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Feb 22 / Josh

Fiesta de los Feos con DJ Le Spam

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Today’s interview features DJ Le Spam, aka Andrew Yeomanson, from the Spam Allstars. After this conversation, I’m ready to hop on a plane and spend a few days exploring Miami, beginning with a huge plate of rice and beans.

“I’ve been cooking since before my mom wanted me to cook. Probably since the age of six, something like that. I’ve always loved cooking. I turned vegetarian around 17. I thought if you’re gonna be a vegetarian… you gotta learn to cook for yourself.”

Becoming a Vegetarian

“At some point I got more conscious of what I was eating. I wanted to eliminate animal fat from my diet as much as possible. It was a gradual thing, I stopped eating pork and red meat, then a few years went by and I eliminated poultry, and a few more years went by and I finally eliminated fish. I’m pretty much vegan right now, 95% except for the bit of cheese, egg, or something once in a while….I don’t preach vegetarianism to people. I think its intensely personal, for one. Basically, people don’t like to be preached to. You stand more of a chance of turning people off than maybe converting somebody. Its something you need to come to on your own. If somebody asks me about my diet, I’ll happily talk to them… This diet suits some people better than others. I think there are always going to be some people that are going to need a little meat in their diet, for whatever reason. I stay out of the debate as much as possible.”

Favorite Ingrediants

“I like to keep things changing. I’m in North Miami and its real diverse up here. We have tons of asian markets, etc. I like to cook with rice noodles, lots of kale, chard, dark green leafy vegetables. I tend to throw lots of sesame seeds  in everything I cook. You know, when sautéing something. Always extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil. I’m into making huge bathces of rice and peas, three bean chili. I’m trying to perfect my bean skills lately. Every week I’ll make a huge cauldron of lentils, or whatever. If I’m working with people, then I can serve them something, since I have a studio in the house. Have something ready to go to share.”

Favorite Local Places

“Right off the top of my head, here on the north side there is a place called Bobby’s Meals. Its an Ital place with a rasta chef in the middle of the hood. He does really good business. To me he’s kind of a hero, where in that part of town your alternatives are probably not very healthy. Its $ 5 a plate for a small or $6 a plate for a large and I cant even finish the large. You’ll have a rice and peas dish, a gluten based dish, a tofu based dish and a green vegetable and its absolutely amazing. Other favorites of mine, in Broward County, are two Indian places that do southern Indian cusine. They are both strictly veg. Once is called Udapi and one is called Woodlands, those are amazing too. I guess those are my favorite places.

Also, in Gainsville, FL, there’s this place called The Top, is owned by the guys who own the venue, The Atlantic, where we play across the street. Its not strictly veg, but they have a hybrid veggie menu or a veggie option always. Everything’s delicious, they also do a brunch.

Cuban Band Members and Soy Products

“Here’s the thing, in Cuba a lot of people during the post-Soviet era had soy forced upon them as a substitute for meat. They have a stigma about it still, where they think soy is inferior or its something that’s gross. If you talk about eating a veggie burger or a piece of tofu they are disgusted by the idea. It has to do with the experiences they had before they left Cuba with soy products. After a while of seeing us try a few different things, they finally come around and try a part of a tofu dish and realize its not disgusting, its not that bad.”

Typical Breakfast

Granola and rice milk

Favorite Tofu Dog

In Orlando, on Orange Ave. downtown there is a venue called The Social. Every Friday and Saturday night theres a vegan hot dog stand right across the street. I usually just get one with sauerkraut. He’s got a few others, like a pesto topping. It’s the best vegan dog that we’ve ever had and we usually crave those.



Songs About Food

“Theres a song ‘Gallo Pinto’ on our last record. It’s a double meaning thing. Gallo pinto is the national dish of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, althought there is a variation in the way they’re prepared. Esentially, it’s a beans and rice dish. It looks kind of like rice and peas, but its actually prepared in the skillet. You make the beans first, then you make the rice and you fry them up together.”

Last Supper

“You mean when I kick the bucket? Or what I ate last night? Wow… I don’t know if I’d be able to eat if I knew that. Probably some pot brownies.”

Coffee or Tea?

I am a coffee addict. I’m like a Nazi about it. I roast my own, I have a grinder, I have my own restaurant style espresso maker in the studio. When we tour I take an espresso maker with us to put in the dressing room with us. I’ll usually walk around the town to find a coffee spot if I have limited amount of time. I can do without almost everything else, but coffee. That’s one of my main vices.

Coffee in Miami

You order a colada, which in volume consists of a triple or quadruple shot of espresso but it is served in one cup. Then they give you little cups and you share those out. Its sweetened, they’ll put a couple of scoops of sugar in there while they’re making it, kinda stir it up. [You can also get] a cordatido, the one with milk in it and a café con leche is the one with a lot of milk in it.



DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars are a huge fixture in Florida, with a weekly Thursday residency at Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana, Miami. They often make trips along the east coast so stay tuned to their tour schedule found here .

If you want some Spam Allstars on your iPod – check out some MP3s here.

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I’ve been cooking since before my mom wanted me to cook. Probably since the age of six, something like that. I’ve always loved cooking. I turned vegetarian around 17. I thought if you’re gonna be a vegetarian, at least when I started im 40 now, you gotta learn to cook for yourself.

Thoughts to becoming a vegetarian

“At some point I got more conscious of what I was eating. I wanted to eliminate animal fat from my diet as much as possible. It was a gradual thing, I stopped eating pork and red meat, then a few years went by and I eliminated poultry, and a few more years went by and I finally eliminated fish. I’m pretty much vegan right now, 95% except for the bit of cheese, egg, or something once in a while”

Omnivores dilemma/food inc

“Food Inc. reaffirmed unfortunately. I don’t preach vegetarianism to people. I think its intensely personal, for one. Basically people don’t like to be preached to. You stand more of a chance of turning people off than maybe converting somebody. Its something you need to come to on your own. If somebody asks me about my diet, I’ll happily talk to them but otherwise… people, within the band. Some members of the band are total carnivors. The diet suits some people better than others. I think there are always going to be some people that are going to need a little meat in their diet, for whatever reason. I stay out of the debate as much as possible.

Being veggie in Miami

“For me no, bc I always prepare food for myself. But I do remember a time when you didn’t have, now the major grocery stores will stock many of the products that you couldn’t get. You know the various alternatives to milk, things in the freezer section, etc. you’d need to go to your local health store before the advent of whole foods. You know there used to be a nice amount of small mom and pop health food stores, you know as great as is it is to have whole foods in every town when you’re on tour, some other places have fallen by the waist side. Its not difficult, maybe when you go out to eat its hard to find something suitable.

Go to meal

I like to keep things changing. Im in North Miami and its real diverse up here. We have tons of asian markets, etc. I like to cook with rice noodles, lots of kale, chard, dark green leafy vegetables. I tend to throw lots of sesame seeds in everything I cook. You know sautéing something. Always extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil. I kinda get bored quick. I’m real into making huge bathces of rice and peas, three bean chili. I’m trying to perfect my bean skills lately. Every week I’ll make a huge cauldron of lentils, or whatever. If im working with people, then I can serve them something, since I have a studio in the house. Have something ready to go to share.

Veggie places in Miami

Right off the top of my head, here on the north side there is a guy called bobbys meals. Its an ital place, with a rasta chef, in the middle of the hood in a rough area. He does realy good business. to me its kind of a hero, where in that part of town your alternatives are probably not very healthy. Its $ 5 a plate for a small or $6 a plate for a large and I cant even finish the large. You’ll have a rice and peas dish and a gluten based dish a tofu based dish and a green vegetable and its absolutely amazing. Other favorites, in broward county, 2 indian places that do southern Indian cusine. They are both strictly veg. Once is called Udapie and one is called Woodlands, those are amazing too. I guess those are my favorite places.

Gainsville, FL – The Top, is owned by the guys who own the venue, The Atlantic, where we play across the street. Its not strictly veg, but they have a hybrid veggie menu or a veggie option always. Everything’s delicious, they also do a brunch.

Asian places are usually the best bet. People who eat meat can get something, and there is also things on the menu for veggies too. That is if we don’t end up at a Whole Foods, which is a default. There are 2 or 3 vegetarians in the band, the rest are omnivorous.

Here’s the thing, in Cuba a lot of people during the post-Soviet era had soy forced upon them as a substitute for meat. They have a stigma about it still, where they think soy is inferior or its something that’s gross. If you talk about eating a veggie burger or a piece of tofu they are disgusted by the idea. It has to do with the experiences they had before they left Cuba with soy products. After a while of seeing us try a few different things, they finally come around and try a part of a tofu dish and realize its not disgusting, its not that bad. We had that going at the beginning and now they are a lot more open minded.

Breakfast

Granola and rice milk

Tofu Dog

In Orlando, on Orange Ave. downtown there is a venue called The Social. Every Friday and Saturday night theres a vegan hot dog stand right across the street. I usually just get one with sauerkraut. He’s got a few others, like a pesto topping, but it’s the best vegan dog that we’ve ever had and we usually crave those.

Songs about food

Theres a song “Gallo Pinto” on our last record. It’s a double meaning thing. Gallo Pinto is the national dish of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, althought there is a variation in the way they’re prepared. Esentially, it’s a beans and rice dish. It looks kind of like rice and peas, but its actually prepared in the skillet. You make the beans first, then you make the rice and you fry them up together.

Late night snack

Chips, mango slices, popcorn

Last supper

You mean when I kick the bucket? Or what I ate last night? Wow… I don’t know if id be able to eat if I knew that. Probably some pot brownies.

Coffee/tea

I am a coffee addict. I’m like a Nazi about it. I roast my own, I have a grinder, I have my own restaurant style espresso maker in the studio. When we tour I take an espresso maker with us to put in the dressing room with us. I’ll usually walk around the town to find a coffee spot if I have limited amount of time. I can do without almost everything else, but

coffee. That’s one of my main vices.

How they serve it here. You order a colada, which in volume it consists of a triple or quadruple shot of espresso but it is served in one cup. Then they give you little cups and you share those out. Its sweetened, they’ll put a couple of scoops of sugar in there while they’re making it, kinda stir it up. [You can also get] a cordatido, the one with milk in it and a café con leche is the one with a lot of milk in it.

13 Comments

leave a comment
  1. mleff / Feb 22 2010

    What a great interview! DJ Spam and the Spam All Stars are great. This article also hit home for me as I have had great food at Woodlands and also have had a Vegan hot dog across the street from the Social!

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