Kari Johnson is the events and marketing director for Hearth and Terroir Wine Bars in NYC.
What was the food highlight of your year?
There were so many excellent meals shared, with good friends at amazing places - Cosme, Toro, The John Dory stand out - but I have to give the honors this year to Gramercy Tavern. Every aspect of my meal there - from the professional, hilarious and friendly staff, to the special care I was given (it was my birthday!), from the perfection of each and every course to the outstanding beverage pairings, led to the overall perfection of the meal. It may not be the trendiest or most cutting edge restaurant in New York, but it is surely one of the best, and has proven itself time and time again. It's a classic, a favorite, and easily, the best meal the year.
What was the music highlight of your year?
Without a doubt, being one of the lucky few to be in attendance at Nirvana's secret club show at Saint Vitus in Greenpoint was the music highlight of my year - and possibly my life. Nirvana was the first band I truly loved, and due to my age, I was never able to see them play live. After attending the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction with a group of friends earlier that evening, I would have been happy. However, I was one of the luckiest people, for being able to attend the secret after-show - at my favorite bar/venue, no less. There was such excitement, joy, and shock in the room - it was unreal. Nirvana. In a room of 250 people, at 2 in the morning. To be there, to be right up front, singing along (and getting hit in the face with J Masics' hair for most of the set) will always be one of my favorite memories of my entire life. The icing on the cake of a perfect night was thanking Krist Novoselic for everything, and him responding with "No, Thank YOU." Seriously?!?
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
I feel like there wasn't one specific moment that stands out, but rather many. Living in Brooklyn, i'm spoiled in that I can walk mere blocks from my apartment and grab a fantastic meal and listen to perfect music while doing so.The big ones that stand out, where food and music and your mood combine perfectly, were: brunch at the Grand Bar and Grill, where we listened (and sang along!) to Cock Sparrer, hearing Pet Sounds on vinyl at Five Leaves, and all those late night Afghan Whigs nights at Over the Eight. Of course, there are always the barbecues thrown by my dear friends Geoff Rickly and Liza DeGuia - the ultimate food/music power couple - where the food rivals any top NYC restaurant and the music is always perfectly curated.