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. 



San Francisco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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