21 (Thu) December 2017
Calamari di Fritti
-One Serendra, BGC, Taguig, Manila, Philippines-
“1989 – the number, another summer” – the year of Spike Lee’s masterpiece Do the Right Thing and Public Enemy’s epic theme song “Fight the Power” – the summer before my junior year of high school, I spent a long vacation in New York City.
It’s what inspired me to go to Columbia University – but that’s another story.
If only I’d held on to the 12″ single of “Fight the Power,” which I had purchased in the Crazy Eddie’s down the street from my aunt and uncle’s apartment on the Upper East Side (3rd and Lex). This was before vinyl became retro cool; it was still a viable medium back then – in fact, I didn’t even own a CD player yet.
I experienced calamari di fritti for the first time that summer, late at night with my cousin Keith in an underground rock club down in the Village. The fried squid went so perfectly with the beer, the first time to consider the concept of pairing food and drink – blew my mind. It was also the first time trying Corona Beer, which I’ll never forget because of the lemon-in-the-bottle thing, which seemed so utterly sophisticated in my impressionable youth – blew my mind. To this day, I can’t eat calamari di fritti or drink Corona Beer without thinking of Keith.
New York was much looser back then about allowing minors into clubs and letting them drink beer.
Yes, I was already drinking beer at age 16. Nobody seemed to mind, least of all my parents. It was the start of the path to full-blown alcoholism.