I think for most people, the most important part of a meal is who they're eating with. Obviously, it's my job to be more food-focused than that, but either way a meal is better when shared with my friend Andy Battaglia (who, though a music writer, reported on the clear meat we were served at one meal in his own blog; keep an eye out for him as his responsibilities at The Onion expand to cover restaurants and other excellent things to see and do in New York).
Andy's a genuine sensualist, for whom every bite of food and whiff of wine is a discovery. So it's especially fun to take him to places where the chef enjoys playing with unusual textures and flavor combinations. Pair it all with wine and he's in heaven. Add to that a bird's eye view of Central Park and, well, that's what we did on Friday night, when we had dinner at Asiate, in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, on the 35th floor of the Time Warner Center, where chef Noriyuki Sugie's experimental fusion food was paired with sakes and Slovenian dessert wines, Spätlese-style Viogners (I'm not making that up) and all sorts of weird stuff.
On Monday we had drinks and bar food at PS450, where we half-watched the Yankees get clobbered by the Red Sox and I commented on the music that was being played, which was pretty much what I listened to in high school and college in the 1980s.
I wondered aloud if perhaps the person who picked the music, was, like me, a Denver Jew born in 1967. Andy suggested that perhaps my taste and upbringing were not unique, and that in fact we were listening to the relatively cheesy music — Joan Jett, Steve Miller, John Cougar (with or without the Mellencamp), Lynyrd Skynyrd (not from the ’80s, but still popular at the time) that not only I, but also he, eight years my junior and raised in the suburbs north of Atlanta, and millions of other people heard during our formative years.
Of course he had a point.
I then learned from Andy about the origins of Disco and the fight currently going on in the world of music criticism regarding the legitimacy of criticising music because of its provenance (e.g., complaints that the artist has gone "commercial,") rather than because of the quality of the music itself, among other things.
What I ate and drank at Asiate:
Warm Slow Poached Egg, Bonito, Ginko Nut
Perrier Jouet "Fleur" Rosé 1997
A variety of seafood morsels the exact nature of which I don't recall at the moment, but check back for updates.
Harushika “Shiboribana”, Junmai Ginjo Nama Sake
Eric Texier Viognier ‘Ô Pâle’ 2005, Rhône Valley, France
Caesar Salad Soup
Surf and Turf
Zilliken Riesling Kabinett ‘Ockfener Bockstein’ 2001,
Yakiniku Short Rib,Smoked Potato Purée, Potato Chips, Beef Consommé
Water Chestnuts, Barley fried Rice
Ojai Syrah “Bien Nacido Vineyard” 2002, Santa Barbara County
Berry-Greek Yogurt, Olive Oil Marinated Grape Salad, Grape Granité
Coffee Mousse, Caramelized Sweetened Condensed Milk Ice Cream,
Almond and Amaretto Dust
Tilia Rumeni Musˇkat ‘Galileus’ 2004, Slovenia
And at PS450:
Mac ’n' Cheese pops
Buffalo pops with spicy hollandaise
Steak quesadilla with smoked bacon, spinach and blue cheese
Steak and creamed spinach canapés on baguette toast
Slider sampler of burgers, cheese burgers, barbecue burgers and pulled pork