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Friday, July 2, 2010

Nopa, Four Barrel: How New York Times Food Writer/Rocker Peter Meehan Eats on the Road

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 10:28 AM

click to enlarge Four Barrel: Too slick for psych-folk rockers? - PREMSHREE PILLAI/FLICKR
"West Coastin'," New York Times food writer Peter Meehan's Snoop Dogg-ishly titled "Grass Fed" column of June 29, revealed that the scraggly-maned scribe plays guitar in a musty, atmospheric psych-folk band that includes Magik Markers member Pete Nolan and Sonic Youth skins-thumper Steve Shelley. An appropriately vibed gig for a foodhound with a thing for fiddlehead ferns and stinging nettles, Spectre Folk's recent tour of the West Coast took them to some San Francisco eats and drinks establishments of note. Musicians love dishing about their favorite road meals, but Meehan's an expert:

Four Barrel Coffee? "The last time I was there, Four Barrel was just a [sic] espresso machine on a loading dock in the alley behind what is now the gloriously airy, warehouse-y space. I don't know why, but I feel like the coffee was better back then, which is not to say that what we got was bad, but it wasn't as epic as the place's reputation had led me to expect."

click to enlarge Nopa's reloadable little fried fish. - PORKBELLY24/FLICKR
  • porkbelly24/Flickr
  • Nopa's reloadable little fried fish.
Nopa, his post-Hemlock Tavern restorative? "I ordered some kind of pizza flatbread that was way too good for the hour, and a plate of fried tiny fish that we probably could have reloaded on at least a couple of times. I nabbed forkfuls of excellent roasted broccoli from my bandmate and a slice of a friend's rib eye that was perfectly cooked and dressed in a sauce that would have made shoe leather edible. A couple of friends ordered burgers, which seemed appropriate for the hour, but man, the real food was the real deal."

Any other prominent food folks in bands? Rachael Ray has moonlighted as an indie rock impresario. Anthony Bourdain once did a somewhat embarrassing spoken-word turn in the studio with one of the Morcheeba dudes. We could see Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton (sort of a clean-cut, less-baked, yet equally long-haired cousin to Meehan) strumming some chords on a camping trip ― in between prim gripes about leathery fire-fried eggs and shitty beer, of course.

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