The guys at Lime, the Latin fusion restaurant under construction at 1904 Broadway, just sent over a teaser menu. I don't know if that was such a good idea, in terms of managing expectations—my expectations are sky-high right now. And I'm salivating a little bit.
Chef Clay Greenberg, with the help of consultant Scott Alderson and owner Chris Hyndman, is fine-tuning a menu of Central and South American-inspired recipes, including Oyster Fire Ice ceviche with a tequila-tangerine mignonette and habanero-prickly pear Icee; Oaxacan tamales; fried plantains with habanero remoulade; chile relleno with roasted chicken, Manchego and watermelon slices; and banana churros.
The bars in the chic, multi-tiered restaurant will pour a lengthy list of rums, tequilas and cacha袳, with a menu of cocktails mixed with exotic fruits and nectars, house-made mixers and infused liquors.
Lime is slated to open this fall. Until then, we'll see you at Taco Bell.
Anyone who's recently been reading the comments on Bites knows that, between steak au poivre and Femur Friday (a.k.a. the marrowbone special a couple of weeks ago), the site has read like an electronic love letter to Ombi chefs Laura Wilson and Kim Totzke.
Now's your chance to learn from the culinary masters of Elliston Place. Totzke and Wilson will host a cooking class to benefit Gilda's Club at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The class, held at Gilda's (1707 Division), will feature appetizers, braised pork shank, gnocchi, a plum-and-goat-cheese tart and wine pairings. Cost is $100 per person. Contact Elizabeth Kraft at 329-1760 for reservations.
...is Troy Smith, back behind the counter of the lunchtime juggernaut he founded, Baja Burrito. You may recall that Smith sold the perpetually crowded burrito joint less than two years ago, and friends say he'd regretted it ever since. As of yesterday, though, Smith once again owns the place.
This afternoon, he looked five years younger slinging fish tacos, steak burritos and queso dip. "I love it!" Smith said, giving a longtime customer a bear hug before dashing back to the kitchen. It's nice to have him back.
My suggestion: Check out Agave Tequila Lounge, the new tequilerria that had its soft opening last night at 12th and Demonbreun, before its madhouse grand opening next week. That'll give the bartenders a chance to learn your name without your having to shout it through a bullhorn.
That'll also give you a chance to sample some extremely tasty "light Mexican" bar food, heavy on salsas, slivered brisket and tortadas, all distinguished (like the super-smooth margaritas) by fresh ingredients. The caliente queso dip, for example, didn't have that melted-plastic nacho-cheese flavor: it was dense with soft, spicy chunks of chorizo and somehow didn't develop that crusty film most queso dips get (perhaps because this one didn't get a chance to stick around). Subjects for future study: tableside-prepared guacamole, a "Black Bean Jack" dip.
Of the tostadas, the best I tried were the California (with ancho grilled chicken, jack cheese, onion and green chile) and the Tex-Mex (with smoked brisket, jack and cheddar, jalapeno rings and tequila BBQ sauce), both a refreshing mix of hot and cool that went well with margaritas. I didn't get to sample many more of the "tapas"—mostly because the guy next to me was smart enough to move his plate of brisket sliders. These were roughly Krystal-sized rolls toothpicked with brisket strips, yellow tomato, red onion and chipotle mayo, accompanied by prickly-pear French fries that I initially thought were tempura-battered green beans.
But the smoked BBQ chicken quesadilla was crisp and hearty, and I'll return to try the Corona-battered steak fingers and jalapeno potato fritters. The dishes are not cheap—salsas and tapas start at $8, and the 10-inch tostadas are $10—but they're filling without leaving you uncomfortably stuffed.
Agave boasts more than 100 tequilas, ranging from a $5 30/30 to a $50 Don Julio Real. I had the $10 Cadillac margarita, and while the effort required to fetch the Herradura Silver tequila off a high shelf was impressive—the bartender has to literally climb to ascend the wall-high pyramid of liquors—I was more impressed by the bite of honest-to-God fresh-squeezed lime juice.
Co-owner Scott Sherrill and contractor Bronson Lankford were among those in last night's small but fervent crowd. They had the right idea—get there early. The bar that opens onto a sunset-flooded patio gives off a vibe somewhere between an upscale Texas cantina and Florida at spring break; that should make the place party central once word gets out—especially given its chain-link location between the Demonbreun dining belt and Radius10. (Interesting news also about the restaurant that's planning to join them across the street next year.)
Mr. Pink predicts: this place is going to get lots of people laid.
There's plenty of food and food-related literature at this year's Southern Festival of Books. (Can we call it Griterature?)
Check out the Cooking Stage for presentations by food blogger and cookbook editor Nicki Pendleton Wood and restaurateur/cookbook-authors Martha Stamps and Miss Daisy King, among others.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, John T. Edge, John Egerton, Charles Reagan Wilson, Roy Blount, Jr., and Martha Stamps will discuss New Encyclopedia for Southern Culture: Foodways Edition.
Bolton's Spicy Chicken and Fish, Neely's BBQ, Mafiaoza's Pizza and Provence will be on hand dishing up their Southern and not-so-Southern fare.
The Festival kicks off at noon Friday at Legislative Plaza and runs through Sunday. Here's the full schedule.
Agave Tequila Lounge opens tonight at 4 p.m. Located in the old Pie Wagon building on 12th Avenue South near the intersection of Broadway, Agave will serve upscale tapas and a dizzying array of tequila drinks. I can't get my mind off the flight of tequilas served with a popsicle from Las Paletas. Whoever's the first one there, please report back to Bites.
Last month my lovely fiancee and I took a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada for my best friend's wedding. Gastronomically speaking, the trip was a delight. Fresh-caught salmon smoked on cedar planks, 2-foot-long crab legs, the tastiest mussels I've ever eaten and, of course, lots of poutine.
But one of the most, um, surprising dining experiences that we had while in Canada was the McLobster sandwich.
Available only in parts of New England and Canada's Maritime Provinces, the McLobster is McDonald's version of a New England lobster roll: lobster, mayo and some celery on a white-bread hot-dog bun.
So how was it? Find out after the jump (with close-up pics!)
Driving in town on 12th Avenue South this morning, my mind drifted inevitably to that thorniest of questions:
Portland Brew or Frothy Monkey?
A reader has called in asking for a recommendation of a steak au poivre with a light cream sauce. Any good recommendations for her?
A weekend outing to purchase large quantities of party snacks and cleaning supplies turned into an afternoon of shame for a local food writer who went overboard on the free samples. When Nashville Scene food critic Carrington Fox reached for her third taste of smoked salmon on a cracker at the new Costco in West Nashville, she was harshly rebuked by the sample-serving associate.
"These are so good," Fox said as she idly reached for a water biscuit with a ribbon of pink fish draped seductively over the top. Impervious to Fox's flattery, the associate replied curtly, "I can't let you have any more."
A red-faced Fox, already having touched the cracker, weighed the awkward choice of replacing it behind the sneeze guard or chomping it in the woman's face, letting fly a defiant spray of cracker shards and vitriol. Instead, Fox nimbly diverted the snack from her own mouth toward her toddler son strapped in her grocery cart. "I was just getting it for my baby," she said, sheepishly wheeling the child toward the mini chicken tacos. "I wasn't sure whether she meant she couldn't let me have that cracker, or a fourth one, but either way I figured I better get my kids the hell out of there," Fox later explained.
Witnesses to the scene reacted with a mixture of empathy and judgment. "It was an appalling show of consumer greed," said Ellen Nelson, marketing director for a local liquor distributor who was shopping for oversize bags of pet chow. "Her family should be ashamed."
But in fact, Fox's mother, Sandy Nelson, met a similar fate only minutes later. Nelson, 65, had been discussing the merits of a particular triple-cream cheese on sale for $10 a pound, when she absent-mindedly reached for another cracker. "I just love this salmon," she said to the plastic-gloved clerk. "Well, savor it, because I might not..." the clerk began before Nelson left her hanging mid-reprimand.
"I knew where she was going," Nelson said, "and I didn't let her finish. I went over to talk to my niece, who was buying huge bags of food for her dogs and cats."
When questioned later about the event, Nashville Scene editor and Costco member Liz Garrigan said, "Sure, Fox was being greedy. But she's a thorough journalist who takes eating seriously. That's why we hired her. I do have concerns, however, about her reluctance to try the store's four-bean salad, but that's a personnel issue and I can't say any more than that."
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