Next weekend, literate foodies will flock to the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn for the annual Food Book Fair and one of its more popular events, “Foodieodicals”, that celebrates the bounty of indy-culinary magazines on the market. One of the event’s coolest debuts is Mouthfeel, a sort of Bon Appetit meets Butt magazine, that fills the heretofore unexplored cross-section between food and gay culture.
For a pre-launch amuse-bouche, we were able to dish with sweet and tasty Mouthfeel editor, Mac Malikowski, to find out some of the best, worst and weirdest things he’s put in his mouth:
1. Where did you go on your last trip? Earlier this month, I drove from Austin to Marfa, Texas, with my boyfriend. We went down for SXSW in Austin and decided to take a little road trip to West Texas. Marfa is this very strange and splendid place in the middle of nowhere. We stayed at the El Cosmico that is pretty much a cross between an old school American trailer park and Brooklyn-bohemian ranch.
2. What was your favorite meal on that trip? As I'm sure many people know, it's ALL about the Mexican food down there, especially coming from Brooklyn. It should be noted that I am also a little obsessed with breakfast foods. Fonda San Miguel in North Austin has the breakfast buffet of my dreams. The price is a little high but the meat and dairy is organic and it’s all you can eat. I definitely tend to over-do it on peppery scrambled eggs, pistachio mole and tres leches cake. The dining rooms are lush and full of amazing art.
3. Of all the meals you’ve ever eaten, what dish had the best mouthfeel? There is a small Turkish place in Berlin called Doyum. It’s right off the Kottbusser station U-Bahn, a highly intersectional area and great neighborhood for alt gay nights out. At Doyum, they serve one of my all time favorite dishes: Iskender Kebap, which is this lean lamb meat served over chopped flat bread that is slathered with boiling tomato sauce, butter and yogurt. Talk about mouthfeel. This dish is a rollercoaster of textures and sparks. The flatbread is pillow-soft on the inside and perfectly crispy everywhere else. The meat is salty and has this glazing affect on your tongue. The yogurt is tangy and rich and fights the tomato sauce for temperature dominance. I’m literally salivating at my computer.
4. What dish had the worst? When I was a kid, my mom used to make a dish called chicketti. She would make it whenever someone died, which gave it a slightly disturbing aura, even before tasting it. It’s basically soupy spaghetti with chicken breasts that’s baked at a super high temperature and served with green olives. I remember not knowing if I should eat it like a soup or a casserole. It was very confusing for my mouth. My mom is an amazing cook, and I loved everything else she made for us, but chicketti still remains one of the slimiest and least desirable dishes I can think of.
5. What’s the gayest dish you’ve ever eaten? I once watched The Outsiders (1983) while eating a Bavarian cream donut.
6. What country do you think has the best overall cuisine? Hard to say; I love French cuisine and they definitely are the godfathers of “the restaurant” as we know it. Alternatively, saying America is an easy way out- we have such a broad spectrum of dishes and cuisines. I think I have to say China. Each province has the most amazing diversity in flavor and spice. You get just about all proteins represented. They could use a little work in the vegetable department, but they make up for it with those deep peppers and milky desserts.
7. Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? There is a sort of contrived (but also genuine in some ways) ghost town near where I grew up in Northern Nevada called Virginia City. Every year they have the Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry or "Testicle Festival" as it has been dubbed. There are usually 20+ cooks who compete. It's mostly fried dishes but there are some stripped-down versions where the testicle really stands out. This is also runner up for gayest thing I've ever eaten.
8. Place to eat that’s on your bucket list? Would love to go to Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo.
9. The one dish everyone should try (and where to find it)? In addition to the answer to question 3, I live for these bootleg Twix Bars at BAKED in NYC. They have the most amazing soft bottom crust, super gooey caramel and exactly sweet enough chocolate. They just have to be eaten at room temp-ish, but well worth the wait. One of the owners, Renato, is featured in Mouthfeel Issue One.
10. Where do you plan to take your next adventure? Next up is the West Coast of the good ol' U.S. of A. Love the coffee scene in San Francisco and Portland, OR. Would love to drive up to Vancouver. Any recommendations are HIGHLY appreciated!