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May 4 / Josh

Burning Chili Set Your Heart On Fire


EM recently chatted with  Jake Cinninger from Chicago’s own Umphrey’s Mcgee. The band has been writing songs about food for years and also create quick food lists when they hit a new city on tour. Read on for some interesting band facts, favorite Chi-town spots, and a few examples of how UM talks food in their songs.

Eating Locally

“When I’m home, I take advantage of the local farmers markets because I live out in the country, right on the border of Michigan and Indiana. Lots of great farmers markets out here, whether it be great cuts of local beef to organic vegetables. I get to know some of the people that cut the meat and grow the vegetables who can then point me in the right direction [in the kitchen].

Favorite Cities for Food

“The great thing about Amsterdam is that its probably one of the better places for food in Europe. Its really friendly when it comes to the pub food, Indian, Asian and you can get even good Mexican food there really.”

“When I was living in Chicago for about six years, I was on the Wrigleyville side of the city, which is the baseball neighborhood on the north side. Some of my favorite places were actually the thin crust pizza spots, like D’Agostinos. They have this baking soda, thin, crisp crust. The sauce has a molasses overtone and the cheese is more of a provolone combination. They go a little salty on the cheese, sweet on the sauce, and cracker-thin crust. I could eat a ton of it.

EM: “Being from Chicago, do you love deep dish?

Jake: “I like an occasional thick crust, but I can’t go out and play a show after that. It slows down the thinking. I love it when I can get it and take a nap afterwards.”

“I really enjoy the Mexican food in certain spots around Chicago. There’s this place El Tapatio on Ashland Avenue and its really authentic. The drinks are out of sight. They come in these huge bowls. Instead of coming in a margarita glass, they come in these huge square bowls. They barely put ice in there. Its European style, nothing but booze. Their portions are great too. They have this great marinated flank steak that’s to die for.”

“In Seattle I really dig the fresh seafood. We usually play this place called the Showbox, which is right across the street from a fish market. You can go in there and get the best fish and chips, chowder, or sushi, anything in that category is so good. It was probably swimming around the day before.”

Festival Food Vendors

“There are some nights where we’ll play a late night show. I’ll try to find a heady burrito that will fill me up.”

Rock N’ Roll Jerk

“I personally get a little upset or ornery when the food doesn’t show up in the time for a show. It slows down the thinking and makes you tired. I remember having a big show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC and the food showed up like two hours late. I was supposed to go on in 5 minutes. I was a total rock n’ roll jerk, like ‘I have a show to do! I’m hungry! Wahh Wahh Wahh!’ I remember I ordered a beef and pepper dish with rice and they gave me a cold squid dish. I got a Number 6 and it should’ve been a Number 4, or something.”


“Before shows I try to stay away from cream sauces, a lot of heavy sauces, too much red meat. My favorite thing to eat is sashimi before a show, its uncooked protein and it just hits your bloodstream and gets you going.”


“Our drummer Kris does that thing called NoXplode before our shows. Its like what workout junkies like to do before they workout. It’s the funniest thing that you’d give it to your drummer.”

“The pickiest eater would be Brendan. He could eat lasagna and shepherds pie every other night.”

“The most daring eater would be Joel, he’s traveled all over the world. He’s doing goat intestine soup.”

[NOTE: This was followed by a great discussion of the 1973 Rolling Stones record, Goat’s Head Soup]

Late Night Snack

“I’m a big fan of peanut butter ice cream and strawberry topping. Its like peanut butter and jelly ice cream. I’ll throw a peanut butter cookie in there sometimes.”

Favorite Dessert

I’m a big key lime pie fan. Also, my mom makes this big pumpkin roll up. Cheesecake pumpkin roll up with cream cheese swirls. It’s the best.

Songs About Food

“Oh yeah. I mean when I first started out it was the best topic to write about. There’s a song called Pork Chop Pie we used to do. There’s another song called Vegetables that we used to do.” EM also recalls the song Eat and our favorite, the drunk barbecue lyrics in 40s Theme.

Umphrey’s are about to launch a summer tour, which includes many headlining and ton of festival gigs. Be sure to check out their tour dates here. They have also been spending some time in Jake’s studio. Here, they are able to get work done, where Jake makes sure the band is “locked away with no distractions”. UM’s other guitarist, Brendan, has launched a solo project, 30db, with Yonder Mountain’s mandolinist Jeff Austin. Check their music out here.


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  1. LB / May 6 2010

    Beans cheese pork fajita! tomorrow you’ll be suffering on the shitta!

  2. vigilanza bari / Nov 3 2014

    nice post, I love your videos

  3. Traslochi Bari / Nov 3 2014

    These videos are great. I’ve been looking for them on youtube several times, but I never found them, thank you

  4. Stasera in TV / Jun 1 2016

    This video “rocks”! Very nice….

  5. Listening to nice music and have a good dinner is fantastic

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