Breakfast Quest I

(Trivium, Devildriver, After The Burial, Sylosis Leg 1 North American Tour, 3rd/4th Quarter 2013)

When I think back in the years, I don’t ever recall being a huge American breakfast fan. Since I always had the option of Japanese breakfast growing up, I don’t think I appreciated the greatness that is the American breakfast. Lately, Paolo and I’s thing has been nabbing up as much amazing breakfast in the USA as possible. America does several things very well in food, and breakfast (now that I am of the converted) in America is pretty damn amazing sometimes.

When it comes to narrowing specifics, anything in the range of the diner realm is something I gravitate towards. Whether it’s a greasy spoon, old school diner; or something like a New American diner doing familiar dishes with impeccably sourced local ingredients, having fun and taking liberties with adding in the unexpected – America has something darn fine going on (Canada does a good diner sometimes too).

This best-of-the-best list takes you to the spots I stuffed my face at first thing in the (touring band dudes’) morning (typically 11:45am/noon).

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1. Albuquerque, NM. The Grove.

This is the cafe that Walter White in Breaking Bad frequented. This is where the Stevia packet was poured. This New American-style diner does modern and classic favorites alike; it has cookbooks and kitchen utensils and such for safe; the orders are done at the counters, and man is everything fantastic here. Paolo and I shared breakfast with Chris and John from Devildriver, I had: coffee, croque madame (toast with ham, cheese, and an egg on top), a side of thick back bacon, and macaroons. I am a sucker for French food, and The Grove nailed it. Best breakfast of the tour in a sacred location of television.

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2. Asheville, NC. Early Girl Eatery.

Asheville’s Early Girl Eatery has the charm of an old diner, mixed in with being something run by cool local kids. We had lots of the Trivium band and crew in tow here for our feast. The meal included: Local sausage and sweet potato scramble, multigrain pancakes, and fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomatoes here are a show-stopper.

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IMG_16983. Chicago, IL. Little Goat.

Little Goat is in my mental notes of the sort of place I would open if I ever owned a restaurant. A modern, sleekly, yet warmly designed spot with the traditional diner as the backbone and inspiration upon what is built up here. Little Goat in Chicago and Skillet in Seattle are my favorite vibes of the “modern” diner as I call ‘em. Chicago is a beast when it comes to having an endless supply of mind-blowing food, and Little Goat follows suit. I went for their corned beef hash and a coffee. It was familiar, but done in that New American way that I love so much in the USA.

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4. Minneapolis, MN. Moose And Sadie’s.

Moose And Sadie’s like everything previously mentioned has become our tradition every time we hit the city. Moose And Sadie’s is setup like a local coffee shop with a counter you order at which slings out some really delicious stuff. I went for the huevos rancheros and a side of potatoes. Really impeccably done in it’s simplicity and freshness of ingredients.

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5. Boise, ID. Goldy’ Breakfast Bistro.

Great local diner run by younger folks. Beautifully done diner classics. I went for the omelette with spinach and gruyere, Goldy’s peps potatoes, maple house-made sausage, and wheat toast.

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6. Spokane, WA. Frank’s Diner.

Of the list, this is the first truly old school diner that is still hanging around sending out fantastically done breakfast and diner classics. I went for the hobo scramble here. I am a big fan of eggs, potatoes, cheese, and a meat all being paired up. As a kid, my dad would always mash all those components up in his breakfast and him and my sister would call it “mush”. It took me a few decade – but now all I want is “mush”.

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7. Charlotte, NC. Mattie’s Diner.

P90 Omelette.

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8. Boston, MA. Eastern Standard.

Scrambled Eggs, French Toast.

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9. Thunder Bay, Ontario. Niva’s.

The Big Finn

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10. Denver, CO. Syrup.

The Remedy.

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11. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Poached Egg.

Breakfast Plate.

Dishonorable Mention:

Toronto, Ontario. The Senator.

I had the senator omelette. It was vastly overpriced, the potatoes were sad and obviously from a frozen bag, the eggs were burnt, the waitress very rude to Paolo, Chris (Devildriver), and myself. I don’t normally pick out spots to call out – but we walked far as heck to get there, were treated badly, fed badly, and ripped off as far as I’m concerned. Don’t go there.

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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

 

Austin, Tx

Waterloo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz8RaQs9u1Y

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.  Continue reading

San Francisco

There have been quite a few tours beginning in San Francisco this year for me and the wife – and that always means tattoo-time. Let’s get something straight… I do not like getting tattooed. It hurts like a sonofabitch; takes a while to heal from; costs a bit of change… Thankfully however, my tattoo artist Kahlil has a lighter touch than others I’ve heard about (and experienced) and my shop is situated in one of the coolest cities in America… and Kahlil’s work looks pretty pretty good on me.

Unfortunately – Ash and I weren’t able to make this a full-blown vacation like last time – so it was more of a “get in, get tattooed, eat some, get to the show” kinda thing. This was the beginning of the Dream Theater support tour in North America.

Continue reading