Saturday night, I attended a private screening of BBC America’s new series, “No Kitchen Required,” at NY Bite Club.*
The evening began with an aperitif. Joaquin Simo of Death & Co. prepared the cocktails. My friends Daniel and Alicia, Bite Club’s proprietors extraordinaire, centered the menu on Chihuahuan cuisine. (No Chihuahuas or Chihuahuans were skinned, eviscerated, and roasted during the production of this blog post.) Working with the Mexican theme, Joaquin featured tequila and mezcal. Considering my relative featherweightness, it is surprising that my memory remains largely intact after that first drink. No dancing with one of Daniel and Alicia’s lovely lampshades over my head, I am afraid to report. If I was not completely k.o’ed by the potent beverage pairings, my critical faculties were softened into a block of gentle pork jelly. The following impressions reflect both my fondness for Daniel and Alicia’s cooking and the consequences of Joaquin’s spicy cocktails.
A creamy pozole con puerco came with chicharron and avocado. White hominy and tender roasted pork shoulder blunted the edge of Joaquin’s “Naked & Famous,” a combination of Del Maguey Chichicapa, Aperol, yellow chartreuse, and lime juice. Lacking some salt, however, the soup felt stiff in the joints. Better seasoned, a huitlacoche quesadilla tasted like fungus and fun in the island sun. Hey, corn smut, how you doing? Kayne (see footnote 1) remarked that the masa pocket was fried perfectly. I concurred.
My favorite dish of the night, pipian de pollo, caught a bobo chicken leg in flagrante delicto with pumpkin seed puree and herba santa. After I finished my “Southern Exposure,” a mixture of jalapeño infused Siembra Azul Blanco, Vida Mezcal, red pepper puree, and lime juice, the drumstick looked suspiciously like a human leg. Downright sexy with flesh peeled right off the bone. The cocktail blistered the skin off my tongue, too.
Fortunately, I could still taste the chivo enchilado and chanfaena. The roasted baby goat was missing a certain fatty funky. It was not, to slip into a different discursive register, quite barnyardy enough for my taste. A cup of innards soup remedied that issue, though, with a nice black brackish lip-smacking mélange of liver, kidney, intestines, heaven knows really, organs that very recently were held fast in the abdomen of a live goat. I loved it like a horse scratches his behind on a stump. That is to say, I loved it to excess.
For dessert, we ate flan and horchata. Joaquin saved the strongest for last, a “Oaxaca Old Fashioned” that finished off one or two of my tablemates.
A rousing time all around, complete with enough food and drink to save me Sunday brunch. I only wish we were given some nationally cooperative party favors, like a little Union Jack and an American flag, a pith helmet, and a Bowie knife to ward off miscreants on the walk to the subway. Many thanks to BBC America for footing the bill and providing genuinely fine company for us influential bloggers. Daniel and Alicia continue to impress me with their versatility and hospitality. I look forward to late spring and their garden’s bloom.
1The premise of “No Kitchen Required” reads like an early 20th century anthropology textbook. Drop three chefs—Michael Psilakis, Madison Cowan, and Kayne Raymond—in Dominica, Belize, Fiji, Thailand, and other sundry primitive, dangerous, and exotic locales. Embed the first worlders with the indigenous peoples. Learn jungle wisdom, hunt rodents, bats, face disembowelment and dismemberment, get close to nature in its snarling dark glory. Go native! Wash, rinse, vomit, feast, repeat. Profit. It’s what you might expect from a BBC-America mash-up: a typhoon of bad politics. Following the April 3rd premiere, postcolonialists will need many a tissue for their academic masturbations. No apologies, “No Kitchen Required” is fun for the whole imperial family. I ate my dinner next to Chef Kayne, a pony-tailed, grizzly man of a man, quite the charmer and robust conversationalist. Once Kayne started telling stories from the set, I couldn’t help but admire his bravado and cool courage. In fact, I plan on watching the program just to see Kayne kill a gibnut—on camera, perhaps? (I couldn’t get a straight answer from the BBC publicist.) Nevertheless, I feel obligated to caution policemen of the politically correct about the show’s dated methodology.
*A vortex of fear, poets, tequila, goat innards——a night submerged in publicity and pozole—a ride on the midnight G to Manhattan——a dizzy orange perfume, green chili, stewed chicken——a vertigo of small talk—a brown night along Vanderbilt—a striving for desperation—the deep dragging gong of the 12:23 L underwater——the soul of white nights—cold spring—horchata—stay away from the platform edge.
He’s just being: I need to work, right now, this is a Manhattan bound train, the next stop is first avenue, we’re getting off at third avenue, it goes out too far, come on, John, it’s expensive, italics and gentlemen, pawn personal belongings, frightened ears poppoppopping, raid on the bar to chinatown, sex sum side up it is raining, ballroom life it’s about blog oh get home this is apparently she said get off her girlfriends ground obsessed engineer Christian by the six afield scaffold on your spare dollars and entering the known psychosis you know oh shit I’m full your yea frank shit the only tragic action over the stop paying it come on babe playing down something 29 cents squid david smith and his girlfriend 1 found dave david his friend there no does me mind being caked dave a quarter drops what you tame me one have the next and last next come fairy on oh look proper dyahum barred right here yeayeayea.