Meghan Wright is a singer/songwriter and co-owns Haute Mess Catering.
What was the food highlight of your year?
My partner in crime Brian Diaz beat me to naming my favorite steak spot, St. Anselm, for this one but we have fortunately experienced an array of culinary delights this year. One spectacular meal we had a Hakkasan in Midtown comes to mind. A group of us took my sister Tara for her birthday. There was a vegetarian in the mix, but we still managed to fit in pork belly stir fry, macadamia rock shrimp and an assortment of dim sum that was almost too pretty to eat. The dishes were festive and gorgeous while maintaining the simplicity of fresh Asian cuisine that, being from Hawaii, my family often misses living in New York.
What was the music highlight of your year?
The music highlight of my year was organizing and executing a showcase series to raise money for an organization I founded called The City & The Heart. Over the course of 7 months, we put on 14 shows in the Lower East Side at the Parkside Lounge to fundraise a record release featuring unsigned female singer/songwriters in New York. It started out as a fun DIY punk rock-mentality project, I come from a time when labels like Asian Man and Polyvinyl would release free compilation CDs to fans. It attracted me because I was meeting a lot of young indie artists like myself who could benefit from connections, advice and just having a support system of other women going through the same struggle, trying to make their dreams come true. We hope to release the record Spring 2014.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Being that I am a musician and part-time chef, music and food are almost always coming together in memorable ways. To me, music and food are similar in that someone makes it for you, you experience it in that moment, and then it’s gone. One could argue that there is recorded music and if you have a recipe, you can make it any time you want. I prefer to view these experiences as unique and fleeting, it makes them more special. There are so many variables when it comes to creation and performance, I can almost guarantee you will never experience the same steak or guitar solo twice.
That being said, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate my three favorite rock bars in Brooklyn that offer food. The type of food rock bars serve is important to their identity and standing out from other rock bars. Saint Vitus was my first favorite, having opened about three years ago in Greenpoint. They book bands I like and play a lot of heavy music when bands aren’t playing. They serve beer and whiskey. What’s not to like? Then they hired Elena Balletta to curate her take on tasty Korean bun menu for those suffering from hangovers and bangovers. They offer a variety including a Philly Cheesesteak version and vegetarian options. The buns are easy to make and don’t require a large kitchen area. Having the station right next to the bar is a cool touch. The Acheron in Williamsburg is connected to The Anchored Inn, a haven for misfits and rockers who like gourmet burgers and fancy beer. Separating the food from the venue makes for a slightly more comfortable dining experience without missing out on the party. When you’re done banging your head to the latest local black metal darlings, you can cross through the adjoining doorway into a cozy wooden pub decorated with an impressive collection of black velvet paintings. And eat a bacon wrapped hot dog. Over the Eight is relatively new, opened by a few of the Saint Vitus crew to be a neighborhood pub right at the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The music they procure is a little mellower, typically Americana, blues, and the like, and their food is Venezuelan. Chefs Sergio Barrios and Ernesto Bardo of Santa Salsa have graced the joint with their reinterpretation of food from “perrero” carts, a street food in Venezuela. There are other rock bars with food that I truly enjoy, including a new one in Bushwick that recently opened called Beast of Bourbon. Picture Fette Seu with more rock references and about 20 more draft beers. I look forward to their incorporating live music once they are more established. In summation, rock and food go hand in hand, the more interesting and fun the food, the better!