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Stick It



Today’s blog is going to be nothing more than one huge push for Asqew Grill (asqewgrill.com), the local chain that has six locations in the city. Here’s why: Asqew is everything a food philistine could want. The business is local; the food is basic (skewers of grilled meat and fish, sides of starches and salads); the prices are reasonable; the brand is unglamorous but consistent in its delivery; and food snobs ignore it.
 
But the main reason why I love Asqew is because its meals embody what I think makes delicious food delicious. What might that be? you ask … Rare ingredients of only the highest quality? Time-consuming preparation? Fusionistic combinations that demonstrate flights of whimsy otherwise reserved for performance artists?
 
No. Contrast.
 
Imagine drinking down a big, tall glass of milk all by itself. Even if you like milk, it’s not such an appetizing thought. But add in the sticky, nutty sweetness of a PB&J sandwich, or the sugary chocolate crunch of a cookie, and suddenly the milk is ambrosia; its bland creaminess mixing with its opposites in your mouth, causing your tongue to perk up and say, “Hey! I didn’t know there was a party goin’ on!”
 
That’s what Asqew’s food has. The crunch of veggies against the softness of mashed potatoes or jasmine rice. The tanginess of a standard side of cabbage salad against the sweetness of the mango salsa that accompanies several of the skewers. The delicacy of the numerous seasonings they use on the grill vs. the charred edges of the meat. The contrast is even visual: broccoli, red peppers, zucchini, criminis line up next to the meat, forming their own little Rainbow Coalition.
 
Variety is the spice of life, and contrast is the spice of food. That’s why Asqew rocks.