Effilee 24

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Thanks to Trivium, I have had the privilege of being in countless magazines around the globe. Recently, I was published in the latest edition of Effilee (a fantastic German Food and Wine magazine) and I think I was more excited for this than anything in years.

Thanks to a dear friend and colleague/a&r-dude Ulf Zick (Apogee, Spotify, ex-Gibson) introducing me to Dr. Martin Tesch (from Tesch Wines in Germany (insanely delicious wine)), who connected me with Ursula Heinzelmann (http://www.ursulaheinzelmann.de/) - this was all made possible. 

I am proud to call Ursula a friend and food-soul-mate of mine, and her featuring me in Effilee was a new sort of accomplishment that I never imagined possible. Please pick up the magazine and cherish this bad boy like I do. 

Zee Juuhman's Chreesmus Mahkehts, Poland In Germany, and A Glimpse Of The Dark Past part I

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Oberhausen, Germany

Germany does Christmas Markets unlike any place I've ever personally seen. In the States - yeah, we have shop windows that are all done up with plastic Rudolphs and dressed-up bearded-bikers with kids on their laps in the middles of malls; but in Germany - there are some seriously done-up little X-mas towns. Oberhausen I heard was known as having one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, so it was perfect that we had a day off there on the In Flames European tour. 

I celebrate Christmas in I suppose what could be called the modernists' sense; not the religious aspect (not that I am anti-religious by any means) but in the sense that it's about being with friends and family and eating and drinking lots of good stuff that you don't really eat throughout the rest of the year. Paolo and I met up with Ella and Dennis and one of their pals - Robert (my buddy from Poland) was due to meet up with us later on in the night. We were off to the markets. 

Oberhausen's market entrance lies deceivingly by the entrance of a large shopping mall. I say deceivingly since the entrance makes it look like the whole market is about 5-6 stalls tops; I soon discovered that a path led behind the mall with the markets' expanse stretching well beyond my line of sight. Little country-style booths with smiling German women waving you in each carried a different delicacy; some with cheeses or smoked meats, some with currywurst or reibekuchen, some with Christmasy booze. 

The first stall we hit dished out fatty-delicious chunks of pork stuffed into a simple roll. Meaty, porky, (a little chewy, little tough) - nevertheless good stuff. Ella came up with a skewer of strawberries with a white chocolate shell and dark chocolate dressing - this was sugary and milky in it's white-chocolate tastiness. You really feel as if you're transported back into the old bearded fat-man's land when you traverse the German markets in wintertime - all that extra chub and beard start to make sense… it's freaking cold in European wintertime! We make a stop to a place that has hot mulled German wine. 

Greeted with a glass that reads "bicker lam", you can smell the herbs nicely cooking in their viscous Orc-liquor color. This is the stuff that warms the soul back up. You taste something along the lines of red wine, a gingerbread house, and winter spices. I suck back a couple of these and work the appetite back up for some currywurst. Currywurst is iconically German. Mention it to any German and you'll get a smile back and maybe a moan of pleasure. Curry sauce, chopped up sausage - all mixed up in a soupy mess - served with some bread. As traditional as it gets for German mop-up-your-booze, heart-warming drunk-food. 

I've had many a latka in my day, but never the German version - reibekuchen. It's essentially the exact same thing, a potato pancake of chopped up potato, deep fried in a healthy batch of heart-cloggingly-good oil, served simply with some salt on top and apple sauce. Couple one of those bad boys with some Konig Pilsener and you are in business my friend. We ripped through those, then some crepe-type beasts stuffed with Nutella and bananas and white chocolate, then it was time for a break. 

We headed back to the hotels to lay around for a while to regain our appetite for the Polish feast that would mark the arrival of our Polish pal Robert. 

A Michelin-Star For Matthew

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A Michelin-Star For Matthew


There are only a handful of events in a person's lifetime that can be considered as life-changing. For me, there are a few instances recently that truly stand out as something monumental… where I actually recall being in that moment thinking to myself "this is unbelievable… this is really something special." The sort of moment where you know that maybe this will never happen again - and thankfully you were able to step outside of yourself for a moment and quietly observe the magic happening at that moment. 

The events recently have to be: getting married, my first gold record, headlining a stadium in Bulgaria in front of about 17.5K people, becoming friends with some of my longtime musical-heroes, my first home purchase, and my first time eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant. 

Two of my dear friends in Germany, Larissa and Kai (Larissa works at Roadrunner Germany, Kai is her boyfriend - a super cool foodie who knows some damn good eats and drink) were coming out to our Munich show; Kai's cousin Jones worked at the time at what they kept telling me was "a pretty damn amazing restaurant." I never truly got to bond with Larissa until the promo trip for In Waves. On that trip, we discovered that her and I, and Kai as well - all loved the truly good stuff in life. We got to know each other over some intensely delicious cocktails and wonderful meals. 

We wrapped the show, Paolo and I quickly showered, and we hopped into a car with Kai, Larissa, and Jones. Arriving at the Mandarin Oriental in Munich, we knew we were in for something really special. The restaurant that Jones worked at at that time was Marks, a one-star Michelin restaurant. Having zero concept of what food at a starred restaurant would be like… we sat bewildered at the fancy spot we found ourself in. 

I started with a beautiful Gin and Tonic to cool the excited nerves. Jones comes by and says we can take a peek into the kitchen… it must be how it feels to be backstage for the first time for a music-fan - I was reserving my giddiness, trying to keep cool as I looked on with awe at the impeccable kitchen - they moved like an organic machine… quietly each executing with surgical precision their task at hand. I thanked the staff for having us, snapped some photos, and headed in. 

Words cannot possibly describe the breadth of the dishes we consumed that night, so I simply leave you with the descriptions and the photos. We initially were expecting a very hefty bill… and no, just because I'm in a semi-successful band doesn't mean we get comped meals often; after the meal - we find that all food was comped and they simply wanted us to pay for the booze. Roadrunner paid for that. So… yeah… that night - (and I rarely do) I felt like a rockstar. 


Mandarin Oriental Marks:

- Gin And Tonic

- Trentino Cabernet 2008

- Assorted Breads

- Carpaccio Of Salmon And Monkfish

- Wonton Of Foie, Foam Of White Truffle And Red Wine, Black Truffles On Top

- Sweet And Sour Soup With Langostino Out Of Fresh Water. Lemon Grass, Leek, Coriander. Shell Soup Based On Thom Tum Guw.

- Milk-Fed Veal With Black Truffle And Stir Fry

- Golden Cassis Raspberry Sorbet

- Southern Austrian Merlot Ice Wine

- House-Made Chocolates

Danke Marks.


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We arrived in Munich and awoke early, knowing we had a big food day ahead of us. Paolo and I met up with Ela and Dennis, and headed out front of the venue to meet with Laurent - a long-time supporter and worker of/for Trivium. Laurent is initially from France, living in Germany. He is responsible for much of the amazingness behind Trivium's internet presence. He has worked alongside Trivium for years and years, helping get our word digital and online - he's an invaluable ally to the Trivium organization, and it was time to grab a bite with him in his old stomping grounds. 

Traveling by foot, train, then foot again - we were able to see much of Munich's old historical architecture and marketplaces. Quickly developing a massive thirst for German beer and a hunger for German pork-product - we ran into the Hofbrauhaus, the restaurant Laurent picked for us today. 

Have I mentioned enough my passionate love-affair with German beers (especially Weiss and Hefeweisen beers)? Well - I love that shit. I find German beer drinkable like water - with a taste like the heavens. Weiss and Hefes? Fuck me that shit is good in Germany. I order a comedically-large Hofbrau Wiesn Marzen. Comedically? Typically.

I like how the Germans do beer. They do it incredible-friggon-tasty-well, and served cold in giant glasses. I'd be having me quite a bit of the golden-elixir. With that tall beer, you need an excuse to drink more of it - so we order:

- 1/2 Knusprig Gebratene bauermente mit apfelblaukraut und kartoffelknodel.

- HB sausage platter with pork sausages, Viennese and pfalzer sausage, on a bed of sauerkraut. 

- Leberkas: baked Bavarian meat loaf from the HB butchery, oven-fresh with home-made potato salad.

- Crispy roasted knuckle of pork in gravy with a grated potato dumpling.

- Basket of bread with pretzels, rolls, house bread.

- Apfelstrudel.

- Kaiserschmarm.

The Bavarian-region of Germany is always associated with pretzels and beer - so we chow down on that stuff first; next come the second-most ubiquitous and typical German/Bavarian-German dish - pork-meat in tube-form. The first two courses disappear quick. It's that comfort/familiar-food that brings our German friends back to childhood pretty quick; and for me and P? Well… we love pretzels and sausage in Germany quite a bit. 

The roast knuckle looks like something that fell off a prehistoric animals' leg. Texturally it has all sorts of interesting things going on: the crispy skin on the outside reminds you of an Asian-style crispy pork-belly, dark-meat and white meat cling to the bone trying to evade our clamping jaws. If you haven't had the chance to have a European grated-potato dumpling - you're missing out. It's like a sticky, giant rice-ball of potato-y starchy goodness; gravy was the hot tub of the leg and ball. Leberkas got Dennis pretty stoked - it's a classic German traditional dish; somewhere between meatloaf and a giant hunk of ham/spam… but tasting better than the latter of course. German potato salad is the not-so-distant relative to the potato salad we see grace many-a-picnic table across America.

I believe the poultry was roasted duck… however, by this point I was so painfully stuffed that it became a game of shoveling more food just for the taste of it. Pornographically indulgent if I do say so myself. Kaiserschmarm was like chopped up soft, giant-pancake bits covered in powdered sugar, served with a magical tart apple-sauce. Apfelstrudel, iconically German - went beautifully with the powdered sugar, cream and whipped cream. But like I said, by this point… we were eating for sport.

German traditional food. Lecker. 


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Having just wrapped up two mind-blowing shows in Sweden with In Flames (Stockholm had around 7,000 people; Gothenburg over 8,000), I flew into Germany a day early before the bus to meet up with some of my old friends. Ela and Dennis are two of Trivium's biggest supporters and closest pals - if I am retelling the story completely accurately (and I hope I am) - I think the two of them met through the Trivium fan club, eventually began dating; created a "Trivium Car" (you may have seen that in press or in Germany); then eventually got married. Beautiful story if I do say so myself. I can confidently say that a Trivium show in Germany is not a Trivium show in Germany without them around - so it's always a treat to see the two. 

My pals picked me up at my hotel so the three of us could have a nice meal together for supper. Being quarter German, I have quite the affinity for traditional, "Grandma-style" German cuisine. Our restaurant for the night was Gastastatte Solitude-stuble. I order a Dinkel Acker Pilsner and make myself real comfortable. 

Gastastatte looks like an old wooden cabin in the middle of the German forest. Your table feels like Grandma's house; traditionally-dressed servers work the place - and man does the food look good. We start with a salad variation of traditional German salads. A leafy one, a coleslaw-type one, and a mushy-delicious kraut. Dennis and I are both big fans of eating as many different things as possible, so we both opt for the Solitude-stuble Spezial. En gloiner roschbroda, a gloss cordon bleu, a schweinelendle mit schbatzla nod m ragnischda salad. Get that one?

Just like region-to-region in countries, Germany has many different dialects city-to-city and different variations of traditional eats. I remember Ela mentioning that even some of the things on the menu were difficult for the two of them to translate due to their Stuttgart-isms. My dinner was basically three yummy-German hunks of meat. Roast pork with some kind of stewed-onions, pork, and a cordon bleu… all swimming in hearty-gravy.  

German food is comfort food and it's something splendid when done just right in the right places This place was good. Damn good. Our desert was a variation of berries, cream, ice cream, and a cookie. Simple and wonderful. I recall that home-made cream being light but still having that nice super-subtle saltiness like from milk. 

It was a nice eat and catch up with old friends at an old restaurant. 

Jesse Leach, German Brats, Belgian Frites (part II)

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Jesse Leach, German Brats, Belgian Frites (part II)

L.A., California

I don't know how other band-dudes' relationships with their managers are, but I'd relate mine to that of a sibling's bond. I look up to Justin and trust Justin like one would their older brother. Never have I been professionally steered in any direction other than the right one by him, and through his constant knowledge of food spots in his old haunts - I can certainly profess that J was one of the people responsible for putting me on the path that would lead to my food-fanaticism. Arcangel (his real last name mind you) lived in N.Y.C. when I first met him back in 2002 (initially only assigned to become Trivium's entertainment lawyer, he later became co-manager and eventually sole-manager in 07/08), and he always seemed to have a vast array of knowledge of insanely impressive food spots. It seemed that every time we'd hang out for "band meetings" or what-have-you… we'd always be eating well. I wanted that spider-sense. 

Flash forward years into the future where my mental-collection of "where to eat" and "where to drink" began to be somewhat of an impressive itemization where Justin and my wife Ashley mentioned to me that maybe I ought to start photographing on my phone-camera and writing about my experiences of where I get to eat. That's where it all began. People knew me already for being ravenously into food - but now with a legit semi-professional site (the one at that specific time) - I found a new passion. Seeing this passion flourish, Arcangel suggested that I check out "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain - and the rest was history. 

Justin picked me up the morning of the "Trespass America" tour press conference to take me to the L.A. Farmer's Market. I think he mentioned that he had just seen it on Entourage and tried it a few days before and knew I would dig it. We did a couple laps around the spot, but the one that really caught my eye was Singapore's Banana Leaf - a rustic, humble Southeast Asian food stand. It's advertisement read that it did Malaysian, Singaporean, and… (!) Indonesian. I've only toured Indonesia once - but I fell in love with their food. A mixture of Asian and Indian, similarities to Polynesian, and something more - a keen emphasis on spice as well. On that Indo-tour back a few years ago, I was taught how to eat like the Indonesians at a street food-style restaurant: one leg up on the chair while you sit, that sides' arm laying across the inside so you can pick up the food with your hand for direct depositing into your gullet. Fun stuff if ya ask me. 

I went for the Mee Goreng: pan-fried noodles with two satay sticks of chicken and a fried egg on top. A spicy sauce and lime slices accompanied - scallions on top. Wonderful. Spicy, hearty, not greasy… the kind of pan-fried fill-you-up food that you want. I always want pan fried noodles or rice… and if you do too… find yourself a legit Indo-restaurant. The guy behind the counter at Singapore's was from Jakarta - so I busted out my "terima-kasih" after the meal, and we were on our way.

From the Market, it was on to the press conference. We showed up just in time for what I thought sounded like: "Ok. So that's when we have you escorted on stage by military personnel with guns who will remove your prisoner-hood, release your cuffs and you will be introduced." What?

So I had no idea that I would be getting the all-inclusive prisoner treatment of everything-but-water-boarding this morning. I was taken aback to say the least. When I eventually bumped into Jesse from Killswitch Engage and saw that he was cool with it - I felt a little more comfortable with what was about to go down. I've toured with Jesse before - back when he sang with Seemless; we even have a song we did together: "Blood And Flames" on the Roadrunner United album. You'd think with those two things that we would have hung out before… but I guess our stars hadn't quite aligned to be buddies back then. 

Now - with Jesse - he is one of my favorite vocalists and lyricists on Earth. His performance on Alive Or Just Breathing was a game changer for me. He brought the sing/ scream trade off to a new, modern level on that record. Never had the metal world heard such an intense black and white contrast of brutal screaming and passionate singing come out of one singer.

Alive Or Just Breathing musically and lyrically could be quoted easily as defining that generation of metal. KSE had influenced countless acts of varying genre with that album; the effects of that very CD are apparent today and will be for the years to come. Leach delivered a signature lyrical style on the album: lyrics with a passionate spiritual-positivity and motivation - while still being unafraid to tackle the dark-side as well. Jesse's recent return to Killswitch Engage was a sigh of relief for the metal world as far as I'm concerned. Metal needed Jesse back.

After the conference… we were hungry. During the time before and in between work at the press conference, Jesse and I started to find out that… "hey - we're both food-freaks and beer-nerds!" The similarities in taste and what we look for was becoming eery. Only one thing to celebrate that: Meat in tube form, Beer, Frites.

Wurstkusche is a spot Justin and his wife Jessica (food-freak as well) took me and Ashley to a few months back, where - I was to get the Rattlesnake and Rabbit sausage. When I was eating it… it didn't seem overly exciting or different… turned out Ash (not an adventurous "creep meat" eater (as she puts it)) ate my rattlesnake sausage (insert pun) and I had had turkey or something. Round two. I was having my rattlesnake and rabbit dammit!

Wurstkusche does German-style brats and sausages, Belgian-style frites and German and Belgian beer. What more could anyone ever need? German and Belgian beer without a doubt in my mind are two of the best beers on earth (alongside Japanese, American craft, and Polish). Meat in tube form? Fuck yeah. Double-fried Belgian frites? God yes. Many say that the Belgian's invented the frite… I think it was a past American president whilst in France merely calling it a "French fry" that gave it the name we use today. So if they invented it… they probably perfected it. In all my years of touring - some of the best pommes frites I've had are always in the Belgian/ Netherlands-areas - damn good stuff. 

Together with Justin and Vaughn (KSE's management), Jesse and I ordered our feast. I had the Rattlesnake and Rabbit (a play on hunter and prey I gather) and the traditional Bratwurst, a mountain of Belgian frites, and a Schneider Weisse. The Schneider (apparent by it's "Weisse" monicker) is a Hefeweissen-style brew; light, airy, refreshing… as our old Trivium-crew member Rob (a food-soulmate of mine) would say, a beer you could "skull". There's something magical about that style of beer out of the tap… especially when you drink lots of it. The frites were double-fried and insanely good. Crispy, not burnt; salty, not over-salted. Simple and simply served with accompanying dips. There are numerous dips to choose from at WK. 

Sauerkraut and onions were the recommended topping for my meats - the bratwurst tasted traditional as if outta Germany, and that succulent rattlesnake? Freaking rad. The right pop on that first puncture-bite, juicy and meaty - I could use about 10 of those right now.

All humans need meat-in-tube-form, fries, and beer. Get it here. 

Amidst scarfing and skulling, Jesse and I chatted recipes of things we like to cook at home; spoke of other great spots we've eaten and drank; talked about the KSE record in the works and the Trivium record in the works. It was a wonderful feast and chat. We talked of the state of metal in the world today… how in the U.S.A. and the U.K. - it's not taken as seriously as it is elsewhere in the world; elsewhere in places like Germany, Japan, Scandinavia - it's not just a genre… it's a lifestyle. For all of us in KSE and Trivium alike - it's a lifestyle. We both equally pumped each other up by talking recent songs written and their motivations (good and bad). Jesse had an amazing quote about bands and musicians like us: "We're working class musicians." He couldn't have nailed it more on the head.

Venice Ale House was to be our nightcap before heading to the airport to fly home. Venice Ale House overlooks the beach in all it's staggering Cali-beauty and even has Kombucha on tap. I love Kombucha. More people should drink it. Rob Suchan (food-soulmmate remember? Also singer/ guitarist/ song-writer of great indie-rock band Koufax) got me into it… it's fermented tea sometimes infused with fruit. It contains as many (if not more) probiotics as yogurt - so it's real good for ya. It's one of the ingredients I try to keep my body stocked with so I can "detox to retox." It was however… retox time: Stone Ruination IPA. Mmm mmm mmmm American micro-brew IPA. Hoppy, tart, bitter, high in alcohol content - manly. It ain't for the faint of heart. 

The four of us happily through back a few pints as the sun crept below the oceans' horizon and soon it was time to "Bid Farewell" (get it??). 

We shared a ride in Vaughn's rental to the airport and went our separate ways. Once again. Proof. A great meal can bring people together. I can't wait to spend that upcoming tour with Jesse. We shall feast my friend… we shall feast.