When McSweeney's and David Chang released the first issue of Lucky Peach, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. (Even the Times' David Carr said the first issue was poised to teach less unconventional publishers a lesson.) Well, the second issue will be released next week, and we managed to snag an early copy and get a look.
The first thing to notice: There are a few ads, something the first issue didn't have. Editor Chris Ying explains them in his ed letter: "Most of them are from friends whose books or shops or appliances we already like and support," but jokes that ads from "ultra-conservative think tanks and discount used-mattress vendors" might also be in future issues: "Whatever it takes to pay the bills."
The theme of the issue is "The Sweet Spot," a reference not necessarily to desserts, but to eating food at its prime, whether that's sea bass ten hours out of the water in a story about fishing and the ike jime killing method; or two-month-old blue cheese in a story called "Expired to Perfection." To that end, Harold McGee also has a great breakdown of what happens when you dry-age things like steak; there's a miso-making primer by Rachel Khong (titled "Miso Horny," natch); Michael Ames drops a big feature called "The Ripeness and the Rot"; and Chang lays out his seasonally inappropriate guide to summer crab boils ("The trinity here is cold beer, angry crabs, and Old Bay").
Speaking of inappropriate: Chang also contributes a one-pager toward the back about a drink from the Rockland Inn in Roscoe, New York (around the corner from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm) called the Blue Dolphin. It's vodka and Rose's blue-raspberry mixer. Sounds gross. But Chang writes that he only includes it "because of the ludicrous story behind it," which is:
According to [the Rockland Inn owner], his friends 'were out one night and they stopped to see a girl they knew. Her boyfriend wasn't around, and, well, she had a Blue Dolphin, which is a vibrator. She let them pleasure her with it, and then they came to the bar and told the story.' Later that week, Tommy and his wife came upon a blue, dolphin-shaped lamp at Wal-Mart, which they promptly purchased and placed atop the back bar in honor of the boys.
(The woman in the story has evidently been in the bar since this happened and "thought it was the funniest thing ever," according to a postscript on the story.)
As far as we can tell, there's nothing else quite that salacious in the rest of the issue, but there are a couple shots of David Chang golfing; another big long story about Chang and Peter Meehan eating around the world; and a story by Anthony Bourdain called "Pain Don't Hurt" about the CIA and Road House.
Check out some snaps from the issue in our slideshow.