Aquitaine, the punk rocker’s wet dream

Carridale at Aquitaine - tour eats
Alabama alternative/rock band Carridale is fresh off a tour on the East Coast and Midwest with Giants at Large from Long Island, New York. During the tour, one food experience stuck out.
Nathan Edwards, Carridale vocalist, writes about it below.

Nathan Edwards of Carridale

It’s incredibly rare to eat well on tour. The slew of cheap and fast food makes spending actual amounts of money on food while on tour borderline stupidity. And yet, every now and then you find yourself in a very lucky situation.

Myself and the rest of Carridale found ourselves in just such a situation just a few days ago in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. One of our very good friends from back home in Alabama moved up to the Boston area and has been working as the Sous Chef of Aquitaine, a five-star French Bistro. After two years of not seeing him, he invited us down and offered to treat us to dinner.

We arrived at the restaurant right after they had closed down, post-lunch time. They close for a few hours between their lunch and dinner rushes, which is an alien thing for us punk rock fellas from Alabama. I didn’t know that was a thing.

We were then brought in and sat in the back by our friend, foregoing the line of people waiting for the joint to open back up.

Aquitaine was gorgeous, with beautiful hardwood floors shining from their latest polish. Perfectly placed tablecloths with silverware and glassware carefully and deliberately set, with a single white candle in the center of each table. The staff was incredibly nice, despite the fact that the restaurant was technically closed for business at this point and preparing to open for their dinner rush.  Our friend came and got our drink orders and came back with a couple of Sierra Nevada’s and Harpoon IPA’s served in tall, pristinely cleaned glasses. We sipped and waited patiently.

Aquitaine restaurant - MassachusettsCarridale at Aquitaine 01Carridale at Aquitaine 02

Thus began one of the best meals of our collective lives. We were served a full five-course meal, prepared fresh, and just for us four.

Appetizers: Crab chowder, Onion Soup, & Citrus Salmon Tartare

We started out with Crab Chowder, made from local jumbo lump crab meat with a blonde roux base, fine diced mirepoix (celery, carrot, onion), London dry gin, cream, and milk. With that, we were served a traditional caramelized onion soup and our friend’s own creation, Citrus Salmon Tartare.

This beast was comprised of fresh Atlantic salmon fillet, diced and marinated, topped with lemon zest, shaved cucumber, country crostini slices, shaved fennel, crispy capers, and squid ink beurre blanc and garnished with sliced lemon wedges, chives, and capers. This was just our first course.

Main: Filet Mignon Au Poivre, Rabbit Gnocchi, Veal Schnitzel with Spaetzle, topped with sunny side egg

The next 45 minutes of our lives unfolded before a buffet of incredible flavor and zest. It was unbelievable. We were served a Filet Mignon Au Poivre, cooked traditionally with the steak being first pressed into the peppercorn, then hard seared in butter, lightly seasoned, and finally finished in the oven. It fell apart in your mouth, allowing you to taste all of the intricacies.

Alongside the fillet, was a Rabbit Gnocchi and a Veal Schnitzel. The Spaetzle that accompanied the veal was sauteed with wild mushrooms for a very rustic taste, while the veal cooked to a golden, caramel color. All of it was topped with a sunny side egg and chives with cream cognac sauce around the plate.

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Thyme Sorbet, Strawberry Champagne Sorbet

Now that we were full of all this intense flavor, it was time for dessert, everyone’s favorite part! They brought us a house-made chocolate mousse topped with a hand-whipped powdered sugar whipped cream, and a fresh mint leaf. This was coupled with a Lemon Thyme Sorbet and a Strawberry Champagne Sorbet, both flavor concepts were developed in-house using only fresh ingredients.

Everything is prepared fresh in-house at Aquitaine, except loaves of bread (baguettes and sourdoughs, white and wheat sliced) and sorbets, made at a local creamery. And you can taste the freshness in every bite. This was easily mine and the guys’ favorite meal from tour. Not this tour mind you, every tour. It was definitely an experience we won’t soon forget.

We got the hook up, let’s face it. Our friend took care of the entire bill for us and then joined us for an after-meal smoke out back. We hung around for another 30 minutes or so, talking about everything we had just consumed.

Carridale at Aquitaine 03

Average Band Dude’s Cloud Nine

The Fillet Mignon, Veal and Rabbit Gnocchi left us feeling full, but not bloated, while quenching our need for real sustenance in the bleak and drab fast food frenzy that is DIY touring.

I would say the Fillet Mignon Au Poivre was my favorite dish, though the rest of the guys preferred the veal. It would be great to eat like this on tour more often, but the prices make it a highly unlikely situation for the average band dude. Either way we were on cloud nine, it was absolutely incredible.

If you find yourself in the Boston area and want the experience of a lifetime, culinarily speaking at least, try Aquitaine. The food will make you melt.

–Nathan Edwards

Carridale 14

Photo: Carridale in Austin, TX, during Wild Ones Tour II (click for more photos)

Carridale is preparing for another tour this June with So Many Ways. Check out their tour dates at http://www.carridale.com.

Image credits:
Photo of Nathan Edwards – Jesse Crouse, Aquitaine storefront – courtesy photo, Carridale/food photos – Nathan Edwards, bottom – Smez
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