Thursday, September 25, 2008

Code Read

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 9:41 AM


If you haven't signed up to receive Morsel Code, the Scene's new dining newsletter, here's just a sniff of what you're missing:

Jazz Café at The Standard, Sept. 25 The Standard at the Smith House kicks off its new concert series tonight at 7 p.m. with a performance by Annie Sellick, accompanied by two pairings of wine and food. Tickets are $20. Call 254-1277 for more info.

Bourbon & Bacon Dinner at The Standard, Oct. 1 Julian Van Winkle will share a stash of Frankfort, Ky.’s Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon—aged 20 years and recently rated best in the world—alongside a four-course meal featuring Benton’s ham and bacon. Call 254-1277 for more info.

Edgefield Uncorked! Head to East Nashville for a weekend of home tours and wine tastings, with food from Alexander’s Catering, Julia Helton, Turnip Truck, Sweet 16th: A Bakery, Nashville Toffee Co. and others. Tickets to Saturday's food and wine event at St. Anne's Church can be purchased for $55 online or $60, if available, at the door.

This week's Morsel Code also gives you the skinny on tayst chef Jeremy Barlow's brush with Martha Stewart and previews the seasonal mushroom dishes from the fun guys (and gals) at Basil Asian Bistro, Da Vinci’s, Morton’s and Marché.

Click here to subscribe to Morsel Code.

If you have tips and tidbits for Morsel Code, please send them to Melissa Wozniak at mwozniak (at)

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Welcome to Dinner-Music City

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Oddly enough, the narrator of this video calls Star Cafe meat-and-three in Goodlettsville "one of the few places in Nashville that offers food and entertainment in the same location."

What the $#@&? This is Music City, for crying out loud. You can't order a bag of Funyuns and a Snapple without someone breaking into song. What about Bluebird Cafe, Sambuca, The Standard, F. Scott's, Kalamata's, Ri'Chard's, French Quarter Cafe, B.B. King's and Family Wash, for starters?

Let's make this man a list of restaurants with entertainment, stat.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Costillas: Pure Chewy Satisfaction, or Diabolical Trick?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 1:00 PM

I’m ridiculously interested in the minutiae of butchery, so I was disproportionately thrilled to find costillas on the menu at Las Maracas, a newish Mexican place in Belle Meade Plaza.

Costillas are cut across the short part of beef ribs, resulting in a very chewy steak-looking cut punctuated by bones. Cook it a long time, and you’ve got some seriously flavorful, tender meat.


With one exception: there’s still a chewy bit of connective tissue around the bone. Now some people love these toothsome bits—usually the same people who like beef tendon in their pho—and some loathe them. Chewy meat: what’s your position?

If you just love costillas, or want to try cooking your own, you can buy the cut at the butcher in the back of the supermercado next to La Hacienda (we call it the Hacienda Tienda) on Nolensville Road.

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Is Nashville Ready for a Heart Attack Grill?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 11:00 AM


Ridley and I are looking for investors to join us in opening a Nashville outpost of Chandler, Ariz.'s Heart Attack Grill, dignity be damned. One of these on Lower Broad would kill, literally and figuratively.

The menu includes Single, Double, Triple and Quadruple Bypass Burgers, Flatliner Fries ("Deep Fried in PURE LARD!"), Jolt Cola and no-filter Lucky Strike cigarettes. If you overindulge, the nurses provide wheelchair rides. The website features the following disclaimer: "The Government Requires Us To Inform You That Our 'Nurses' Do Not Actually Have Any Accredited Medical Training." Well, in my book, they have all the training they need.

Anyway, they're looking for franchise investors—that's where you come in. Enough with the condo-crazy yuppification of Nashville. Let's bring our city back to its redneck roots!

So who's in?

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Honeycrisp Apples: 'Tis the Season

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 9:00 AM


It's September, that first nip of fall is in the air—that means it's Honeycrisp apple season. Something about the chilly North outfits this miracle of apple eugenics with piercing sweetness, crisp flesh, and a crunch that chomps like celery. I'm not the world's biggest fan of fruit, but I look forward to the Honeycrisp's brief season every fall as if it were Christmas. I can only imagine how they'd taste in a pie...maybe with some cinnamon ice cream...some streusel pecans....

Huh? What? Where am I? Anyway, as I was saying, these apples may keep the doctor away, but they'd have to hide behind a phalanx of rabid raccoons to keep me at bay. As of last week, the only places I'd seen them were The Fresh Market and Whole Foods, where they were running about $2.99 a pound. If that sounds expensive—well, so are diamonds.

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Slow Foodies at Play

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 5:00 AM


Slow down, you move too fast. There's still plenty of time to make reservations for Slow Food Nashville's annual Fall Equinox Dinner at Margot Cafe.

Actually, you might want to get on the stick to reserve a seat for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, when Margot will host the dinner featuring pork belly from DW Farms, Falls Mill grits with delicata squash, and lots of braised greens. Items from Eaton's Creek and Long Hungry Creek Farms will also be on the menu. If the weather cooperates, the langourous feast will be outdoors in Margot's parking-lot-turned-Provençal-streetscape. Price is $40, excluding tax, tip and wine. Call 227-4668 for reservations.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chairmen of the Sandwich Board

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 10:05 AM


When I stopped by Savarino's Cucina on Friday for some cannoli and mille-feuilles, Corrado Savarino was up to his elbows in flour. He took a break from rolling out the fresh pasta dough to say hello and insisted that I try the daily special of fettucine fra diavolo.

Nothing moves fast at Savarino's—that's part of the old-world charm—so while I waited for my bowl of noodles and shrimp, I sipped a limonata and perused the new painted chalkboards behind the counter. While reading the list of sandwiches named for Corrado's friends and fellow Italians—including local businessman Ed Pontieri and music industry veterans Al Bunetta and Mike Figlio—I couldn't help but notice the animated group of diners at the two tables tucked in near the counter.

There sat none other than Ed Pontieri, Al Bunetta and Mike Figlio themselves, lingering and laughing over lunch with a group of friends. Ed was pacing the room making sure nobody needed any more bread, while Mike was narrating the recipe for Figlio Family 2007 Sangiovese, which, by the way, goes nicely with a bowl of Savarino's fettucine fra diavolo.

It was the kind of intimate scene you can expect any day of the week at the 2-year-old Savarino's, where Brooklyn transplant Corrado, his wife Maria and their kids deliver a menu of home-cooked Italian meals and pastries. Recently, Savarino's introduced a roster of daily specials. I highly recommend going at the end of the week. That's when Corrado unfurls his feather-light homemade pasta and the TGIF vibe is at its best. If you happen to run across the Chairmen of the Sandwich Board enjoying a lazy lunch, try not to look like you're in a hurry. That just irritates them.

Savarino's Cucina Daily Specials

Monday—linguine with pesto

Tuesday—tripoline arrabiata

Wednesday—bucatini carbonara

Thursday—fresh pasta with vodka sauce

Friday—fresh fettucine fra diavolo

Saturday—fresh cheese ravioli with marinara

Located at 2121 Belcourt Ave., Savarino's is open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with breakfast available 7 to 11 a.m.

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The Ugliest Meal in Town?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Because of International Market, there was Thai food in Nashville by the late 1970s—which seems funny, in retrospect, since Nashville has not traditionally been a foodie town. (But come to think of it, we also had French restaurants back then.)

There's been a noticeable uptick in quality over the last couple of years (though you still occasionally end up with food that has dried out on a steam table). The menu at International Market hasn’t changed much in 30 years, and like a lot of people I usually get the same thing, the combination I call “The Ugliest Meal in Town”: spicy eggplant and curried tofu. Delicious.


If there’s an uglier meal in town, though, I’d like to hear about it.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Germantown Cafe: Thanks for the Business, Get Ready for Allium

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 4:00 PM


Germantown Café wants to thank you, cherished readers-eaters, for coming in during Restaurant Week, which manager Greg Hilbourn calls “an unbelievable success.” Like an Emmy award winner, he was moved with gratitude. “It was so humbling to see all these people coming in," he said.

Also like an Emmy award winner, the Cafe has a sense of mission. Currently in development is the menu for Allium, the group’s next venture, opening mid-November in the 5th & Main development in East Nashville. The Germantown kitchen occasionally tests a possible menu item, usually as a daily special. If you’re lucky enough to be there and get one of the secret specials, report back to Bites.

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Plumgood to the Rescue

Posted By on Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 1:30 PM


I'm not saying that Plumgood Food actually engineered the gas shortage in Middle Tennessee any more than I'm saying these people did. But when the Fox fuel tanks were on E this weekend, the purple truck sure looked like a hero, pulling into our driveway with local and organic produce, fresh chicken, and Purity milk and ice cream.

Ever since the online grocer kicked its delivery fee this summer, I've been increasingly tempted to log on and order up. So far, the service has been consistently excellent. I placed an order at 9 p.m. on Friday night and had groceries by noon the next day. Produce—specifically corn, broccoli and green beans—has been better than anything I've hand-picked in the store, and the prices on many items are comparable to the supermarket.

Originally founded as an organic grocer, Plumgood has increasingly expanded its offerings to include thousands of mainstream products, from potato chips and ice cream to diapers and paper towels. If I could make one suggestion, I would ask them to start delivering Lazzaroli's Pasta. And of course, gas.

Any other requests for Plumgood?

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