Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Bialy and End-All

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2008 at 12:10 PM

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Yesterday’s dispatch from Claudia on her eating tour of NYC—and Fluffernutter’s subsequent mention of bialys—reminded me of Mimi Sheraton’s engaging 2000 book The Bialy Eaters. It’s a social and culinary history of the bialy, a roll that resembles a cross between a bagel and an English muffin. Sheraton traced its history back to the Polish city of Bialystok and describes thoroughly every aspect of its making, from the proper type of rolling pin to dimpling the dough with your thumbs to create the little well in its center.

The only time I’ve ever had bialys in Nashville was at the old Nashville Bagel in the early ’90s, where Starbucks is now next to Stoney River. I didn’t get them often. The little indentation in the rolls is often filled with chopped onion, and somehow Nashville Bagel managed half the time to burn the onion while leaving the bialy doughy, inedibly salty and undercooked. But Sheraton’s descriptions of the bialys at Kossar’s Bialys, a world-famous bakery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, were so enticing I walked 30 blocks to try just one. Even cold, it was a little wonder—as chewy and salty as a soft pretzel, with a yeasty bite that cleared my head.

Is it even possible to get these locally anymore? And is it worth shipping in a bunch from Kossar’s, knowing that the little darlings are best purchased on the spot and consumed fresh? If anyone here has bialy knowledge, please share.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

The Rest of the Story

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2008 at 2:53 PM

A few weeks back, I enthusiastically reported the opening of a Cheeseburger Charley's in Belle Meade Plaza, and someone—under the bold moniker “Anonymous”—asked, “And please remind us again why this is a good thing?”

Well, Anonymous, I'm not saying it's not good news, but you did bust me. Here's what happened: I was trying to report a two-part story about new dining options in Belle Meade Plaza. One-half of the story was the arrival of Cheeseburger Charley's. The other—and arguably more intriguing—half of the story was the arrival of an authentic Mexican restaurant in the same strip mall. But before I could confirm the latter tidbit, I posted the Cheeseburger item with a little more vim than I meant to lavish on a franchise expansion.

So here's the rest of the story: Las Maracas Mexican restaurant, which has stores in Inglewood (935 Gallatin Road) and White House (520 Hwy 70), will open its third location in the former home of Goldie's Delicatessen. Construction is currently underway to replace the black-and-white tiles of Goldie's with a south-of-the-border design. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, Las Maracas will serve margaritas and sangria, along with a menu of authentic Mexican fare.

Having never dined at either of the other Las Maracas, I don't know whether this is indeed good news. But I'm optimistic that it will be better than the Taco Bell farther down the block, which is about the only food in that neck of the woods. Anonymous, maybe you can you help us out?

Located at 4520 Harding Road, Las Maracas is slated to open in about a month.

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Their Latest Trick

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2008 at 1:28 PM

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And now, from the guys who brought you Wildwood Oak-Fired Kitchen, comes Barfield's All-American Grille. Serial restaurateur Dave Wachtel III and Justin D. Tatum are beginning construction on an upscale sports grill located in the Streets of Indian Lake outdoor mall in Hendersonville. With a menu of Americana standards dotted with hints of New Orleans and Memphis—think dry-rub ribs, beer-can chicken and steamed seafood—Barfield's will have an open kitchen and an industrial-modern design scheme of dark woods and stained concrete floors. Unlike Wildwood, which launched with Seattle chef John David Crow and now is headed by Darrell Manhold, Barfield's will not be a chef-driven restaurant, Wachtel says, adding that the average check will be significantly lower than at Wildwood, clocking in between $20 and $25.

Located at 300 Streets of Indian Lake Road, Suite E1, Hendersonville, Barfield's is slated to open May 5.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ombigawd!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2008 at 1:51 PM

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Ombigawd!

No doubt Ombi Restaurant's email newsletter distribution list just dropped its collective jaw when chef Kim Totzke, the bubbly blond half of Ombi's Kim and Laura Show (on the right in the photo above), just announced that she will be leaving the Elliston Place restaurant on Feb. 14.

Totzke, who developed a loyal following at The Yellow Porch before ultimately teaming up with chef Laura Wilson in 2006 to transform the flailing Ombi Bar, has accepted a day job at Provence, which, she says, will finally give her the chance to enjoy Wilson's cooking as a restaurant guest.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Polling at 10 Percent Off

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Martha's at the Plantation is offering a 10-percent discount on lunch today and tomorrow for anyone who voted. Of course, in a place as genteel as Martha's, no one will ask for whom you cast your ballot. (They probably won't even ask to see your sticker.)

Located on the grounds of the Belle Meade Plantation (5025 Harding Road), Martha's at the Plantation serves lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and brunch on Sunday. Music at Martha's recently launched with dinner and entertainment on Thursday evenings. Valentine's dinner will be served Feb. 14 and 15. For reservations, call 353-2828.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Thought for Food

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2008 at 2:57 PM

Just the other day I was making plans for a shared garden and the upcoming CSA season with some friends. Today, I was reminded of the upcoming Food Security Summit. (Maybe there'll be a color-coded threat level hierarchy posted in the produce section—threat level Eggplant: significant risk of only yucky food being available.) Anyway, the event is Saturday, 16th and this in particular caught my eye: "Local food production is dropping and farmers are aging, with the average age of farmers in Tennessee being 56, and land used for farming decreasing by 11 percent in the state since 1982."

The complete press release after the jump.

Continue reading »

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Double Standard

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2008 at 8:04 AM

In case you haven't added The Standard Cafe to your caffeinated rounds, stop in and check out the sister store of The Standard at the Smith House. Located downtown on Eighth Avenue, across the street from the restaurant that shares its name, The Standard Cafe is a contemporary counterpoint to the ladylike restaurant, which serves lunch and dinner in an elegantly restored townhouse. Doubling as a gallery for artists David Rahm and Brenan Sharp, The Standard Cafe offers a sprawling and visually striking setting for reading, meeting, relaxing or snacking on sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee and homemade desserts. Box lunches are available for delivery to downtown businesses.

With the recent departure of Mad Mod furniture, the coffee shop now has room to expand its footprint in the Berger Building. Joshua Smith, who owns both the restaurant and the coffee shop, has plans to use the additional space for a live-music venue and wine bar, starting March 1. Miss Marple's Dinner Theater will relocate to the space as well, with its first show there on Feb. 14.

Located at 162 Eighth Ave. N., 254-1277, The Standard Cafe is open 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will morph into the evening venue at 5 p.m.

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