Last night, we headed to APT to the Chowdown dinner party club. We had written about the dinner party/DJ set before, in a purely speculative way, and figured we should find out if it was worth the fuss.
The first thing that should be mentioned is Chowdown is from San Francisco. San Francisco, a city nestled in the picturesque Santa Cruz mountains, is a city completely devoid of irony. The latter trait goes a long way in explaining why Chowdown's organizers thought it would be a good idea to pair music and food, an idea at which any jaded New Yorker would roll their eyes. But Sendakian teeth-gnashing aside, the idea is a good one and well executed at that.
The chef last night was none other than toque of the moment, Joey Campanaro from Little Owl. APT's kitchen has a tiny oven and no stove, so cooking a three-course meal for 40 people is no small feat. The thing about these things is usually the food is sub-par. Happily, Campanaro proved adept at kicking out a stellar meal in a substandard kitchen. Nominally, DJ Brennan Green was spinning Italian-inspired music to complement the cuisine. To my untrained ear, it seemed like run-of-the-mill, if benign, house music.
The crowd, who spread out on divans, chairs and even a bed were mostly music geeks. This lifestyle expressed itself in heavy black-rimmed glasses and skinny ties. Gabriel from Little Owl came to support his chef. There was a strong Flavorpill contingent: Anna Balkrishna (one of the event's co-founders), Colin Nagy and managing editor Jake Lancaster tucked into a booth. Daily Candy's adorable editor Jeralyn Gerba flitted about the room. The rest of the group of forty looked to be made up of slightly-chicer-than-usual couples.
Truth be told, the music and food has little to say to each other. But in the future, co-founder Joe Encarnacion promised, there'll be more of a connection. The next dinner, scheduled for May 8th, will pair Kampuchea chef Ratha Chau and James Fucking Friedman spinning Cambodian-inspired music. And if anyone has ever listened to this album, you know that shit is insane. Encarnacion also mentioned pairing soul food with soul music (DUH!). We're still rooting for a Boulud-Gainsbourg night but we'll have to keep on dreaming for now.