Ben Rhau is Managing Editor at Mode Media (Foodie.com, Glam.com).
What was the food highlight of your year?
Friends of ours who’d recently taken a cooking class in Hanoi hosted a small dinner party where they prepared and served a Northern style pho. Their house smelled gloriously of charred onion, roasted bones, cinnamon, star anise, and clove. Like other guests, we assumed that the sliced peppers on the side were jalapeños. They were actually thai bird chilies, which are (for the record) a bit hotter.
What was the music highlight of your year?
Sharon Van Etten’s performance of “All I Can” this year at The Independent was probably the funniest and most memorable. Guitarist Doug Keith interlaced the opening lines with a Smoove B style talking sequence, resulting in a bizarre call and response duet with a mostly straight-faced Van Etten. Highlight #2 was being introduced to the not-new music of Brandi Carlile. What a talent.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Seeing Yo La Tango for the first time at Outside Lands while famished, dehydrated, and grimy with the unique combo of sweat, music festival filth, and sunscreen. I had a half-vegetarian, half-lamb poutine from The Whole Beast with a crappy, $8 lemonade while listening to Autumn Sweater. At that moment, I was tasting the best thing in the universe.