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May 10 / Josh

Saucing It Up With Marco Benevento

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Recently we chatted with Brooklyn based keyboardist fantastico, Marco Benevento about all things food! He shared his many kitchen creations, favorite restaurants, and his family’s culinary history.

Pasta Sunday

“The whole Benevento family was born in Italy. My dad came here when he was 15 with his brother and 2 sisters. There was a lot of Italian cooking. We still have Pasta Sunday every Sunday with my grandmother. They were from the Tricarico region of Italy. My dad makes really good broccoli rabe and really thin crust pizza with not too much cheese on it. My mom is also a great cook, she makes really good risotto with shrimp, peas, carrots.”

The Good Stuff

“I live in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn and there is a farmers market at Grand Army Plaza. I like to buy whole chickens, whole turkeys, giant slabs of beef or pork tenderloins. I got a 30 pound turkey a few weeks ago, I cooked it and it was really delicious. I’ve been getting into cooking a whole bird in the oven and having it with rice and vegetables.  We go to Fairway in Red Hook every week. We try to eat food that’s been untouched by chemicals, improperly raised or whatever. We go the extra mile to get what we think is the good stuff.”

“I have a pretty sensitive palette. I cant really eat too much bread. I can’t drink too much milk either. I’ve been to Japan about 3 times. Japanese cuisine is up there with Italian, I love soup based dinners. Like Tom Yum soup. In Japan they have a bunch of miso soup, or soup with eggs and vegetables. Also, I absolutely love Vietnamese phuh.” 

Favorite Spots

Café Gratitude in Berkeley, CA. It’s a vegan place and they have great meals, appetizers. They are really good for you and make you feel good. A lot of energy gets drained out of you on the road, all the effort you put into the music, Café Gratitude is awesome. They have really good smoothies that have things that I like like pacaw and maca. I don’t consume caffeine so I need to get boosts of energy from things like goju berries, acai, or honey, they have all the good stuff there.”

“I like eating Stubb’s in Austin, TX. I love BBQ food, pulled pork, BBQ sauce with different varieties, vinegary, smoky, sweety. I’m a saucy guy. I’m full of sauce. Even on the stage. I’m always saucing it up. I like to dippins. I like the 6 hour smoked meat.”

“Just north of Seattle there is a town called Bellingham and there is a restaurant called Nimbus. The chef there is incredible, the food is amazing its my favorite food on the west coast. Really good seafood, really good steaks, salmons. Very inventive, flavorful food. The chef there is awesome, he loves coming out to support the music.

Local Dining

“There’s a place, Franny’s, I go there all the time. They have local produce, the chef is really simple, they cook great little appetizers and great pizzas. Their pizzas are really thin, oily, saucy, not too much cheese.”

“In relation to my new record, and the last 2 records before that, we always go to Bryce Goggin’s studio. He is a master engineer and he’s worked with Trey, Pavement, and others. He has a studio in Brooklyn near this incredible place, Yomari’s. It’s a Cuban place and they have the best pork rice and beans.”

“We also love Frankie’s 457. I know the chefs, I hang out with them. I know Frankie we hang upstairs. We talk about how he hangs out with the Black Crowes.”

Coffee or Tea

“Neither. I used to drink a lot of yerba matte, because I have an endorsement with them. I like caffeine, but I found myself being dehydrated a lot. Now I don’t have crazy ups and downs through the day, a constant flow. Caffeine was a roller coaster ride.”

Bene-Ful

“I have a breakfast, Eggs Bene, which is short for Eggs Benevento. I’ve cooked it for everyone. Its eggs in this tomatoey, garlicy, salty, spinachy sauce. Eggs in that with some burnt bread. The eggs are a little runny.”

“”I have a lot of things with the word Bene in it. I have Mac Bene, which is macaroni and cheese with that tomato spinach blend in there”

Late night snack

“Later in the evening, I have Bene Butter. I have a couple of cast iron pans. I like to make toast in the pan, make it burnt. I burn some bread on the cast iron pan. My daughter, Ruby, loves this. I’m like ‘Do you wanna have Bene Butter?!’. You take the bread, grab a spoon and scoop out almond butter or peanut butter layer and without cleaning the spoon you put it in some local raw honey and then sprinkle some cinnamon on it. Then you fold it in half and dip in the rice milk. And then you eat it up! I’m going to make some right now.”

Songs About Food

“We had one song, Soba. I didn’t specifically write it about soba noodles. I don’t even remember why we called it that. You’ll have to ask Joe.”

Marco’s third solo release, Between The Needles & Nightfall, comes out this week and features Andrew Barr on drums and Reed Mathis on bass. He has a heavy schedule planned for the rest of the year, featuring solo dates and also dates with Garage A Tois. Cheers!

4 Comments

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  1. Matt / May 11 2010

    I look like Marco!

  2. jaime / May 11 2010

    Awesome kitchen photos by Michael DiDonna!

  3. CircleLimit / May 13 2010

    Cool article and concept. Love the pics too.

  4. RISD / May 27 2010

    NICE! I also love cooking! My hobby…

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