Most Winter Music Conference parties revolve around barely clad revelers hopped on stimulants dancing for hours next to a petri dish of a hotel pool.
So when Ali Shirazini, the DJ better known as Dubfire, who was once half of the iconic EDM duo Deep Dish, announced a invite-only party at Juvia on Wednesday evening atop the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage we wanted to see what foodie-producer had up his sleeve.
Shirazini's passion for food is well documented. Thumbing through his Instagram you can find shots of dishes from Noma, Rene Redzepi's Copenhagen restaurant voted best in the world by Restaurant magazine. As a part-time Barcelona resident Shirazini is also regular at Tickets, the restaurant run Albert Adria, the brother of Ferran Adria, often regarded as the world's most creative chef. His manager's told us that while touring his schedule is often dictated by the restaurants he wants to visit in the cities he's playing.
"Always before I head to the airport I like to grab a sandwich and juice to go," he said.
We recommended he visit Kevin Cory's NAOE, but when we warned Shirazini that it could be a three-hour-plus meal he scoffed, saying he's happily sat through six-hour tasting menus.
Spicy green papaya salad.
As a mostly European, music-industry crowd made their way onto Juvia's open terrace servers began circulating with trays of spicy green papaya salad with mango and hearts of palm in a sesame soy dressing. Skewers lined with grilled cubes of tenderloin and large spicy shrimp were fast sellers, as was a dime a dozen tuna tartar with red onion, seaweed and more soy dressing. Our favorite was the one-bite octopus ceviche with tender slices of tentacles, slivered red onion, white grapefruit segments and red onion.
Shirazini said he plans to one day open his own restaurant. He's got the chef - Nobutaka Ōhashi who each morning drives from his Yokohama restaurant to Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market to develop the day's 10-dish menu. All that remains is a location and business partners.
It will be "one of those place you come in and succumb to whatever he wants to serve you," he said.
Meanwhile, his label SCI+TEC in recent years has scaled back its participation in Winter Music Conference as the Internet displaced much of the dealmaking and educational programming that used to be conference's trademark.
"It's not very good, but for people who don't have a clue it may provide a nice starting point," he said. "It does promote dance music culture and a lot of people who play regularly in Ibiza come here, they bring their vibe, they bring their approach to how they do things."
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"I hope and pray," he added, "the people who are getting in via the Aviciis, Tiestos and Afrojacks will decide to dig below the surface and see that there's more interesting, more cerebral, more esoteric music."
For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.