Friday, February 17, 2012

10 Questions with Matt Talbert: Fine Artist

"With A Twist" by Matt Talbert. 

We talked with fine artist Matt Talbert about his journey from Orange County to NYC and back, his graduation from red solo cups to proper jiggers and Boston shakers, and his upcoming art show at Neat Bar on Thursday March 1st at 5:30. Check out what he had to say:

Q: When did you realize you had a talent for art?
Matt: I started drawing when I was really young, before I can even remember. It was always encouraged by my parents and grandmother who was a painter herself.

Q: After studying art in Orange County at OCHSA and LCAD, you left the golden coast for NYC. What did you learn from your time there?
Matt: Being surrounded by fantastic museums and galleries, I was able to soak up some of the best artwork in the world. I worked at an art supply store on the edge of SoHo and was able to meet some interesting artists and walk to the galleries on my lunch break. The energy of the city was amazing and I was inspired on all fronts, from the beautiful architecture to the everyday man on the street.

Q: You ended up returning to your roots and moving back to Orange County. Did it give you a renewed view on this area?
Matt: It took some time to re-adjust back to California after living in such a high energy environment. I learned to actively seek out my interests more. The biggest difference is that I don’t limit myself to just Orange County. I look at LA and OC as one big metropolitan area and I go everywhere from Silver Lake to San Clemente, sometimes all in the same day.

Q: What spurred your interest in the craft cocktail movement?
Matt: Dale DeGroff’s “Craft of the Cocktail” book was definitely the beginning. Once I got that book I was making proper cocktails in a Boston shaker, rather than eyeballing Jack and cokes in a plastic cup. In 2008 on a trip back to NY my wife and I went to the Pegu Club. It was all over for me after that. I was hooked.

Q: When did that interest run over into your artwork?
Matt: I always try to paint what most interests me, whether it is a portrait or a NY street scene. Now it is my love of the craft cocktail movement. Finely crafted cocktails illustrated by classic oil paintings, both using only the finest materials. It just makes sense to me more than anything I’ve ever done.

Q: Do you plan on continuing this series (for lack of a better word maybe) of painting the craft cocktail movement or do you have other things in the works?
Matt: At this point I plan to continue painting the craft cocktail scene. There are so many different directions that I can take it, with so many different bars and cocktails to explore.

Q: Are you excited about your upcoming show at Neat?
Matt: I am extremely excited! I can’t wait to see all of the paintings hanging on the wall together. I couldn’t ask for a better host than Aidan Demarest and his crew at Neat. I am especially excited to have Bols Genever sponsoring the event, with Marcos Tello guest bartending.

Q: Think you'll ever trade in your paintbrushes and try your hand at bartending first hand?
Matt: As much as I like playing bartender at home, I think I’ll leave it to the experts at the bars. I need to keep some of the mystery of the what goes on behind the bar alive.

Q: If you were to be banished to a desert island with only one craft cocktail and one album, what would they be?
Matt: This is definitely the hardest questions so far. Hmm, I would probably go with a Sazerac and Weezer’s Blue Album. Is there a smoke monster on this island?

Q: When you're not painting what are you doing?
Matt: Traveling all over, always with my camera in hand. Watching some stand up comedy, preferably Paul F. Tompkins at the Largo. If I had more free time I would love to learn how to play the trumpet and the banjo.
Don't miss Matt and his amazing artwork paying homage to the craft cocktail at Neat Bar in Glendale on Thursday March 1 beginning at 5:30. The show is sponsored by Bols Genever and will feature guest bartender Marcos Tello.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fried Chicken & French Toast Brunch

Fried Chicken & French Toast Brunch $16. Available Sat and Sun from 11:30am-3pm (shown above with "the works"- add Fried Egg $2, add Black Forrest Bacon $2)

After discussing the merits of a good Bloody Mary with brunch a couple weeks ago, we would be remiss if we didn't delve deeper into the singularly spectacular french toast and fried chicken brunch at 320 Main. That's right, you heard us right folks. French toast and fried chicken married happily together on one plate in an unlikely, but nonetheless delicious dish. 

Strange as it may sound, this concept is not new. Chicken and waffles has been a favorite soul food dish for years in places like Well's Supper Club in Harlem (R.I.P.) and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles locally in LA and Long Beach. One legend of its beginnings traces all the way back to the New York jazz scene of the 40's and 50's and features the likes of the great Thelonius Monk. After performing all night, Monk would head to the diner in the wee hours of the morning and order chicken (for his missed dinner) and waffles for his bread. Monk's genius for music apparently transferred over into food as well, because people have been enjoying this savory sweet breakfast for years since. 

320 Main took this soul food classic and put their own spin on it. The classic waffle is swapped for french toast made with fresh brioche bread from Melrose Bakery in LA (delivered fresh daily) and sprinkled with powdered sugar, fresh blueberries and raspberries. Even the fried chicken gets an update in this rendition of the dish, breaded with 320 Main's signature home made spicy cayenne breading. Get it with the works for just $4 more and atop the chicken lies a handful of thick cut, naturally raised, juicy strips of black forest bacon cooked to perfection - not too crispy, not too chewy. It's finished off - yes there's more - with a fried, farm raised, Grade A egg. 

One might think that chicken and french toast don't go together. Dinner food with breakfast food? But cut off a bite of each, add a bite of bacon, swirl it around in your broken fried egg, and then dip it into the maple syrup - when the savory and sweet flavors meet in your mouth, what once sounded so wrong on paper begins to feel taste oh-so-right. Don't believe us? Drop by 320 Main one Saturday or Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and see for yourself. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Celebrate Valentines at 320 Main!

Looking for a cozy nook to take your best guy or gal to this Valentine's Day? Check out what 320 Main is cooking up for the national day of love!


February 14, 2012
$50 per person

First Course
Pickled Beet Salad
House-pickled beets tossed with arugula,
shaved shallots, red pear, walnuts and goat cheese in a
honey mustard vinaigrette

Main Course 
Surf & Turf 
A 6-ounce Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail 
served with roasted fingerling potatoes, 
grilled asparagus and a Béarnaise sauce 

Dessert Course 
Blueberry Ricotta Turnover 
Sage infused blueberries and creamy ricotta 
cheese inside crispy filo dough served with 
vanilla ice cream and berry coulis 


Full menu will also be available!