Ben Rhau is the Editor of Foodie.
What was the food highlight of your year?
To me, the ultimate is eating sushi at the bar, because it’s such a rare occasion to connect directly with a chef, who’s cooking for you in real time. I don’t do it often anymore, because what I really want is omakase, where the chef has total creative control. I’m not a hippie or anything, but I don’t eat the endangered fishes, which are a pretty important part of the palette. I felt self-conscious about being THAT guy, poo-pooing the maguro in front of a chef I totally admire. Well, this past year I decided to give it a shot, and ate at Koo with Kiyoshi at the bar. I said “No maguro, no hamachi, no unagi. Anything else.” He totally got me and crafted a beautiful meal. Just goes to show you that it doesn’t hurt to ask for what you want.
What was the music highlight of your year?
It seems like I get to fewer and fewer shows every year, but I still get excited in that same way I did when I went to amusement parks at age 10. My favorite was seeing Savages at The Independent. Jehnny Beth, in particular, is such an amazing presence, and reminds me of PJ Harvey in her ability to manage tension and deliver these intense bursts of tightly controlled rage. Great sounding show, as well.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Our friends had us over and served us a home-brewed saison and a copycat recipe of the Calamars a la Planxa with Arròs Negre dish from Contigo — one of my favorite dishes in the city. They were spinning The Walkmen, Thao Nguyen, and The Evens. Perfection.