Drinking my first bubble tea at Fat Straw, I couldn't help but think of other "bubbles." The dot-com bubble, for example. How anyone expected to break even with a Dada name and a business model that was little more than a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign is beyond me.
So is bubble tea. I don't care what kind of irrational exuberance has followed this trendy beverage from Taiwan to California and ultimately to Edgehill Village. It felt like I was drinking big frog eggs.
I'm fairly obsessed with breakfast food, so I'd been dying to go to the Pfunky Griddle since their opening at the end of July. It's a cook-your-own-pancakes place that also serves lunch.
It's a really cool idea, if you like the sensation of cooking your own food and then eating it bent right over a crackling-hot stove. It's great if you love the sensation of a steaming griddle facial: one part Pam cooking spray, two parts burnt pancake smell.
I showed up around 11:30 on Sunday and the place was bumpin'. I ordered biscuits and gravy, a side of bacon and a cup of coffee. My bill? Over $10. Ridiculous. I could eat twice the food for a third less at Cracker Barrel, and I wouldn't have to feel as though I were being tenderly roasted while eating it. My friend ordered poached eggs, only to find out that, since you cook your own eggs on the table griddle, she could only have fried eggs. Because of the griddle's lip, the server let us know that if we tried to scramble them they'd run "right off the griddle and onto your shoes." Ick.
We sat on bar stools. With no backs.
The coffee was what I like to refer to as "shitty."
The service was good, although a bit cheerleadery ("The biscuits and gravy were just great, right?! Right?!?"), and the folks running it were as nice as you could be.
But this place is still kind of a logistical nightmare. The carpet is badly stained, the paint job is terrible, and the fans placed throughout to deflect the steamy griddle heat only complicate matters. They really need to invest in some overhead fans for each table, better decor (get rid of the murals of wheat fields, stat) and remove those real tree branches from the ceiling that act as an extension of the fake tree painted on the wall in the back room.
Also, please remove your overstocked items (14 cans of Pam cooking spray) from the shelf in the waiting area. And finally, never put the peanut brittle crunch you won online out for display. Never.
When I got the news yesterday that Fresh Harvest Cooperative, the quasi-CSA from which I get my vegetables and fruit, would not have any more of their gorgeous flower bouquets due to the dry weather, my first reaction was disappointment. But there was sort of a silver lining. I can't remember the last time my groceries were impacted by something as simple as the local weather. Gas goes up when there's war in Iraq. Corn prices follow global demand for ethanol. But suddenly I'm SOL on flowers because it is hot in Middle Tennessee. It feels good. It feels local. It may feel hot, but at least it feels like I'm connected to my food (and flowers)—even if that connection is simply that we're both wilting.
Fortunately, Fresh Harvest farmers John Drury and Tallahassee May will still drive in from Bon Aqua, Tenn., with their heirloom tomatoes, melons, peppers and cucumbers. But what can I do to reduce the miles the rest of my groceries travel before they get to me? Let's start a list....
Plumgood Food, the online grocer delivering organic and natural foods, is tripling its offerings to include mainstream brands such as Lay's, Cheerios and Tropicana.
This is good news for anyone who ever said, "I just wish someone would deliver my groceries to my door." That's what Plumgood has been doing—on a daily basis, throughout Middle Tennessee—for three years. But until now, the menu of 2,500 products has been a little too earthy to replace the supermarket. With 7,500 items (including potato chips and soft drinks) Plumgood launches a formidable bid for customers—even those who crave junk food.
I am not a huge cake person—especially those ubiquitous sheet cakes slathered with white icing that show up in the Scene's kitchen with some regularity. But this past weekend, at a graduation party, I had some of the best chocolate cake I have ever had in the celebratory-letters-on-top mold. Created at Sweet 16th in East Nashville, the delightful confection—chocolate cake, fudge icing—was rich, moist and I talked about it for the rest of the night. There were rumors of chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing, but I never laid my hands on one. Dare to dream....
Check out the Scene's review.
In honor of the anniversary of Elvis' death, Juanita Lane over at Dulce Desserts is baking up peanut-butter-and-banana cupcakes, as well as a batch of red velvet. What better way to pay tribute to The King? (Beware: they've been known to cause bloating.)
Or, if—like me—you're still fixated on the combo of chocolate and red pepper (see the Aug. 10 Bites post), try a Baja cupcake. It's the cakey version of Las Paletas' Hot Chocolate popsicle.
Dulce is located in Edgehill Village, at the intersection of Edgehill and Villa, phone 321-8700.
It looks like the brand new West End McDonald's is where it's at tomorrow morning!
We'll take all the Rumours (and rumors) we can get. Meanwhile, for those who aren't too snooty about their wine, let me let you in on what, best I can tell from my relatively broad experience, is the most generous pour in Nashville. You won't find it in a steakhouse or a quaint little house-turned-wine bar. No, you'll have to go to the Arcade downtown and hang out with some crusty characters at a little place called Brandon's, where the smoke can get pretty thick and the carpet's not too clean. Of course, there is no wine list—it's all Robert Mondavi (Woodbridge). But the staff—Carmelita and Tiffany in particular—are sweet, the company interesting and the pours nice and stout.
Rumours East—big deal. The real (fake) news that has foodies abuzz is the imminent opening of Rumours South, located in the former storage shed behind Wretch Ed's Transmission Hideaway off Fesslers Lane. I peeked inside during a recent power outage, and I can say it was fully worth braving the barbed wire.
What struck me first was the overturned-oil-drum-and-drywall table, which snakes through the front window. Discarded sofas create a festive touch, with additional seating provided by Gitchaowndamn chairs. The gravel lot conveniently located out back offers a scenic view of the culvert along with a fast getaway.
Then there's the food. I don't know how they get the Treet so creamy! It fully complemented the sawdust on the Triscuits. But of course, the wine here is the big attraction. Ten flavors of Ripple, including Luden's and "trail mix." It's so fresh you can lick the pull tab. Ask for it to go!
You can bet I'll be there when Rumours South opens this weekend, barring a last-minute restraining order. Or wait and go next Thursday. That's Bottomless Jug Night.
* Image stolen from GhettoWine.com, a site you will want to bookmark immediately.
Truffle oil has changed my life. I picked up a bottle each of black and white truffle oil and I've been experimenting, using it in soups, on salads, on potatoes, even a couple drops on toast rubbed with garlic.
Sure, I paid 12 bucks each for a couple of 2-ounce bottles, but hey, that truffle pictured above sold for $41,000, so it's understandable. And I use so little, just a few drops here and there, that it's cost-per-use is minimal.
Of course, it's one of those love-it-or-hate-it flavors (and odors). Hopefully Scene editor Liz Garrigan will chime in about how she almost puked when I put some squash bisque laced with truffle oil on her desk. I think her exact words were, "This smells disgusting! Get it away from me!"
Anyone else a sucker for (or hater of) the sublime delicacy (or putrid substance)?
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