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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.

In Waves’ Beginnings and the Tampa Food-Tour (featuring Jon Paul Douglass and his photography)

Tampa, Florida

Jon Paul Douglass is the man responsible for the gorgeous artwork on Trivium’s In Waves. A while back, Trivium had a huge chunk of time home and I had just moved into the same building as JP – at that time, we’d go be gym-rats together, talking films, art, video games, and some of the draft ideas I had flowing for “the next Trivium album.” We’d review some of my lyrical ideas, song titles, and themes on the cardio machines… head back to my place and play Call Of Duty Nazi Zombies for hours… eat dinner prepared by my wife or his girlfriend… then by night (when the girls had girls’ nights) we’d watch films by directors like Lynch, Von Trier, Nolan, and other legends. JP’s the one who introduced me to all those directors. There may have been a vaporizer present at times… Continue reading

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part III)

Los Angeles

(w/ Robb Flynn, Corey Taylor, Trivium, Slipknot, Machine Head, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandira), John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob/ Disturbed), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and everyone from the Metal and Rock universe)

Machine Head was the first live Metal band I’ve ever seen. My dad used to take me to the House Of Blues Orlando whenever a rad show was coming by (school nights included!) and took me to see Machine Head on their “Year Of The Dragon” tour. By that point, I had only recently gotten into Metal with bands like Metallica, Slayer, and Pantera – I hadn’t yet delved into a band like Machine Head yet. 

I’ll never forget that show – Robb’s control over the crowd was intense, yet effortless; I remember him using his right hand for motioning the crowd on to move while still hammering on his guitar, playing with his left hand, singing simultaneously; the band was on fire that night… the entire crowd chanting “Machine Fuckin’ Head!” before they went on and in between every song. Having never heard of or head MH before that point, you can imagine an introduction of a blistering headlining set from the band would certainly strike a nerve for someone new to the metal world. (I still own the tour shirt from that very show).

I got home that night, listening to samples of their albums on Amazon.com – preparing to hit the record stores the following day to collect every cd. I had to order some of the albums through actual stores like Borders and wait (!) for the albums to show up. It was well worth the wait. I got into Machine Head on The Burning Red, then tracked backwards into The More Things Change and  Burn My Eyes. The first time I heard “Ten Ton Hammer” and “Davidian”? I was a changed person… I started playing guitar differently, writing songs differently – adding an extra intensity to my vocals like Flynn at Trivium band practices. 

Years later, Trivium were on their third tour ever, supporting Machine Head and Chimaira across North America. Man were we nervous to meet the MH guys. The tour went fantastically (it was the tour that we inducted Paolo officially into Trivium) and we ended up becoming friends with the Machine Head band and crew. Over the years, we would share many more tours together, occasionally guest-performing with each other’s bands in random spots across the globe (I played guitar for Machine Head for one bit of one tour; Robb has performed “Pull Harder” with us numerous times; I did my first failed stage dive off their stage… we even had a co-headlining tour that did 5,000-8,000 people a night). 

Nowadays, I am proud to call Robb not only a hero and a mentor, but a friend – he even helped coach me along before Shogun and In Waves to really make the albums right. The chat before Shogun was an all-encompassing lighting-of-a-fire-beneath my *** to recapture the intensity of what Trivium was on Ascendancy… to truly deliver what our band was meant to be. The discussion before In Waves was the conversation that saved the vocal performances on that record… I had hit a major slump in the studio around vocal time. We had tracked some of the verse lines 30 times with none of the performances being “the one.” Defeated, I reached out to Robb – he took me through his mental processes when he does vocals on his records. The chat inspired me to deliver some of the most intense vocals I’ve tracked to date. The very first thing I recorded after our chat was the entirety of “Chaos Reigns.” If that doesn’t show that his chat inspired me… I don’t know what will. 

So yeah, it’s always good to see our MH buddies. 

Robb, Ashley, and I all drove to a restaurant Ash and I had heard of, The Fat Dog. I had a Saison DuPont Belgian Farmhouse Ale to start up, and ordered “The Fat Dog” hotdog. The restaurant had all the things that Flynn and I dig – the right decor, booze, food from good sources… it’s funny, we’ve unknowingly picked the same restaurant in similar towns on many occasions and told each other about “a great local spot in Jackon, MI” for example. We used to do this thing… where in any hotel around the world that would have a Club Sandwich for room service, we’d judge how good that hotel is by their Club – later trading notes on our “research.” 

The Saison went perfectly with my foot-long hot dog – as damn good as any great dog coulda been. Robb had a salmon sandwich special, and Ashley had some kind of chicken sandwich that I ate half of. It was good to get out for a good bite with a long-time pal and chat old stories, other great eats, and basically be out with someone else who lives the same sorta life I do.  

From this spot, I wanted to stop by The Newsroom restaurant for one of their Immune Rocket Booster juices. It has several vegetable juices, ginger, echinacea, flax seed oil and golden seal all in one slightly-colder than room-temperature juice. Yeah – some people may be a little turned off by this intensely earthy-flavored elixir… but it’s the sort of thing that you know is good for you as soon as you start suckin it down (heh…). I like the concept of (my made up quote): “Detox to retox.” I work hard so I can play hard… I eat granola and yogurt and fruit and vegetables and drink apple cider vinegar and Kombucha so that when it’s time to eat a deep-fried ice cream bar with foie gras and marrow on-top with a bottle of sake… I can do it knowing I will retain some of my healthiness. (Hence all the yoga and eating…)

Our quest from here led us to our initial task-at-hand… acquiring badass leather jackets. I can’t tell you where we went or what we found where… all I can tell you is that what we each found was pretty damn bad ***… and you? You find your own leather jacket… 

Revolver Golden Gods Weekend (part I)

Los Angeles

(w/ Robb Flynn, Corey Taylor, Trivium, Slipknot, Machine Head, Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandira), John Moyer (Adrenaline Mob/ Disturbed), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and everyone from the Metal and Rock universe)

2012 very well may be the final year for all us mere-mortals, and if Trivium’s schedule is any indication – I may welcome the relaxation post apocalypse. After slugging away tour into consecutive-tour, we were supposed to have around 10 days off at home – however in usual Trivium fashion, there was a catch.

Burgers With Petrucci

Hearsay Gastro Lounge, Houston, TX

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – food unifies people. I’ve found in all my years of living, that I’ve gotten to know people better over a meal than over anything else. Whether that’s drinking, jamming, banging, hanging – food does this magical thing to people who are sharing that same experience. What I love about food in a situation of hanging out, it is that the people involved are sharing the same experience together. Food is a requirement of living, it’s a base need – so when you can make the food something great, with people that are great – you’re in for a great time.  Continue reading

Seattle

Immediately after wrapping up what was one of the best shows on the Dream Theater tour, Ash/Me, Meg/Evan, Sean/Melissa, and Paolo made our way to another highly recommended place from our friends – Palace Kitchen.

If I weren’t in the air right now between Sydney and Melbourne, I could ask Evan who the owner/chef of Palace Kitchen was again… Evan mentioned that one of the best chefs in Seattle owns a few food spots, and that Palace is one of his places. 

A sleekly designed, well-lit, modern-looking New American spot is the Palace Kitchen. Invitingly designed, a large open bar in the center of the floor, tables surrounding – in the back is the kitchen – openly viewable by patrons of the restaurant. Everything here is done right. When you come to a New American spot in a place like Seattle – everything down to the menus, fonts, sources of meats and vegetables, music, lighting, decor, casual (but still uniform) look of the servers – is all done right. Seattle has got to be one of the best food cities in all of North America (alongside Portland, San Francisco, New York (inclusive of Brooklyn of course), and Vancouver). 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