It’s hot, it’s luscious, and it’s on your dinner plate. Better yet, it involves cheese sauce and bacon.
It’s the Hot Brown, signature dish of Louisville, Kentucky’s Brown Hotel.
A Louisville dish called for a Louisville band. Number 42 on Reverbnation’s rock chart for the city is Thirty Spokes (official site), which characterizes itself as “roots rock” (e.g., “Americana with attitude and maybe tattoos” or possibly “Southern rock with more folk influences”).
Honestly, what Thirty Spokes are reminding me of is ZZ Top: lots of cyclical guitar picking with an infectious beat. Thirty Spokes do not, however, have the beards.
They do, however, have double-entendres to spare: “she shook my tree right down to its roots”? We ain’t discussin’ forestry here, are we boys? (If you haven’t the foggiest what I’m talking about, you should be at the band’s Reverbnation site. Just start at the beginning of the playlist.)
What they’d say about makin’ bacon… 425-ish oven, 5 or 6 minutes. You want it slightly underdone. Line the pan with foil unless you love scrubbing bacon grease.
By the third track — slow, with what might be violin, or else it’s a cool pedal effect — I was ready to go to iTunes and buy 72 Hours (popular with people who bought John Mayer, Imogen Heap, and Ryan Adams). It turns out the songs I’m loving are from the upcoming album.
But 72 Hours has a dead-soldier song and a trapped-miners song. I’m a sucker for modernized folk motifs. Bought!
When we’ve recovered our aplomb, it’s time to make the Mornay sauce. Over medium heat, mix equal amounts of butter and flour. I probably used 2 tablespoons of each. If the result is a clay-like lump, that’s fine. Pour in milk or cream or similar. The amount you use will dictate the quantity and thickness of the sauce. Since I wanted a small amount of a fairly thick sauce, I’d guess I used about a cup of liquid.
Stir passionately! Shred a major bridge of stirring! (Light bulb: some of what I’m liking about this band is how it aurally foregrounds the guitar work. I’m waiting with surprising eagerness for guitar motifs to resolve.) If stirred with proper vigor and dedication, cream sauce will not have lumps. But once it’s smooth, the key is to move really fast to shred in the parmesan, or you’ll be adding extra milk forever.
The rest of the sandwich is merely a matter of assembly. I used a submarine roll rather than Texas Toast because sub rolls and bagels were the only breads priced 2/$1 at Snooty Snail-like Scottsdale Kroger, where I’d gone to obtain a roasted red pepper to substitute for the usual tomato. Bread – turkey (I used a pepper-rubbed turkey) – red vegetable – Mornay sauce – crossed bacon strips. Into the still-hot oven it goes for about 5 minutes, just to toast the bread.
The result is insanely sensuous. Now I want to make sandwiches for all of the remaining states, starting with a poboy for Louisiana. Toast! Bacon! Two types of unauthorized pepper flavors! Cheese sauce! Bacon!
The glass full of vegetation is my attempt at a mint julep, but it’s really important to have ice-crushing technology, and I don’t. (That’s not my home-grown mint, which isn’t yet big enough to cut.)
Cheese sauce! Bacon!
I positively have to wrap up with the song that not only encapsulates my sentiments about the Hot Brown but also incorporates the nifty beat tension and guitar work that really sold me on this band. Here’s “Everything” in its first full-band performance.