited pork belly
Soft boiled egg
Pickled rhubarb and sunchokes
Marinated black mushrooms
Chives from our garden
David Chang and Peter Meehan have shared the Momofuku Ramen recipes in several formats - the Momofuku cookbook, a special edition of McSweeney's and most recently in Lucky Peach, their new (awesome) magazine. If you really want to make the ramen broth, check one of those sources because the recipes are far too involved for me to copy all of the instructions verbatim.
Wikipedia entry for JetBlue 292 (Sept 2005)