I’ve always thought to myself that musicians who appreciate food are some of the luckiest people on the planet—they get to travel the world, play music, and eat delicious things in between. Recently, both Yeasayer and Sinkane — two experimental rock bands from Brooklyn — were in town, so we sat down and chatted about music and food over WesBurgers.
This conversation has been condensed and slighted edited.
When you go to certain cities, are there places you have to hit?
Ira Wolf Tuton, Yeasayer bassist: We started in Boston, right down the street from Paradise Rock Club (where we played), we got a big bowl of Pho Viets. It was raining. It was cold. It was perfect. After that, we went to Toronto where a very good friend of mine just started a restaurant called La Banane. He worked with David Chang. It’s kinda like modern French.
Anand Wilder, Yeasayer guitarist: They had this cold salmon smothered in caper brown butter. That was so good. They had a pastry salt baked fish.
IWT: They gave us recommendations for Detroit. We went to Taqueria El Rey after that. I got three tacos, chicken, and ribs. It was delicious.
When you’re in San Francisco where do you usually go?
AW: We go to Mission Chinese Food.
IWT: I used to always go to — what’s that bakery called? Tajine?
They’re taking over the world.
IWT: It’s probably not cool to say you go to Tartine anymore. They got too big man! They got a Grammy, they changed!
No not at all. I do think about that though. They started around the corner twenty or so years ago, and just within the last few years they opened up bunch of locations in Seoul and S.F. and L.A. and they’re getting big. I think — and this probably applies to music, too — why is it that when someone gets too big, whether it’s in food or in music, the perception is changed?
IWT: Because it changes the experience.
Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab, Sinkane, and former Yeasayer Drummer: It’s not special anymore.
IWT: It ceases to be somebody you feel like you have a personal relationship with.
AAG: And they have to conform to try to maintain the success.
IWT: And part of why restaurants or any public spaces are enjoyable is getting to know the people as well and developing a relationship with the whole place which is the people. That’s why some restaurants fucking suck because they’re run by psychopaths and everyone’s in a shitty mood all the time [laughs].
Is there anywhere else you’re stoked on?
AAG: Nopalito. Slanted Door. Burma Love — that place is awesome.
IWT: Shanghai Dumpling House.
AAG: There’s one Sudanese place in San Francisco called Z Zoul Café.
What’s Sudanese food like?
AAG: There are fava beans, lotsa lentils. Some salad stuff. It’s very naturally keto — very heavy on meat, very heavy on fat. Sudanese food is mainly meat. Lots of different kinds. But my favorite thing about Sudanese food is how peanuts are integrated into everything. Like marinades for Sudanese barbecue — it’s called agashe.
Is there stuff that you can’t eat before a show? Do you have a cut-off?
AW: Really you shouldn’t eat before a show.
IWT: I always think from the point where you finish eating, you need at least two hours
AW: I can’t eat after a show because I get acid reflux and my vocal chords get ruined.
Do you have any go-to recipes?
IWT: I come from generations of people who have soft-boiled eggs. And it’s very simple. First of all, you don’t want your eggs to be cold. Leave them out, let them warm up. Get a pot of water, make sure there’s enough water so the eggs have space to bounce around. Get it to boiling. Put your eggs in there — three minutes. Then you put the cover on. Take it off the burner, and leave it in there for three minutes. Then immediately pour out water and wash them in cold water. The yolk is like a Cadbury crème egg. It’s kinda perfect.
AAG: I like the low-and-slow braise. A meal that takes all day long. Like a Mississippi pot roast.
AW: I like to use my grill as much as possible. I like to do grilled shrimp. I brine it first: put a bunch of garlic, salt, sugar, olive oil, lemon juice, and cayenne.
In-N-Out or Shake Shake?
IWT: Shake Shack is way better.
AAG: Way better.
You guys are biased, though.
IWT: The fries are way better.
AW: I don’t know if I’m that into the Shake Shack fries. The crinkle cut?
IWT: The cheese on the side? That’s where I’m at.
AW: I can make better potatoes at home. I really don’t like those crinkle cut fries.
You guys are from Brooklyn. Where is your place to get a slice?
IWT: I go to Juliana’s. It’s close to my house. Julianna’s last name is Grimaldi. Grimaldi’s sold their name to a different company. So Grimaldi’s exists as Grimaldi’s, but it isn’t the family. And they were getting upset at the quality of the pizza so they opened up Juliana’s right next door. And it’s excellent and you can definitely tell that it’s baked with love.
AW: I like Luigi’s in Brooklyn.
AAG: Carmine’s — I love that spot. Lucali’s. Di Fara.
AW: I’ll tell you what, though, the best tacos spot in New York is El Tenampa. It’s in the back of a grocery store.
Googling it, it looks delicious, so I place a star on my maps.
Thanks so much, dudes.