Skip to content
Mar 15 / aguse

Percolating Beverage Recipes with Matt Costa


I phoned Matt recently, while his wife was making a mushroom, leek and tofu quiche for dinner. For a look into some local favorites, Mexican food in Switzerland (!?), and a preference for frozen gummy worms…

Epicurean Musician: Do you go out to eat more or cook at home more?
Matt Costa: I’d say about half and half. My wife is a vegetarian so she doesn’t cook meat a lot…so I’d say that’s why we go out to eat as much as we do.

EM: So I have to ask you, what are you eating in the black and white photo on your homepage?
MC:  There’s a place here in Dana Point called the Harbor House and it’s an all-night diner. Whenever I’m there really early in the morning, or at a normal breakfast time, I normally get a sausage omelet.

What are some other places that you like to eat around there? (Matt resides in Costa Mesa, CA).
One place is called Habana, Cuban-inspired restaurant. Another is a real nice Mexican restaurant called Gabbi’s that’s in the city of Orange.

Did you grow up with cooking?
My dad cooked a lot. He was the chef of the house. He cooked a lot of Italian things. My mom was always the one who said, “You cook, and I’ll clean.” Now I’m the opposite with my wife. She’s the one who does the cooking and I’ll clean.

Was there a particular cuisine your dad made often? You said he made a lot of Italian dishes—was that because of his heritage or just something he liked to cook?
Yeah I think it’s because of the Italian heritage. He embraces it. He made shrimp scampi and homemade meatballs. Lots of pasta dishes. He always threw protein into the meal, like pork chops or sausage. There was a time he grew up in Hawaii—my grandfather was in the Navy. In his dishes he made a use of Spam quite often. He made it in fried rice or made Spam sandwiches. I remember there was always quite a bit of Spam in the house.

Did you like spam?
Yeah I liked it. I’d still eat it. I know it freaks some people out but I’m not too picky about it.

Record, Tour (Rep)eat

When you’re on tour, are there any cities you specifically like to go to for the food?
There’s a place I like to go to in Atlanta called R. Thomas.

What kind of dishes do you like to get there?
They have a pretty good mix of stuff—a lot of veggie options, it’s pretty healthy. I think the last time I was there I got a veggie quinoa dish, probably because I was missing home a little bit. I look forward to going there.

Matt decided to turn the tables and ask me where I liked to eat. I suddenly forget all of the places I have ever eaten at in my entire life, then recalled snippets of my dining past while living in Brooklyn . I mentioned Harefield Road and Dumont Burger (both in Williamsburg, Brooklyn). I proceeded to tell him that it was difficult finding really good Mexican joints, and then he asked if I ever had Mexican in California. I had been to two places in the LA area, but I don’t remember their names. Mexican can be so hit or miss, but when you find a really good Mexican joint, then you’ve REALLY found a good Mexican joint.

Yeah, I actually went to a Mexican place in Switzerland. It was actually insane, the chips were hot corn chips with sprayed on seasoning and it wasn’t really Mexican food. The walls had weird writings on the wall that weren’t Spanish. You’d think that because they weren’t too far from Spain they’d get it, but the words on the wall were almost pig Latin for Spanish words. It was pretty confusing. I just wanted to try their version of Mexican food.

Are there any European places you like to eat at?
I don’t really know the names of places, but I do like to get curry in London. We don’t have much Indian around here.

Do you have a tour or anything else in the works?
We just did a tour, and I’ve been doing some recording in my home, but right now I have nothing planned for another tour. We had a tour that was two months, and I put out a record five months ago. Right now I’m just writing and getting set up for the next thing.

When recording, do you form any food habits or drop any food habits?
Yeah, actually, when I record I forget to eat a lot of the time. I’ll just be so in the mode. I’ll wake up and have my coffee. I really like to have acai as well, I like having that in the morning sometimes. I’ll get my coffee early in the morning and then I’m just fired up at 7 o’clock in the morning and then I start feeling insane. Crazy thoughts come to my head. Then I’m like, “Aw shit, I didn’t eat!” Then I’m beyond the point of helping myself and just keeping saying, “I need to eat” then figuring out what I’m going to eat becomes insane. So yeah, I become crazy when I’m recording.

It’s Time for the Peculator

Coffee or tea?
Definitely coffee.

Do you like a particular brand or brew?
Recently my mother-in-law went to Ethiopia so she smuggled back a whole backpack of Ethiopian coffee beans in the raw. So she brought it back and brought it to Polly’s Pies…it’s just a pie shop around here that also have a roaster, so she roasted all these Ethiopian beans she smuggle over here. I’ve been grinding and drinking that in the percolator. I’ve had a pretty heavy dose of that coffee.

You use a percolator? I’ve never used one before…do you think it’s better than brewed coffee?
They’re different. The drip coffee is pretty cool…I don’t have it at home but I’ve had it at other places. I used to do french press. I like the percolator. I feel like you can get it hotter than with a french press. I feel like it’s a little stronger, too.

I’ll have to try it sometime. I don’t know anyone with a percolator.
The first time I used the percolator is when I went camping. Now I’ve got a nicer one. It’s an Italian brand.

Do you go camping a lot?
I do. I have a camper. We go cruise out in that a lot.

What kind of food do you eat when camping?
S’mores…I don’t know, I just make sure that I bring alcohol. That’s the first priority. I keep it pretty simple. I’ll bring soups, such as lentil or black bean.

What alcohol do you bring?
Whiskey. That’s really my choice. Beer and maybe some wine.

Any preferences as far as whiskey goes?
Maker’s Mark.

Straight, on the rocks, or mixed?
I like it on the rocks, or if I want something sweeter I’ll mix it with some ginger ale. Sometimes straight up.

Have you ever had it in ice cream before?
Ice cream? No…

Yeah, you should try a Maker’s Mark milkshake sometime. Instead of milk, use Maker’s Mark, and you’ve got a milkshake! And they’re delicious.
Oh! Wow.

It’s kind of similar to egg nog. If you like egg nog then you’d probably like it.
Yeah I do. Back to the coffee conversation, I like to make Irish coffees at home.

See I’ve never tried it before because I don’t know if I’d like the whiskey/coffee combo.
It’s good, the coffee is pretty strong because of the percolator. I do that, fill the bottom of the mug with whiskey, put some agave nectar in, and then I use a rice whipped cream instead of real whipped cream.

OK, that does sound good. I would try that. Do you like your coffee with cream and sugar or black?
Black. Unless I’m doing the Irish coffee for something sweeter, but usually it’s just black.

Everlasting Frozen Gummy Worms

Do you do any late night snacking?
This is really bad actually—I went in the line at the grocery store and the people next to me were debating—and where I was in line was actually far back, it reached back into the candy aisle, where I was. These people picked up this giant bag of gummy worms, like huge, it was probably 2 pounds. I don’t even know, it was like dog food sized bag. They were debating it, and then they said, “No, we won’t get it” and I said “No, that looks good!” and I tried to convince them to get it, but at the same time I convinced myself so I grabbed this bag, put it in the shopping cart and took it home. I put it in the freezer, and they sat there for like…a year. And then recently in the middle of the night I’ll grab handfuls of them and eat them. Then I wake up really regretting it. I can’t get rid of them.

What’s the consistency like?
Just kind of chewy. Like octopus sushi. So yeah, it’s terrible. It’s a huge bag. I did it kind of as a joke, but not really, and then it’s become a thing where like we need to throw that thing out but I can’t come to terms with parting with it.

I think you could use them for when you’re having a party or something, you can use them as little ice cubes for your drink.
Yeah that would be awesome! I can’t feel too bad actually because I went to the bar with my friend the other night and I was actually really late to the bar. I was waiting for a cab and the cab called back five or six different times but never came, so I was like, “Fine I’ll ride by bike” and my friend had been there waiting for hours, sitting there drinking a pitcher of beer, and he had a bag of gummy worms with his beer, so I didn’t feel so bad about the gummy worms thing. I was thinking, maybe you could throw them in your whiskey or something. I don’t know. That’s crazy.

There are three upcoming acoustic solo dates.

“Mobile Chateau” is available now.


Leave a Comment