Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Playing with Curbed

December 11

Josh Stein is quite good at riding mechanical bulls.
At least from the perspective of a bunch of New Yorkers affiliated with curbed.com. Curbed (which also owns eater.com) had its holiday party last night at a Lower East Side place called Mason Dixon, which serves fried chicken and pulled pork and grits and mac & cheese, and plays country & western music and has a mechanical bull.
Josh Stein, who for a little while longer yet covers restaurants and nightlife at Gawker (he is leaving soon to follow his destiny to London), must have good balance and strong thighs, because he stayed on that bull for much longer than most of the other white collar New Yorkers who gave it a try.
Ever since I was a young kid in Denver and witnessed from a distance the cowboy-boot craze that swept New York in, I believe, the 1970s, I have been fascinated by the desire of the denizens of Gotham to partake — without, it seems to me, understanding the social implications — in working-class cultures from other parts of the country. I talked about this a little bit with Amy Smith, who works at the Oxygen network and is originally from a remote part of northeastern Oklahoma. She was wearing a skirt, but otherwise, she said, she’d be riding the mechanical bull. Fair enough; she says she’s related to Merle Haggard and has no reason to lie to me.
As a Denver Jew, I grew up too far from red-neck culture to be part of it, but close enough to know that I don’t want to be part of it. I don’t want to ride a mechanical bull.
Eater’s Ben Leventhal did, though — twice. He’s no Josh Stein, but he’s not bad at all.

Ben’s the guy in the picture. It didn’t occur to me to take out my camera until Josh was done (he was good, but you can only stay on a mechanical bull for so long).
It was a good party. I met Peter Meehan from The New York Times, which I hadn’t done before, so that was cool. We talked about insane mutual acquaintances, which is always fun. I munched on Buffalo wings with Kate Krader from Food & Wine, Jennifer Leuzzi and Robin Insley.
I had a good chat with Eater's Lockhart Steele. We talked about Chicago dining and observed that we both had the names of porn stars or romance novel characters.

Here’s a picture of what happened when partygoers got frisky with the menu board. Perhaps they were thinking of different meanings of the word “pork.”

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