Spaghetti tacos, abomination or stroke of genius? It depends on whom you ask, according to an article in the NYT last week. But for those who are “less than 5 feet tall and live with your mother,” the ital-mex dish derived from the TV show iCarly appears to be popular.
Although I haven’t yet tried it, I’d venture to say that from the sounds of it, probably a lot of parents have. Ah, the blend of (overcooked) spaghetti with (too much) sauce from a jar, tenderly tonged into a corn shell. Which wine pairs with this…or is it impossible?!? Pair if for the children, as this dish may well be the comfort food of the wine drinkers of tomorrow.
reduced size crop of Frencesco Tonelli/NYT image
Site reader Anderson Farris sent in this suggestion for our series: a bacon doughnut.
The particular bacon doughnut in question is from the NYC restaurant Traif. A chef described the dish thusly to nymag.com:
“…The bacon doughnuts with dulce de leche and coffee ice cream are, like, so fucking good. It’s a sugary doughnut with bacon fat in the batter and rendered bacon pieces in the doughnut itself. With the dulce de leche and coffee ice cream, it’s pretty kick-ass.”
Wow, that is a whole lot of dulce, with a bit of fat and salt. Are we even allowed to pair that with wine? Or is it…impossible?!?
Image: reduced size crop of photo credited to Melissa Hom at nymag.com
But we don’t like to make it easy for you–that’s not impossible, after all!
So here you have it: raw (unspecified) meat that has been on Lady Gaga’s body in the form of her meat dress. Which wine would you pair with that?!? If you want a little less to, er, digest, you can keep the pairing at the sartorial level.
Funny, but the dress wasn’t on display during New York Fashion week, rather, the MTV Video Music Awards.
Last week, I was in the Cape, existing more or less solely on seafood. One dish, if you will, that has transcended New England appeal and now is making a showing in the trendiest spots in NYC (including out of basements in Brooklyn) is the lobster roll.
Simple in preparation, it consists of about four ounces of cold lobster meat, a mix of claw, knuckle and often tail. This is delicately coated with mayonnaise that may include a other herbs or secret sauce and placed on a bed of shredded lettuce in a hot dog bun, sliced from the top and often lightly grilled or toasted. The end result is lip-smacking, finger licking good. (I snapped the above pic with a cameraphone at Captain Frosty’s in Dennis; it can also come with fries as is standard in the delicious rendition at Osterville Fish Too in Barnstable.)
So, even if there’s no wine on the menu at most clam shacks, the wine geek’s mind wanders…which wine would you pair with a lobster roll? Or is it…impossible?!?
Well, for those with a set of steel, head on over to the seventh (!) annual World Testicle Cooking Championship in Serbia. There, the AP reports that chefs prepare bull, boar, camel, ostrich and kangaroo testicles in such dishes as testicle pizza and testicles in bechamel sauce. Outback oysters!
Needless to say, the AP ensures us that “visitors eat the dishes with plenty of wine or beer…” So what hedonistic fruit bombs would you drop on this menu to make it a perfect pair?
Cropped AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic
We haven’t had any meat in our impossible pairings series since the bacon explosion. Generally, meat is too easy for us all to pair. So cranking up the degree of difficulty, today we present you the challenge of the pulled pork sandwich.
At the base level it’s not all that hard: a shoulder of pork is smoked (or a whole hog is roasted in eastern North Carolina) and then chopped, shredded or sliced. Then comes the question of sauce. In most places outside of the Carolinas, a sweet barbecue sauce is generally stirred into the meat, forming a gloopy, orange mass of sweet meat that is then plopped on a bun. The haute BBQ places will actually let you add your your own sauce and slaw…which is where it gets tricky.
Some regional variations favor a mustard based sauce. Others have a thin sauce based on cider vinegar while others add a dash of tomato and a dash of sugar. Still other styles have brown sugar or molasses. Finally, there’s the sweet, think mass that is KC Masterpiece.
And the slaw that can go on top presents its own challenges: shredded cabbage, grated carrot, dunked in a sauce of mayonnaise, cider vinegar and sugar.
So make your sandwich the way you like it. And suggest a wine pairing, if it’s not…impossible!
(You ever eat Époisses after a huge meal? Run out a pound of the stuff, some big, bad supersomething red wine and plenty of bread as the candles on your table sputter, and everyone deconstructs what just happened, what was served and why and how it made everyone feel? Life gets strange and fast. Époisses is like a drug. It’s the tequila of cheese.)
So writes Sam Sifton, NYT restaurant critic, in a blog post about David Chang’s new restaurant, Ma Peche.
Epoisses, of course, is a deliciously stinky, gooey cheese from Burgundy with a rind washed in marc de Bourgogne, a local brandy. A little wooden box tries its best–mostly with futility, as I have noticed when transporting it on a crowded train–to trap the aromas that emit from these little 250g wheels. On the palate, the intense, earthy, barn-yardy ripeness can be lingering and dominating, almost too much to pair with wine. Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?
Personally, the last thing I’d want with Epoisses is “some big, bad supersomething red wine.” In general, I find white wine and cheese produce successful, if underrated, pairings with cheese courses. Oh, and I’ve never had one of those apparent stoner moments with Epoisses that Sifton describes. Maybe his was a little too ripe?
Granted, I was in college backpacking through Europe at the time and I admit that having scarfed down platters of sushi in the interim, the herring now sounds intriguing. Now is the time to find out if it is: New Catch Holland Herring, a short-lived seasonal treat, arrives in NYC June 9th. The epicenter of these fresh, briefly cured fishes seems to be Russ & Daughters (but they are available at other restaurants throughout the city). Joshua Russ Tupper recommends the traditional method of enjoying the herrings: dredging the fillets in freshly chopped onion, holding them by the tail and devouring without utensils.
Mixologists in the city are suggesting spirits pairings for this delicacy. But certainly wine should be on the table (assuming it’s not eaten while standing up). Help the Dutch and those around the world able to try the herrings: Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?
The image here is a reduced size image from a NY mag post on the topic.