27 Minutes Alone
I was walking along thinking I smelled something fecal. It followed me from 42nd Street into Grand Central, down onto the Uptown 6 platform, and into the subway car . . . uh oh.
It was definitely me. I checked my shoes . . . nothing. Nor was anything untoward in evidence on the hems of my trousers. Sitting squeezed on the light purple bench during rush hour, it almost seemed as if it were coming from my torso somewhere. Oh, the horror of having unfindable poop on your torso, and to not even be at home.
I was on the way to meet my husband. When we finally met up, we entered a small elevator together. Things still didn’t seem right. Right away, I asked if he smelled poop.
He sniffed, thoughtfully. “No, it’s more like the scent of boiled cauliflower.” Oh — the inimitable stink of a crucifer who has been boiled. In case crucifer is not one of your top vocabulary words — it is mine — the category encompasses cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Do I love these things? I do. But before people invented roasting and sauteeing, American experience with these magical vegetables was limited to boiling. After the boil, the water smells like not one, but multiple elements of rot. A wet towel left in a suitcase. A dead mouse. Someone who needs to floss, and fast.
Aha! It was the kimchi cole slaw I had stowed in my purse. Cabbage and spice and fish sauce ferment together for a cool, sweet, crunchy, spicy, pungent kick. I may have turned you off to the the perfect foil for the vinegar, spice, crunch, and salt of Korean fried chicken.
Having stinky kimchi cole slaw in your purse may sound unlucky, but I was feeling unusually happy, and independent, and satisfied with my life. After a meeting in Manhattan in the pouring rain, I was wending through Little Korea when I saw Bon Chon Fried Chicken. My brain started clanging. I had to think back to my pre-pregnant world to remember that Bon Chon Chicken is a place I’ve been plotting to go for, oh, since the second it opened in 2007. I’d heard that Koreans do fried chicken better than everyone else. That a chicken, fried, smiling, and covered with a really succulent sauce, should be their national mascot.
However, I’ve been busy.
I had just a few minutes to spare, and decided to go for it. Full of terrible thumping techno music but otherwise empty, I took a bar stool. I ordered a Blue Moon beer and a small combo plate of wings and drumsticks, with half soy garlic sauce, and half hot sauce. I asked for some steamed rice, and some kimchi cole slaw.
The chicken was delivered quickly with sweet pickled radish chunks as a complement. The chicken is ridiculously good. Spicy wings, with garlic and soy, but also, an underlying sweetness. And there was some vinegar in there. Offset by chewy white rice, the sweet radish, and the well-spiced crunchy cole slaw. Oh, and the beer. Oh, and my solitude. I’d like you to know that yesterday, I had the perfect 27 minutes to myself. Dare I say that it was worth the self questioning, fear, and shame that came next, during the poop walk.
I’d had some of the food packed up for Matthew. Unsurprisingly, he ate the chicken, and rice, and radish, but declined the kimchi, which had by that point leaked all over the inside of the bag. Anyhow.
I’m not selling this correctly, I know. But it was fantastic. You’d love it. Trust me.
Read more about Bon Chon Chicken here.