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I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. III.

NYC, NY

The mission of the day was to hit one of my now-favorite diners in Brooklyn: Diner. I initially saw this place on one of Bourdain’s shows, and from the first moment I saw this new-school interpretation of the traditional greasy spoon, I knew I had to chow down there. I’m not appropriately acquainted with the true history of Diner, but you can tell this place has stories to tell in its architecture; the floors look old, real old, the entryway is just a tiny little door – hardly even a logo on its facade. Inside, Diner feels like a mini-metallic hanger, you feel the commonalities with your average diner, only you feel a different air about the place: interesting looking kids run the place, with the same sort populating the tables and barstools.

This was the first introduction for each of us at Diner, and initially, when I saw the menu I was a little worried that I picked the wrong Diner; it had very simple selections with hardly a description: “sandwich,” “salad,” “burger” (at least I think it said burger on there). My lunch guests were Ashley and Darren (from 5B management) – I recall Darren looking at me and saying something along the lines of “are we at the right place? Should we maybe head somewhere else?” The location sure looked amazing, but were we possibly led astray into a different diner that wasn’t Diner? Continue reading

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I Love New York City. Oh Yeah. New York City II. II.

NYC, NY

I like The Breslin. A lot. The Breslin embodies and defines what I typically am on the hunt for in the US of A as far as gastro-adventures. My apologies if my terminology is a few years behind, but in my mind, The Breslin is New American. New American with a strong nod to the Gastro Pubs of England. New American to me will have the general familiarity of a dish one would recognize (pulling influence from some of the European greats of gastronomy), only with a twist. Typically, one can expect a feature and an emphasis on local ingredients, animals that were treated well and fed well. New American food ought to have that close attention to detail that you notice in your food and drinks. The vibe should be unpretentious, it should have fantastic eats that people can afford and don’t have to get over-dressed for. 

At The Breslin, they have a ridiculously great whole Pig Foot dish (it rules) and do whole beast roasts (you should probably have a couple friends willing to partake before ordering these tables of chow). Since we were just a duo tonight, we decided to go with something sensible.  

My wife is not only a great cook, but a really talented cocktail-maker, she learns new ideas and inspirations from trying cocktails from the spots that do it right. The Breslin is certainly one of those places. Ashley went for the Beggar’s Banquet: bourbon whiskey with maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, aromatic bitters, topped with ale. The Breslin makes a mean cocktail; whether you’re talking pre and post prohibition-era styles, or their own interpretations (like cocktails involving some beer). I go for a tasty Spotted Pig bitter cask ale (I have yet to be to The Spotted Pig, but it is a culinary-goal of mine to dine there soon). 

We start with Salt and Pepper Crisps (for the Americans who haven’t been to the U.K.: crisps are chips, chips are fries), I go for the Chargrilled Lamb Burger with Feta, Cumin Mayo and Thrice-cooked Chips. Ashley goes for a Vinegar-ed Poussin with Grilled Onions and Romesco. The ground lamb, with onion and feta, and that cumin mayo brings Greece to mind, the simple preparation and outstanding ingredients allow taste to be at the forefront of the meal; the fries? Fantastic. The poussin is a game bird, somewhat like a chicken; it was outstandingly prepared. 

Desert was the Dark Chocolate Tarte: toasted marshmallow ice cream, white chocolate ganache, biscuit. Dense dark cacao flavors in the tarte; flowing, soft marshmallow-y goodness in the ice cream; the ganache and light almost-salty flavored bits of biscuit brought it all together. Great presentation as well. 

The following morning, we hit Stump Town Roasters for a great cup of coffee, and No. 7 Sub Shop for a breakfast sub. I went for the Kielbasa sub with scrambled eggs, sweet soy and pickled jalapenos. Eastern European-style sausage, an Asian flare with soy, and Latin/Mexican with the jalapenos… in a sub… with scrambled eggs Yeah – that thing was really freakin’ good. 

If you want to stay in a cool hotel, with clothing stores, bars, breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and cocktails – that are all actually really all good, you should stay at the Ace.

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NYC, NY

I am no stranger to the Ace Hotel. Having stayed here a couple of times for Roadrunner-related things and Moscot-related events, it is the hotel I usually want to be holed-up for the night. The room this time around was a wee bit smaller than last time, but it’s still a great place. The benefit to staying at the Ace is that they have really great food and drinks at every corner of the downstairs area: a wonderful sandwich to-go spot, Stump Town Roasters Coffee (for that good cup), 2 sit-down restaurants (one New American, one seafood I believe), and a bar that makes righteous cocktails. Don’t let the dressed-to-the-nines kids or the 90′s/60′s-fashion-amalgamation-adorned hipsters scare you off, they don’t bite (typically). 

Birreria is a new Italian restaurant (could it be called “New Italian”?) that resides on the rooftop of Eataly in the city. Ashley and I decided to go see what the buzz was all about. The interior is open and welcoming: natural light comes in from the windowed-ceiling, the visible beer tanks greet you on your entry, the bar is on one end of the restaurant with tables surrounding. We tried a couple samples of their pretty darn good house-made beers; I ordered the Gina, a house brewed cask ale. We also ordered a traditional American pale ale with fresh thyme from the hills of Borgorose, Italy – a twist on a classic. 

Famished, we went for: Olives, Ricotta Fresca, Asiago Fresco, and Gorgonzola Dolce to start; the mains we chose were the Biroldo (Toscana-inspired Blood Sausage with Mustard and Krauti) and a Brussel Sprout and Wild Mushroom Risotto dish; the former obviously my pick. 

The olives were meaty little footballs. If one is a fan of olives, be prepared to be in love with Birreria’s. The cheeses were all sourced from North Eastern small-farms; you can taste the time, energy and love put into these morsels of goodness. Each of the three brought such a diversity in taste and texture; the fresh honey and house-made bread elevated the flavor spectrum to whole new levels. Honey and cheese and bread are quite a trifecta of taste. 

Our mains’ were spectacular. If I recall, we both didn’t share… a rarity for sure. Blood sausage is one of those great things in life. If you’re scared and haven’t tried yet, you must try it in a reputable spot. It’s a meat-in-tube-form item of godly stature. The blood sausage here is laid on top of cabbage that has flavors reminiscent of Polish and German cuisine; the mustard again a nod to those cultures. 

Intelligently, we decided to skip desert due to the feast to come later in the day: The Breslin. 

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Newcastle, England

Our International booking agent, Paul Ryan is a friend I’ve known for ages. He was one of the first to really believe in Trivium. He flew out to see the band play back in 2005 when we were 2/5 for a Danzig tour; it’s been his vision, alongside our manager Justin and the band itself, who have carefully crafted every step we’ve taken everywhere outside of North America. Paul is another one I would without a doubt in my mind call a food soul-mate of mine. We have shared some of the best meals I can recall in some of the best spots on the globe. 

Now… ages ago… when I was a younger buck… I recall Paul taking us to this basement restaurant in Newcastle that had house made wine, local beer and everything local in terms of eats. I think it was near a good strip club… or so someone-who-went-to-that-strip-club told me! Er…

So basically every time we’ve played Newcastle, we’re tried to remember what the name of that basement, all-local, house made wine spot was called – unfortunately to no avail. Luckily for Paul, Paolo, Ashley and I however, we found a new amazing place: The Forth. The Forth is in the lobby of a hotel, it has that boutique hotel charm that has been properly adorned and furbished and run by hip kids. The Forth has the old-school gastronomical pig chart, except its gold and done in a tattoo flash-art way; the chalkboard is there, but it’s all written in a sort-of creative, modern-script… there’s also a wizard with knuckle tattoos painted on the wall – pretty rad.

We tuck right in and go for the kill. When it’s eating time with Trivium… it’s some serious business. We order up a Trealy Farm British Cured Meat Platter, Mushrooms with Silton Cream on Rye Toast, Free Range Gloucester Old Sprout Sausages with Kale Colcannon and Red Onion Gravy, Beer-Battered Haddock and Skin-on Chips with Minted Crushed Peas and Tartare, a couple extra Skin-on Chips (for good measure), and a round of Scottish IPAs. 

The Forth embodies everything I look for nowadays when in England. I want the nod to the good, grandma-classics, but I want it done with a modern flare. Its like a gastro-upgrade to the classics sort of thing. If this were in the USA, we’d call it New American. I like that term… it lets you know that you’ll see the essential ideas and preparations of things familiar, only sometimes completely spun upside down on its head. A valiant effort of the utilization of locally sourced, additive-free, and well treated animals is always a good sign. Don’t think so? Let’s see how you taste after a brutal torture session that some of our animal friends who aren’t treated well have to go through. If you see the words, rest-assured that the chefs want you to know you’re about to eat food that was well-tended, well taken care of, and that will taste way better than the other junk. 

The meat platter comes on parchment, on a meat board; the meats laid on top of each other with some pickles. Really. Really good. The mushrooms and stilton feature wild mushrooms (the best kind) mixed in with Stilton (think of a not overly powerfully flavored light cream in this case), and topped on grilled toast. Mmm mmm, bitch. The bangers and mash here… sure they’re bangers and mash… but they’re way better than bangers and mash.

With a nod to my Metallica-of-food, Anthony Bourdain: Meat in tube form? I’ll take it. Just the right amount of pop in the bangers, a perfect amount of grill-char, a thick gravy, and taters mashed just like Sam Gamgee woulda dug. Following in the same style as the Bangers at The Forth, their Fish and Chips is just like mum used to make, only maybe a little bit better. Thick-cut salted Chips with the right amount of crunch on the outside, while still having an almost baked-like texture on the inside; sea salt simply on top (you can always vinegar it up though). At the table, we also had a spreadable-potted fish that was delicious, and a tart with greens on top (kale I believe). 

Desert? Yes, please. Just look at that molten hunk of delectability… you know you need that. 

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Glasgow, Scotland

Oh, Scotland. The land of deep-fried chocolate bars, deep-fried pizza, deep-fried haggis, not-deep-fried haggis and kilts. Scotland, while maybe not reputable for its cuisine, is notorious for having some of the most intense crowds in this neck of the woods. Crowds so loud and crazy and devoted, that they put other countries to shame. 

I was thankful to still have my wife Ashley with me on this leg of the Trivium & In Flames tour – and extra thankful when she remembered a serious gem of Glasgow: The Butterfly And The Pig. We first stumbled upon this little oasis accidentally on The Black Crusade tour (Machine Head, Trivium, Dragonforce, Arch Enemy, Shadows Fall) and have essentially been bringing it up anytime anyone ever brings up Scotland. 

We went back, 4 years later only to be greeted by the same exuberantly friendly server. We were then seated at the same table from those years past, then we ordered a round of Tennent’s. The menu at The Butterfly is pretty hilariously written up; we order: “Cream of chicken, leek and spring onion soup de loop,” “Cillia black is back in black in a pudding, with salad, apples, bacon. Contains black sudden, parmesan cheese and a wee friend quail eggs on top,” “Haggis has stopped running circles round the hill and arrived here with his friends neeps and tatties fired in a whiskey cream sauce,” and “Like mamma used to make beefy beef stew served with mash potatoes and a puff pastry hat.” I – obviously have a tendency to over-indulge…

I say it every time I eat with friends who maybe haven’t eaten with me much: I prefer to share. I want everyone to be able to experience as many tastes and textures as possible, the same eats that their cohorts are enjoying; my wife and I live by this with food with family and friends. So how was this feast? 

The soup tasted like it’s ingredients and nothing more, the exact way a soup like that ought to be. The salad was perfectly balanced: just enough vinegar in the dressing; just the right ratio of egg, cheese, ham and black pudding for me, and greens and healthy bits for my vegetable preferring spouse (a meat eater, but one who prefers vegetables to anything else edible (crazy right?)). That is what a salad should be. I had the Haggis last time here, and I was having it again – I assume “neaps” are Parsnips, the “tatties” obviously potatoes. The Haggis here is splendid. Meaty, stick-to-your-bones, fill-you-up goodness that someone way-back-when cleverly created when deciding to stuff different parts of an animal in other parts… then into it’s own stomach. Sound brutal? I call it ingenious. The beef stew is something you’ll see all around in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland – The Butterfly does this really nicely; in a massive portion at that. I found the description cute too. 

If you haven’t tried Scottish food before, or have heard horror stories of the dread Haggis – I suggest you go here. Here The Butterfly And The Pig. will show you how fantastically Scottish food can be done. 


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London, England

It was on the Trivium, In Flames, Ghost, Rise To Remain and Insense tour, on the day of our London Brixton show, when Kirsten (Trivium’s longtime (and super lovely) PR extraordinaire) set up a food-related promo event. Today, I was to chow down on some of Britain’s finest in the offal department. 

The line-up included: a Scotch Egg, Cockles and Whelks, Jellied Eels, and some sort of sausage-in-a-pastry. I’ve now had numerous interpretations of the Scotch Egg around the globe, and I can tell you with absolute assurance that a Scotch Egg is a damn good thing: a boiled egg, nestled in meat, coated in breading (either fried or baked). Good right?! This was a classic one; minced meat, normal egg, good nevertheless. The Whelks (a villain in Final Fantasy VI mind you) and the Cockles taste like they look: like briney-oceany-clammy-flavored chewy-bits. I am a fan of shelled-food, and these… they’re not awful, just nothing to particularly rave about. Jellied Eels! If you’re not a fan of something that tastes like you’re licking the inside-of-a-whale’s-blow-hole, you may not like this dish. Texture? Its like… dolphin spooge (I imagine…). It didn’t gross me out by any means – but again – it’s something that’s worth trying and may or may not be something you crave for a midnight snack.

I was quite fortunate to have my wife and longtime partner in food and drink-related inter-continental crime with me for a bit of this run, so we decided we wanted something really good. We were given recommendations by some good foodie friends who we went to high school with, who had recently visited the U.K., to hit up St. John’s for some grub.

St. John’s has what I think were three or so locations: a fancier sit-down restaurant tucked inside of an unassuming building, a bakery/bar/bar-snacks area where you can get plates to share alongside a nice local pint, then the third which is located off-site from the former two. We picked the bar/bakery. In sort of a modern loft/factory setting, St. John’s is an eatery that is wide-open and inviting in it’s not overly-large interior. The bar is stocked with all sorts of good things to drink down; I went with the Helles by Meantime Brewery, with American Hops. A fine pint it was. The delectable looking breads and sweets were calling out to my growling stomach, but I prevailed in waiting for the real good stuff. I went for Roast Bone Marrow with a Parsley Salad, house made Bread, and Sea Salt; Native Oysters to follow. Ashley had the Welsh Rarebit (I assumed a game animal like a rabbit, but it was actually sort of a grilled cheese toast-thing).

Don’t eat marrow? You’re missing out. Think of it as the essence-of-meat-flavoring in a spreadable-form. You take this little spear-thing, jam it into the bone and slather it on that fantastic baked (then grilled) bread. Atop that, drop some Sea Salt and Parsley Salad. Frickin’ good. Simple, classic ingredients that make the knees buckle. The oyster were served simply with a lemon hunk and a mini jar of vinegar and chopped onions. A good, fresh, local oyster doesn’t need much; I had one nude, one with a light drizzle of that tasty, vinegary dressing. This was my first time trying any Welsh Rarebit; it’s a piece of bread, with a sharply flavored cheese adorn on top, it’s then perhaps oven-baked to crisp it all up a bit. Real tasty. 

Myself stuffed on slimy, yummy bits, and Ashley on a real fancy grilled cheese, we called for Coffees and pudding (ya gotta have your pudding!). We split a Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and a Mince Pie with Cream. Both deserts were impeccable. Probably the best Bread Pudding I’ve had whilst in England. Rich, not-good-for-you, but oh-so-darn-good. Cold ice cream pornographically oozing all over that hot hunk of sweet. 

Deciding to be slightly heart-smart (another Rob Suchan-ism), we take a cab to wander about the Christmas Market… or Village… or whatever it was called. Slugging down a couple hot Mulled Wines, Ashley eventually convinced me to get in the Ferris Wheel – and lemme tell ya: I do not like heights. I’ll spare you the photos of my scared-lookin ***. 

Kiichi-friends!

I know it has been far too long. I know that this website that once flourished with food-porn, half-witty (badly written) observations and silly-jingles has become but a wasteland of jpegs and mp4s. My sincerest apologies for all of this.

I am re-learning how to use my computer… re-learning how to type and use Lightroom and Word Press. It’s going slowly – but it’s starting to come back to me.

I ensure all of you that stories of food and booze, lore of the bands and the people I come across in my nomadic life of splendor – will all return shortly. 

Until then, I encourage you to scour past posts on both this site and my original blog site, http://matthewkiichiheafy.tumblr.com/archive/

Guten Apetite,

Kiich.

I wanted to make a post that essentially thanks all the fine folks at some truly incredible companies that “back me up” so-to-speak. 

These are a couple of my friends who hook me up with the gear that I use in my attempt to conquer the world. 

Maybe you’ll see some pieces you dig yourself, hit me up with any questions about the products these companies may have.

Thank you friends.

Gibson Guitars

Epiphone Guitars

Kemper Profiling Amplifiers

Dunlop Accessories

EMG Pickups

JH Audio In-Ears

Moscot Eyewear 

Apogee Audio Interfaces 

Toontrack Recording Software

Peavey Amplifiers

Munitio Headphones

Motorheadphones

K I I C H I chaos – Ramen Tatsu-Ya from Lobo Sucio Creative on Vimeo.

Here is a wonderful little present my dear friends at Lobo Sucio created for me. This was shot amidst the recording of Trivium’s “VI” in Austin, Texas. 

One fateful day – I was hungry (as always) – and my new foodie soul-mates at Lobo took me to Ramen Tatsu-ya, a little oasis in Austin not unlike a mini-Japan. The folks at Tatsu-ya do a perfect bowl of Ramen and I’m proud to say I downed at least 3 bowls in that shoot alone. From my initial introduction to Tatsu-ya, I found new friends in the staff and owners alike, and found a new spot in the USA that has some of the best food I’ve come across.

Basically – you need to get to Tatsu-ya. My current favorite is the Tsukemen or ”Dipping Ramen” – surprisingly – it was my first time ever trying that style at Tatsu-ya.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lobo Sucio, they are the multi-medium-extraordinaires who create some truly fantastic visual art spanning across photography, videography, and film. Lobo Sucio is doing the Trivium documentary that surrounds “VI”; both in photo and video.

Be sure to get on their site and check out some of the work they’ve done with Sorne – my new favorite Austin artist (check out the short film Lobo did for Sorne – breathtaking stuff). 

If you dig the tunes in the background of this piece – that’s ol’ Kiichi-kun on the jams.

Enjoy this little food episode my friends created for me. Thank you Lobo’s, thank you Tatsu-ya’s. 

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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.