One of the things that is really new about being a parent is the little things that make you geek out and have a positive reaction. I can imagine this is what life is like for people who love cosplay or bird watching. Before the baby, I remember there were times when I would feel proud over a lame-ass attempt at a recipe and Steph would lovingly tell me it's edible even if it was merely mediocre. Now, I realize that type of proud feeling pales in comparison to something like watching the baby do any little thing like, "He put his hands together!" And it sounds facetious but it really isn't. Just go google 'instagram baby' and you'll see parents love capturing moments of their baby. And all this time oogling our baby certainly makes any moment of eating out at a restaurant kind of rare. We have eaten brunch a couple of times but always within ear shot of our apartment in case we need to rush home. I took 25 minutes of a lunch break to eat ramen alone at Jun-Men Ramen the other day.
I suppose eaten ramen alone in Chelsea is as close as I'll ever get to feeling like a Japanese salaryman but honestly my life is probably way better so perhaps not the best of comparisons. Being that Jun-Men Ramen is a place that serves ramen, they had about nine available counter seats and during lunch it was easy to walk in an just grab a seat.
The atmosphere had a sterile feeling and I guess it's because Jun-Men is in one of those new-ish looking condo buildings that has sprouted up in many parts of NYC. One of the nice things about sitting at the bar was that you could watch them serve up the noodles, and it came within five minutes of ordering. I suppose that makes sense given that most of the ingredients are ready to go except the noodles, and it was nice that it came very quickly.
I would say that Jun-Men is probably a slight notch above what some folks might be able to get in their own neighborhood. For example at $15 dollars for the spicy pork bone broth, I would have to pay $15.50 at Chuko in Prospect Heights for the same bowl. What's depressing about eating alone is that it goes by so fast and you realize that good ramen has crept up to $15 dollars per bowl at some places in New York City.
Ramen prices will never go down anymore, but hopefully the rare occasions still result in enjoyment. I suspect that feeling proud of making a dish will never feel the same to me anymore. It's graduated to feeling proud of every little move the baby makes and that's pretty cool.
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