BEST COAST + THE PORCH.
Tunes N' Spoons : 3 :
Best Coast's breezy debut album, Crazy For You, hit the US with striking force. Currently, the Los Angeles indie pop trio are on a huge nationwide tour with Weezer, Deerhunter, and Wavves. During their Dallas stopover, we sat with Best Coast over a delicious brunch at The Porch Restaurant, a casual New American dig in the Knox-Henderson district of Dallas.
Bethany, how did you get involved in the music scene? When did you decide that you wanted to start a band?
Bethany: I grew up in music since my dad is a musician. I've always performed and played for as long as I can remember and I was really good friends with these girls from Mika Mico, a band in Los Angeles. Watching them play music and traveling on their tours really made me want to be in a band. I was kind've joking around with Pocahaunted, my first band. Then, I started Best Coast when I decided I didn't want to go to school anymore. I thought I'd just drop out and play music, but I never really expected it to work like it has.
Were there components from Pocahaunted that you extracted and brought to Best Coast?
Bethany: It's completely different. The one thing I may have learned from Pocahaunted was using reverb and distortion. But, Pocahaunted was a completely different thing. Best Coast is more about who I am and more what I'm about. It's light, fresh music with lots of romantic inferences and guy references.
Is there a particular gentlemen that your referring to in your lyrics?
Bethany: Jake Gyllenhaal. We're dating on the side.
Bobb, what's more rewarding -- the production and engineering end of the music or performing live?
Bobb: It's pretty half and half. When Bethany sends me new songs to work on, I get pretty excited to figure out what I'm going to do with those. I also really like playing live and I have a lot of fun playing our songs as well. So yeah, it's kind of split in half for me.
Ali, how's touring with Best Coast different from your work with Vivian Girls? For starters, you had to move across the U.S. (Brooklyn to LA), yes?
Ali: Yes. With Vivian Girls, I came up with the drum parts and everything. With Best Coast, I'm basically trying to recreate what's on the actual album. Bobb played drums on the album so I feel there's a little less pressure on me. I guess, I get to chill more. I don't have to sing -- I can't sing as beautifully as Bethany. Really, I get to focus on more drumming. It's a nice break from Vivian Girls.
You guys are playing at Austin's 5th Annual Fun Fun Fun Fest on Sunday. Any other bands you want to see while you're down there?
Bethany: The DESCENDANTS! I think it'll be really cool to see them.
Ali: Weird Al played yesterday! I'm so upset we weren't able to make it down for last night's shows. I saw him when I was around 10 years old. It was one of my favorite concerts, one of the best live shows I've seen to date.
Bethany: Unfortunately, we're missing GWAR too. I had a friend who went to a GWAR show and had so much fake blood on her, that when she took her contacts out, they were bright red.
Bobb: Yeah, when I went to their show [GWAR] a while back, I definitely had a white shirt that got stained from their fake blood. They brought out a huge bottle of "crack juice" too. It was wild.
There are lots of cats represented on the Best Coast album and merchandise.
Bethany: I have two cats. I grew up with cats. I've always really liked them and always wanted to get my own when I got older. When I moved back to LA from New York, I moved into my own place and was like, 'I really want to make this a home and be a young adult person.' I feel like every band has a logo or some kind of image that people sort of relate to. I didn't know what ours was until I thought about my cat.
We can see that the cat is incorporated on the album cover. Did you guys create the cover?
Bethany: We had just done our deal with Mexican Summer and I had vaguely talked to them about really wanting to use a picture of my cat, Max, on the record but I also wanted it to be kinda "California" and old fashion too. Our label asked us, 'What would you like?' I told them I wanted oceans, palm trees and my cat, Max. The cover has an actual picture of my cat taken on my boyfriend's iPhone. He sent it to me when I was on tour. When I saw it, I said, 'this is the picture I want to incorporate on the album!'
Photo of the Blackberry Smash Cocktail
How was it like to collaborate with Kid Cudi and Rostam (from Vampire Weekend) for the Converse commerical?
Bethany: It was still very early on in Best Coast, before our album came out. It was cool! It was really the first experience collaborating with other artists with a brand that big. It was also the first time I did anything outside of the band. It was really exciting to be asked to do it.
Did it help kick start Best Coast's recognition?
Bethany: Yeah, it definitely got our name out there. We had the opportunity for the commercial to air during the MTV Video Music Awards and it ran throughout the show. It was definitely a weird thing because we [Bethany, Rostam & Kid Cudi] are completely different artists and make completely different music, but it was a lot of fun. It was cool.
How long did it take to make those paper mache masks?
Bethany: I think it took them a really long time. We wrapped up our first European tour at the Primavera Sound Festival in Spain. I flew from Madrid to New York to record the "All Summer" commercial video. Basically, that morning, the Converse crew came by my hotel room to take photos of my face from every single angle! They took 20 pictures of one part of my face, 20 of another. It was nuts sitting on a chair and getting spun around for that long. The masks were surprisingly light but it was really weird filming a music video with it on, walking around and pretending to interact with others. We couldn't even see eachother! It was definitely a lot of fun though.
We noticed Ronald McDonald strongly featured in Best Coast's "When I'm With You" music video. What were you guys going for?
Bethany: That was the director's mission. Originally, we had so many ideas. Everybody wanted a video about a boy and I but it was really cliche to me. The director wrote me and said, 'I have this idea for this music video for you -- you're dating Ronald McDonald. He'll be your boyfriend and take you out to In & Out', a California fast food staple. I thought it was amazing and stupid. It made sense for us to do because we are amazing and stupid. Yeah, it was silly and fun. That's really what we're all about.
Do you guys typically eat fast food?
Bobb: Oh yeah, I do! I like White Castle. I order basically everything. I don't know if they still have it, but I always went for their A1 Specialty Steak Sauce Slider. They also have chicken rings -- like onion rings, only with chicken. They're always awesome.
Bethany: The thing about White Castle is the smell -- it's so insane. When Bobb eats White Castle, our van smells like onion burgers for practically a week. So, we typically don't let him eat it. If he's really drunk, we'll let it slide.
Bobb: Also, there's this White Castle/Church's Chicken co-franchised restaurant in Nashville. Pretty awesome too!
Photo of the Roasted Tomato, Basil, & Parmesan Soup
At home, were you guys exposed to cooking? What type of food were you raised with?
Bobb: My step dad was Italian so he made lots of really good Italian food. My mom, even though she's full Chinese, is basically a Mexican woman. My grandmother didn't have the patience to teach Chinese cooking so my mom, thanks to our Mexican neighbors, learned how to cook Mexican food. My mom can speak fluent Spanish and can make awesome Mexican food! So yeah, I love Mexican and Italian food, but hate Chinese food.
Ali: My dad is really into cooking. It's his forte. I told him I was coming home for a few days and he was like, 'what do you want me to make you?' I could say grilled lobster and he'd have it perfectly made and ready for me. I guess you can say he should've been a chef in a different life. He's my chef.
What would be your ideal dinner experience?
Bethany: Bobb loves this question...
Bobb: It would definitely be eating by myself. I'd probably have a little bourbon with my meal. The appetizer would be a meat sampler, perhaps some chorizo, sopressata -- really any good Italian meats. Then I'd move to my steak for the entree. I'd also add a little crispy duck. To finish, I'd have some crazy kind of dessert.
Bethany: I'm obsessed with this place in LA called, Senor Fish which is basically a Mexican restaurant that specializes in fish tacos. As far as food, they have lots of other really good options, but I definitely like the tacos. There's one right next to where I live, one downtown. It's a type of place that carries 18 different types of fish you can order to put in the tacos. The grilled salmon tacos are really good, especially with some cabbage and cheese.
Bobb: For me, there's a place called Little Flower Candy Company. It's really close to my house. They mostly make candy there but they also serve really good lunch. They have fresh sandwiches, really good ingredients.
The Porch Entree Selections :
The table began with a round of Roasted Tomato Basil & Parmesan Soup bowls. Best Coast and House of Plates's selected entrees were the signature Stodg Burger with Aged Butter, Nueske's Bacon, Fried Egg & LTMO on Foie Buttered Bun, Woodfired New York Strip with Bernaise Sauce, Redskin Potatoes, Blistered Tomatoes & Asparagus, Smoked Brisket Enchiladas (Bobb's selection) with Tomatillo Rice, Avocado, & Salsa Cruda, the Three Grilled Cheese (Ali's selection) consisting of Port Salutte, Provolone, Aged Chedder cheeses and Sliced Tomato on Brioche witha Butternut Squash Soup side option, and Cauliflower & Potatoes Au Gratin (Bethany's selection) with Redskin Potatoes, Garlic, & Rich Parmesan & Mozzarella Cheeses.
On the other side of the table, we were served the Beef Brisket & Eggs Benedict topped with Rich & Creamy Hollandaise Sauce, Tomatoes, & Asparagus, and the Clubhouse Melt consisting of Shaved Turkey, Smoked Ham, Bacon, Aged Cheddar, Provolone, Mayo, Lettuce & Tomato on Sourdough.
** Cocktail selections consisted of The Porch Mimosa (Bethany and Ali's selection) with Smashed Fresh Fruit, Champagne & Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice, and the Cucumber Rickey (Bobb's selection) with Hand Pressed Mint, Cucumber Infused Tangueray, Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, and Club Soda.
[To Best Coast] What do you think about The Porch's entree selections?
Bethany: It's excellent!
Ali: It's fantastic. If I lived here, I would eat at The Porch all the time.
Bethany: Oh my God. This is really good! On tour,it's nice to eat in a really nice place like this -- not at a Subway or something. I want to lick the bottom of this soup bowl. We're going to come back.
Bobb: The whole thing was really really good. The Brisket Enchiladas were delicious. Some places, especially when they put sauce on it, the brisket can be a little too sweet. But these were really flavorful. It's the right amount of spice and not too overwhelming. The meat was super tender, not too dry, not too gamy. It was great.
By all accounts, The Porch Restaurant is one of our crown jewels in Dallas. It's the perfect neighborhood spot: a touch of brasserie, a little uptown class, and the comfort of grandma's house. What I seem to love most about this spot is its confidence: the fervent waiters & waitresses that run the floor, the passion into the food; all nestled into the gentrified, homey Henderson Avenue niche. Classic.
The Porch opened years ago, but it always seems to be on the top of the list to satisfy Dallas's palate and people-watching needs. It's popular. Real popular. So yes, we wanted to give Best Coast an idea of what Dallas can bring to the table. We rolled out the big guns.
Photo of the Stodg Burger and Pasta Salad
Like so many New American spots, tomato basil soup ranks among the top in terms of its frequency on lunch and dinner menus. Personally, Executive Chef Kenneth Hardiman's Roasted Tomato Basil & Parmasan threatens to redefine the conventional tomato basil soup experience. The fine line between mediocre and magnificant is in it's preparation. Mr. Hardiman doesn't deluge the soup with cream and spice, but rather intentionally slow-churns, patiently adding ingredients throughout. You could taste the difference. He brings in a perfect unity between thickness, zest and presentation.
Voted one of Dallas Observer's & D Magazine's best burgers, The Stodg is no small force. In fact, your stomach will constantly remind of your dinner choice throughout the evening, however, it just might be worth it. The foie gras butter and fried egg really tie in the taste. The meat was juicy, which may or may not have accounted for it's messiness. Yes, it's tricky to hold, but that quite possibly might be trumped by it's piquant flavor. I appreciated the pasta salad side. It was a well-needed, lighter compliment.
The Porch delivered a delicious take on the traditional English breakfast of Eggs Benedict with their Biscuits and Brisket - a perfectly seasoned, tender brisket served on a homemade biscuit and topped with poached egg and hollandaise. The Brisket & Eggs Benedict made for a delightful brunch item, especially when combined with one of The Porch's signature cocktails, the Granny Apple Smash - a concoction of muddled apples, vodka, and other spices resulting in the perfect seasonal cocktail that cannot be recommended more highly. For ambiance and excellent food, The Porch is a can't miss establishment.
A special thanks to Best Coast, Manager Taryn Anderson & our server Erica from The Porch, Mark O'Donnell from Wayward Records, Adam Shore from The Daily Swarm, and Gavin Mulloy from the Granada Theater.