Tag Archives: Comfort

HEARD! #7 TRAVIS MILTON

I started Food Punk to create a space to celebrate food and music. Where else could I herald the magic of both Ramps and Pusha T? Cooking, like music, is an art. Both can be visceral, sensory experiences that transport, inspire and even define us. I’ve often found that those who play with knives are also into ‘deep cuts’ of another nature. It is in this spirit that I bring you this series: HEARD! highlighting the music enthusiasts behind the line, the bar, the pass and the pen.

Travis Milton is chef at Comfort restaurant here in Richmond, VA. When I first met him, he was wearing a Misfits T- shirt and had enough pimento cheese to feed 300 people.

TRAVIS
What was the first live music performance you attended?
This actually took more thought than I had planned, I thought for the longest time it was Huey Lewis and The News. Last week I was looking through some pictures from my childhood and realized it was actually Ray Stevens at the Appalachian Fair in Gray TN.

What was the Most Recent?
I don’t get to go to as many shows as I used to, it really makes me feel old. I went to see Alkaline Trio at the National. I’ve known the guys in the band for a while now, I used to cook for them as well as some other punk bands when they’d come through VA. It was a good show, it took me back to my 20′s, and afterwards the bass player and I sat outside the bus and discussed how old we all felt these days.

What Album/Artist/ changed your life?
This one is tough, I feel like there has been one of these for every step of life evolution. I listened to alot of country when I was young, growing up in Appalachia there’s music everywhere. You could walk down old dirt roads and hear old timers picking banjos and playing guitar on their porches. Bluegrass and old country will always be close to my heart, but the band that really flipped my lid was Thin Lizzy.

Phil Lynott is like a saint to me, his lyrics are so “heart on his sleeve”. Black Rose in particular blows my mind, songs like “Got to Give it up” and ” My Sarah” are so beautiful and honest lyrically. Gary Moore just kills it on guitar, the last song Roisin Dubh is amazing. Its got this amazing Irish, kinda bluegrassy riff with dueling leads that is mindblowingly good. They are so under-rated in the world of rock and I really do feel rock music lost an absolute great when Phil past in 86.

Do you have a musical equivalent to a guilty pleasure?
Guilty Pleasure: Ask anyone that has ever worked for me, and they will all tell you .38 special. I just can’t help myself, you can often see me playing air guitar on the cooks line or serenading the bartenders when “Caught up in You” comes on in the restaurant. I feel like I shouldn’t like them, but sweet goodness the redneck in me just comes through and I can’t help but love the hell out of it.

What album is your go to for when you want to smash stuff or life is s ticking it to you?
Reign in Blood by Slayer, if I ever mention I’ve been listening to it, its been a bad day in the kitchen……….

What album is your go to for fist-pumping happiness this is the best happy times?

Its probably a tie between Van Halen 1984 and Destroyer by Kiss, I still get giddy like a kid when I hear the opening guitars on Detroit Rock City, and the same goes with Panama.

The first question I ask a prospective hire is what kind of music do you listen to. Obviously this has no bearing on whether I hire them or not, but you can tell a lot about someone by their answer. I hate when someone tells me ” I listen to everything”, I call Bullshit!! It is a cop-out answer, I listen to many different genres but I could never answer that question that way. I kinda bear the torch of being one of the few true lovers of hair metal. It never really mattered much to me until I left my restaurant. I had put everything I had into it, time, money, emotion, strength, absolutely everything. I was a shell of a person, I thought my dream was over and I had nothing left in the tank. This is gonna sound corny as hell but, I started listening to Hair Bands. Everything in the world of 80′s Metal is Awesome. Its all about getting drunk, getting laid, partying and just being awesome.

My musical taste obviously does not end with Hair bands, I love early 80′s punk: Misfits and anything Keith Morris, Alt country or whatever you’d call it, is special to me: The Drive By Truckers and The Bottle Rockets are staple of my day. I sing constantly on the line.

Music really is necessary to every aspect of my life, I once halted opening brunch one Sunday by 5 minutes because I hadn’t had a chance to hear “Sunday Mourning Coming Down” as done by Johnny Cash.

Desert Island Jam?

Probably a tie between Static Age by the Misfits ( If Hybrid Moments was the only song I could listen to the rest of my life I’d be a happy camper) and the Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast (to me it’s the most perfect album start to finish ever)
Iron Maiden

PIMENTO AND PIG

Pimento Cheese meets Whoopie Pie


Although it looks like I took the last month off around here on the internet, I assure you there is no rest for the wicked and since I’ve last posted much has occurred.

This past week the darling Caroline Nuttall of Read Charlie wrote up a piece about all of the Pimento Cheeses of Charleston and included a bit about the film. You can read it here. Pimento Cheese is popping up everywhere outside the South, these days. Better hurry and get this film made before the backlash starts in- I met a chef who was working on a Pimento Cheese foam ?!?

Charleston is such a vibrant city. We enjoyed filming there and really loved eating there. If you want to see my eyes roll up in my head and start drooling just ask me about our eating excursions while there, like the cocktails at FIG and the dinner at Husk.

Speaking of great dinners, here in Richmond, I was honored to help contribute to the last course of a Suds and Sow dinner at Comfort. Chef Jason Alley and his team created a multi course dinner around a suckling pig, matched with beers from Athens’ Terrapin Brewery. Have you tried the Hopsecutioner?! Don’t walk, RUN!
From the starters of pork fat fried peanuts, and housemade rinds to the tender ribs and crispy jowl salad.. not to mention the whole hog tacos, it was a bacchanal of porcine delights. I made bacon fat and ginger whoopie pies that were filled with peanut butter cream and served with a citrus bacon jam. (Alas, I have no pictures so we’ll make do with the above savory Northern/Southern hybrid- The Pimento Cheese Whoopie Pie!)
It’s such a delight that area chefs in our city host events like this. There is a food scene here in Richmond, and we are lucky to have it, but it needs to advance and grow. Events like Suds and Sow help spread the word in our own community and beyond.

I have heard word that there is also a fledgling secret restaurant scene on the rise here in River City. If anyone needs any dessert items for such events please be in touch – I can keep a secret!