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Dinner with Kirk Hammett

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So, I’m in Nashville, TN meeting the wedding photographer. Nicole’s (my fiance) friend Megan is with us and recommends an Italian restaurant after the meeting. We go in, we sit down and Nicole goes to the restroom. She comes back and says, “Guess who’s here?” I figured it was some schlub from work. She says, Kirk Hammett.” As if the last name was needed. I immediately scan the room and he’s sitting at a table facing me about 12 feet away. He must have noticed Nicole telling me because as soon as I spotted him, he was looking in my direction and smiled. I awkwardly waved and he awkwardly waived back.

A hush seemed to come over the restaurant for a moment and I used that opportunity to break the ice. I pointed to Nicole and told Kirk “She didn’t want to go to Minnesota” He was like, “She didn’t miss much.” Nicole said jokingly, Lar’s was looking dandy!”

Him, his wife, and daughter were finishing up dinner so I seized the opportunity and went up and introduced myself and asked if I could take a picture with him and he was totally willing. I was lucky to be able to chat with him for a few minutes and we talked about the upcoming Phish cd and where they are with it, where he was flying to today, some potential Metallica plans for fall, and even made a song request and he seemed to act like it was a possibility. I also joked during the picture to my friend Megan who took it, “Go to hell dying by his hand” and he definitely laughed at the Exodus reference.

After the picture was taken, I sat back down. Feeling all jacked up, I decided a glass of Montepulciano was in order. If you’ve ever been to Tuscany, you would have agreed with me at that moment. Having told the waiter minutes before that we needed a few minutes before ordering since we were stalking Trey, we were finally ready to order. An appetizer order for the breaded artichokes proved to be a good opener. It paired well with the delicious red that we were enjoying. I wouldn’t say they were deep fried, but there definitely was some breading on it, and the juice was superb. I’m glad I decided to not be bashful and eat the last one before the waiter took the plate away.

A few minutes pass as I’m still on Cloud 9, and our entrees arrive. I ordered one of the chicken specials. It was a pair of thinly sliced chicken breasts, topped perfectly with ripened roasted tomatoes, a well salted pancetta, some finely melted parmigiana reggiano, and wading in a delicate sage butter sauce, and I want to say there was some white wine in it as well. This sauce was the kind you want to dunk the whole bread basket in. Thankfully, watching my carb intake, I passed on the daily overdose of grains. The first bite of my meal, I realized it was on. From then on, I carefully navigated my way through the dish, trying to get some juicy tomato and chicken, with the delicious cheese, as well as the right amount of meat and salt from the pancetta, in every bite. Nicole also ordered a special. It was the cavatelli tossed with some fresh vegetables, olive oil, and sausage. I must admit, it was pretty awesome. It wasn’t more than 10 seconds after I tasted Nicole’s pasta that I decided I needed to try Megan’s as well. She had the pappardelle. I’ve made fresh pasta a few times in my life, and this lived up to the billing. It was a little slippery to get the noodle on my fork, being that it was generously coated in a light tomato cream sauce. But, it was worth the fight. Overall, all three dishes were fantastic. You couldn’t pick a loser in the bunch. I’m glad I ordered another glass of wine. It just flowed perfectly with the meal.

Oh, how could I forget? The potato croquette that came on the side was like no other I’ve had in my life. For the point of emphasis, I must reiterate, it was like no other I’ve had in my life. Being able to mix that with the sauce from the chicken was a culinary delight. The steamed to perfection broccoli on the side also fared well under the drenching of the sage butter.

I have to back up this story a little bit. When you walk into this restaurant, you not only smell wonderful aromas, but you see the pizza and gelato counter immediately. Having the hot tip from Megan that the gelato was amazing, I knew I was going to try my hand at desert. The menu came out and I have to say I was quite overwhelmed. I knew I was going to get something with gelato, so I didn’t have to worry about choosing the cheesecake or tiramisu. The gelato flavors seemed awesome. From what I recall, they had hazelnut, mint chocolate chip (my favorite), pistachio, vanilla with chocolate chips, possibly a tiramisu (I can’t remember), and several other great ones. Underneath these array of flavors, there were two more sections, each including the famed gelato. One were coffee drinks with gelato, the others were gelto cocktails. The waiter came over and asked what I wanted. I was so torn. I was going to get just the Menta (chocolate chip mint) gelato. No wait, the cocktail with coconut rum, a bunch of other booze, and a scoop of the frozen delight sounded too good to pass up. Alas, I went with the one thing that caught my eye from the get go, the Affogato e Ubriacco (Drowned & Drunk). It was hot espresso and Kaluha poured over hazlenut gelato, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream.

When the waiter brought out the dessert, he set down the martini glass which housed the frozen gelatinous cream. He then poured the alcohol infused coffee drink into the martini glass, and the perfect union of cold and hot was born. A group of women who were sitting at the table next to the table that Trey sat at not more than 45 minutes before, were literally oohing and ahhing over this performance. Even though the girls declined dessert, the waiter was kind enough to bring three spoons anyway. I would never let them leave without trying some. What was great was that you were able to get some good bites of gelato before it melted into what I consider to be the world’s greatest cocktail, or milkshake, depending on how you look at it. When I took the last sip, I was eager for more, but still was the perfect end to the perfect night. It doesn’t get much better than that boys and girls. I will always remember the night I met Kirk Hammett.

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