Matt Norris is co-owner and bar manager at Soluna Cafe in San Francisco.
What was the food highlight of your year?
The food highlight of my year is difficult to pinpoint, living in SF means no shortage of delicious food and drink. A truly memorable experience would have to be a meal I had at Hartwood Restaurant in Tulum, Mexico. A funky little place on the edge of the jungle, just a stones throw away from the beach. Everything that comes from the kitchen, luscious meats, fresh seafood, gets a touch of smoke from being cooked over various wood fires. No electrical appliances in the kitchen, everything done by hand, just simple, straightforward food comprised of quality ingredients. Sitting under the stars, surrounded by the silhouettes of coconut palms, there is no better place to enjoy some chorizo empanadas and fresh caught octopus washed down by a few (or more) mezcal cocktails.
What was the music highlight of your year?
One of my favorite sets this year would have been Atoms for Peace at Treasure Island, it was freezing by the time they took the stage, but it was worth toughing it out to watch two musicians with very different backgrounds come together. The thump of Flea’s bass was more present live than on the album and Thom Yorke, as always, gave a hypnotic performance. Alt-J at the Fillmore blew my mind, odd a capella harmonies coupled with deep, atmospheric music giving voice to some truly unique and poetic lyrics.
Was there a moment when food and music came together in a memorable way?
Food and music memories are really punctuated by a few great experiences from this past year. The first would be the Huichica Festival at Gundlach Bundschu winery in Sonoma. Food from Craftsman and Wolves, Salumeria, Bunk Sandwiches, and way too much wine coupled with sets by Cass McCombs, Blitzen Trapper, and a super jam with Bob Weir. Extra points for the surreal experience of waiting in line for a port o potty with a former member of the Grateful Dead and the amazing summer weather that was a nice escape from the fog bank that is the city. The second would be a few days spent in NYC with the wifey that included some incredible meals (Gramercy Tavern, Franny’s Pizza), solid drinks (Dead Rabbit, Clover Club), not to mention the wonderful company of friends and family while getting to enjoy the final show of Knapsack’s reunion tour in Brooklyn. Lot’s of fun times, full bellies, and ringing ears.