Cooking With

Crystal Stilts


by Zofia Ciechowska, food image by Carlijn Potma


There are few more unpredictable diets than those fuelled by tour food and dodgy riders. We can only guess how many pastries, candy, trail mix and yoghurt the NYC psych-pop band Crystal Stilts have collectively eaten over the past decade. So when we talked with guitarist JB Townsend, it wasn’t surprising that he seemed eager to reminisce about home-cooked food. For him, no one makes steak bordelaise better than his father, a dish he devours every time he sees his parents in France. We spoke with JB while he enjoyed the French view and looked forward to tonight’s dinner.


‘My dad became a chef as a teenager in France in the 1970s. It’s an amazing trick he keeps up his sleeve. Then he moved to the USA and met my mom and all that. I wasn’t raised on French haute cuisine though. I come from a large family; we ate a lot of spaghetti. But we always had good food. Steak with bordelaise sauce is something that my dad has always made for me. It’s a simple, but really delicious dish.’



JB’s Dad’s Steak Bordelaise 


olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
handful chopped parsley
1 cup beef bouillon
balsamic vinegar


1 cup red wine
crème fraîche
steak entrecôte
green beans
salt and pepper


How to make JB’s dad’s steak bordelaise:

• In a large pan, heat olive oil and butter. Add shallots, garlic and parsley. Add a cup of beef bouillon.

• Once the liquid has heated up, add a bit of fat from the steak for some meaty flavour. Add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Season. Lower the heat.

• Heat some butter in a small pan and cook your steak.

• You can add crème fraîche and more parsley to the sauce. Serve it over your steak and eat with some crusty French bread and steamed green beans.

Crystal stilts play on 17 February at Melkweg in Amsterdam. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.