Certain people and/or things just go together! According to Ranker.com (one of my favorite websites) the current ranking of "The Best Duos of All Time" is as follows:
1. Batman & Robin
2. Tom & Jerry
3. Bert and Ernie
4. Han Solo & Chewbacca
5. Milk & Cookies
While many insights may be gleaned from this list, it is clear that a key factor is that the duos are complementary, not similar; Batman was just plain dark and creepy without Robin. Tom was just a boring house cat without Jerry to chase. And so on and so forth.
This week, I loupe in some great culinary pairs that didn't quite make Ranker's list, but are certainly worth a visit!
Most of us are familiar with wine and cheese, but the owner of Malt & Mold kicked the wine to the curb and added beer with wonderful results! Founder Kevin Heald, a self professed beer and cheese monger, consistently assembles an impressive menu of artisanal beer and cheese, and in the process, has garnered quite a loyal, cult following. Both the beer and cheese offerings depend upon availability from local, small production purveyors; often times patrons are limited in how much they can purchase due to the limited supply and ready demand of other customers. They even have a membership (Chinaski Mug Club) where members can pay $100 and have their very own mug which stays at the shop, ready for trying the (daily/ weekly) offerings from the tap (psst... this is so popular that membership is frozen @ Gramercy). Membership in this club includes the mug (stored on premises ... this is your Norm from Cheers moment), your first beer, discounted future beers, birthday beers (yours and staff!), special events, and advance notice on unicorn beers (those fancy, one case per shop, one bottle per customer rarities that send beer geeks running around the city during work hours). Around the Gramercy and LES stores, you'll see many a person with their Malt and Mold growlers ready to be filled or emptied, depending on the direction you're headed. Oh and by the way, walk a few steps from the LES store and find another great pairing spot ICE & VICE. Here, you can try very creative, innovative, and experimental flavors of small batch ice cream made on site with names like Opium Den, 3 Little Pigs, 9 AM, and Golddigger to name a few. Beer, cheese, and ice cream --- dinner is sounding overrated!
Our next great coupling is Japanese/Sushi and Mexican/Burritos which combine to form... Sushiritto! This must have been what it was like when some genius put their peanut butter in their friend's chocolate. I first visited this restaurant in Palo Alto, near the Stanford campus, at the recommendation of fellow Louper Debi W. and have been waiting for it to arrive on the right coast. This place is great for any day part, but perfect for lunch. They effectively take a perfect combination of sushi and wrap it in nori (the size of a burrito) with incredibly fresh vegetables, fish, proteins and other original flavors. Founders Peter Yen and Ty Mahler fill each sushi burrito with multi-cultural flavors and lots of attention to detail. Lines out West are typically an hour long, so head on over before your fellow NY-ers catch wind of this culinary sensation! The sushi burrito is the newest food craze but worthy of the attention; I love the Sumo Crunch or Geisha's Kiss, but all Burritos are great. The next location is opening near Grand Central by November 2016, if not earlier.
Our next great combination is Thighs 'n' Pies, because who doesn't love fried chicken together with home made pies. This restaurant is what I would call Southern Hipster (sounds like Austin!). The place in grungy, the service is grungier, yet the food is excellent. Start with a chicken basket which comes with the requisite biscuit and side. End with one of their delicious pies, my favorite is the Bourbon pecan. This is the place to get your Southern fix; Sarah Sanneh is the baker (having worked previously at Magnolia and Momofuku Milk Bar) and co-owner Carolyn Bane is the BBQ and all things fried master, also with an impressive culinary resume (Diner, Marlow & Sons, The Spotted Pig, and Roberta’s).
There are many more dynamic duos and would love to hear your favorites. But, for now, consider yourself in the Loupe and Malt and Mold, ICE & VICE, Sushirrito, and Pies 'n' Thighs Found!