After almost a decade, the public face of Home Plate Bar-B-Que and winner of the Beijinger Reader Bar and Club Awards Personality of the Year in 2012, Seth Grossman, is heading home to New York. Before he goes, Seth tells us what he’ll miss besides all that cooked meat.

I would choose the square between the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. I always enjoyed it most on a hot summer night with a group of friends, sitting on what could only be described as children’s furniture, surrounded by men with big bottles of Yanjing, their faces red, their shirts pulled up to reveal their bellies, a mixture of cigarette and chuan’r smoke filling the air, a TV hanging off a tree, screaming kids, and bowls and plates the size of a little girl’s tea set, wrapped in plastic so they can charge you that extra kuai.

For a special treat, I’d have barbecue dumplings filled with Home Plate Bar-B-Que meats. From my time living in the hutongs of Gulou, I would add a few dishes of noodles from the amazing Noodle Inn, near Dali Courtyard, run by the front man of Mi San Dao, one of Beijing’s oldest and best known punk bands. I’d also have some Shanghai tang bao from that place in Sanlitun, across the street from Taikoo Li Sanlitun South.

Main Course
I was first introduced to the pleasures of Xinjiang cuisine when I lived in Haidian, so we’d be having big plates of lamb spiced to perfection, paired with chaomianpian’r, and a big round wheel of naan bread to sop it up. Back when I lived in Shuangjing there was only one bar south of Guomao called the Together Bar that let you order food from next door. There, they made a unique chicken and potato dish that was to die for, so add that to the menu. And there was a restaurant in Jianwai Soho toward the back that served a Sichuan dish called cuipi laziji, a boneless chicken dish surrounded in red peppers so spicy that it was like a battle in your mouth, requiring multiple bottles of iced green tea.

Last but not least I’d have an array of dim sum fun and Guangdong desserts from Jin Ding Xuan near Yonghe-gong to round out the meal.

Music would have to include Helen Feng and Nova Heart, as well as the Hot Club, Residence A, and Bad Mamasan. The rest of the entertainment would arise just from watching the people of Beijing go by, doing their thing, keeping it real. I would love to invite all the wonderful people who touched my life here. That’s a big crowd, but it would be an amazing party.

Photos: Judy Zhou

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