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Eat to the Beat: David Myers

David Myers, the award-winning chef and owner of Pizzeria Ortica in Orange County and Comme Ça in LA and Las Vegas, serves up his thoughts on snacks, grub, and rock & roll.

 

   
What do chefs and rock stars have in common?
We both love to eat, drink and travel. A lot.
 

First times: what’s the first record you bought? First meal you cooked?
I didn’t buy my first record, it was a gift. It was Alice Cooper: I love the cover but I don’t like snakes. The first meal I cooked was a dozen eggs - when I was little kid, I saw on TV the perfect two sunny side up eggs for breakfast. It looked good and I wanted to do it right, but I ended up eating the entire dozen along the way.

Let’s talk starters: what’s your ultimate side one, track one, and what’s your ultimate appetizer?
I love Japanese pickles (tsukemeno) and my all time side one track one is dependent on my mood, but “Midnight Ravers” by Bob Marley is pretty great.

Let’s talk seduction: what’s your go-to soundtrack for getting it on, and what’s your go-to meal for getting a lady in the mood?
I think a little Chet Baker is in order to set the mood. My go-to meal is pasta: it’s simple, beautiful and every woman loves a man who makes a great pasta. It has soul and you give it your all. Plus, you get to shave parmesan and pour wine while dining.
 

On the road: what’s the ultimate road food and what are the best driving songs?
The ultimate road food – burgers. Hit all the old fashioned places in every city! On the drive I’d start with Interpol, then Johnny Cash and end with a little Jack Johnson.


Food and music pairings – can you pair a dish with:

Radiohead: I’d do a kelp-cured fluke with grapefruit and flowers. Translated to fish out of the sea, but in its element.

Cat Power and Steve Shelley: A glass of bourbon or the Gold Rush cocktail that is made with bourbon, lemon juice and honey.

Nina Simone: Pasta. Definitely spaghetti and meatballs or Bolognese: it has to be a sauce you make that you tinker with for a while.

John Coltrane: Grilled steak and a bottle of red wine.

Bob Marley: Pot brownies.
 

If you could invite all your favorite artists for a dinner party, who would you invite?
Thom Yorke, Cat Power, Chet Baker, Perry Farrell, Keith Richards and Django Reinhart.

What would you cook?
First off, it would be outside. I’d do everything over a grill, even dessert. We would start with vegetables with their skin grilled with sea salt; rice cooked in the fire with different mountain vegetables; grilled aio (from Kyoto) on skewers so it looks like they’re still swimming; and we’d finish with a grilled rib-eye with charcoal powder and a bunch of fall mushrooms wrapped in kelp. I’d do a cocktail for each guest that pairs with their craft.

What makes certain music suited for cooking?
It gets you in the mood and groovin’ like food does. If you want to cook something more romantic, music puts you in the mood for that type of cooking.
 

What about for eating?
For eating, you want a tone that’s fun and exciting. If you want a loud and exciting night, you put on fun stuff that evokes that experience. If you want something a little more mellow, throw on some Cat Power.

Who is the one artist out there now that you want to see live?
Big Spider’s Back.

And what’s the one restaurant you haven’t eaten at yet that you’re most looking forward to?
Grant Achatz’s new place, Next, in Chicago.

What is your rock & roll fantasy?
It’s a fantasy. I’m not telling.
 
And your food fantasy?
That’s easy. Let me travel around the world to eat endlessly, to all of the countries that I dream of. Don’t ever let it end.

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