Friday, October 24, 2008

Merging the Old with the New: Lo Ch'ing at Goedhuis Contemporary

Calling for Wang Wei the Poet-Painter:Northern Hill of Wang Stream Scene, 2002

Merging the Old with the New: Lo Ch'ing at Goedhuis Contemporary

On an Upper East Side townhouse off Fifth Avenue, Chris Ong and I were regaled with witty conversation, wine and contemporary Chinese art. Lo Ch'ing's postmodern take on the Chinese silk painting is absolutely captivating. I have never been a fan of the subjects in this medium (think pandas and bamboo). Lo Ch’ing, however, has provided a fresh perspective:

Mountain Huang: Inspiration Escaping the Dominant Eccentric Peak, 1999

The evening was moving along perfectly until Mr. B walked in.

"Territory encroacher! Bad art collector! What was he doing on MY turf?!"

I silenced my inner voice and sauntered up to him.

“We can’t keep meeting like this. What will the neighbors think?” I quipped.

He laughed, knowing fully well what I had meant.

After 6 years of missed connections and unexplored opportunities, we had come full circle by the bar. The brunette poured us glasses of wine and ignored us from a polite distance. We laughed like old friends, but there was a tinge of sadness in the air. There were unspoken words about unexplained disappearances.

And in the end, nothing mattered, except the cool colors and swirls of brushstrokes on rice paper.

Running late for another engagement, I politely excused myself, put on my coat and disappeared onto the sidewalk.

Lo Ch'ing
October 22, 2008 to November 17, 2008
Goedhuis Contemporary, 42 East 76th Street, New York, NY 10028. Tel: (212) 535-6954

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I found an old poem tucked away in a book I had forgotten. It was written, presumably for a gentleman I was particularly smitten with (or perhaps I was exercising my literary penmanship, I don't quite recall). The constant "first dates" (and no more thereafter) that New York life is prone to can be quite disheartening. But when you find that someone you connect with...


Do not presume to know me,
I am a mere illusion.
Bright colours
in the sky.
Escaping visions
on a dark night.
of dreams.
You stand
And I try
to quell,
what you have awaken in me.
The weeping that comes
not from the eyes,
but from the soul.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Me and Mr. Jones

Left: Kara Age, Right: The Mr. Jones Cocktail

Mr. Jones has succeeded in making yakitori sexy. So sexy, in fact, I am getting flustered underneath my buttoned up lace collar recounting last night. It all started when Jam Master Jay called with a sly, "Free this evening?" I immediately canceled my date.

Walking up to the plywood covered fa├žade of Mr. Jones on busy East 14th Street, it felt like a secret mission involving a password (“Yaki! Tori!”), secret knock and handshake. After milling about like a pair of post-NYU grads looking to re-live trouble on a Monday night, the hostess finally opened the makeshift plywood door and ushered us inside.

Mr. Jones is a yakitori lounge which embodies the winning combination of Lesly Bernard's nightlife expertise (of Pravda and Tillman’s fame), Bryan Emperor's culinary skills and Shin Ikeda's (Angel Share and B Flat) carefully crafted cocktails. Mention "yakitori" and most images conjured are of smoky robatas, cramped counter seating and a trip to the dry cleaners after. Mr. Jones is none of that. Instead, you are greeted by a retro-mod space with Japanese sake labels adorning the walls, a curved CaesarStone bar and a bevy of sexy and knowledgeable waitresses who know their Junmai from their Daiginjyo.

Master Jay nearly had to restrain me to my chair when the fried chicken came. Impeccably presented in an acrylic serving tube, each piece was fried to crisp perfection, while maintaining the right amount of moisture when I sunk my teeth into them. I have not been this excited all week amidst talks of a failed bailout plan and subsequently, failed appetite.

The Preview Tasting Menu was impressive and I was enamored by the perfectly marinated Berkshire belly skewer. I politely grunted in acknowledgement of my companion, who was diligently recounting his weekend to me. He stopped abruptly as sounds of my chewing and lip-smacking bounced across the room. Accomplished Illusionist and ultra-hottie, Ryan Oakes, glanced over quizzically several times. I swooned (but it could have been the sake).

"What do I have to do to get as much attention as the skewers?" Jam Master whined.

Two words: Bryan Emperor. A Jean-Georges alum, accomplished sushi chef and man of many talents, he is, in this instance, a robata master: basting, skewering and barbecuing his way into my stomach (and hopefully yours soon).

Highlights from the Preview Tasting Menu

peppered bacon wrapped cherry tomato with bib lettuce and Japanese mayonnaise

~Ton Toro Lemon Shisho~
100% Berkshire black hog belly with lemon and Mongolian mountain salt

~Sakura Smoked Duck~
Japanese cherry wood smoked duck breast

Mr. Jones, 243 East 14th Street, New York, NY 10009. Tel: (212) 253-7670