Naked Luncheon

Daytime Dining is Brought to Life by Helen Downing, While Carey Polis Offers a Taste of Lower East Side's Lunch Spots

The ritual of lunchtime dining is explored in British filmmaker Helen Downing’s gastronomic vignettes. Capturing meditative, rustic processes, the lingering frames of cured and smoked fish, alongside elastic pizza dough are composed into still life portraits. “We went out to play with palette and form,” says Downing, who’s worked alongside Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver. “You have to let things breathe, then it is really possible to appreciate the beauty of its essence, color and texture.” In a culinary pairing for NOWNESS, Carey Polis of Bon Appetit magazine describes her lunchtime habits in New York’s Lower East Side.

Unlike the rest of the New York dining scene, the food we order for lunch—the same way, every time—is something that we don’t want changing. Even if a ‘let’s do lunch’ greeting might sometimes be an empty invitation, we need these specific foods and restaurants to anchor us to the city. Take Russ & Daughters Café in the Lower East Side, where you sit at the bar eating a bowl of matzo ball soup, even if it is stifling hot outside. The soup is nourishing and you can indulge in the culinary nostalgia of the 100-year-old Russ & Daughters shop. The usual deli suspects are present—smoked salmon, chopped liver, borscht. But then there are delightful twists: a pretzel roll for the pastrami-cured salmon, goat cream cheese paired with smoked sable. It’s strangely harmonious—something that can't be said for that questionable chicken sandwich from the corner bodega.

A Lower East Side Lunch: 

Russ & Daughters Cafe for the smoked trout and potato salad.
127 Orchard Street, NY 10002

El Rey for the grain salad and beet-pickled egg.
100 Stanton Street, NY 10002

Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream for the salted caramel ice cream
2 Rivington Street, NY 10002

Carey Polis is the Senior Web Editor of
Bon Appétit.

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    Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins: His Heavy Heart

    The Cult Comic Book Outsider Blurs the Line Between Fiction and Reality in His Latest Work with the British Director

    A semi-fictional local clown and a tattooed and buxom burlesque dancer vie for attention with their creators Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins in this short captured on the set of their forthcoming short film, His Heavy Heart, the fifth part of the Show Pieces series made with photographer and director. The thick-bearded, permanently smoking mystic Moore is one of the most prolific generators of fiction alive. His roster of graphic novels turned Hollywood movies—Watchmen, From Hell, V For Vendetta—reads like a role call of wildly popular yet intelligently designed comic fantasies. He started his current novel-in-progress Jerusalem (rumoured to be around 600,000 words long) after losing faith in the world of blockbuster movies. “Most films today recycle ideas from 30, 40, 50 years ago,” he says. “The current superhero fad is probably a good example, and also things like Pirates of the Caribbean, which is based upon a theme park ride. You can see pop culture just devouring itself.” Instead, Moore and Jenkins—who are in the planning stages of a TV show and feature film—favour the local in place of the lure of distant dollars. Showcased in this film from Emile Rafael, the narratives found in the Lex Projects-produced Show Pieces grew out of Moore’s experiences in his hometown, the Midlands town of Northampton in England. A strange thing happened after most of the series was shot last year—sightings of an anonymous costumed joker the “Northampton Clown” went viral 'creepypasta'-style, freaking out coulrophobics worldwide. “Mitch started getting emails saying, ‘This is you and Alan isn’t it,’” Moore recalls. “No it wasn’t, yet it was a perfect expression of something that we had written—this story with a clown who only exists in dreams, breaking through and manifesting in the streets, which is kind of what happened.” Below, Mitch Jenkins speaks to NOWNESS about the creative collaboration.

    How did the Jimmy’s End project come to fruition?
    Mitch Jenkins:
    After Alan had suggested writing the screenplay, he turned my characters into Bobbles the Clown, James and Mr Metterton, thus creating "Jimmy’s End" and the wonderful array of strange but beautiful inhabitants of the Workings Men’s Club in Northampton. We have spent the last three years creating the world of The Show.

    Can you tell us about the creative process?
    It really is a true collaboration, every detail is discussed, Alan then writes the words and creates the world. It's my job to turn what's written on the page into film. Throughout the process we stop and take stock of each new element that is added, discussing it’s merit, making minor adjustments until what we see and hear is what we both want.

    What’s next?
    Alan just finished writing the feature film, The Show and we are also pre-planning the TV series. Add to this, the launch of our R&D project Electricomics two weeks ago.

    The Show Pieces home media box set will include a DVD of all films from the project and a separate book of storyboard illustrations by Kristian Hammerstad that sit alongside the original screenplay and the soundtrack to the films. Pre order here.

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    Salmon Smoker

    Inside the Secluded World of London's Renowned Artisanal Fishmonger Hansen & Lydersen

    Director Nikolaj Belzer hones in on the idiosyncratic owner of famed artisanal salmon smokery Hansen & Lydersen, Ole-Martin Hansen, in his latest short, produced by Everything is Okay and Freunde von Freunden. Using a recipe dating back to 1923 and handed down through generations of Norwegian fishmongers, Hansen provides his tender salmon to leading London restaurants such as Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi, Hakkasan’s Sake No Hana and Terence Conran's boutique hotel-restaurant the Boundary. Living in a secluded, self-built urban cabin above his warehouse smokery in the center of Stoke Newington, Hansen works singlehandedly with each piece of sustainably farmed salmon from the British Faroe Islands. “I like to have as little as possible in here,” explains Hansen of his premises, “so it is a space for thinking, for ideas to develop.” Skinning, deboning, salting and finally smoking each fish with his traditional blend of juniper-infused hay, the former Sound Arts and Design student even plays improvised classical scores on the piano while the salmon smokes. "When I first met Ole he immediately struck me as a fascinating character,” says Belzer. “His approach is much more than just a working method, it is an attitude, a way of life."

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