Count Chocula, eat your heart out. There's a new chocolate breakfast in town—if you happen to live in Santa Cruz.
Mr. Pink butts in: Actually, you don't have to go any farther than the Produce Place in Sylvan Park, which sells Mo's Bacon Bar by Vosges. The ad copy sounds like Mickey Rourke coming on to Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 Weeks: "Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of salt and sweet coat your tongue."
Can't say I enjoyed said coating, which left more of a greasy residue on my palate, but applewood smoke and chocolate are an unexpectedly cool combination.
Carrington rebuts: Vosges Chocolates founder Katrina Markoff is a 1995 Vanderbilt grad. The alumni magazine ran a profile of Markoff in 2005. Here's an excerpt.
Let me get this straight: I can gorge on barbecue, biscuits and fried pies, learn the secrets of some of the area's finest chefs, and help save the historic Franklin Theatre? Geez, why not toss in a cure for cancer and a free penis enlargement? Sorry—you'll just have to settle for the Franklin Food & Spirits Festival, coming May 30 to historic Carnton Mansion and May 31 to the Franklin Square.
On Friday the 30th, check out a Potlikker Film Festival featuring documentarian Joe York's short films "Hot Chicken," "Fried Pies" and "Whole Hog," as well as a Whole Hog Cooking Class with pitmasters Ed Mitchell and Patrick Martin. The main attraction, though, is a Grand Dinner coordinated by Chef Drew Robinson from Jim N' Nick's Bar-B-Q. Dig this roster of big swinging spatulas in the kitchen: Jason McConnell from the Red Pony; Martha Stamps from Martha's at the Plantation; Tandy Wilson from City House (awesome fried soft-shell crab the other night); the return of kitchen-science wizard Sean Brock from McCrady's in Charleston, S.C.; and John Fleer from Sunburst Trout in Canton, N.C.
Then, on the 31st, the Square spotlights a wide spectrum of Southern cooking with the help of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Eat barbecue, learn the secrets of aging whiskey, explore the rich history of local specialties such as hot chicken and the hot fish sandwich, and visit with the Four Horsemen of Southern food writing: John Egerton, John T. Edge, Jim Myers and Fred Thompson.
Visit the event's website for a full schedule, locations, and ticket information. After the jump: a schedule of some of Saturday's educational events.
The restaurant group that includes the The Corner Pub in midtown and Alley Pub and Dalton's in Bellevue is adding two new nameplates. The Corner Pub in the Woods opened May 9 at 8058 Highway 100, and the owners are in the process of renovating the former Box Seat in Green Hills into a family-friendly smokehouse-style restaurant slated to open July 1.
Keith Blakely, former general manager of South Street and Bound'ry, is overseeing the renovation of the building at 2221 Bandywood Drive, which housed the bygone den of teenage iniquity known as Gameland prior to its sports bar days as The Box Seat. The building has been taken down to the studs and will be rebuilt with a new kitchen and bathrooms and garage doors that open onto patios on both levels (read: smoking will be allowed).
Chef Kelly Weatherford, an alumnus of the recently shuttered Trace restaurant, will man the menu of house-smoked ribs, brisket and salmon. In addition to barbecue, the restaurant will have a taste of the Gulf Coast, with oysters on the half-shell and fresh grouper.
The Corner Pub in midtown and The Corner Pub in the Woods were founded by the same group that opened The Corner Pub in Green Hills at 4111 Hillsboro Pike, but that restaurant is now run by an independent team.
A tip of the bowl to Fluffernutter for passing along this list of 25 wrong, wrong, wrong breakfast cereals from the food labs at Cracked.com. (When I was a kid, Mad magazine ruled and rival Cracked sucked; on the web these days, it's pretty much the opposite.)
There are some big laughs, but I do share the dismay of the person who can't find an entry for Oedipus Chex.
It was with great sadness that I recently saw the shuttered Aurora Bakery on Nolensville Road. Aurora was an enchanting spot, selling traditional Mexican cookies and pastries with oddball names such as “ribs,” “kisses,” and “tongues,” as well as the traditional pan de muerto—colorful loaves of bread served around the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos on Nov. 1.
Owner Patricia Paiva, a native of Sri Lanka, offers the following explanation of her decision to close her 9-year-old shop.
I closed it so I can be more directly involved in the international community. I have spent most of my life working with the integration of refugees and immigrants into the communities where I have lived, so I want to return to that. The cuisines of these newer ethnic communities are fascinating and mostly very healthy, and I know this first-hand, from coordinating international cooking classes over the years. I would like to do more than that, however, and hope to find a place helping enhance communication and understanding between these new communities and the mainstream one, whether it be in government, the school system or private enterprise.
Best of luck, Patricia, and keep us posted.
Forget you ever saw that last post. Coincidentally, $1,200 will also buy you a once-in-a-lifetime (re: paramedic service not included) repast from Mr. Pink's House of Bitchin' Cuisine, located in vibrantly transitional Woodbine. We are not responsible for stolen items, injury or appetizers.
Your multi-course meal will include a poached jumbo egg of finest Alabaman hen, perched atop a halved Entermann's English muffin with a Knorr's instant hollandaise sauce reduction. After those three courses, you will be treated to a carafe of Woodbine's unique mineral water (the "Storm Drainage" blend) fresh from the tap, with a complimentary cookie provided by our pastry supplier, Chip Zahoy. An extra $300 gets you not only valet parking but also my 1986 Chrysler LeBaron with the original sideview mirror (right only).
That's Mr. Pink's House of Bitchin' Cuisine, where the fine dine in Woodbine. "When you just can't open a can."
On the off chance that you stumble across an extra $1,200—either in the sofa cushions or in a window envelope from the IRS—you might consider doing this with your windfall.
Los Rosales Mexican restaurant has a new owner, a new look and a new menu, but the sign at the corner of Blue Hole and Bell roads remains the same. Carlos Moncayo, a native of Guadalajara who formerly operated taco stands inside dance clubs, took over the fledgling restaurant in November. Banking on the fact that the Rosales name hadn’t made an impression, bad or good, on the dining public, he decided to keep the original short-lived brand and change everything else.
Moncayo remodeled the interior to create a “rustic, elegant” look with white tablecloths, and he rewrote the menu to focus on healthy spins on traditional Mexican cuisine. The majority of items are cooked using olive oil and organic vegetables, with a focus on grilling. Specialties include Filete Montez—flat steak rolled around mushrooms and vegetables and wrapped in smoked bacon—and grilled shrimp with avocado cream and almond extract, served with vegetarian rice and vegetables.
Located at 1307 Bell Road, Los Rosales is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Margaritas are two-for-one 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
As always, if you get there before we do, please report back on Bites.
Just because the lovely and talented Carrington Fox is too modest, I thought I'd pass along the news that the Bitesmistress has been nominated for a 2008 AltWeekly Award from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN). It's a big deal—an annual skimming of the cream (including our sister blog, Nashville Cream) of the nation's alternative press. Carrington was nominated in the Food Writing category for papers with circulation under 55,000.
This gem, cited in the nomination, may have sealed the deal: it's gentle, fair and funny, yet as thorough an evisceration as I've ever read. Her writing looks effortless, but it's anything but: try describing chicken for the 150th time, or finding new adjectives for taste without resorting to the dreaded "scrumptious." In short: heckuva job, Fox.
Next time I have to set a table, I’m going to take a page from chef Joe Shaw, who added a touch of whimsy to the formal setting at The Standard with bowls of key limes and kumquats in lieu of stuffy old flowers. Not only are kumquats vibrant and slightly quirky, they are deliciously tangy—nature’s answer to Sweet Tarts. On a recent evening, I bumped into The Standard owner Josh Smith and his wife, and I prevailed upon them to eat their first kumquats. I wish I had a photo of those puckered faces.
As I mentioned in this week’s dining review, the centerpieces of nut-sized citrus fruits had me quickly salivating for a cocktail—something ideally light and zingy—and I got to thinking about uses for the kumquats stacked so jauntily in the produce section at Whole Foods. This weekend, I think I’ll concoct a “kumquajito” with kumquats instead of limes. Or maybe a gimlet using a kumquat-infused simple syrup in lieu of Rose’s lime juice.
Again, I throw the question to you bartenders: What’s a good kumquat cocktail? Extra points for good names, and yes, given the product at hand, this could be a risqué proposition.
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