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The Dog Days of Summer event hosted by Slow Food Nashville last night in East Nashville was a humongous success for everyone...except me. I got to I Dream of Weenie on Woodland at 6 p.m. and waited in line 20 minutes before getting the announcement that the big attraction—City House chef Tandy Wilson's homemade hot dogs—had run out.
Before that sad news, I counted at least 100 people on picnic blankets, plastic tablecloths, etc., in the front yard and on the porch of nearby Rumours East: burly biker-looking dudes, sangria-sipping yups, a dead ringer for Michael McDonald, a tattooed babe who could have been Angelina Jolie's back double for Wanted, young couples with kids in strollers. (Good luck navigating that hill.)
The turnout astonished everyone but Carrington. When I told her about last night's crowd, The Oracle replied, "Any time you throw a start-up event with free food in East Nashville, it's an instant success."
More after the jump.
Loveless Cafe is building a barn in its backyard, adding 6,000 square feet of flexible event space for weddings, concerts and other large events. The structure will open onto covered patios and lawns and will be available year-round. As part of the building project, the Loveless will add parking spaces and a new entrance from McCrory Lane.
“One of the challenges we have is putting events into the cafe without damaging the experience of people who are dining in the restaurant,” said Jesse Goldstein, president of TomKats, Inc., which owns the Loveless Cafe. The 20-year-old TomKats, which provides on-set food service for film shoots (most recently the hotly anticipated Hannah Montana movie), purchased the beloved and disheveled Loveless Cafe in 2003 from the McCabe family. TomKats founder Tom Morales led a renovation and expansion of the restaurant and built an annex of shops in the former motel structure.
The new event barn will include a full kitchen and will serve as the central catering facility for the Loveless. Wendy Felts, who formerly worked in catering at Vanderbilt University, has joined Loveless as catering manager. While many events will feature the traditional Loveless repertoire of family-style fried chicken, the expanded facilities will accommodate more contemporary menus. “It's fried chicken to foie gras,” Goldstein said.
Located at 8400 Highway 100, The Loveless Barn is expected to open as early as December 2008. For more information, contact Jesse Goldstein at Jesse(at)lovelesscafe.com.
If you are headed to Bound’ry restaurant in the next couple of days, you might want to call ahead (phone: 321-3043) to confirm that the restaurant is open. As of Sunday, the restaurant was closed. Owner Jay Pennington said he shut the doors temporarily for remodeling and cleaning while he finalizes negotiations to extend the lease on the property at 911 20th Ave. S.
“It looked like we were going to have to close due to the lease,” Pennington says, adding that he expects to work out a deal in the next few days, at which point he hopes to reopen.
The lease negotiation is the latest complication at the popular midtown restaurant, which has been arguing for months with neighbors about the noise levels. With the opening of the new Adelicia highrise condominium tower just across the street, new residents have been complaining about late-night music at Bound’ry and its sister restaurant South Street.
Want to meet new people, hear new (old) music, eat, uh...new ice cream? Head to Bobbie's Dairy Dip at 5301 Charlotte today (Saturday, June 28) around 6 p.m. for the half-century-old burger stand's Ice Cream Social. Order up a hot fudge cake (two spoons, please) and stake out a spot to hear Caitlin Rose, James Wallets, Sawgrass, Danger and The Steel Cut Oats play, starting at 7 p.m.
Here's hoping you have better luck than we had at Bobbie's last night, though. The burger was unusually small and dry, and the sweet potato fries were literally blackened and had an unpleasant aftertaste of burned oil. The whole vibe at the place was just...weird. After being open more than 50 years, a joint's entitled to an off night now and then. But Bobbie's, a local treasure, isn't a place anyone wants to see start slipping.
The Music Row house that formerly housed Patrick’s will reopen next month as Edisto Restaurant and Sweetgrass Smokerie.
In the main house, the full-service Edisto will feature Southern-inspired delicacies such as fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and pomegranate-molasses-braised short ribs. It’s a formula that owner David Conn describes as “Country meets Low Country.”
On the back porch, the uber-casual Sweetgrass Smokerie will serve beef brisket with sweet chili-garlic sauce, turkey with cranberry barbecue sauce and pork barbecue with a blend of tomato-based and North Carolina vinegar-style sauces. With a decidedly low-brow atmosphere—and a kitschy beverage menu that includes South Paw, PBR and Boone’s Farm—Sweetgrass will have walk-up service during the day and full service at night.
The full-service Edisto will have a wine list and imported beers, but will slum it at Sunday brunch with Conn’s signature Redneck’s Benedict—corned beef hash on a grits knish with a sloppy fried egg draped over the top and a slather of shrimp gravy.
Conn is a former Ivy League professor of music. He spent three years of culinary training in Savannah, Ga., where he developed a repertoire rich in the flavors of the Low Country. Most recently, Conn served as executive chef at Pint restaurant in Chicago before returning to his hometown Nashville.
Located at 1711 Division Street, Edisto and Sweetgrass Smokerie will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and Sunday brunch. The grand opening is scheduled for July 24, with a soft opening sometime before then. As always, if you get there before us, please report back on Bites.
Some options for this weekend:
CHEFS AT THE MARKET: JOE SHAW Carrington almost sank The Standard at Smith House by eating every last kumquat—they don't grow on trees, you know—but for at least one day, chef Shaw is setting up close to an endless supply of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Shaw is the first featured guest in the Nashville Farmers' Market's new series of cooking demonstrations led by local chefs. He'll be cooking tomorrow in the Market's Midway JennAir Portable Kitchen, using produce from the Market's own stalls. Classes are free. For more information on subsequent events, visit the Market's website or call 880-2001. 12 noon June 28 at the Market Midway Tent, Nashville Farmers' Market —JR
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER WITH SLOW FOOD NASHVILLE Leave it to the Slow Food folks, that dogged group of culinary activists dedicated to preserving local food culture, to rebuild the lowly nitrate-soaked hot dog as a beacon of all that is wholesome, local and fresh. City House chef Tandy Wilson will provide house-cured sausages made from locally raised pigs, and the Nashville Farmers’ Market will provide seasonal bounty to decorate your sandwich. Grab a dog at I Dream of Weenie and head to the Slow Food tent. For a small donation, you can sample condiments—think heirloom-tomato relish, corn salsa and homemade mustard—that will make you never look at a fancy ketchup packet again. 5 to 9 p.m. June 29 at I Dream of Weenie (1108 Woodland St.) —CARRINGTON FOX
Last week’s review of Firefly Grille went to press just as chef Kristen Gregory was turning over a new summer menu. I stopped by for lunch today and perused the new list, which includes an Amish tomato—stuffed with smoked salmon, capers, olives, crème fraîche and watercress—and a sandwich of tomatoes, mozzarella, arugula and basil pesto on French bread. Today’s special was a gorgeous plate of coconut curry with grilled shrimp, with a side of julienned pea pods and pink onions sprinkled with white and black sesame seeds.
Don’t miss the tuna tataki salad with slices of seared tuna over mizuna, cabbage, carrots, soba noodles, crisp fried wontons and peanuts, tossed in soy-ginger dressing. The generous and pretty plate offers a medley of tangy and nutty flavors and soft and crunchy textures that makes a light and satisfying meal.
While you’re there, pick up a card that offers a permanent 20-percent discount on lunch. With the card, the tuna tataki salad costs $12.
Curse you, chef John Crow. You introduced me to your devilish vanilla sugar, and now I need a daily fix of its tropical bean-flecked sweetness. Lately I’ve been sprinkling it into a titration of ginger ale and fresh lemon juice, and I’ve substituted it for plain sugar in everything from whipped cream to mojitos.
Recently, I ran out of my stash and went to buy some vanilla beans to scrape into the plain sugar to make a new batch. For the love of Madagascar, man. Those things are expensive. I’ve been pricing beans at Whole Foods and online, and it’s not uncommon to find a single bean for $5. Next time, just give me a bag of crack if you want to seed an addiction I can’t afford. I’m going to have to get a night job at McCormick’s.
There does appear to be some relief on the Internet, where bulk beans are available. For example, the Bourbon vanilla from Papua New Guinea at Beanilla.com, where I swiped the above photo, is currently on sale for about a dollar a pod. That sounds pretty good, but I was curious if anyone had a trusted spice source they could recommend.
Now that we’ve got a wish list of new restaurants, let’s start housing them. For starters, what would you like to see in the following spaces:
Cummins Station, in the former Jody's Bar Car and Kazu
Longhorn Steakhouse at 110 Lyle Avenue
New Orleans Manor at 1400 Murfreesboro Road
Nick & Rudy’s at 204 21st Avenue
Green Hills Grille at 3805 Green Hills Village Drive
Fire & Ice at 1805 Church Street
Bethel Ethiopian at 1909 Division Street
As I understand it, Husk only uses ingredients grown or raised in the Southeast.
Any early reviews?
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