11 September 2010

white wine, asian food, asians: gohan night @ café commun, 75012

Here is a link to an NYTimes article that touches tangentially upon one of my favorite pairings: German wine and Chinese food. It's worth reading, even if the author has evidently done backflips with what was essentially a Dining & Wine piece in efforts to make it relevant to the current rash of humiliating American xenophobia.

I mention it (the pairing, not the xenophobia) as preamble to coverage of a really lovely meal I had last Friday at Café Commun, a community events space in the 12eme. The meal was prepared by my Japanese friend M, who's had kind of the opposite career arc to my own.

She worked in a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo years back, then worked in high fashion for a decade, and has now come around to preferring the culinary thing. So half the week she now teaches private cooking classes and throws events like this one, which she titled Gohan Night. Here's her awesome hand-drawn flyer for the 2nd one, which took place yesterday: 

I can go on and on about M's stunning chef-skills and supreme generosity (this is someone who taught me how to make tamago AND how to gut a fish), but that's for a food blog. Suffice to we ate well. A spring-roll-type thing followed by (what's the Japanese word for braised pork ribs over rice?). There were about 70 people in attendance, and rumors circulated that the food might run out, but in the end everyone left well-sated and soused.

Even the latecomers, two really nice tall Chinese girls from New York, sent to say hi by a mutual friend in that city.

I had no expectations whatsoever for the wine, but was delighted to discover that Café Commun space sources all their vin from the cave around the corner, which happens to be Le Baron Rouge. While this meant there were no German wines, nothing Alsatian even, a simple 2009 Chateau de Quincay Touraine served the purpose, as did a white Bordeaux whose name I forget. The point is, anyway, that any sort of decent white wine, not just decent German white wine, is totally relevant and newsworthy when it comes to pairing with great Chinese food, if only because one so rarely gets a chance to do such a pairing, since the wine lists at even the best Asian restaurants are almost unanimously sheer crap. (Not totally their fault. If, say, T.G.I. Friday's were socially compelled to have a sake list, it would also suck.)