A Quick Bite Of Omaha
Omaha. This is the kind of town that you ask the typical Metal-touring band what they ate or did and you’ll get some bitchy-unsatisfied answer back. And you know why? It’s because they’re too lazy to get off their ass and walk into to town… to see what the locals eat.
Omaha was an off-date of Mayhem. The show was at some venue that I can’t recall the name of, but the line up was In Flames, Trivium, Kingdom of Sorrow and Straight-line Stitch. It was hot. Unmercifully hot. That whole damn Mayhem tour was 100-120 degrees every day… 7/8th’s of it in swampy-humidity. The only cure for all that for me is good food. All my troubles are washed away with great food (as you know already).
Corey, Paolo, and I were hungry and not content with the standard grey-meat rider-sandwich; so we grabbed a cab and headed into the center of town.
We randomly stumbled upon M, a New American style place: nice branding, well designed menus, good fonts (no stretched, underlined, or outlined words), exposed brick, wood, exposed vents, some stainless steel, clean design, open kitchen viewing, un-pretentiously dressed servers (not a fan of ties, penguin-suits, etc)… basically all the hints to me of a good spots for food.
We shared the Original Lahvosh - an Aremenian cracker with havarti cheese, topped with scallions. The havarti had a real nice punch of tanginess and a slight bitterness that blended with the crispy bread. A simple dish that packed a lot of flavors - a real trio pleaser.
I decided to go with all the specials of the day: since it was hot, a Mango Gazpacho soup with pickled ginger. So far M has been showing me that with a few simple ingredients, they can really show off a dish. This gazpacho was something unique and significantly special. A nice creamy, but still translucent soup - sweetness from the mango, the cucumbers playing the neutral, and that pickled ginger: damn good. I’m Japanese. I’m a sucker for pickled ginger done right. Well played M.
My main was the Smoked Salmon and Bacon wrap in a spinach tortilla with cream cheese, avocado, sprouts and polenta fries. Awesome. I loved the description… it’s really what hooked me. The combo all seemed sort of odd - smoked salmon and bacon? Maybe it’s been done - but I hadn’t had it till then. This thing was fun - it was a great spin on doing something like a wrap and fries… but totally their own way. The saltiness from both the salmon and bacon paired with that avocado and cream cheese real well. The polenta fries had a texture of fries and baked italian bread. The aioli worked great on all of it.
Since this could possibly be the only outing of the day (the venue was a little far, our show a little late) I opted that we share deserts. It was a trio: Zucchini Chocolate cake with olive oil ice cream, Basil Shortbread cookie with watermelon sorbet, sea salt and chopped mint; Pecan tart with rosemary. Man… I still remember these tastes perfectly- and it’s been a while since that show. My time with M was short - but I loved M and miss M. M got me truly into the mixing of savory into deserts. The mix of their olive oil ice cream with zucchini chocolate cake was a subtle introduction to the savory/sweet-play - the olive oil ice cream went flawlessly when eaten with the cake (the zucchini is really subtle); the basil shortbread cookie with watermelon sorbet was my absolute favorite. Probably my favorite desert of the year. At first taste, you taste sweetness from the shortbread and watermelon… but then you notice the intensity of the sea-salt. It’s in little chunks of sea salt - the mint finishes it up with all mint’s earthy-spice. The pecan tart blended the two flavors very well for a medium-balance of the savory/sweet.
I think M is what really awakened my taste buds for juxtaposition. I love contrast in music and in tastes of all things in life, and that little cookie with pink sorbet on top changed the game for me. If you can make it out to M just for that little flavor-experience… do it.
We slowly waddled back to the center of town, grabbed a cab and hung at the venue till hunger struck again.
Me and P wanted dinner - we decided for another random trek to see what we’d discover.
Los Portales. The opposite end of the spectrum in comparison to M. But is it really? A local joint that specializes in what it does right. Still very Omaha.
We had chips and salsa that came out of these little syrup-type-diner-dispensers… good stuff - a solid chip. Tacos: made from scratch corn tortillas with onion, cilantro and lime. I went for Al Pastor, Chorizo, and Carnitas. Just a great, simple taco place. All done just as well as anywhere else I’ve had it.
Time to head back, warm up, play. Omaha treated us right in the food department.