Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Dr. Literstein on Good vs. Right

We went skiing in Park City, Utah last week only to find ourselves unpreparedly in the midst of the Sundance Festival, which seemed more L.A. than L.A.: film geeks and wannabes everywhere talking endlessly about themselves.

So at noon, we escaped to a terrific old bar called the No Name Saloon because you can't drink all day unless you start early.

We drank massive, liter steins of delicious, cold beer. I said it was past noon... and we were on vacation... Don't get all 12 step on me.

What food goes good with that much beer? Sometimes the question is not what's good food, but what's the right food. Ideally, your local tavernkeep will run a joint like Santa Monica's Father's Office, where the hamburgers are among the best in a town full of great burgers.

But in the absence of really good food, I'll take really right food. In this case, the No Name served up a righteous basket of fresh fried shoestrings, potato chips, and onion rings. Just greasy enough to keep one's gullet lubricated for more beer, and starchy enough to fill the stomach and keep me (I mean one) from making an ass out of himself.

Sometimes, though, when the winds and tides align, right food will also be good. Buffalo wings go great with beer, and the best on the planet used to be made in a dive bar called The Rafters in Cortland, NY. We'd head there after work and order a plate of outsized chicken wings that could've come off an albatross, or a pterodactyl. George, the owner, would never tell anyone where he sourced his wings, or what he put in his magic sauce. Crunchy, meaty, salty, saucy and custom spiced just for my asbestos palate, George's wings remain the best I've ever tasted. Proving that you can't go home again, the Rafters is no more, and the puny, pallid wings that most bars sadly serve these days are neither right, nor good. RIP, George, and thanks for everything.


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