Snorting Pixie Stix With The New Guard

Evil Clown.JPG
This evil clown hangs from the men's room wall at the Sanctuary and watches you while you piss.
The New Guard is a series of art events which showcase chefs, visual artists, and musicians. Sunday's episode took place at West Seattle's Sanctuary and featured the art of Chauncey Peck, the music of Christopher Mansfield, and the cuisine of Tyler Palagi and Garret Melkonian. The way New Guard works is, you check out the art before the food is served, then--once you've eaten dessert and are drunk and mired in a food coma--the musician (usually a dreamy, shoe-gazing melancholic) further lulls you to sleep.

Not that I'm complaining. Actually I AM complaining, but more on that later.

We started with a couple Kushi oysters: briny, fresh- tasting, and topped with a microscopic dice of cilantro stem and shallot. I really dig these miniature Pacific oysters; they're superior to the Gulf of Mexico oysters which taste like dirty horse cock.

A watercress salad hid creamy and earthy slivers of king oyster mushrooms. I didn't realize that oyster mushrooms had a king, but His Majesty was damn fucking tasty. Shards of fried pig ear gave a textural contrast. Those pig ears were awesome: not since the junior high shop class lecture on band saw safety has listening been so interesting.

Next up was an individual chicken breast roulade. Rolled into compact globes and concealing a secret forcemeat of chicken liver within themselves, these roulades were succulent. They were paired with a pile of crisp, vividly verdant and unapologetically bitter steamed broccoli rabe.

Dessert was a trio of appropriately avante-garde creations by Melkonian: a root beer "Pixie Stik" came in a tiny striped tube, capped with a miniscule cork. It was cute and all, with a high fidelity root beer flavor, but in general I prefer desserts that I don't have to lick off my hand. A rhubarb "crisp" featured a single cross section of rhubarb, pink and bracingly tart, in a sweet sauce, topped with a foamy oatmeal "crackling" that resembled a Munchos potato chip. The third dessert, a "foie gras Snickers bar," was a tiny conical tower of dark chocolate with a nutty crunch and the full, round and fatty flavor of foie. I bit this one in half to check out the filling but was immediately admonished by the chick who was handing them out.

"It's best if you just put the whole thing in your mouth," she said.

Sage advice I wish your mom would follow.

The New Guard is awesome and cutting edge and CHEAP: it's $50, though it's also BYOB. Sadly the evening was marred by the petulant bitching of musician Christopher Mansfield (previously known as Fences, hereafter known as the Muscial Douche), who refused to continue his set after only two songs because people were being too loud. I'm no music critic, but you don't get to act like Axl Rose until you're as RICH as Axl Rose.

I wish I was as rich as Axl Rose. Then I'd be able to snort Pixie Stix off your mom's ass any time.

Rating: 8 stix out of 10

The New Guard is held (mostly) monthly. Locations vary and reservations can be obtained here.

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