Maybe this should have gone at the start, rather than now, a month later but Hemingway's A Moveable Feast was my literary companion for this trip, and was rather apt..
"Missing meals makes you very hungry. But it also sharpens all of your perceptions, and I found that many of the people I wrote about had very strong appetites and a great taste and desire for food, and most of them were looking forward to having a drink."
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
You couldn't go two minutes without hearing Jay-Z blasted out of cars and houses. The New York anthem. Funny then that I spent my last day in NYC with Dame Dash at his new offices and gallery - DD172 - in Tribeca...
First up was a trip to The KDU studios in Brooklyn to catch up with my man Dave Gensler. Inspiring chats, as always.
Then it was a car service over to Tribeca to talk to Dame about the new chapter of Damon Dash. After a massive public beatdown, he's looking forward and the mogul who co-built the biggest urban empire in the world was a great host showing me around and meeting his team. Affable, funny, inspiring, open to talk about his business, referencing the past but pushing forward with hip hop and music in general, fashion, publishing, TV and film, fashion, art... Taking notes. Three hours well spent.
Dame photoshoot on the terrace.
Designer Chris Bevans from Rocawear / Nike / KDU / C Bevans.
The DD172 gallery on the ground floor.
After pounds and some hugs, on last hole-in-the-wall stop in Chinatown...
The Shanghai Soup Dumplings were suitably excellent. New York - And I'm out.
Dante DFC knows all about the journey of fried chicken that started in Asia and then was flipped by American culture. And trust me, fried chicken in Malaysia is incredible. Home town Ayam Goreng. And then there's Korea, a huge fried chicken food & bar culture which has seen a cult-like boom in the last couple of years in NYC. Here's a NY Mag write up. Love food trends. Double fried with a thin, delicate, crispy batter, the pieces are then lightly dipped in a sweet and spicy Korean hot sauce and served with a kimchee coleslaw and sweetened bun. I hit one of the few Manhattan outlets (there's a ton more in Queens) Bon Chon Chicken in Tribeca. They also only cook to order (with signs saying at least a 20 minute wait because of this) with free range chickens in 100% olive oil. A suitable close for TFC Bootleg...
Never too late to start walking it off... Central Park West to The Dakota (where John Lennon lived and died, and where Yoko Oko still resides) and Strawberry Fields and through the Park to the east side.
Food porn time. We needed to shot close ups, ingredients and glamour shots for the upcoming DFC pilot we're working on. Met our director Kalim and Dante at a studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a relaxed few hours of food styling and cooking and scripting... On the menu - DFC Cashew & Apricot Hot Wings with a Parmesan Sour Cream Chill Sauce.
Late night dinner with the ninja Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic, the creative director of The KDU, Kalim and homegirls Kat and Cat. We went to Sea, a Thai spot in Williamsburg that looked like something out of Bad Boys / Bad Boys 2 (even though it was featured in Garden State) before hitting new bar The Woods and the old favourite Union Pool (with back yard taco truck), where we somehow stayed til 4am... we lost the photobooth photos for proof and lost my mind in Jamesons.
Monday, 2 November 2009
I had late night club tamales in LA, but this - coffee and tamales from this awesome woman selling the freshest street tamales at 8am is it. Soooothing, warm corn masa steamed in a corn husk wrapped around chicken with green peppers, tomatoes and habanero chilies... $1.25.
The Greyhound bus from NYC to Montreal is an experience. Driving through some strange unpronounceable small towns up through the NY State and 8 hours later, French Canada. Met the young bloods Phil AD and Seb Diamond aka Mofomatronix, part of the Turbo Crunk crew aka Montreal's club and afterhours ambassadors. The Canada family. They started throwing parties before they were even allowed into the clubs and now, at the ripe old age of 20-years-old, they run the city. The first Montreal meal was at a beautiful brasserie called Le Buvette in Mile End, the artist district of the city. We laid down $20 each and for that - a platter of oysters, horse meat tartar with a celeriac and pomegranate slaw, salt cod fitters, cold cuts, cheese, pan fried cod with citrus pickled fennel and mango, frites, salad and beer... bliss.
Party down. Halloween in Montreal...
3.30pm brunch at the Dusty's diner. And it was here that I discovered Quebec style home made baked beans. A revelation... a dark, sweet (probably some maple syrup in there), smokey, dense pot of beans.
The lost weekend in Montreal. Big thanks to the young dudes for everything! Before jumping the overnight bus back to NYC we did it. The Cobra supper. The legend that is the Montreal dinner of poutine (smothered chips with cheese curd and gravy) and a hefty smoked meat sandwich.