Asking Triviumandria

Corey. Eat. Fries. (movie)

Pints Of Guinness Makes You Strong

Charlotte, NC

There's no question that seeing Trivium in the midst of a touring bill that reads acts like The Amity Affliction, Upon A Burning Body, I See Stars, Motionless In White and Asking Alexandria may be just a little bit puzzling to those familiar with our usual touring-mates. Well - we've stated both musically and verbally that this is a whole new year for Trivium. 

Already this year in the USA alone, we've toured with Dream Theater, In Flames, (out with) Asking Alexandria and (will be out with) Five Finger Death Punch. I dare you to find another band who can successfully pull off all four of those different tours in a year. You'd be hard pressed to. 

It's amazing how young the AA crowd is… I'm talkin' an average of 14-17/18 being their main demographic… but you will see kids around 8-11 with their parents; and then kids in their 20's. That is an amazing thing for a band - I mean, our demo is young - but not that young. When your audience is that young… they will grow with you and stick with you if you do the right things. Each show night for us… you can see that the AA crowd knows every other band pretty damn well - and us? 60-80 percent first timers - and ya know what? It's working out really well. 

We stick out like a sore thumb… and I love that. The other bands on the tour certainly delve into heaviness and have really honed in their own style - but you can just see it that we come from a different musical planet. I feel bands that take the risk of diversity always bring something interesting to an otherwise mundane, stereotypical musical touring-world. AA is being diverse by bringing us out, and we're challenging ourselves with a new audience by being out with them. 

Everyone (who I've met) on the tour so far is super nice - the AA guys have let us know that Ascendancy was a favorite album of theirs. This is always a mind-blowing thing for us. We are not used to bands liking us. We have never been a critics' band… we have never been a bands' band… we've always been solely appreciated by our fans only. When we first started touring - all the older bands would always be pretty rough on us… cold if I may. It took 5 albums and an over 10-year career to start getting the respect that critically acclaimed bands get on their first album and first year. 

So when the AA guys mentioned they really dug our band - I was blown away and appreciative. 

We've recently been able to hang with them all a bit - and Charlotte was one of our first mass group-hangs. But let's back track for some food…

We did 12 performances in 11 days on the beginning of the AA run… some headliner shows in there, some acoustic performances - we had 3 beautiful days at home - then I flew to Charlotte at Amos' to meet up with the tour. 

As soon as I dropped my bags, I noticed a Greek place within 30 seconds walking - Greek Isles. I hit that up for a Gyro to go. Pretty decent stuff. It was turned out almost too quickly - but it certainly topped the Gyro I had just tried to eat in San Antonio across from the White Rabbit. I'd say… to quote our merch guy Rob… "It was aaaheeeiiight…" 

When dinner time rolled around, I suited up with Paolo and our tour manager Joey to head to a Latin American place I had read about: Pio Pio. We did the well over 1 and a half mile walk to Pio Pio (it even started torrentially down-pouring when we were finally close) and sat down. 

This place had a familiar vibe to it… dare I say a really-put together Nando's vibe? Nando's… yes I know I am typically anti-chain - Nando's is one of the very few chains I seek out. It's damn good stuff - hormone free, wood-fire-grilled Peruvian chicken and chips - hit it if you live in the UK or Australia. 

Pio Pio's! So I would guess this place is a Peruvian establishment - we certainly ordered a heaping feast: The Matador Combo. It was a whole rotisserie chicken, salad, rice and beans, frankfurters and fries, tostones and ripe plantains. This shit was insanely delicious. 35 or so bucks for what could have easily fed four people. 

The chicken was done very simply, no frills or nonsense; the beans were soupy-delicious, and the rice simple. I appreciate a place that can really just like the ingredients be minimal… focusing in on what you're eating - not masking. Hell - even the salad was good. Usually restaurants in the more casual realm blow it with shot salads - this one had a simple vinegar/citrus flavor going on - the avocados were a great touch. 

The plantains were reminiscent of Cuban-style, soft inside/slightly crisp/chew outside; the tostones - heavenly. I was really into the frankfurters and fries. I've never seen that before… but what's nice was the saltiness of the frankfurters went right with the non-salted fries - I'm curious how traditional that dish was… nevertheless - fantastic.

We wandered back, played a great show - then headed to the bar next door.

Tavern is a 10 second walk from the bus lot of Amos' - Rob and I popped in for some Guinness on draft and took a seat. Rob is my food buddy… we both also have an affinity for wellness and homeopathic remedies and natural-concoctions. He got me into Kombucha - I got him back into Neilmed Nasal Saline Sprays. 

Rob taught me recently that Guinness is actually kinda good for you. It's one of the only (if not only) beers that causes no inflammation… it has a good deal of iron… and a few other science-y factual bits that may not be that interesting on this beer blog just yet.

Soon, the Trivium's and crew started popping in, Nick's brother was even there… then the AA band are crew started filtering in as well. 

It's really nice to be able to be on a tour with a band that is closer to our age range than we're used to - amazingly still… the AA dudes are a couple years younger than us. It was great to finally get to have a chat about all the things band dudes get to chat about: beer, shows, guitars, playing… all that good stuff that all us band dudes can easily vent to each other about in that sort of way that each of us knows exactly how the other one feels on all things that come with this lifestyle. 

I know that they are getting a mirror of what we were getting shortly after Ascendancy: young band who is successful… people hating on that hard. I'm sure it's the same bullshit jealousy we were flooded with when we first exploded onto the scene. It was nice to reflect on the fact we've both been hit with that… granted - we still get hit with it 3 albums later! It's just a part of musical-life.

Everyone guzzled down their booze of choice and got to have a good ol' time together. It was nice to break the ice with our new buddies in Asking Alexandria.



Chicago will forever hold a special place in my heart. Around the age of 5-7 (or so, my memory is bad for all things - that's why I am so happy this blog helps kickstart my premature-Alzheimer-esque memory into shape) my family and I lived in Arlington Heights, Illinois - we'd occasionally do a trek into downtown Chicago here or there.

I remember a massive Asian supermarket my family would always travel to (my mom being Japanese - she was always really into the place - my dad… he's not quite into Asian food - but ever the good sport, he'd tag along) - the place was called Yaohan (I think…). They had little kiosks everywhere that would serve regional little Asian street-food dishes from all around Asia; they had all those odd vegetables you simply can't find anywhere outside of an Asian mega-mart; there were Japanese toy and comic shops… sweet shops… I always remembered a smell of fresh water fish lingering back in the palette, lightly masked by the smell of grilled dough for Okonomi-yaki. 

I'd always grab a bite with the folks, have them take me to see the Gundam or Power Rangers on display… beg for a new toy or sweet… then we'd wrap up grocery-shopping and head home.

Later on in life, we had a gig opening up for Overkill (!!!) at Joe's Sports Bar in Chicago. This must have been around the time I was 18 or 19 or 20 or so… 

Our merch guy at the time (who I went to high school with) was having another friend of ours come out to meet us who just happen to go to the Chicago Art Museum School (not AI, but SAIC) - Ashley. Ash and I went to middle and high school together, but were never really friends (but not not friends). Amazingly it was one of those love-at-first-site (since school) moments… the rest is obviously history.

Off tour, I would juggle time between living in my parents house and living at Ashley's apartment off Briar and Broadway (in boy's town). We were two broke-ass college-aged kids who'd wander around the icy, snowy streets of Chicago - go to the museum for free, grab cheap eats where we could afford - it was great. We'd hit the soda fountain for massive banana splits, or the super cheap local Thai places for meat and noodles (although Ash was a vegetarian at the time (I fixed that in the years to come)). 

Eventually we both settled back to Florida - but it was many fun years in Chicago. (Except for the goddamn snowstorms that would pile up 2-3 feet of snow… delaying my flights back to catch the Chevy Conversion van and get back on whatever support tour we were trucking along on).

Fast forward a bit to when we first brought ol' Nicky Augusto on tour with Trivium. Nick was ("officially") "filling in" for Travis at the time (he was already the drummer from rehearsal one in my eyes/brain) and him and I decided to celebrate him being on tour with us by heading to a place I kept hearing about. Unfortunately, it was just me and the sonny-boy, but we'd be able to put down some chow.

We hit up Avec… a place new to me at the time - and were completely floored. Since that initial first taste of the restaurant, I kept talking about how eff-ing good the place was. Flash forward to the Dream Theater show in the outskirts of Chicago… 

We had a day off, sort of a walk-to-train, train, walk - from the city. Our manager, Justin (one of the people responsible for my food obsession) had flew in to visit us - and I said I had a "band dinner" spot picked out. The four band and J did the walk, train, and walk to Avec. 

Avec's owners also own a handful of other incredible restaurants (Blackbird, Publican, and a few other new ones whose name's slip me) - and one of Avec's "things" are no reservations. I warned everyone it'd be a little bit - but worth it… 

Everyone was dizzily hungry before even putting our names in for the wait list - it'd be about an hour and a half… so we walked to the nearest pub. We hit Haymarket pub and brewery (a large, loud local sports-bar sort of place) - I had the Mathias Imperial American IPA and their Mathias III IPA. Nick and Paolo both had some food from there - I wouldn't dare curb that appetite however. 

We trekked back by our supposed "reservation" time, and it was time to sit and eat.

Avec is beautiful. Somewhere along the lines of looking like a sauna, a sushi bar, and a bento box… it's all clean lines; a rectangular-shaped place; always packed; very communal. The tables and seats are all pretty close to each other - the idea of Avec is basically a place that does Spanish-style tapas with a Chicago flare; a place that has food that goes avec wine.  

This is the kind of place a food-lover flips over… if you go with the right amount of people - you can try several things at once (since tapas usually are more sharing-sized than anything). I did the ordering, naturally.

Our wine was the Muschen '07. 

The house-marinated olives were meaty, big olives - everything an olive should be, just better. The bread at Avec is thick, Euro-style and perfect. I am a big fan of dates… and dates stuffed with stuff is even better than a date alone - Avec's chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce were (and still are) the best date-dish I've ever had. Honestly, it wasn't until I checked the photos out again that I realized that was the date dish… they were so damn big I thought it was the meatball dish. The sweet-date flavor and caramel-y chewiness went perfectly with the crumbly, fennel-hinted chorizo (I think it was fennel at least).

Heirloom tomato and white anchovy salad with market beans, mint and pepitas are certainly for fans of fishy-anchovy-greatness. If you aren't into that - first of all, you're missing out… second of all - you wouldn't dig this. Clean, simple salad - delightfully ocean-y anchovies: salty, fishy, fantastic. The "deluxe" focaccia with taleggio  cheese, ricotta, truffle oil and fresh herbs was quite possibly one of my favorites that night at Avec. The cheeses end up so gooey, liquified and fantastic that it's like a melted-buttery-cheesy-cheese concoction. The focaccia itself was sort of like a super thing almost-Turkish lavash bread, only flattened - the cheese rested inside both lids. 

Wood-oven roasted market shishito peppers with pickled feta was an even simpler dish than the previous eats - and such a bold statement. Shishito peppers are spicy peppers - they more so have the chew of of something like an ancho chili, with a flavor more like a bell pepper - the lightly-flavored-sharpness of the feta and oil was the perfect pairing.

Wood-roasted pork shoulder with roasted baby carrots, black rice and basil pistou had ultra-soft pork, very much so like a mini pot-roast or stew; Marinated hangar steak with baby squash, asparagus, blueberry and bone marrow was a far more interesting cut than the average strip or filet. I'll take something like hangar over the aforementioned cuts any day - it's more interested… granted, tougher - there seems to be more interesting pairings with the hangar (like the obvious blueberry and the bone marrow). 

The house-made turkey sausage with black-eyed pea stew, rapini and Calabrian chili fennel relish found the 5 of us all majorly full. The stew was again very reminiscent of the Spanish-influenced cuisine that is Avec. Fantastic use of interesting ingredients that just went well together.

Since I always need a sweet, we went for something smaller due to our over-capacity stomachs: Peach seasonal sorbet. Simple, delicious. Sometimes even just a sorbet is required amidst over-indulgence. 

We rolled ourselves out of one of my favorite North American spots and headed to Liar's Club for a nightcap. I had the Glenlivet '12 neat - the bar was surprisingly empty that night… I was beat any how from far too much great food.

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.

38 Central


No offense to the residents of cities like Medford, but typically when a semi-world-travelled-band-dude hears that our "halfway point" for our day off/travel day is Medford - we don't know what to except… we usually fear for the worst. Ashley and I were pretty sure our options would be limited to the "family-friendly" chains of strip-mall America on this day… boy were we wrong.

Writing this now, I have since had another trip to Medford with even more amazing food (but that's for a later episode).

We checked in, got prepped for dinner - and headed out to 38 Central; a place that sounded quite promising by all the sources we'd been checking in to. We had a very odd cab drive come by in a car that was a little too nice to be considered a cab. It was one of those… almost-Bentley-looking things. He told stories of how he used to work with this band, that band, etc. Always fun…The menu had all the right things I want to see: local, free-range, organic, and other albeit-trendy terms… but things I feel necessary in restaurants. We should eat seasonal, we should eat local - we need to be sustaining our communities, our local farmers and producers and butchers and workers and chefs and cooks and food stands/trucks - not people thousands of miles away.

I start with the Southern Oregon Porter - a great, hearty local porter. Having recently become such good pals with Anders (singer of In Flames) I was I had him around to describe the beer. That man can describe in the most accurate of details what you're tasting in a beer/scotch/bourbon - I will be interviewing him one day for his secrets and knowledges.

Since only being Ashley and myself, we opt for the 1/2 Mac: Rogue creamery aged-cheddar, parmigiano reggiano, hardwood smoked bacon. Crumbly, delicate, and try was the top - creamy and cheesy inside. The bacon added a good amount of tasty saltiness - mac and cheese mentally throwing us back to childhood. 

Expecting a small portion of the 38 Central Quesadilla (since typically with Duck confit, portions are usually a hint smaller) - 38 Central delivered a massive portion of Duck confit, smoked fontina, plum BBQ sauce Quesadillas. Not unlike the mac and cheese, it was a fun throwback to the familiar fun foods of youth. This thing was massive - I'm assuming the full size of a burrito-tortilla; the flavors were a smidge harder to pick out in the quesadilla - and the texture maybe a hint smooshier than it shoulda been - but still a fun take on the quesadilla. 

38 Central's thing with their soup was something along the lines of "it's made a day or so before" to truly allow the flavors to mix in nicely. We had their soup of the day - the corn chowder - decent stuff. The main was the 38 Burger (all natural angus beef, aged cheddar, caramelized sweet onions, fries, house made bun) - a really solid New American burger. It was just right for a burger… it's hard to really pinpoint exactly the details of a burger done right… you just sort of know. 38 did it right.

If you find yourself in Medford - get to 38 Central for dinner with pals or a loved one. Definitely the right pick.

Comstock Saloon

San Francisco

The tour with Dream Theater was very much so something we in Trivium had been looking forward to for years - we're very happy to know we're the sort of band who can tour with bands like Dream Theater at one end, Asking Alexandria at the other… then even bands like In Flames and Five Finger Death Punch. If you ask me - that says versatility, baby.

The Warfield is a cool venue for concert-goers (as all the "legendary" venues are), but as all "legendary" venues are for the bands - they're usually a large dump (if you will). The area ain't the safest of locations either. 

I am in love with San Francisco… but with all things you love - you are hopefully in love with their faults just as much as their qualities - San Francisco… your bums are out of control. Like something out of H.R. Giger or even Lovecraft are the swamp-monsters that crawl about the streets of SF - I don't know what to do with them, and I'm sure the city doesn't either… but due to the fact that they've been getting aggressive and even violent lately is not something to be accepting of, San Francisco. 

It's a bummer to see in the beautiful parks that families could be picnicking with their kids, or people jogging or what have you - their are sleeping bums in trees, shopping cart-homes strewn about the sidewalks. Again - I don't know what do to - it's a tricky situation… but the aggressiveness needs to be dealt with (even my local friends are saying how the bums are becoming far more ruthless than ever). 

I digress.

We were nervous about the DT support tour initially… but amazingly, every night it feels we won over 95-100 percent of the prog-fanatics; 70-90 percent a night had only been seeing us for the first time at that respective show. Pretty amazing averages if you ask me.

We wrapped up show one - rounded up me, Ash, Meg, Evan - and headed to the legendary Comstock Saloon. Today had been Ashley's tattoo day… so I knew she'd be crashing hard towards the end of dinner. Your turn!

Comstock is known for being a classic-cocktails establishment with fantastic pub grub with a gastro-flair. 

(all photos by Evan)

I asked our waiter what Comstock is known for - he sent over the Sazerac (rye, sugar, Peychaud's, Absinthe), a manly-ass cocktail if I do say so myself. This thing had a kick and an array of flavors. It was pretty much all alcohol - alcohols that have some damn distinctive tastes. The Absinthe stuck out just as clearly as the rye… too many of these and you'd be flipping cop cars. 

We started with some meaty Green Olives - everything an olive outta be; not your run of the mill grocery-crud, these were like miniature fruit. When I see a name like "Pig In A Biscuit", it needs to be ordered immediately. I don't eat fast food anymore - but these reminded me of that "Chicken Fillet" places' breakfast sandwiches… only with delicious pork-meat and obviously 1,000 times better. But it brought me back to that initial childhood happiness of before-school treats. Flaky and soft were the biscuits - and the pork perfect. 

The Picnic Platter contained all the bar-snack goodies that we needed: homemade sausage, salt cod brandade, seasonal veggie salad, pretzel, mustard and pickles. It was like the kind of spread you'd see coming out of a Jewish Deli in NYC or something - the salt cod brandade reminded me of Japanese ground radish and ground fish-flakes; the sausage was phenomenal (sucker for good sausage here, remember?); the mustard was very Bavarian in flavor - just right. Alcohol needs to be coupled with sausage and bread and mustard at all times.

The Beef Shank And Bone Marrow Pot-Pie with Arugula Salad caught my eye early on when we sat down. When we're talking about the "good stuff" (offal: marrow, necks, head-meat, organs, etc) I will order it. I will need it. A great throwback to the British Pies that have been quickly disappearing from their country, it's nice to see Comstock can do it just as well as the classic-masters used to be able to. Who would have thought of throwing in the buttery, milky texture of marrow in with slow cooked shank? It just worked. The marrow would naturally add a saltiness and an appropriate amount of liquid to the shank meat.

As I am the offal-freak, Ashley is a veggie-nut. She had the Summer Squash and Ricotta Cannelloni, with roasted pepper sauce and fried squash blossom. I think I tasted it? But me and Evan were busy geeing out on the pot pie… leave the leaves for the women! (I kid, I kid).

Dessert was the Maple Bourbon Pudding with black pepper shortbread and the Summer Cobbler with almond cake and lemon verbena cream. Perfect ends to a perfect meal shared with loved ones. There again was the savory and sweet that I'm currently so infatuated with in that perfect maple bourbon pudding - and - it's always great to be reminded of the South when I'm not home: The cobbler reminds me of my in-laws ever impressive Southern cooking.

Get to Comstock. It's an amazing vibe, great food, drinks that are done really well - there was even a slamming dirty-blues band playing upstairs in a terrace that overlooks the whole place. 


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.

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.

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.