Sunday, September 30, 2007

High Marks and Big Fish

Posted By on Sun, Sep 30, 2007 at 10:55 AM

Gourmet magazine unveiled its annual restaurant issue this week, with a focus on the farm-to-fork efforts of restaurants showcasing local products. Among the highlights, Watermark made the list entitled "Meat Rules:"

WATERMARK RESTAURANT
The bread basket here is, in a gambler's parlance, the tell. At this swank skyline-view restaurant in Nashville's rapidly gentrifying Gulch neighborhood, chef Sean Norton and his crew bake angel biscuits and corn sticks; the latter are perfect for sopping up the black-eyed-pea broth that naps a dish of braised rabbit. Or the braised pork belly with chowchow, which, by the way, pairs beautifully with a glass of Riesling. 507 12th Ave. S., Nashville (615-254-2000)


Also in the issue, Roadfoodies Jane and Michael Stern chronicle a recent stay in Nashville during which they surveyed our local hot fish and hot chicken. With shout-outs to King Fish, Bolton's Spicy Chicken & Fish and, of course, Prince's Hot Chicken Shack, the Sterns heaped praise upon the already-heaping sandwich at Eastside Fish. Proprietor Donald "Bo" Boatright, the self-proclaimed King of Fish, couldn't have asked for better ink. Page 56 of Gourmet leads off: "Nashville's crunkest hot-fish sandwich is also its biggest. The Giant King, signature dish at Eastside Fish, is a pair of whiting fillets, each at least a half pound, dredged in seasoned cornmeal and fried crisp, then sandwiched between double slices of soft supermarket white bread."

But we could have told you that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

If I Only Had Some Candy

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2007 at 3:35 PM

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At first, I thought the long plastic tubes filled with teardrop-shaped chocolates and topped with sunflowers were just the latest in a shameless string of M&M brand extensions (see Jim Ridley's Bites post below). But had I known that the rest of the editorial staff had just been gifted with Sunny Seed Drops, a promotional gift from an unnamed marketing team (You can't buy editorial love with candy.), I just might have had my feelings hurt. M&M's are one thing—a dime a dozen, almost literally. Who needs 'em? I got a desk drawer full.

But they weren't M&Ms. They were Sunny Seed Drops. Ooooh...Sunny Seed Drops.

I have never seen a more perfect sweet-and-salty marriage than these chocolate-dipped-and-candy-coated sunflower seeds. The tiny kernels, in an assortment of autumnal colors, look they just might sprout 1970s-era appliances of harvest gold and avocado green if they were sown and watered. Chomp down onto a mouthful of the clicking candies and the smooth skins combine with the oily nuts to create the sensation of a liquid—nay, a caviar—gliding across the tongue.

By my estimation, a 9-oz pack contains about 1,000 tiny seeds. I will try to pace myself.

In the meantime—and this is apropos of nothing—I'll just mention that Cheekwood is kicking off its exhibit of scarecrows Sept. 29 through Nov. 4.

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Cone Head

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2007 at 3:34 PM

Just checked in with the ice cream princess Jenny Piper over at Pied Piper Creamery. Just when you thought things couldn't get any better over at the high-butter-fat haven in East Nashville, she reports that she's started making waffle cones. Where's my Citipass coupon book?

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East Side Ways

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2007 at 9:53 AM

To quote Miles Raymond, the misguided wine snob from Sideways, "This weekend is not about me. It is about you. I'm gonna show you a good time. We're gonna drink a lot of good wine.... We're gonna eat some great food and enjoy the scenery."

The scenery is East Nashville, and the event is Edgefield Uncorked, a wine-tasting and food event benefiting CASA, East Nashville Hope Exchange, Historic Edgefield Neighbors and Warner School.

Woodland Wine Merchant and Michael Skurnik Wines are working with Omni Distributors, Best Brands and Aleksey's Imports to pair wines with food from Alexander's Catering, The Turnip Truck, Journey to Bliss Raw Foods, Provence Breads, The Heartland Bakery, Chocolate Sunflower, Matilda's Fine Foods, Sweet 16th Bakery and Toney's Naturals. Live entertainment will be provided by local musicians Brooke Waggoner, The Love Drums and Ariana Terrell.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Anne's Episcopal Church, 419 Woodland St.

A word of advice from Miles' miscreant companion Jack: "Do not drink too much. Do you hear me? I don't want you passing out or going to the dark side. No going to the dark side!"

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pacifica Time

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2007 at 3:54 PM

I was planning on walking over to the downtown library and asked Carrington where I should eat as an alternative to the Provence located there. She suggested I try Pacifica Pan-Asian Cuisine (506 Church St., 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mon. thru Fri.) since she hadn't had a chance to eat there yet.

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When I arrived, I checked out the menu at the door. The offerings live up to the moniker, including dishes from China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand—at least in name. I ordered off the Express Menu, which is offered until 2 p.m. and includes your choice of steamed jasmine rice, fried rice, vegetable delight or vegetable lo mein. The Express Menu's entree selections are your typical fast-Asian selections: sesame chicken, sweet and sour chicken or pork, beef with broccoli and others, all priced under $6 (except the $8.39 butterfly shrimp).

Continue reading »

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Playing with Food #1

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2007 at 9:38 AM

As if blogs weren't enough of a timesuck, here's something I found yesterday while doing my (copious, voluminous) research on M&M Razzberry. Go here, and you too can create your own M&M character. Not quite as cool as the site that turns you into a Simpsons character, but who cares when you're riding the clock? It's a bit like playing Mr. Potatohead, although I was hoping for something a bit more gangsta than the result.

I call mine "Thuggy Bear." After the jump.

Continue reading »

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White Time at The Right Place

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2007 at 9:21 AM

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Who says white wine isn't in style after Labor Day? So asks Mad Platter owner Marcia Jervis, as she kicks off the Oct. 2 wine dinner White Wines of the World.

No surprise, seafood takes center stage at the six-course dinner, which leads off with seared scallop with chili paste, garlic chive and pomegranate (paired with Gazela Vihno Verde) and garlic fired shrimp with pear reduction, roasted grapes and yucca ribbons (Catena "Alamos" Torrontes) before culminating in an entree of cedar plank wild salmon with fried apples, parsnip gratin and Marsala cream reduction (Landmark Overlook Chardonnay).

Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and costs $65 before tax and tip person. Call 242-2563 for reservations.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wilson County's "Best Oriental"

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 11:58 AM

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As I'm sure you all know, our Best Of Nashville issue is set to hit newsstands (and the intertubes) in just a few short weeks. Our lovely marketing director was perusing similar honors in other local media and came across some rather antiquated—some might say offensive—language. For the past five years The Lebanon Democrat has had a Best of Wilson County readers' poll. For each of those years there has been a category for "Best Oriental" restaurant.

Now look, I'm the last guy who could ever be confused with the PC police. Remember this? But the term Oriental hasn't been applied to anything besides carpets since slap bracelets were banned from public schools.

Could this be why there's no good Chinese food in Middle TN?

P.S.: On page 16 of the Best of Wilson County, the chef/owner of the Best Oriental runner-up refers to his restaurant as an "Asian eatery." There's also the sweetest message from the owner of the Best Oriental winner to his customers on page 14.

P.P.S.: Image swiped from here.

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A Word from Our Sponsor

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 11:17 AM

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This message has been brought to you by new M&M Razzberry. "Get Razzed!"

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A Club I Would Join

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2007 at 10:24 AM

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No one resists brand extensions more vigorously than I do (see "Fakester" below), but allow me to toast an almost unqualified success: Keebler's new Club Puffed Original snack crackers. Club Crackers, as you'll recall, are something of a cross between the circular, buttery Ritz and the rectangular, er, tea-biscuitier Waverly Wafer. What Keebler has devised is the most addictive snack since goldfish crackers: pillowy, air-filled inch-long bites that resemble little dumplings (or ravioli folded in half).

My one complaint is that I wish they had a bit more crunch. They also crumble fairly easily in the bag, leaving lots of flaky, broken pieces. But for better or worse, they duplicate the not-as-crunchy-as-Ritz toothsomeness of the original Club Cracker, and for those whose brand loyalty rivals UT fans', that can only be a plus. I see an active future for these babies as Chex Party Mix season rolls around.

The photo is by Rob Williams, whose new career as a food stylist awaits.

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