If you're anything like me...and I don't mean to insult you by that thought...you know there are many strange and wonderful new worlds to be explored online. And you want to avoid as many of them as possible.
I dig that, because, although it's fun and mind-broadening to look at other people's visions, it's a little scary when you find that that vision is shared by what seems like tens of millions of other people. And they're such ODD visions.
I feel this way when I contemplate video games of any kind. (As La Skolnique will tell you, I followed a kind of manic devotion to Ms PacMan with several decades of complete video celibacy, to the betterment of my cognitive powers, such as they've ever been.) Also when people tell me about sexual deviations which don't reflect anything I've ever wanted to do. "I make you kneel for hours," I remember one guy describing to me, "And you have to kneel in rice! RICE!" "And what's the point of that?" I asked. "It's exquisitely painful!" he answered.
Oh, well, so long as it's not boringly pleasant, or anything...well, I've gone too far afield, because all I wanted to talk about today was bento.
BENTO!!!!! I can hear the millions screaming. YES! YES! GIVE US BENTO, AND GIVE IT TO US NOW!!!!!!
Oh, calm down! Here's some bento porn I've picked up online.
from Bento Corner, a really charming blog (http://www.bentocorner.com)
Yes--for those of you who didn't know, Bento is a cunningly-packed box lunch, especially suitable for young children or over-cutseyfied older kids (and possibly grown-ups). In some ways it's health-oriented, because a Bento is traditionally so complete and filling that no one will have to eat fries with it; on the other hand, a beloved bento sub-culture involves working with "wiener sausages," canned meat products mysteriously popular in Japan.
The above bento is my idea of "kawaii," cute, maybe too cute, but still like it a lot. I have little doubt that it tastes good, too, coming as it does from a home kitchen, made as it is for a beloved child. In other words, don't give it to me when I ordered a Big Mac--yes, I order Big Macs from time to time--but it's still nice.
It's not just a frog. It's a winking frog. And those pink flowers with the yellow centers at the lower right? Wienies. Yes. Wienies.
Now bentos can also be made for adults, and I really ought to try this, because eating Smartfood (TM) for lunch every day is not actually very smart. And, as I said, I can fall for cuteness just as hard as anyone else. But what creeps me out is, as I said, the universal popularity of this cult. Google Bento, or look for it under EBay, and you'll be amazed at what you see.
On a related subject, I am so looking forward to the opening of Sakae Sushi in Manhattan, I can barely speak of anything else and, since most of the time these days I'm not with anyone else, I'm overexciting myself and boring myself to death at the same time.
Sakae, the first American outpost of a popular Singapore chain (Holy Bourdain, do I EVER want to go to Singapore!!) (Really!) has all kinds of yummy Japanese food, conveyed to the patron (who is seated at a booth) by a conveyor belt.
You pay by the color of the plate--two dollars for a red plate, three-fifty for a green, etc. These aren't the actual Sakae prices.
Of course this isn't the first time New York has seen conveyor belt sushi; twenty years ago there was a spot supplying same on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, and a few years back Genroku Sushi had a splashy new restaurant on 46th St.
Conveyor belt sushi is considered an appropriate lunch for the hungry midtown businessperson, and the opening is being covered by Zach, the admirable entrepreneur of Midtown Lunch (http://www.midtownlunch.com), one of my favorite other blogs.) As far as I know, the restaurant has not opened yet, so I wouldn't call this a review; I'm just hotly anticipating it.
Here is the "Premium Bento" from Sakae Sushi (which, incidentally, is located in the Chrysler building):