In Waves' Beginnings and the Tampa Food-Tour (featuring Jon Paul Douglass and his photography)

In Waves' Beginnings and the Tampa Food-Tour (featuring Jon Paul Douglass and his photography)

Tampa, Florida

Jon Paul Douglass is the man responsible for the gorgeous artwork on Trivium's In Waves. A while back, Trivium had a huge chunk of time home and I had just moved into the same building as JP - at that time, we'd go be gym-rats together, talking films, art, video games, and some of the draft ideas I had flowing for "the next Trivium album." We'd review some of my lyrical ideas, song titles, and themes on the cardio machines… head back to my place and play Call Of Duty Nazi Zombies for hours… eat dinner prepared by my wife or his girlfriend… then by night (when the girls had girls' nights) we'd watch films by directors like Lynch, Von Trier, Nolan, and other legends. JP's the one who introduced me to all those directors. There may have been a vaporizer present at times…

Could you say Willdug (as I call him since he has four first names: Jon Paul William Douglass) is responsible for showing me the path to what would become my inspiration for what inspired the latest Trivium album? God yes. I remember the film and night that changed it all for me… the visual display that showed me that Film-art is something of a reality (before this point, I did not get Blue Velvet - it made me mad the first time I saw it)...

Antichrist. Empire Szechuan. Pencil sharpener machine (code for the ol' vapor-boy). 

So there we were, at another plane of existence to say the least - chomping down on some of Central Florida's finest greasy-spoon, potentially MSG-full, NYC-style Chinese delivery service (the only delivery spot I think that would even deliver to our building) and the film begun. Not unlike the first time hearing metal for the first time with Metallica's Black Album, my cherry was burst (not from Willdug mind you…). I won't give away any plot or anything - but I'll say the film changed me. It taught me of a new source of inspiration that would eventually spiral into the creation of In Waves.

That film was the gateway drug that led me into wanting - needing more. We'd watch more of JP's picks, I'd get notes and lists of what to watch and just absorb this new medium I'd been completely unaware of until then. We started coming up with the fact that… maybe the new Trivium album should have the similarity to the frightening vision of the desolate nature-world of Antichrist - let's… "let things take their time" (as Danny Jones - artist extraordinaire who worked In Waves with JP - would say) and do it differently. The wheels were in motion now - our brains knew where the record needed to go - where the vision had to be. The most iconically important chapter of JP and I's eventually creation of the In Waves "world" was the trip to Bell, Florida. A creepy nature-realm where only Baptist churches and gas stations pepper the woods' dirt roads that eventually only led to more woods and dirt roads. It was at that spot where we created the early vision photos and videos and concepts of the world that became the Trivium record. The stories of Bell are for another day though… 

So yeah. Needless to say, we're buds. 

JP used to live in Tampa, and one day decided to take me on a man-trip/ food-tour of his old stompin' grounds. Our first stop was the Taco Bus, for Tampa's take on the traditional taco (the only real way to have a taco). I guess the spot started off initially as just a bus, but it is now a bus covered by an overhang, with an attached building. A bus/ food truck needing to expand is always a good thing. Double-layered tortilla, cilantro, onion, lime, meat. Rice and beans with queso fresco accompanied. That day, the Taco Bus was truly great. It was hard not to order the entire menu - but the plan was to eat at as many spots in a day as possible. We drive to our next spot.

First Choice BBQ is tucked away in the corner of a strip mall (Florida has lots of strip malls). The inside is old and warm. Office park-style ceilings, fluorescent lighting, newspaper ads under the table glass.. no frills, baby. You order at a counter that looks like a mall food-court in a mall that's… maybe been around for a long time… The chopped pork and sauce, served with more sauce on top with hamburger buns was some damn good BBQ. It's always the unassuming spots that wow you. 

Next, it was a small drive to the downtown area - with a Thai Tea for the road from a spot next to a head shop. Mema's Alaskan Tacos is in the area somewhere near the State Theater (a venue Trivium is quite familiar with). The Alaskan taco is a fried, crispy tortilla-shell with fish and cabbage and other bits tucked inside. The crunch of the taco shell went fantastically with the soft fish within. My introduction to the Alaskan Taco was a pleasant one. 

The Bricks is a restaurant/ bar/ coffee shop owned by the people who own/ owned the skate park Jon Paul used to tear up on his board. Really great priced, casual bites here - with an alright drink selection. The only bummer of this place:

I ask the waitress politely, "What beer do you recommend between this one… and this one?"

"I don't drink." My emotionless server responds.

I respond "Oh… alright, um… I'll take a Sierra then."

Planning my meal... "Between this sandwich and this one… which do you think is the best?"

The answer: "Uh… I don't eat meat."

"Oh… okay. Sorry about that… I'll have this one then." My reply.

She then scribbles it down and walks away. 

Alright. I get it. If you don't drink and don't eat meat… awesome for you - but if you work at a restaurant, at least be semi-aware of how to recommend or help guide patrons to a decision that may make their night. Have beliefs and opinions on people that eat meat and drink? Don't work at a freaking place that serves either. Go sell lettuce at a lettuce bar. Let's not be rude here… I've been to plenty of restaurants with fully knowledgable servers who are vegetarian or sober who can at least get the lowdown from the chef or other servers - without shoving their belief system down your throat with a judging look and/ or comment. Didn't Anthony Bourdain say that there is a direct correlation between the sense of humor of a person and their meat intake? Yeah… there - it was true. 

The food? Real good. Simple, unpretentious (the food in this case), and at a price-point that I was quite impressed with (I felt a venue like this one could have charged a bit more - but thankfully didn't).  

On our walk back to the parking garage, Willdug pointed out some of the old spots he would frequent back in the day… dancin' up a storm and raging (in his own special raging sort of way). It was a great insight into seeing the place where a dear friend sorta grew up. We drove back pleasantly full and buzzed and called it a day. 

Thouth By Thouthwetht (day 2)

Skrillex - SXSW


Austin, Tx

SXSX Acoustic:

Day 2. I woke up in my impossibly shitty hotel (Homestead Suites at 507 something… a mile from the goodness of SXSW) that was priced at $250 bucks (as compared to their normal $80-something). Front desk said (even though the dude who checked me in at 1am said I'd have till 1pm) said I needed to be out by noon… I was informed that the guy who checked me in didn't' even work at the hotel - well… how the fuck did he swipe my card then? Whatever… I was out. 

Popped by the bus - found it essentially a grave yard… passed out pirates and socks lined the bunk halls. Fortunately, Rob and Joey were keen on a walk into town for some grub. Our mission today was simple: no friggon restaurants… only trucks. Trucks dammit!

We walked a little over a mile to get to Naan Stop, an Indian truck that came highly rated on all our internet sources. I was greeted by a very friendly woman working the window - I asked her what's the best - my prescription was the Parantha Roll with a mixture of Paneer and Chicken. What's funny about Naan Stop is that they don't have naan necessarily… but instead the parantha bread instead. It's like a burrito tortilla but made of naan-type material. My chicken and paneer was heavenly - it's like a home-made hand rolled taco… but with a burrito-sized home. The chicken and paneer (which I think is some sort of special cheese or cheese curd - somewhere between the texture of feta cheese and tofu) came in a (what I thought) was perfectly mild sauce. I guess it was really spicy judging by the mild-tear up by Rob and Joey from theirs. Really slamming. 

Today was eating for sport day… we then immediately headed to Chi'lantro for some Korean/Mexican fusion. I went for the beef and pork bulgogi tacos. Bulgogi is the Korean marinade for their meats - great stuff. It came in the traditional Mexican-fashion of double-tortilla, tons of chopped cilantro. I went for the added kimchi on top (fermented cabbage in a spicy Korean sauce). These were some meaty-ass tacos for 6 bucks. 

Immediately after that - we saw there was a Whole Foods mini-compound really close by. Rob and I are very much so into Kombuchas and homeopathic and holistic goodies; the 3 of us very much so into juices and such - so we popped in to see what the Whole Foods mini-world had to offer.

They had a charging station… fueled by solar panels… food truck, juice bar, quick snacks - they had it all. Whole Foods always seems to be on their game with offering rad things. I was stuffed to heck… and they didn't have any homebrew Kombucha - so I got a GT's Kombucha Trilogy and we were on our way to the Court Yard park for some radio promo with Stalker Radio. 

We got a little lost, then were a little early - so we popped into Halcyon for some coffees. Halcyon is a cool local coffee place that prides itself on selling vices bad for you: coffee, booze, cigarettes - ha! I stuck with an iced coffee - we chatted, met up with Paolo and Corey, then were on our way for some promo. The interview with Stalker went fantastically - really quality questions; we were by the stage that the Kaiser Chiefs and Keane were about to play on… but had to head back to the hotel to rehearse for our acoustic performance coming up at JR's.

On our walk back, we passed Madeline Creamery and couldn't pass it up. My selection: Candied Bacon and Maple; Mango, Saffron and Pistachio. Insanely great. I love local, small-batch, home made ice cream - I am a sucker for it. Pistachio has recently become a major favorite of mine - this one had large hunks of the nut in it - the subtle saffron complimented… mango was something you noticed on the finish. Candied bacon and maple was something that would have went delightfully with bourbon. 

Making our way back into the front lounge at our spot at that shot-ass Homestead, we rehearsed a batch of songs to see if they'd even work as acoustics. We had our normal 3 down: "Built," "Maiden," "Dying." But we tried out "In Waves," "Like Light To The Flies" and "Black." Obviously (if you went to the 3-song show) only the normal 3 worked out. 

Next - I figured I'd grab an abbreviated yoga-session and a quick shower. It can't ever be that simple on the road though, can it? Kids ask… "what're the bad parts about touring?" Well here's one:

You walk into your shared hotel room/shower room/toilet room. You share it with your entire band and crew (10 people in this case) and there it is… smelling like a combination of moth-balls, distilled/pickled vinegar; there are body-waste-streaked towels strewn across the bed, counter, sinks, fridge, TV; there is garbage everywhere but the trash can - half drank beers, sodas, chips, rotting fast food… there is freshly caked facial hair clogging the sink - long hair smashed and stuck against the mirror… in the shower, there's freshly trimmed ball and ass hair lining the entire (already filthy) tub. More hair clumped on the walls. There are toiletries everywhere… and filth and stickiness and other grotesque nonsense. 

I flip. I send a mass text (we communicate via mass text on tour) a really scathing threat to everyone who lives on our bus basically that if this happens again - Trivium won't be forking over the money for day room/shitter/shower rooms for ingrates. It was pretty vicious. Deservingly so in my opinion.

I clean the room up myself… do some yoga, shower, then prep to head back into town again.

We make plans to meet up at East Side King (a place recommended to me by a chef in Orlando, Tony Adams - who runs Big Wheel; and several of Rob's friends in town). Paolo, Joey and I luckily grab a cab and head to Liberty Bar (where East Side King resides in it's backyard). Liberty is a rad spot - hip kids fill the joint; it's away from the hustle and bustle of out-of-towners flooding the streets of the main drags of SXSW. However - this place is packed with the more-so locals. 

We head into the back yard where one of the billions of indie-bands of SX is playing - and line up. The line doesn't move… 5… 7 minutes. Unyielding. We grab some Fire Eagle IPAs hoping to pass the time… then we notice stage time is creeping up - we have to pack up and call it a loss. We were bummed.

We luck out - there is a sister location only a minute walk away! We get to the Ruckle (?) location and line up… the kid opens the window "Uh… we're closed for 45 minutes or so." Defeated, we slunk away with lowered heads and collapsed shoulders.

The walk to JR's revealed tons of encampments of food trucks - some promising-looking, some dismal. Eventually after 3 or so of these clusters, we hit a decent looking batch. My cohorts (Joey, Justin, Paolo and Rob) all grab something from one spot… I stop at Love Balls (yes… Love Balls). Love Balls does Tako-Yaki - Japanese dough balls with bits of octopus inside, usually some bonito flakes on top, okonomi-sauce on top. These are very different from their Osakan-origins - they look the same… but are a little more grilled, a little less quick and efficient than the classic… but nevertheless, real good stuff. My 6 bucks gets me 6 tako-yaki balls; 4 bucks get me Yaki-Onigiri. Onigiri is a hand-made rice triangle… something mothers usually make their kids and pop in their lunch boxes. My mom would make this a lot when I was a kid. 

The onigiri here didn't have any ume-boshi or salmon inside… but was grilled in garlic and laid on top of big nori - this was a delightful, simple little dish. It was just fried rice triangles with some soy and garlic, and it was really something fantastic. I think my buddies wish they got what I did.

Wandering to Jr's full and tired… we pass more and more people and music - the ears were starting to ring; the stomach starting to whimper in fullness.

I was pretty nervous when we showed up to JR's. I knew there'd be quite a few Trivium kids expecting full Trivium… not an acoustic 3/4's of Trivium. When we arrived, Turbo Geist was wailing away another high-energy set of aggressive/melodic punk. Man… I see why this is the "old" Emo's. It's a junk-pile if you're in a band. Our drum tech apparently had his dick grabbed by another patron at the urine-trough… he had to pin the dude against a wall with a fist cocked… only to have the dude try to grab it again, duck out and run off. 

As we warmed up and changed and all - The Soldier Thread delivered a great acoustic set. TST is another 5B artist who, I've unfortunately never been able to see a full-band set of. I've only caught their acoustic set twice - but it is great. Female fronted… dancey/poppy Indie? 

Since the only men's toilet had brown-liquid and teeth and beer bottles inside of it… I had to sneak into a nearby hotel to use their facilities. There's another shot-fact of touring life: the bathroom scene. People - don't take your office toilet for granted… most of the time we have to share a toilet with 50-pigs who have the urine-stream of a garden sprinkler. Sanitary, right?

The room was more packed than it was the whole day for our set. Granted - we only delivered 3 songs… but I was able to chat a lot more than the usual Trivium set to due the casual-nature of the acoustic performance. The friends that showed up were amazing - we had an amazing performance and were off sooner than we knew it. 

More industry friends and band friends to catch up with… then we popped across the street to check out the Sumerian Showcase to see our new friends in Asking Alexandria. 

Now - I know metal purists are iffy on them… hell - those same metal-purist pricks are iffy on us. AA delivered what was the most intense set I've ever seen them deliver. Danny was a lethal front man that night… delivering crushing screaming, brilliantly-punk-raw charged singing - he even had the crowd tear down the fences that encircled their stage. They did great. 

My booking agent Tim forced some Jack shots down our throats… we had a buncha beers - then heard Skrillex was playing at JRs! We caught up with our buddies from Upon A Burning Body… then went to catch some Skrillex.

Right before them… I got to see the juggalo-tastic Doctor Doom? (I think it was them… something gangster rap with a white dude with a weird mo-hawk thing - he had a sick rap voice… but wow - not my cup of tea). 

Hate on Skrillex all ya like kids… the dude deserves all the great things that are coming his way. He makes what he wants, the way he wants it… I heard he lived from floor to floor in between the time of From First To Last and Skrillex - and now? He's on top of the world. A mid-twenty-something kid with multiple grammies, selling out places all over the globe. I am damn proud of him. He is making great music for people to have good times. His set was pummeling-loud and a great time for all who were there. 

It was time for food again. I got a second order of the Naan Stop chicken and parantha and we were on our way to some tent with Andrew WK playing. 

Shiner Bocks were the best looking thing on the menu… and with em in hand, we saw the party-metal-kings take the stage. I've never been to an AWK show… and it was everything I ever heard and thought it would be: basically a nutty-ass party. People flying around, everyone pumping fists - just a party all around really. 

He headed to Cheers to meet up with Sam from Asking and had our final drinks and then a walk back to the bus for a long sleep before the next show. 

All in all… I ate… I drank… I watched bands… I bro'd down… success. 


San Francisco

Today was my tattoo day. Tomorrow was Ashley's turn. Our two dear friends from Seattle, Megan and Evan were in town on their cross-country honeymoon, and met us up for hanging and eating. 

We decided to take them to Nopalito (the local, organic, amazing Mexican place that Ashley and I flipped over last time or so that we were in SF) for dinner. Nopalito is always nice and busy - people chowing down on smaller/medium-sharing-sized plates of Mexican specialties. 

Unfortunately - when you get tattooed for most of the day - you usually don't feel right at the end of the night… sometimes the endorphins work to your favor and stick around… sometimes those jerks leave you and let you get spacey. I wanted to tough it out and hang and rage and all that… but I think I faded and crashed pretty hard towards the end of the meal… but we'll save that for later.

What I love about Nopalito is that everything can be shared - and that everything feels that it should be. The seating is all semi-close to other seating (without being too close for most of the areas), the cooking-area is openly visible, the plates are smaller and priced-well to the point that you can order lots and try lots (I always want to try as many things as possible when eating anywhere), and the restaurant is usually filled with a bit of music and the conversations of happy patrons. 

We went up to the bar and waited for our tables - everyone ordered their cocktails - I had the Bloody Maria (Pueblo viejo blanco, tomato, orange, spices) - rocking Nopalito-version of the Bloody Mary. We all caught up and drank and waited for our table to open up. 

Once seated (between couples of strangers), the four of us began picking our selections of the night: Totopos Con Chile (tortilla chips, salsa de arbor, cotija cheese, crema and lime), Gordita De Picadillo (fried tortilla pocket, grass-fed beef, potato, carrot, redbird pinquito beans, queso fresco and salsa de venas), Empanada Con Deshebrada De Res (fried masa pastry, grass-fed beef, tomato, jalapeno, cabbage, avocado, queso fresco and salsa molcajte), Ceviche Verde De Pescado Y Calamare (marinated rock cod, calamari, lime, tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips, Mole Poblano Con Pollo (sauce of toasted chiles, chocolate, cinnamon, nuts, sesame seeds, onion, seared chicken breast and rice), and finally - Carne Asada Con Nopales Y Chorizo (grilled skirt steak, cactus, pasilla chile, onion, chorizo, queso fresco and pico de gallo).

I've mentioned at length the last time I covered Nopalito's how much I am in love with their Totopos Con Chile: soft, traditional cheese; a good amount of crisp off the salty chips - the lime adds this slight moisture that takes it all to another level as well texturally. Nopa's Ceviche was fresh, and exciting. You could really single out each of the flavors in there. The Cod had a softer texture, the calamari and obvious naturally-chewier thing going on… avocado and lime and cilantro couldn't go better with the duo.

The empanada was quite different from the Cuban-style I am so accustomed to (being from Florida) - it was more like a giant hardshell taco - which is not a problem. It's amazing that each dish at the restaurant almost seems to have it's own salsa that goes with that dish - this super crunchy empanada was pretty rocking. The gordita had a similar super-crunchy house to the meat, versus the softer brethren I have consumed in the past - nonetheless - great as well. 

The steak and chicken mains were… too much food at this point. If you look up only a few paragraphs and see that grocery-list of ingredients we were intending on consuming - you can sympathize with our fullness. Since all the blood was in my stomach digesting by this point, and no longer focusing on sending their red and white goodness over to my open-wound arm… I started gettin' a little rough (maybe it was the Bloody Maria and the Negras…) I unfortunately can't describe the mains with proper justice due to my state.

I think I started getting in that paranoid-drunk-type-state with Megan even… I was hallucinatory almost - I think I was hearing her saying things to me that she wasn't. Kids - don't drink after a day of tattooing. Sorry for being a whacko Megan…. Ha… 

Then again - if you can't be a whacko to your friends… who can ya be a whacko to?


Canon in D Major traded for Ragged Wood

Gluttony In Seattle part V

After our bountiful feast of what had to have been more than 15 or so different things, it was time to head to Sambar, all our Seattle-friends' favorite cocktail bar in the States. We were told that this place was unlike any cocktail bar we would have been to. 

We made our way to a tiny bar, tucked away in a neighborhood, adjoined to a fancy French place. Everyone was stoked to bring us here - apparently the bartender here goes beyond mixologist, he's sort of a doctor of cocktails. You tell him what liquor you like… or even what mood you're in…and he knows what kind of drink you need.Mixology is no easy feat - you can't just work in a bar, shake some random ingredients together and pull something great out of your ass - you really need to know your stuff. 

Just as Staple was rather inexplicable due to the nature of the presentation of courses being an onslaught of delicious courses - this was similar. My first drink was I believe the bartenders take on a Corpse Reviver - only different. I mentioned my taste leaning towards classic cocktails, Pre-Prohibition-style… maybe something like an Aviation - and he delivered that tasty elixir. 

Everyone passed around everyone's drinks to sample everything that was being sucked down - each cocktail had such a distinctly different flavor, even using such subtly different ingredients. 

I used to not get cocktails - I was convinced a cocktail was something strictly limited to what I was used to drinking down in our freezing tiny Chevy conversion van back in the days of yore: warm or cold Jack (depending on the weather outside) with flat soda from a big liter jug; Jaeger and room-temperature orange juice (which shares a striking resemblance to diarrhea) poured into a red plastic cup. Now that I've taken the blue pill (or was it the red pill? It's been a while since the 90's) - I've seen the light that the right cocktail, at the right place - is like… an adult soda. 

For my next drink, I told the bar tender to make me whatever he likes - and that I'd be stoked regardless of what it was. I've heard of deconstruction of foods, but not drinks - here we had: a glass of house made ginger beer (non-alcoholic, but totally made in-house), and a glass of some kind of rum that I can't recall the name of.  

Separately, it was like a glass of succulent fire-water and then a glass of sparkling honey-soda… but sipped one after the other - a sort of magic happens. You could mix the two, but what was really fun about it was to taste the components totally separate, each living in it's own home - this "cocktail" awoke something in my taste-bud-brain-reflex.

The six of us were well lit-up by this point - happily (loudly) chatting about our lives back home and abroad, about other times we've eaten and drank around the world, and how fuckin-good each of our drinks were. 

Once again, I asked the barkeep for anything - to make something up on the spot even. Unfortunately in the business of being in consuming copious amounts of food and alcohol, you sort of lose your way sometimes in writing down what something was in your notes - so… I'm going off guessing what this iPhone photo is showing me. 

The next deconstuction-sort-of-modern-art drink thing that was presented to me was a glass of clear rum (from some South American country) and a plate with oil and ginger shavings (maybe some garlic too) and a skewer of tomatoes and blood orange. You take a bite (or a drink) and then drink (or bite). I love the fact that you can find quality drinks just like you can food - and when you're doled out something like this, something so vividly different than what you imagine a drink could be - it's what lights me up. 

Another beautiful time with some fantastic people. 

From here, we stopped by a local grocer - and - inspired by Sambar, I picked up ingredients to make Aviations (gin, maraschino liqueur, creme' de violette, lemon) at Sean's place… my mixology skills (or lack-thereof) were lackluster by that point-of-drunkenness,  to say the least. 

The next day was wedding day. The entire day from start to finish was remarkable - a wedding I'll certainly never forget.

I got to DJ the whole thing too… so I had a damn good time.

The next morning, it was a final meal at Citizen: Huevos Rancheros with Potatoes. The potatoes were rosemary-covered, the tortilla had black beans, avocados, cilantro and eggs and white cheese - pico on top. Rockin. I always want huevos rancheros. 

Thanks for the grub, Seattle.

Mas Mexicana, Fleet Foxes, and Kiichi the DJ

Gluttony In Seattle part III

Good Mexican food is something I don't have in Orlando. I am not into gringo-Mex. I don't know why traditional Mexican preparations have been so warped to appease the taste-buds of the standard American-pallete. I hope everyone who has really fantastic Mexican food where they live, really backs that place - tell your friends about it, go splurge some bucks there - let's keep these culinary traditions alive. I am so completely in love with Mexican food, culture, drinks - it's got to be one of my favorite styles of food on the globe. 

For some reason, Seattle has a lot of really great Mexican food. As you've seen in parts I and II of this Seattle-bonanza, we have eaten our fair share of Mexican-food… there is much more to come.

Our hotel was slightly off the beaten path of the food spots in Ballard, so we had to make due with what was within walking distance - luckily for us, there was a really killer place, Citizen - very close. Citizen is very much so like something you'd expect to see in Seattle… a old building - bought and refurbished to still have the exposed duct-work-style loft, serving great coffee, with fashionable servers. 

We start with coffee and juice - into my main: The Cowboy Egg Casserole. Layered corn tortilla, pork sausage, eggs, poblano, jalapeno peppers and cheese. Served with black beans, creme fraiche and their own pico de gallo. This was a cake. A monster portion of breakfast goodness. It was basically the Mexican/Seattle take on the breakfast casserole - a meaty chunk of a corn-cake featuring all those flavors and substances that just go so well together. One person alone shouldn't be able to conquer that feat alone - but I had to. Filling. Great.

We decided to walk from our area over to the Fisherman's Market, which was quite a walk - but I felt I needed it after that gorge-session. 

I didn't venture to it this time, but in the Pike Place market, if you are approaching it from the Showbox theater… take a right into the meat vendor, look to your left a bit - and there's a tiny little counter run by a Filipino family. Apparently the place has been in business since like - the 70's or something. I had the privilege of eating there a few years back and was blown away. Try it if you're by it.  

We trekked back to the hotel after a few hours of wandering, then grabbed a cab closer to the area where Evan and Megan lived (today was the day before the wedding day by the way). At the rehearsal the night before, I remarked: "Ya know… it seems people always overlook music at a wedding. I think you guys really should have someone running the whole thing…. I could do it if you didn't have anyone in mind." Luckily they didn't, and I was able to give my warm-up shot of being a wedding DJ. Much of the actual ceremonial procession music had been planned by to-be Bride and Groom - and it was carefully selected Fleet Foxes tracks - I practice the fade ups, downs, and cues nervously the night before twice with the wedding party… and I felt ready by the day of.

That morning, I made a few playlists (that are on my Spotify account: kiichichaosreigns): "Evan/Meg Wedding (Reception Order)," "Evan/Meg Wedding (Chill-er Music)," and the appropriately named, "Evan/Meg Wedding (Dance-ass Muzak)." 

Evan recommended one of his personal favorites to have lunch at - so me and Ash made our way to El Camion, a Mexican food truck in a parking lot. This place was amazing. Just a few random tables with umbrellas, some trash cans, and the black truck, billowing it's aroma of traditional Mexcian-specialties. We had: The Gorditas: Three thick handmade tortillas, covered with grilled onions, cotija cheese, salsa verde and avocado, three flavors: the Adobada, Chorizo, and Carne Asada; all guzzled down with a house-made Horchata. If I had to pick a favorite amongst the tortilla-style Mexicana, it would without a doubt be the Gordita. It's like the traditional taco, just thicker - fried- a cake of goodness. Crispy, puffy, air-filled tortilla, The Chorizo was salty and perfect - the right amount of crisp and chew in the sausage; pulled apart and served in delicious-clumps. Carne Asada was done perfectly, the simple toppings went very well. Typically, the taco is onion, cilantro, meat, no cheese, lime, and two tortillas… with this Gordita, it was grilled onions and avocado slices - really a hearty vegetable combo. The adobada had a pleasant spice and was not unlike Al Pastor-style marinating. 

Horchata can be made with several different ingredients ranging from almonds, rice, sesame seeds, or barley - I am not totally clear on what this home made Horchata was - but it was like a thin milkshake. Sweet, nutty, cool and refreshing. When I say thin milkshake - I mean that the texture was in between regular milk and a milkshake, leaning towards the former; exactly what was necessary during this unseasonably hot Northwest weather.

All in all, El Camion is a fantastic Mexican food truck.

For dinner, we were all to meet up at Staple and Fancy - something that the soon-to-be-wed couple swore would be the best meal of the whole trip. We were soon to find out.