When I was cooking with Chef Gray Kunz in New York City, I was given the opportunity, after a few months of the opening, to dine in the restaurant and ate, as part of the chef's tasting menu, a lobster dish paired with a French sparkling rose from the coast of Brittany. The grapes were grown up the hill from the ocean and you could taste the sea in the vintage. This pairing was an eye opening experience for me. It showed me that the perfectly paired glass of wine can uphold the theme of the dish, while, if truly, truly well matched, allows for every bite to taste like the first bite on your palate. It gives you the opportunity to savor each bite at height the chef intended.
Tonight, my girl and I went to Moshi Moshi, a small sushi restaurant on 18th. We sat at the bar upon my request, because I like to be where the fish is. Sushi is definetely cook's food. The fresh, meaty and briny pure taste of raw fish, mollusks and crustaceans is something those of taste (respectfully) can't resist. Now many drink sake with sushi, but tonight I had a couple of Sapporos. Served with our sushi (I had eel, soft shell crab and scallop), came the standard wasabi and pink pickled ginger. The wasabi allows the diner to attain the level of spicy-ness he or she desires, but the ginger serves the less obvious. DO NOT PUT GINGER ON YOUR FISH!!!!! God did not mean for these beautiful cuts of the sea to taste like sugar water, and that's all your doing when you combine the flavors. Pick up the piece of sushi, put it in your mouth and savor that fresh flavor. After it is finished, take a little piece of the ginger and put it in your mouth. It will clear it like the "backspace" button clears a sentence. Put another piece of that same sushi in your mouth, and you will understand why. It will taste like the first bite.
Friends, maximize your dining experience, palate, and your wallet. Clear your taste buds, and eat again. Whether it is a $17 glass of wine or a small piece of pickled ginger. If paired properly, they will change your eating experience.