Lucky Peach in Hawaii

From August 3rd to 5th in 2013, Lucky Peach magazine visited Hawaii with a series of events sponsored by local organization Interisland Terminal.

A magazine dedicated to food and the culture behind it, I found Lucky Peach fresh and possessing a playful attitude that reminded me of magazines that I was quite fond of, like Giant Robot, and Big Brother. It was a celebration of food and cooking, while by no means neglecting that there are mechanics behind it.

Unfortunately, I only got to go to one of the talks, “The Art of Lucky Peach” presented by Walter Green, art director of the magazine. The first of the two talks, Mr. Green shared the process of the art direction of the magazine, from creating the covers for the magazine, to stylizing the entire issue based on the theme they are exploring. As an added bonus, Walter shared some previews from an upcoming issue. I missed out on “The Story of Lucky Peach” which was presented by editor Chris Ying.

To cap off Lucky Peach’s series of talks, a potluck carnival was held by local chefs from Hawai’i. I joined a few of my friends to enjoy the food and company.

I enjoyed the evening enough to take notes, but there’s a lot of gaps in my memory of that night, especially since I’m trying to write about a night that happened over eight months ago.

Hot crab dip. All rights reserved ©2013 Jay Crisologo.

Hot crab dip, smooth like soup, yet still a dip. I liked the crackers too.

Adobo Fried Rice
Adobo Fried Rice. All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.

Adobo Fried Rice. When I think about it, I don’t think my parents ever made adobo fried rice. The reason? Since we always ate all the pork adobo in our house, there’s nothing left over to make fried rice with.

Portuguese Bean Soup
Portuguese Bean Soup. All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo

Cuts of squash gave the Portuguese Bean Soup an earthy touch. My favorite part of the mix.

All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.
All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.

There’s a lingering memory that this meatball dish with potato salad might have been rabbit meat, but I can neither confirm nor deny, nor travel back in time in a DeLorean to be sure. And not because I’m chicken. That meatball definitely wasn’t chicken.

808 Grease Truck. All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.
808 Grease Truck. All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.

The 808 Grease Truck was something I had trouble handling. Arabiki and other grilled meats lay on a split bun, topped with a sheet of deep fried noodles, like the noodles you would find in a pack of Sapporo Ichiban Ramen, though much more golden. Although I really liked the presentation, the fried saimin noodles really made it hard for me to handle the dish comfortably. I think I had to slightly crush the noodles as if I was crushing a globe with an iron gauntlet. Maybe that was intentional?

There was also this garlic chicken sandwich, which also had macaroni salad in it. Kind of like a mini plate lunch without utensils.

Pineapple Manapua. All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.
Pineapple Manapua. All rights reserved. ©2013 Jay Crisologo.

My favorite of the night were these Pineapple Manapuas. When I first grabbed them, I thought there were malasadas, since there was a light dusting of sugar on the exterior. When I re-read the tag, it made more sense what I was eating. The pineapple inside was shredded to mimic the texture of pork like in a regular manapua. I think this was credited to a chef named Aker, and it was one of the best things I ate in 2013.

Robin joking.
My classmate Robin trades in a joke. All rights reserved @2013 Jay Crisologo

Aside from the table of food, there were a few games, and one of the highlights of the night was the Lucky Peach trading post – Chris and Walter brought some goodies from Lucky Peach and more to trade for whatever people were willing to give to them. Robin, a college classmate of mine told a joke to get some goodies. I think her joke went something like this:

Two cars were at an intersection, waiting for the light to turn, revving up their engines. One driver looked at the other and declared, “Race?”. The other driver replied back, “Podagee”.

She ended up getting some stickers.

Trading with Chris Ying and of Lucky Peach

I tried my luck as well, by trading in a drawing of a lau lau I made then and there. I ended up getting one of the rejected Chinese takeout boxes that were used in concepting the cover of Lucky Peach’s “Chinatown” issue.

The big winner from the Lucky Peach swap shop. All rights reserved ©2013 Jay Crisologo.
The big winner from the Lucky Peach swap shop. All rights reserved ©2013 Jay Crisologo.

The big prize of the trading post was a piece of original artwork of a breakfast plate, which I think was in one of the magazines (forgive me, I don’t have every issue). The winner traded in several brand new caps, t-shirts, books and probably even more to get this one, and deserved to win it. Pretty much everyone who attended won that night, because of all the good food and fun.

Recalling the events of that night months ago, I realized that I could have been much quicker to write about it. I mean, really really quicker. But sometimes there are things that you have to let simmer for a while, before it’s ready to serve.

And that time is… now.


Related Links:

Lucky Peach – A quarterly magazine founded by Momofuku chef David Chang, writer Peter Meehan and edited by Chris Ying (with art direction by Walter Green). A food magazine with creative input from an assortment of writers, artists and chefs, every issue is like a declaration of love hinging on unusual obsession. It gained such a manic following that it’s almost impossible to find its first issue for under $50.

Interisland Terminal – The people responsible behind R&D the venue that these events were held. As of 2014, R&D is now closed, and Interisland Terminal is looking to be a part of a new venue being built to accommodate events such as these when completed. I personally haven’t attended much events as I’d like to, but the ones that I did I found very worthwhile.

Big Brother Magazine – If you thought Jackass, Jackass 2 & 3D were offensive, then Big Brother Magazine would make you kill yourself. Seriously, they actually printed an article (although obviously sarcastic) about how to kill yourself in issue 3.

DVDASA Podcast Episode No. 88: “David Chang” –  A recent conversation between Momofuku’s David Chang and my favorite artist David Choe on Choe’s hilarious podcast, going for a more insightful talk about life. Although a very recent show, I keep going back to listen to it just for a reinforcement of goal-setting. Not for judgy people or shamers with an agenda. Look further for more David Chang’s pop-ups in the show, as they always have a profound impact on an already great show.

Giant Robot – A magazine dedicated to Asian American pop culture, Giant Robot without a doubt was one of the most influential magazines for me. It introduced me to the artwork of David Choe, foreign films, and much much more.I have a feeling that it’s no longer being published, which is a shame, because I think the world needs something like this, a different point of view.