Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Yup, it was that good. I flocked back to Richmond for some last minute time with my lady and to visit Balliceax again. We started with the Forest Mushroom & Asparagus tart and it did not disappoint. For my meal, I opted for the Pork Belly (my photo is way less appealing than the taste!) this time and it was righteous! The side of celery-bean sprout fritters accompanied the meat very well. I'm still craving the Hanger Steak that I had the first time though.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
has an array of great restaurants and talented people. Tonight I ate at the new Balliceaux (pronounced Bali-so) and it was fantastic.
I left my camera home, so visual evidence this time. I started with a Butter Lettuce Salad. Among the greens were shaved brussels sprouts, figs and pickled shallots. The flavor combo was on point. The main attraction was hanger steak, medium w/mushroom drippings, cider slaw and grilled squash/zucchini. The steak practically melted away on contact, tender, juicy and everything delicious. Dessert was a truffle trio. Jalapeno, with just enough zing, Hazelnut that ate like a cake and Rosemary that was real delicate and smooth. To quote Bruce Dickinson from The Number of The Beast, "I'm coming back...I will return".
Balliceaux is also handsomely decorated and furnished with all recycled/reformed materials. Good stuff.
Man, they treated us well and the show was definitely a great last show.
The shrimps I had before my meal were so sweet, tender and fresh that they almost tasted like Lobster. My meal...boy oh boy, was it good. Seafood, pasta stew with a cilantro, tomato sauce. Can't wait to go back.
They played before us down the road. They staged the shows so people could go see both. Imagine that, Mr. Big fans and Waste fans unite! The show was jammed and the people of Madrid gave us the warmest welcome of the tour I think. So much passion and appreciation from this crowd AND Moe, who's sign of encouragement triggered a tom tom derailment.
“They always give me a good rate, and if they don’t, I don’t renew their passports!” with a hearty chuckle afterwards, Tayfun (our guide) says while eating at the Bosphorus Grill. Tayfun is Turkish and living in Madrid working for the Turkish Embassy. His card reads “Agregaduria de Defensa” which I think is Department of Defense. A prestigious position he holds during the day and he also fly’s the flag for metal at night. His passions are his country, cooking and metal. He lives for metal. After the great Musaca, Tayfun insists on a round of Turkish Tea on him. The Tea was really good and energetic. Ceylon Tea is the actual tea and he explained that it has Tein in the tea, like coffee has caffine. The Tein had a super clean stimulation, I felt great afterwards, no jitters, etc.
I slept until 11:30 and check out was noon…I never sleep that, guess I needed it. Two shows left and I am really looking forward to going home. Amy, Eddie and Linda are waiting for me. Halfway to Madrid, we stopped for lunch and I had a killer thinly pounded chicken with cheese and lightly battered onions, sandwich. I finished off with an espresso and looked for the not to be found treat. Tres Leches.
I’m on the way to Spain and I dumped a full cup of coffee on myself. Bummed that I didn’t get to drink it I turn on the ole’ ipod to get my jams on. Yesterday and today (so far) I’ve been keeping a play list and here’s what my ears have consumed from yesterday morning’s start. Cadaver: Necrosis. Dim-Mak: Knives of Ice. Melt-Banana: Cell Scape. Poison the Well: The Tropic Rot. Propaghandi: Potemkin City Limits. Rammer: Siege of Madness and Quicksand: Slip. The Cinematic Orchestra’s Every Day has been on heavy rotation as well during the trip. Last song of Slip is almost up, I think I’ll go for Virus: The Black Flux next.
Dinner was thinly pounded steak and it wasn’t bad. Marinated in garlic, along with fries and spaghetti with pork marinara sauce as an appetizer. The sauce was really good. Show was good, I am tired as hell and can’t wait for the hotel.
I am behind a bit and still have Spain and Portugal to post about, but while I'm home for a heartbeat, I have to mention the one my heart beats for. These two ladies are the ones in my life that put up with me and don't put up with me. The human, my ultimate other, girlfriend, partner, etc...aka AMY. She has my heart and soul and puts up with a great deal while I'm doing my thing. The Feline, darkness, quorthon aka Linda, doesn't put up with me at all...and in fact avoids me like the plague. Although signs of warming have been mounting in my favor. Must be the fish flakes I give her.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
First French show, raining, nothing around, weird light fixture in the middle of the stage where the drums go. I had them 86 it so I could have more room to set up the drums. Where there was confusion about removing the lights, there was none in the kitchen. The one women wearing a Sick of it All t-shirt cooked all of it and all of it was great. Pastry pies with goat cheese and spinach similar to spanokopita, potatoes, hot vegetable stew and a yogurt, raspberry chocolate dessert. Yum!
On the way to France we stopped at a rest area on the highway in Switzerland and the restaurant it contained was like Whole Foods on steroids. The Bizzaro Whole Foods wielding a food weapon not to be defeated! They even made made their own fresh pasta constantly. I got the Pasta with shrimp, leeks, garlic, onion, peppers, cheese and a variation of alfredo sauce with a side of sauteed squash in a cream sauce. It was amazingly good. The few franks I had left over went to the Chocolate fund.
After an exciting day, I got to the club on time for load at the Dynamo. People were out of hand at this gig, climbing on and off stage constantly, groups at a time. Some funny people as well. Ian (promoter) treated us well and did a good job with the show.
Had pasta for dinner. The club was on a river and adorned with some nice art.
I had this interesting beverage at lunch, kinda tastes like a mildly carbonated Apple Juice with an almost diet aftertaste, but not as strong as you think. Thanks Roger.
Here's what the website says about this interesting drink.
Rivella - the natural pleasure with lactoserum
Rivella is a healthy and natural soft drink from Switzerland. What's unique about Rivella is the wholesome lactoserum it contains (called milk serum in Switzerland). This is the best of what milk has to offer: valuable minerals after lipids and protids have been removed. In addition, Rivella contains no preservatives or artificial colors.
Rivella comes in three varieties: the original version, a low-calorie beverage and a variety aromatized with valuable green tea extracts.
Roger picked me up in the Paistemobile and off we went to the factory where it all happens in a small village called Nottwil. Before we embarked on the tour though we had some lunch. Pizza and salad in the neighboring village with a glass off Rivella (more on that later). The restaurants’ location was aside a Witch burning tower and near the town stoning shackles. Can you say medieval?
Paiste cymbals are what I have been playing since I was a kid and now seeing all the hard work, dedication and passion that goes into each sound, I am a perennial Paiste propagandist. Stefan the head sound creator & supervisor took me to each station (while Roger translated to English) and showed me all the steps that go into the Paiste process.
Cut, pressed, hammered, lathed, screen printed, brushed, tone tested, you name it, it's done by a human and all by hand. A master cymbal is created and each cymbal of it's own kind is measured and compared to it. "Impressive", Darth Vader would comment and you know what stickler he is.
Urs, the 25 year long Paiste hammerer's seemless precision would put Thor out of a job. I watched work for a minutes and it was like watching a machine or a film. A true Master of craft. I practically started laughing while watching.
Needless to say the tour was fascinating and an amazing learning experience.
I sampled the results in the show room, each cymbal was perfect and the MASSIVE gongs they had were other worldly. Power, elegance, beauty and hypnotic all rolled into sound. Sounding the gongs was an amazing experience. Massive sounds hard to describe, dark, ambient lush tones perfect for film scores and anything else that needs a provoked strong emotion. I was in awe. VIVA PAISTE!
750 strong, the Fins shouted “is gonna Fuck You up”. Finland was all it could be and we were thankful. Of course we had to get up early and fly to Switzerland. Some of this tour has been like boot camp travel wise. Not complaining, I love it, just wish we had some time in Finland as it’s always in and out. Hopefully, next time.
We did have the day off today in Zurich though. Hotel bound, we check and a bit tired head out in search of. Mission accomplished, Micro Brewery located. Steinfels produces three beers and a seasonal for a total of four. Lager, Pilsner, Wheat and a dark lager (seasonal) which I had and was very smooth and easy to drink with great flavor. I’d return. Food was nearby in the form of a Kebab with Pommes inside w/a special sauce. It was really good. After food, TerMoenator and I discovered that Gunther Von Hagen’s Korperwelten exhibit was right next to our hotel. Best exhibit I’ve seen in a long time, totally fascinating. See it if you have the chance.
Before a nightcap at Steinfels, Phil and I headed to the cinema to see District 9. What a great film, one of the most exciting and originally sci-fi movies I’ve ever seen. Great story and they left it wide open for a continuation (I am thinking District 10) that I eagerly await. Well done, I see why Peter Jackson was so supportive in assistance for this film. Dear Mr. Jackson, uh…The Hobbit? We’re waiting.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
If you don't know them, you should. KEELHAUL. The power of an Ox, the finesse of Bob Ross. Aka, the bull in the china shop, the elephant in the room, the semi instrumental band somehow grouped into the art/hipster/indie/tech rock that will outplay, outshine and plain out not care about any of those things. Investigate, appreciate.
Let's rewind to last night. Croatia. Amazing gig, amazing people, amazing time and one amazing rotten egg. Of course, there's one everywhere right? The problematic punk rocker who insisted on inviting himself into our dressing room and helping himself to our food and beer without asking time after time was a sure setback sign. By the time we hit the stage he was in full alcoholic glory and drug delight like a tilted pinball machine. Intent on robbing stage beers and having no regard for Michal (our driver) who was policing the stage like a flyswatter, push came to shove and the glass grenade with Michals name on it missed it's target and hit me right in the face. It felt great! Luckily it didn't break and I was not hurt. It was the first time I have ever left my throne for a seek and destroy mission. Among the confusion the hooligan cheated death escaping and I chose to halt the operation and opt to play more songs. I ended the night on a happy note.
Our Finnish hat trick completion comes in the form of a club gig. Two years ago, we played the Winter Metal Expo (Finnish Metal is one of the biggest exports of the country, similar to Norway [Norwegian Black Metal is second to Salmon] I know weird right?), last year we played an outdoor festival with Lincoln park, Coheed and Cambria and more importantly Dinosaur Jr. This year it's our first club appearance and it's with Disfear and Rotten Sound and should be amazing!
Each time we come to Finland, the people are kind, generous and super professional. Every need catered to and every detail noted. My meal tonight was grilled chicken with red wine sauce, these amazing cheese potatoes au-gratin, mushrooms and salad.
That's one question we certainly didn't have to ask while in the Balkans. There was no shortage of meat whatsoever. Beef, Pork, Chicken and multiple versions of each. The greens were more like garnish or a side. Oh, lot's of cheese as well. Serbia is known for its spiced meat and Croatia for it's local approach. The small village of Zupanja (13,000 pop) is prided on grow, make and eat local (meat, cheeses, vegetables, etc.). I think it's a very powerful statement and a smart one. Funny thing is I'm reading In Defense of Food currently and Croatia is a great example of what Michael Pollan is talking about. Pictured are our backstage lunch and also our dinner (meat and veggie) at a local restaurant.
Alex of Hitman is a 40 year old dedicated hardcore music fan who has been playing, promoting and bringing bands to Serbia collectively for 25 years. He's really showed his love for Municipal Waste in tribute with a tattoo and we couldn't be any more humbled by this, just take a look at who we are grouped with. An honor for sure.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Never mind the killer 115 degree, pro smoking show (picture a crop duster or a free pack of Lucky Strike with admission) that we played and the killer ground spiced meat. The people of Serbia were amazing fans and more amazing human beings. They told stories of being bombed for 77 days straight, bomb shelters that were way too small for everyone to fit when the air raid siren sang (the siren would sound on approach of bombings and also sound when the bombers left) and how people went on with life during the bombings. Hardcore shows, went on (proves how strong music is) but, they happened during the day due to carpet-bombing at night.
Meeting these people only reinforced my love of music, what I do and most importantly how fortunate I am to have not been in area of turmoil. You reevaluate life. In the photos are the awesome meat and missile aftermath.
Pronounced Lang-go-sh. The Hungarian specialty is amazing fried goodness. It’s similar to a funnel cake, but thicker dough, and way more filling. Topped with garlic, cheese and sour cream, mine was amazing. The Czech version (the first place I had it) usually come with ketchup, but I didn’t opt for that.
We were greeted by, Dulci, the venue’s house cat. The club rescued her and was nursing her back to health. She was in the dressing room all night, stretched out, sleeping on the couch only to wake to be pet or thrown some meat from our rider. Today’s food was over fried chicken and falafel, with a lot of vegan fixings. The falafel wasn’t half bad. I melted cheese on it and spread it with Hummus. Tasty.
The show was one of the hottest shows I’ve ever played. I puked a bit on stage and nearly passed out at one point. I had to really focus on keeping it together and not to over exert myself. I made it through, left the stage to get some air and came back to find my smelly, wet, home made Keelhaul shirt had been stolen off of my cymbal stand! Man…I was bummed!!! Drained, I chatted with a fellow drummer and new friend Balaz about drumming, MDMA, crystal meth, cocaine, food, free jazz and life in general. Drugs aren’t my thing, but I can get down with free jazz and I love me some food.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Well rested I shower and hit the streets on Strudel detail. Within minutes I find the suspect, swoop in, and devour. It was a mutual surrendering. Satisfied I rally the troops and we head off for Budapest with Asunder playing their epic sound journey “The Right of Finality”. Any fan of epic doom metal with patience and attention to detail should seek this out. A true audio tale of despair, at 20:52 (the song is 50:23 long) the abominable anthem, rains down absolute barbaric heaviness.
At St. Michaels Crypt I was instructed to not to take photos. Good thing I play drums in a loud band, ‘cause I didn’t hear the guide ☺. The guide also said the main man on display checked out around 1769 and that Christopher Columbus was thought to be discovered there in recent years as well. Fascinated, we rose from the tomb and went on a food hunt. On our travels we passed what is called “Heroes Place” which the famous balcony where Adolf Hitler addressed Austrians about taking them over or as our driver Michal put it , “This is where Hitler said…blah, blah, blah, a bunch of shit, fascist asshole”
The Weiner Schnitzel, Kasespatzel and Apple Strudel were all “bone crushingly” good or in the mind of a death metaller, sick and brutal. The Schnitzel was so light and tasty, came with potato salad and cranberries, the Kasespatzel is kinda like gnocchi, a potato like pasta with cheese and fried onions and bacon…amazing! The Strudel was an avalanche of awesomeness and the whipped cream that came along with it shined like a beacon in the dessert sea. I was given strict instructions by my lovely lady Amy, (my better half) to leave no Strudel uneaten. I managed to squeeze in some Pistachio Gelato before the show as well.
Oh yeah, all the killer food is taking seat here. The show was great, good vibes and the volley between us and the Austrian bangers was healthy. We loaded out and I loaded myself into bed around 2am.
I should note that, YES, the Strudel pictured above was that good.