Back in 1973, the formidable Texas blues-rock trio ZZ Top ascended to national stardom with its Tres Hombres LP, a collection so successful it lingered on the charts until 1976. One of the most memorable aspects of the album was its inner gatefold, which depicted a sumptuous Tex-Mex feast prepared by a legendary, now-defunct Houston eatery called Leo’s Mexican Restaurant. Leo’s went the way of all flesh in 2001, but that did not prevent Austin chef Tom Micklethwait from painstakingly recreating the Tres Hombres meal, detail by arcane detail, and then consuming it himself on camera in a clever short film called ZZ Tom, aided and abetted in this curious culinary quest by cameraman David Bessenhoffer. The film’s soundtrack consists, of course, of a ZZ Top oldie called “La Grange.”
And what did ZZ Top think of all this? Texas Monthly interviewed the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist, Billy Gibbons, to find out. The musician was suitably impressed by what Micklethwait had done: “I stand in awe of what he’s accomplished.” The interview is packed with historical details about the famous Tres Hombres meal. That bottle of beer, for instance? That’s Southern Select, the brew owned by eccentric plutocrat Howard Hughes. And the calendar in the background depicts a female revolutionary known as an Adelita. Gibbons even reveals the sad fate of the original Mexican feast.
The shot from the gatefold is the final frame [photographer] Galen [Scott] was able to snap. At some point, we took a fifteen-minute break. And when we returned we found his German Shepherd laying on his side gasping for breath. He’d jumped up on the table and consumed the entire lot. He got it all.
And so, in at least one important respect, Tom Micklethwait got more mileage out of the food than the members of ZZ Top ever did.
[via Austin 360]