L'Auberge Saint-Gabriel, Koko, Juste Nouilles


For some reason, as a person and as a band - I/we used to hold a massive misconception of Canada. We used to get bummed when we'd have to do the trek over the border into our Northern neighbor. It may have been due to the fact that first several shows we played in all provinces of Canada - the shows were always lined with disaster.

I recall on the Dillinger Escape Plan tour (Trivium was first of 4, Read Yellow second, The End direct support, DEP headlining) that the crowd hated us. I think one night they sat on the floor during our set (that may have been Montreal), in Toronto on that tour, the local sound guy started literally throwing our drum kit pieces around after our set… I exchanged some words with a woman there who was the promoter rep (I wish I remembered her name - I'd happily write it down with her cell phone number if I had it all) - I said "We have never been treated this badly - I will be having a word with our booking agent." Her response was something along the lines of "Fuck you kids - get the fuck out of my club - I am going to end your career in Canada. No one will ever book you again!" The security guards swarmed around as all 4 of us Triviums got in a screaming match with the venue - then were basically thrown out. 

Every time we've ever crossed into Canada - for some reason, their border guards are harder on us than even in Eastern European countries whose border guards carry machine guns (this is still a fact for us). We've had tours in a van with drives so long in Canada that we spent the nights sleeping in freezing Tim Horton's parking lots - selling about a t-shirt a night, not even coming close to be able to cover a tank of gas.

First time we played Quebec City, supporting In Flames in '06 - I was actually egged. People threw raw eggs at me. The very first time we were ever in Canada… I remember we went to a strip club at 8:30am after eating at a Pizza Pizza - awful. I'm talkin shark-bites and coat-hanger scar F-minus squad… Bad times.

So maybe it was all of the above that created that initial misperception of Canada… 

However! Very shortly after 06/07 - Canadian Trivium fans began overtaking the volume of Trivium-fans in the USA even. We started having some of the best damn shows in North American in Canada exclusively. We would have the highest merch numbers of entire tours in places like Edmonton; have entire crowds singing guitar parts as loud as the PA. It was starting to come around.

When my love for food started coming around, and then my serious blogging - it was really on the Dream Theater tour (at least for the first time in North America/ Canada for my bloggin-era) - I started seeing better areas of Canada. I started noticing that the major cities were on an economic upswing… the cities looked futuristic (Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto) - the shows were beginning to over-sell-out. 

The venue area we were playing on the DT tour was insanely gorgeous. All museums, restaurants, new buildings, all sorts of exciting and new looking things. One of my uncles lives out in Montreal - and he knows all about my obsession for food.

I met my uncle at a location of his picking: L'Auberge Saint-Gabriel. I think this place is like - one of the oldest restaurants in Montreal. On the outside, it looks like a country-side vineyard - but also sort of like Bilbo Baggins' house in Lord Of The Rings. Inside, you are greeted with some intensely cool stuff: glass containers display their charcuteries being made; there is a giant spinal column on display; these odd elk-bodies conjoined at the head with a singular light bulb as it's shared head. It's like a modern art museum in this old building. 

The menu design looks like a minimalistic Mastodon album-cover; the fonts, the lighting, the interior - it's all a mix of country-side rustic and modern art museum. Glancing at the menu, you know this is some seriously good stuff - we are brought a fancy water bottle reading "Eau Filtree" and slamming French bread. 

I start with a glass of the house red (not sure what it was - but it was damn good and damn buzz-inducing (especially at 12pm)) - my starter was the Beef Tataki: meaux/arugula cannily, marinated mushrooms and tomato confit. The presentation of this entree' was art in itself: every ingredient displayed on a heavy black stone… the meat was very lightly seared, insanely tender (sashimi-tender, almost), all the components of the dish both aesthetically complimenting each other while certainly complimenting each other's taste. The use of a small amount of sea salt on the meat was all that was needed, the rustic vegetables all played off of one another.

The main for my lunch was Moussaka with tomato/cucumber salad and mint. If you haven't had moussaka before… it's a dish found in several middle eastern cultures - sort of a cross between lasagna and shepherd's pie. Saint-Gabriel's came in it's own cute-little mini baking dish - the cheese and eggplant were gooey and wonderful - the meat (it was most likely lamb) in that crumbly ground-beef texture. This thing was stupidly good. 

When at a place as good as this - you gotta have some sweets. I finished up with a chocolate cake with cream and a cappuccino. Pleasantly harder on the outside, molten-moist on the inside; airy (but thick) cream complimented so well. All their dishes look like little works of art delivered on their heavy black/grey stone plates.  The cappuccino was even something special.

This place is intensely freaking good. Get over there.

After a wonderful catch up, my uncle and I went our separate ways, I hit up the modern art museum for a fantastic wander for a few hours,Trivium had an incredible gig - then it was after party time…

We have some really great friends in Montreal that we typically meet up with for food and drinks after the show. Some of the group went to a rock bar, me and a very small-group went to a place called Koko. 

I've never been to a bar this fancy. It's basically an ultra-lounge where the coolest of the cool of Montreal come to spend way too much money. Don't get me wrong - this was a fun spot… but it's not something for me, or most. The clientele looked like something out of a rap video: it was all models, aspiring actors and actresses, the super-rich and famous of the young Montreal scene. It certainly was amazing to be able to experience this kind of life for a night though.

Since my friends in Montreal are so plugged into the scene there - it was all free drinks (and free drinks in a "bottle bar" are something pretty uncommon). A bottle bar is somewhere where you have to buy a bottle of Grey Goose marked up to 200-400 bucks a pop just to claim a spot to hang out at. It was all blaring club music and sniffling, sparkling boys and girls. I met a lot of people in suits more expensive than my guitar all from ultra-rich families from Africa and the Middle East. 

That was a time-warp for a metal kid from the 'burbs.

I got super-frickin plastered on Vodka/Soda/Limes and Moet and it was time to head off. I don't often drink Vodka… but it seems that each time I do - it's a loud-Heafy-insane night; thankfully - there was close by late-night Asian noodle places.

We hit Ivy on the way out for another beer or something… then to Juste Nouilles for Phad Thai and Fried Rice. I have a passionate obsession with greasy, traditional, late night drunken-Asian noodles and rice - this place frickin ruled. It was all smashed Asian kids chowing down on greasy, fantastic street food-style noodles. We inhaled our 5-pound plates of noodles and rice and stumbled back to the bus so I could hit the coffin. 

Montreal - you are truly a fantastic place. A'bientot. 


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. 

Thouth By Thouthwetht (day 1)


Austin, Tx


The last time Trivium played SXSW was 2005 on the Road Rage Tour at what is now the "new" Emo's. I vaguely remember the performance, but it was alongside Still Remains, The Agony Scene and Three Inches Of Blood. Although having only played once on SXSW, I am very much so aware that it is basically where all the music world of the US (and the rest of the globe) combine onto the streets of Austin for several days of music, food, booze and schmooze. 

Initially, we heard we were due to play a metal showcase - then only weeks before, it was swapped to being invited to play Waterloo Records' showcase show and 5B Management's showcase at the "old" Emo's (now JR). Waterloo Records is one of the last strongholds in the USA for real record shops (selling vinyl, CD, DVD, band merch) - it's not unlike Amoeba Records in LA… picture a small Empire Records without Liv Tyler and the chick who shaves her head. 

The last time we played Austin, we were far away from Downtown - but this time, I was cognizant of the fact that we'd be in the heart of it all. I pre-warned my fellow Triviums and Trivium-crew that some serious eating would be taking place on all of our dates in Austin… We woke up in the bus at the convention center to pickup our credentials… and it was time to freakin' eat.

Rob (singer of Koufax/ Trivium's merchandising extraordinaire (also works with bands like The Get Up Kids, Larry the Cable Guy and other note-worthy acts as tour manager and merch)) is one of my main food-partners when touring North America and Europe - and since our other food-buddy Joey (Trivium's tour manager/ front of house sound engineer (also has tour managed As I Lay Dying, Coheed And Cambria and many others) was busy doing his tour-daddy work of the day getting our credentials - we hopped out of the bus with Corey Beaulieu to go start tackling some of Austin's best.

To explain in layman's terms (sort of): what's fantastic about Austin is that it's like a really hot chick (or dude, if you will) who knows they've got their shit goin' on… but is still super cool to you for some reason - giving you what you want and need (if you know how to get it). Austin is one of the spots in America for great food, drinks, art, music and people - it has all that without the pretense, without the stuck up nose, without the elitism. 

We tried to hit Turf N Surf initially (their site said open at 11), but their owner meanly shouted "We're closed!! 1 hour - come back!" So we wandered further to a spot Rob knew of - 24 Diner. 24 Diner is conjoined with Waterloo Records, and today there was a stage about the size of a two car garage setup in the parking lot, fenced in. This would be where chaos would soon ensue. But first - food.

24 Diner is very much so what I dig… a New American joint with a diner-feel that prides itself on carrying local produce, local sources - doing familiar dishes with slight spins or just their own way completely. I order the Chicken and Waffles with a fried egg (made from yeast-risen dough with butter, bourbon vanilla and raw sugar. Grade A light amber Vermont maple syrup accompanied. Boneless fried-chicken, brown sugar butter) - damn good. This thing was comedically large - there is no way even a stoned linebacker should finish this behemoth. The waffles were alcoholic - straight bourbon-flavored. The chicken was not skimpy in quantity by any means (I had to add the egg due to having it done that way in a few other spots around the country) - just great stuff. Corey got the avocado burger, Rob the tuna sandwich - we all (adorably) shared a Peanut Butter and Chocolate shake in 2 little glasses with me and Corey having two straws in ours. That thing was righteous. It tasted like the best peanut butter and the best chocolate you've ever had… in liquid form… for instant glucose-injection to the system. I tried to time this meal out 3 hours preshow… but I was still full during screaming "In Waves." You try that… it sucks.

We were all excited and a touch nervous about the Waterloo showcase. It was amazing that we were the only metal band on the performance - but the other bands were so far from the spectrum of metal - I was almost a little like… "uh… are we too much for these kids?" I'm talking 14-17 year old indie-girls there for Fun. kinda-thing. Yeah - we were playing with Fun. I couldn't believe it - I'd been rockin' their new record recently, I really feel like the 2nd track on the record sounds like Freddie Mercury - so I like it.

We came up a few seconds early and told the crowd - basically - "who the F we were" and "what the F we were about"… always a good ice breaker for a new crowd. I could tell quickly that 80-95% of this crowd had never heard of us… maybe never heard metal personally live - and by the end? By "F-ing explode" we had everyone moving… moshing, headbanging - people were killing it. That had to have been one of the most genuinely fun shows of recent memory - I love the opportunity to show people something new - and get them into it. 

(This paragraph was added a few days after the original typing, immediately after finishing the "South By So What" festival...)

Those young indie girls… who maybe got into Fun. through their alleged Glee rendition - rocked out ten times harder than 80% of the crowd at the tongue-in-cheek named festival in Dallas. And the hundreds of thousands of attendees of the real South By Southwest certainly trumped the 2000 or so crowd of the "So What" festival. SXSW is about diversity - showcasing all sorts of music from all over the spectrum - it's not about being complacent in similarity. SXSW does it right. 

We crushed the show, did a meet and greet for some awesome Trivium kids and some new friends - cleaned up - then me and Rob headed into town (the others were going back to… pre-game? Who knows… miss out is more like it). We hit up Jackalope for some Fire Eagle IPAs and began catching up with label-friends, management-friends and other industry-buddies. 

Having never explored SXSW before - I can tell you - it's a madhouse. It's like an adult Disney… it's like Mardi Gras with clothing… it's 1,000's of bands playing 100's of clubs everywhere in a town that is ready for it. I feel bad for the locals - but hell - their economy must kill after the fest. People guzzle down beer from the early a.m. to the… early a.m…. chowing down on some of the best damn food trucks in the country. 

We hit Trinity to meet up with one of Rob's buddies bands; Justin Arcangel (Trivium's manager meets up with us… unfortunately his plane broke down so he missed what would have been one of his favorite Trivium shows (J prefers when I'm a little… meaner… to the crowd (and I was))). No local drafts?? So I opted for Guinness. We made plans to make our way over to Iron Works BBQ for dinner. We walked over there and tried to make plans to see some acts (Rob and I wanted to see Andrew Bird and Fiona Apple - but so did the rest of Austin - so that was out) and then decided… whatever we see - we see. No plans. 

Iron Works had a line out the ass… as did and would all places in Austin around dinner time. I'm always skeptical with BBQ out, since I've married into an incredibly Southern-family. My in-laws do BBQ better than anywhere and everywhere I have ever been to in the world. This is no exaggeration. Even Iron Works was majorly beaten by Tammy and Ross. I couldn't blame Justin and our label and booking agents - they're all North Easterners… the Yanks' always want BBQ in the South. 

You can see quickly that this place is legendary. It smells like BBQ-ing meat… pics of George Dub-yuh Bush, Mitten Romney, Obamy and others all greet you to your left. The air is sticky humid in delicious Southern-air and BBQ-sauce fumes. The meat pits are impressive as heck - mountains of brisket and sausage was all I could see. I did the Brisket, Sausage, Pecan Pie and a Saint Arnold Amber. Onions, potato salad, pickles, hot peppers and the ubiquitous white bread slice accompanied. Don't get me wrong… this is good stuff - it just can't beat home-cooked BBQ… if you don't have access to kick-ass home cooked BBQ - try this place out. Maybe even the gas-station BBQ-combo, Rudy's… I hear Ruby's rocks too. I've yet to try Salt Lick even. So yeah - decent - Brisket was a touch dry - the meats required the sauce more than I feel like they needed to; the sausage was just aiight. 

We headed to Barbarella Patio to see the Metalsucks showcase. Man - was everyone from my whole musical-life in Austin - ran into Roadrunner past and present, The Agency, 5B, Metal Injection, Metal Hammer UK, Mike from Darkest Hour, even the fine folks from Metalsucks. Metal Injection and Metalsucks have always been super nice dudes, and great supporters of the Triv - so it was great to catch up with everyone. 

I came in as Black Tusk was still rocking out. Beastly heavy, 3-piece: sludgy, trashy, punchy, heavy-as-balls mastodonian-band (not comparing to - simply using the primal beast as adjective for Tusk's style). Intronaut was up next - spacial, jam-band (but with metal and post-hardcore roots (if you will)) - elements of post-metal, some proggy bits in there. I feel the bass was mixed loudly that night, however - the bass lines were so damn interesting, I was happy they were cranked up a smudge. It was really interesting that to the far left and far right, both guitarists were doing main vocals simultaneously at most times. If I had to compare to bands - I'd say a touch of Neurosis, Isis, Tool (merely in the bass doing catchy prog-style lines) - one dude at the show called them a Metal Phish. Great stuff. 

We said our goodbyes and headed to the British Music Embassy for the Raw Power Management showcase (Raw Power: Rise To Remain, Bullet For My Valentine and many others). We came in during the singer (?) of Fightstar's solo-acoustic band - decent stuff; then Turbogeist took the stage (actually a 5B management band; one of the band members is Mick Jagger's son). Turbogeist is really a killer punk band. Very aggressive while still minting a great sensibility for melody (in a Misfits sorta way ofcourse). I really appreciated the 3 front guitars (2 guitars, 1 bass) doing a triple onslaught of vocals at the same time - it really takes you back to when punk was great. Turbogeist really did a great job. 

Around this point, we were hanging with all the aforementioned Trivium-industry people; Paolo and Corey and Joey showed up - Rob went to a buddy of his' show… then Clown and Craig from Slipknot showed up - we hung with them a bit. By this point - I was beat to hell… I'd been eating, walking and drinking essentially all day - whilst being battered with some great (some not-so-great) music. I did the 1-plus mile walk back and the boys stayed and hung. 

Paolo usually doesn't drink much on tour… apparently when I left, he was going shot for shot with Clown, Craig and Corey - Paolo allegedly alternating between Jack, Jaeger, Vodka and other stomach-twisting varieties. He was hung over for two days afterwords… 

Day one. Success.



My hard on for good New American is an obvious dead giveaway - when in North America - I always want the best of the New American-cuisine. 

I think it's because of the whole package… you know what you're supposed to be getting in to. Familiar dishes, with a gourmand-twist… the use of local, seasonal, real ingredients; typically (hopefully) sleek modernity paired with a rustic-comfort and sensibility in the decor and presentation of menus, fonts, and interior. Unpretentious is a must at these places. I am not into the snotty high-end ultra-lounge-looking "New American" places that give New American a bad name. 

These places usually have simple names too… and it's usually the initial cat call that sends me checking out the restaurants reviews like I'm checkin' out a chick. I made a funny observation today (in Sydney, Australia on Sound Wave Festival) to my guys… I caught myself cruising a restaurant like I was about to pick it up. So yeah… I have a food problem.

We were in the midst of yet another day off set out in the outskirts of Boise - it took a bit of research… but we found Fork. We grabbed a cab and headed into the city.

I've since been back here again on a more recent tour - but my first date with Fork went fantastically. Like I mentioned before with 38 Central, there are a couple elements within Fork that they need to add to work with the city and the clientele of the locals - things that sort of throw the true New American thing for a loop - but nevertheless - food is more important than any of that hullabaloo. 

I am not into Vodka cocktails. Vodka cocktails typically are something you find in an "Ultra Lounge" or a "Vip Bar"… it's (typically) a club-er-alcohol when an ingredient in a cocktail (I am up for being proven wrong on this if someone can show me a classic or modern cocktail that uses Vodka well). Fork: Gin. The way it needs to be for a good cocktail. 

We start with Z's Bucket (Bardenay dry gin muddled with fresh berries, basil, lemon juice and soda spirits) and the Cucumber Cooler (Hendrick's gin (best damn gin I know of), St. Germaine (a new love of mine in a cocktail) Elderflower, muddled cucumber, hand squeezed fresh lime, and fresh cracked pepper. Both were refreshing, a hint floral - and pretty darn good cocktails. Looking at the Cooler, it reminds me quite a bit of a few classic cocktails - The Aviation, one of my old favorites - seems to possibly be a root-ancestor of the drink. The use of cucumber and pepper was definitely an interesting, but complimentary idea.

The Grilled Jumbo Artichoke is something I noticed on a lot of tables at Fork, so I had to have it: Garlic basted jumbo artichoke, fire kissed and served with sauce remoulade. The heart eats like a normal artichoke heart, but you have to get a method and flow going with biting down on the leaf and pulling the "meat" away - I found it fun. A simple dish, a great dish - I don't think I'd had jumbo artichoke before - the remoulade was similar to an aioli - the starter really concentrated on the flavors of the artichoke - not too much mudding it up.

Idaho - Potatoes are a must. The House Chips were hand-cut Idaho russets, chile-lime salted and served with Fork sauce. Greasy, crispy, salty, yummy chips. It's like all the joy you'd get from childhood of tearing into a bag of chips… only you know with these it's quality ingredients, it's house-made, and it's damn good. (Maybe not good for you… but certainly healthier than the factory-made imitators to house-made).

The Greenbelt salad was field greens, shredded Ballard Farms cheddar, red onion, dried sweet corn and ginger vinaigrette. The corn niblets were crunchy - replacing what could have been croutons - a pretty awesome thing. The vinaigrette was the proper amount of acidic and citrus-tasting. 

I had seen on tables when walking in, this bowl of what reminded me of those Pik-nik (or whatever they are called) shoestring-fry-type-things from childhood. It looked sort of like a massive soup with fries or maybe moules frites - little did I know that it was to be my main: Local Ale-Braised Short Ribs (fork tender Northwest beef, garlic honey mustard sauce and smashed potatoes. The short ribs were hour-long pot-roast-style tender - juicy and easily chopped with a spoon; the shoestring-fries were crispy and fantastically a touch-greasy - when they made contact with the meat or sauce, they quickly became delightfully marinated and soaked in a great way. 

The Urban Burger was brisket and ground sirloin, blended together, with cheese, pickle and Fork sauce on the side. The parmesan fries from Fork were crispy, slightly tender inside, perfectly salted and dusted with airy cheese. All of that went just right together.

Amazingly (and typically for me) we still opted for desert - some house-made ice cream and some sort of cream… unfortunately - I can't find notes on those final two bits - but I recall being very impressed with the ice cream.

Fork shows that Boise definitely can bring it in the food department. 

Meat And Bread


Ask me about Meat And Bread - and you'll see me light right the hell up. Meat And Bread has (from first glance even) become one of my favorite sandwich joints in North America. 

We were on the Dream Theater support tour, Ashley was wrapping up work at Starbucks (for the free internet), I was in the bus parked off site (there wasn't room for our bus until a certain time) when she What's App'd me about a place that looked right up my alley. A short walk from the Symphony Hall (or whatever it was) we were playing - and there it was: Meat And Bread. 

Such a subtle name, with subtlety being the theme of the restaurant: minimal, modern decor - a hint of rustic woodsy-ness and modern art-gallery style high ceilings, tall windows, sleek fonts. Slate grays and pristine lines are accompanied by things like natural wood-colored wooden trays, huntsmen-esque decor fixed into some of the walls. 

There's typically always a line of locals out the door - always an encouraging sign of a truly great local establishment; their menu is simple: "Porchetta," "Grilled Cheese," "Soup of the day"… reading the contents, you see where the gourmet comes into play. We had the Potato, pork and leek "Soup of the day"; the Veal Braise (Veal, mushroom and onions, bleu cheese, horseradish jus); the ever so simply named "Grilled Cheese" (which is, from my 4 visits - always on the menu); ice cream sandwich to finish. 


I think there are merely 4 or so selections a day for sandwiches… that's it - the same bread, paper, tray, and sambal. I love that. I find places with 50 plus selections always do everything bad to ok at best… a place like Meat And Bread - with 4 simple sandwich selections, you know they're going to kill each one. 

The bread is reminiscent of European bakery bread - this one isn't hard like French bread - but has a good chew to it - it can nestle that meat nicely. It's fresh baked, meaty bread - all sandwich bread should be this bread; not the flimsy assembly-line crap you see in other delis. The little yellow dipping mustard-esque sambal is Meat And Bread's signature condiment - it can typically be found pairing very nicely with each sandwich. 

The meat had a nice bbq-pulled-pork texture (not flavor), with bold delicious pork-y goodness. Simple ingredients were laid atop - just enough so you can really focus in on all the components. The Grilled Cheese is probably the best grilled cheese I've ever bitten in to (only was able to steal a few bites from the wife… I did however devour the whole Veal Braise, solo). Artisan cheeses, perfectly pressed and grilled - not too long, not too short. If a place can make a grilled cheese this simple and this good - you know they're doing something right. 

The soup was fantastic - and that little ice cream sandwich is insanity. It's ice cream with little bits of chewy-good bacon inside. The mix of the creamy, natural vanilla ice cream - so sweet in it's milky, creamy, not overly frosty texture played perfectly with the savory bacon bits. I should have called it quits after the sandwich and soup (pretty hearty portions of sandwich here) - but anything with that sweet and savory mix is a must. Their sandwich alone could cause a line.

Meat and Bread - I love you.

If a picture's worth a thousand words - let me spare my fingers and your eyes.

Gluttony In Seattle part IV

Once meeting back up with Evan and Megan and Sean and Melissa - Ashley and I found ourselves at Staple And Fancy. The interior was everything I could ever want in a restaurant. I believe SandF was originally the space between two old buildings (one of them may have been a mechanics), where they filled in the space between the two buildings, and began construction for this very contemporary/modern restaurant. Next door is a bike and beer shop. The kitchen is all open and viewable from the seats, you can see the old letterings and logos from the mechanic on one wall - the restaurant opens up down the hallway into another restaurant; all the tables and seating feel very communal without actual being slammed into strangers. High ceilings, big windows - restored-old, giving way to the new was the vibe of Staple. Really inviting and cool.

We went for the prix fixe that night - so I have no titles or notes for you… just pictures. Pictures do not however, capture the brilliance behind this meal. Everything was perfect. Enjoy the visuals and the break from MKH-type-land.

The final thing I'll mention was that my drink was the classic (and appropriately-named, for this blog), Last Word (gin, chartreuse, maraschino, lime). Cheers.