Down The Aisle:Landon and Hannah Metz

Landon: Artist, Hannah: Clothing Designer and Owner, H.K.M. Interview and Images by Aimee Brodeur

I guess it's best to tell you that I have known the Metz's for almost 10 years now, and it has been a joy to share so many dinners together through tough times and times of abundance. Landon and Hannah are like two puzzle pieces, different in style and shape but somehow fitting together seamlessly. Their bond and their outlook on life are contagious, which is what led me to want to interview them. Whether they are serving hot dogs in front of the TV or assembling an elaborate cheese plate alongside a nice glass of scotch, the atmosphere and approach are always the same. It’s about community and good company. From their first meals together to a secret spot that they always escape to in the South of France, these two do many things well- but I would have to say that breaking bread with friends is at the very top of that list.

So why do you two make the trek all the way down here to Red Hook for groceries?

H: We like to do a big load up on groceries and then walk along the waterfront and look at the Statue of Liberty- sort of make a day out of it.

L: I also don’t like buying groceries everyday- I like to buy a bunch of shit all at once.

H: If we run low on vegetables I will make a quick stop at The Garden, by my studio.

When you go to the grocery store, do you meal plan and make a list?

H: I always have a list- and it’s sectioned out since Fairway is so big. I organize it per area and in the order that we walk through it.

That’s amazing. Every person I have met that does a list has their own way of categorizing it. This is a good system!  

L: I’d also like to add that I come to Fairway for the soundtrack. (Laughing, as Adele’s “Hello” is playing as we walk the aisle.)

What’s one meal that you have every week?

L: I eat eggs with arugula, balsamic vinegar, and red chili flakes every morning.

H: I eat the same thing except I add a piece of toast to it.

You guys are both creatures of habit.

L: Yeah, I eat the same shit everyday.

Okay well that may be true in New York, but you both travel often. You both seem to be in Italy for work at least a couple of times a year. What’s it like when you go out of town for extended periods of time and you leave this type of habit for a new place with a new routine.

L: I eat so much of everything.  We almost never cook when we are in Italy.

H: Yes we do!

L: Okay on Sunday’s we do- you have to. Almost every restaurant is closed on Sundays.

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“I don’t like to cook when it’s just for me. Honestly, it’s boring. Eating is a thing you do with people, it’s a community event!”

 

What are those? (Landon is walking back to the cart with a big container.)

L: Dates. I love eating these at night a lot with water.  Dates and water…

Hannah, tell me about some of your go-to dishes.

H: My favorite thing to make week after week is a big pot of rice and beans with pickled radishes. I’ll make a kale pesto to mix in with the rice and then top it of with dill and an egg.

Landon- do you grocery shop and cook for yourself when Hannah is out of town?

L: No. not really. (Laughing) I eat out with friends pretty much every single night when she is out of town.

Not the type to make yourself a meal at home?

L: I don’t like to cook when it’s just for me. Honestly, it’s boring. Eating is a thing you do with people, it’s a community event!

What type of ritual do you have around eating when it is just the two of you at home?

L: We eat breakfast together in the kitchen at the table.

H: We definitely always make an effort to do that..

How have your eating and shopping habits changed in the last 8 years since you’ve lived in New York?

L: Back then we were just super poor. It was a lot of rice and beans.

H: Which is still my favorite thing to eat. Sometime to treat ourselves we would have what we called “snack dinners”.

L: Oh yeah!

H: It was just bread and cheese with olive oil (laughing).

L:  Looking back, we actually ate really well. We ate vegetables all the time. We made these things we called “hippie plates”. We would buy every cheap vegetable we could find and cook them all together.

H: We also had a ton of potlucks at our house for our friends.

L: It was good- and it was really cheap. Man, I was more healthy.

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“We made these things we called ‘hippie plates’. We would buy every cheap vegetable we could find and cook them all together.”

 

So fast forward to now- is there anything you miss or don’t miss about those early years of eating that way?

L: I miss kind of eating to be healthier.

H: We do a lot of pleasure eating.

L: 90% pleasure eating.

Landon, do you ever weigh in on meal planning or does Hannah have most of the say?

L: I will usually say, “We need to eat more vegetables!”

H: I just want to eat pasta all the time.

L: She always wants to eat way more pasta and bread, and I’m like, “I think I’m getting fat now and we shouldn’t do that.” (laughing)

H: Haha! I don’t know what he’s talking about!

Landon what’s your favorite thing to make for Hannah in the kitchen?

L: I always make the fish and chicken. I’m kind of heavy handed when it comes to seasoning, and Hannah has a better sensibility with chopping, prepping, and not overdoing the oil or salt. I think I cook more like an Italian, I just throw it all in! (makes large hand gesture)

H: I’m just happy to have company and help in the kitchen. Anytime he is in there with me it’s my favorite thing.

Was there ever a meal for each of you that really stood out as an important moment that you shared together?

H: Our first date. I still remember that meal like it was yesterday.

Wow, I’m so impressed that you remember that meal so well. It must have been over 12 years ago!

H: We went to this restaurant in Vancouver- that I had only been to once before with my dad.

I was trying to impress Landon with a fancy restaurant.  We ate this beef tartare with mint and peanuts. It was so good! We had these hilarious cocktails too. We were 19 and could drink legally in Canada at that time.

I love that at age 19 you were broke and eating beef tartare.

L: We have always been like that. Even if we were broke, we found a way to over spend on some things- like important experiences. We have always lived a good life even when we didn’t have money.

H: Oh yeah… I never felt like we were missing out, even when we were eating rice and beans. I got really good at it.

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“I never felt like we were missing out, even when we were eating rice and beans. I got really good at it.”

 

Landon, what is your favorite memory of a meal with Hannah?

L: There is a small restaurant in the town of Biot in the South of France that we go to every single day when we visit.  It’s a trip we started doing every summer, and every time it’s the best week of our lives.  It’s our favorite restaurant in the world.  It’s not just the food, it’s the whole vibe.  It’s in the middle of this tiny square in the middle of town.  It’s run by a family, all of the generations work there, and because we go there so much they treat us as friends.  They serve rose in a ceramic pitcher made by the family.  They also have a small art collection below the restaurant.  The mother and father own the restaurant, the grandmother cooks, and the children serve the food. They have a huge cat and a dog named Digo, and every day I order the same thing.

What do you get?

L: Stuffed flowers- squash blossoms stuffed with meat with tomato sauce, and always the baked aubergine. We finish the meal with creme brulee and coffee. And lots of wine.

Where do both of you get your inspiration to cook- and what inspires you in the kitchen?

H: I get inspired by trying to recreate meals that I have had at restaurants. Also, Bon Appetit has thing where if you write in and request a recipe for a meal, they will send it to you.

 

L: Like the rice dish from Sqirl.

Landon, what role does food play in your art practice?

L: I wouldn’t necessarily make food as part of my work, but I do have big dinners at my studio, and they are a great way to engage with people and my practice.  By inviting people into my studio for a meal, it’s a really unpretentious and intimate way to start a discussion. I wish I could do big dinners after every one of my shows. It’s such a great way to have honest dialogue with new people.

Do you think food is one of the best ways to do that?

L: I think it is the best way to do that. I think it’s very tribal- to sit around a fire and eat food together and be with your people. I think it’s one of the things we do best as humans.

Hannah, if you were a meal what would you be?

H: I would be a bowl of colorful food. Like a coconut curry with red, orange, and green peppers. I am making that tonight actually (laughing). I make it with red curry paste, red quinoa, rice, sweet potatoes, tofu,cilantro, lime zest, and top it with Greek yogurt. Oh, and black beans. Of course.

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“I think it’s very tribal- to sit around a fire and eat food together and be with your people. I think it’s one of the things we do best as humans.”

 

What’s so Hannah Kristina Metz about it?

H: It’s colorful. Its comfort food and feels warm and toasty in your belly but also not heavy. It’s light and playful.

Landon if you were a meal what would you be?

L: Italian food- simple and straightforward ingredients where everything is visible and present to the palate. Probably a pasta… during truffle season… with olive oil, salt, maybe butter, and then truffles… Fresh ass truffles.

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Take-aways:

  1. Hannah's favorite bowl from SqirlSorrel Rice Bowls with Poached Eggs
  2. Hannah Kristina Metzhttps://www.hkm.nyc/
  3. Landon Metzhttp://www.landonmetz.com/
Recipe Recipe

Recipe:

Hannah’s Coconut Curry Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Knob of fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 4 cups coconut water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 can green lentils
  • 1 cup mixed red and white quinoa
  • Couple handfuls of kale
  • 1 package of tofu in 1 inch cubes
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, zest + juice plus a 1/4 wedge for serving
  • Spoonful of Greek yogurt for serving

Serves

6-8 people

Prep Time

1 hour

Heat coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium, and toss in chopped peppers and carrots. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds. Avoid letting the garlic brown. Mix in curry paste, powder, and turmeric, then slowly add coconut milk, coconut water and soy sauce. Stir and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in lentils and quinoa, then reduce to a simmer. Cover until quinoa is cooked (about 25 minutes). Stir in cubed tofu and kale and let cook for another five minutes. Add lime juice and zest, sprinkle with cilantro and salt, and serve with a generous spoonful of Greek yogurt. I also like to add potatoes or sweet potatoes if I have them on hand for an even heartier dish!
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