Had I known I was about to experience the longest meal of my life, I might have better prepared myself. Several shots of espresso to keep my mind alert, maybe. Or light stretching to fight off cramps. Or at least I could have warned my wife that I wouldn't be home until 3 AM.
This was no ordinary night at Octopus Bar, though I'm sure regulars there are used to evenings that extend well into mornings. My 3 AM arrival at home was made possible only by the fact that my friend and I practically sprinted out of Octopus Bar the moment we had gobbled down the last dessert course.
The event was a public celebration, by and for chef Angus Brown and friends, in advance of his coming culinary sabbatical to Vietnam. It was a long, surreal evening, with some stellar grub along the way. Here's a slightly fictional live Tweet of the night (that is neither live, nor on Twitter), to help anyone interested get a firsthand account of a special night at Octopus Bar...
10:05 PM: Chilling as they frantically set up tables in the bar... shoulda known not to be on time.
10:17 PM: Still chilling... I bet my friend we'll be done by 1am, he says 2. 2am???
10:31 PM: OK, here we go! Everyone heads to their seats, accompanied by DJ spinning what sounds like Chinese cats fighting a Chinese opera, through a busted Chinese speaker
10:46 PM: Gettin hungry, & thirsty, I think they're prolonging the wait to heighten our anticipation. Music selection is literally torture. Is this a Homeland episode?
10:47 PM: 1st up, a small bite of octopus on a spoon! With a cranberry. Citrusy gel kinda stuff. Strange but good. Now I'm even hungrier.
10:53 PM: Hallucinations have set in. The music has moved from classical Asian street music to Portuguese covers of the Rolling Stones. Or is that just in my mind?
11:08 PM: Yes! Trio of oysters, including a Misty Point from Virginia that managed to kick Kumamoto's butt. Yes, Virginia, Virginia oysters are good!
11:59 PM: dang, that plate of boudin blanc, pork belly, smoked pork terrine, & pate campagne hit the spot. Dupont Cidre pairing even better. Note: go long on French cidre.
12:12 AM: after midnight... there's a strong, herbal aroma emanating from the kitchen. i don't think it's the food.
12:30 AM: 5 courses down, 5 to go. this will go to at least 2am, i better text my wife so she doesnt report me missing.
12:51 AM: Best bite so far - uni wrapped in shiso leaf, a gift from the seas. Or maybe a Chanukah gift from Japan? Uni > socks.
1:02 AM: chef is making the rounds showing off a bag of what looks like culinary contraband - truffles
1:21 AM: Ahhhhhh, scrambled farm egg covered in thin shave Italian white truffle. Best 1AM breakfast ever. And the music shifts to punk & soul. Praise the lord.
1:46 AM: This spit just got real. Pot au feu with massive marrow bone, ox tail, huge piece of White Oak tenderloin???? Beef broth is heavenly spiced. Can I actually eat all this? (HT SeanTelo)
1:52 AM: Still savoring the last sips of now marrow-infused beef broth. The Barolo doesn't hurt.
2:12 AM: Where the F is dessert?? I want my chocolate ganache-honey-gorgonzola dates! I've made it this long, I am not leaving now.
2:15 AM: Lots of wine (and water) = my seventh trip to the restroom during one meal. World record?
2:18 AM: The crowd has split into party people dancing and tired people leaving. Must. Not. Pass out.
2:20 AM: They're pouring Madeira! A good sign. Dessert must be coming soon. (Madeira is a good thing regardless)
2:22 AM: this is what most of the tables look like (HT FoxJu)
2:26 AM: Dessert! Taria Camerino hits it out of the park. I actually wish for seconds.
2:34 AM: out onto the cold, dark and quiet streets of EAV. happy. did that just happen? Octopus dreams to come...
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