The Twitter-sphere buzzed this afternoon with news that couldn't possibly be true: (yn) Nashville, the affordable wine boutique in Green Hills recently named best wine store in the Nashville Scene's Best of Nashville, is closing.
Unfortunately, it's true. An interiors company wanted the space and offered a higher rent, so (yn) is relinquishing its store, just months after opening the spare, stylish shop. Tomorrow is the last day of business.
To clear the inventory, proprietor Ed Fryer is offering 25 percent off a six-pack of bottles. Go on, show Ed some oenophile love and help him empty the shelves. Say goodbye to him and wish him luck. Hopefully, he'll be like a cork, and he'll pop up somewhere else.
My friend Alicia the real estate agent wants me to stop calling her neighborhood The Nations and start calling it West Town.
You know the place: the streets have names like Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, California and New York. Why on earth is it called The Nations instead of The States is a trivia question for another day, and possibly a comment on the city's collective geographical firepower.
Anyway, when you're driving through West Town on Centennial Boulevard and you see the vivid green of Laverte's Market, look across the street and there's Fast Freddy's. When the window painting is this good, naturally, you're going to stop.
Fast Freddy's is the neighborhood's lunch spot for industrial workers and neighbors, serving pungently sage-y chicken dressing, tangy greenbeans, hot salty cornbread, good chopped steak, passable cabbage, and meatloaf every day.
Good hot home cooking, like the sign says. If you can believe, I didn't get the meatloaf. Can anyone report?
Carrington and I helped out on Junior Achievement day this week at Mt. View Elementary, where we met the most terrific kids and possibly, given a decade or so, a chef. Our task was to prepare fifth graders for a day at Biztown—JA's model city where kids take on the careers and responsibilities of adults—so we conducted a series of mock job interviews.
One nine-year-old "candidate" indicated on his "job application" that he wants to be a restaurant manager. "What qualifications do you have for the job?" I asked. And let me just add here that many kids conflated "skills" and "interest," so if this little guy had answered "I like to eat" he would have been on about the average level of discourse.
"I can cook," he said, referring surely to instant mac-and-cheese, microwave chicken nuggets and toaster oven pizza.
Me: "Ah. What do you you cook?"
Him: "Oh, eggs. Noodles. Whatever my mom tells me to cook."
Me: "Oh. And how do you cook eggs?" thinking maybe he microwave-poached them.
Him: "Boiling or in a skillet. I think a skillet is safer."
Me, alarmed: "On the stove? With the burners on? What about the noodles? How do you cook those?"
Him: "Well, I boil them, and I put in the sauce. When my dad brings my grandfather to visit, if I get the right amount of sauce, he says they're great."
Also, as it turns out, Little Chef chops onions. "With a knife?" I asked, incredulous. "Sure," he said, as if I were a little slow on the uptake. He reports that he has only cut himself once.
Need I say that he got the highest marks for initiative and mad skills, plus impressive self-possession?
As a parent, it made me worry that Sweet Cheeks is falling behind. Ten years seems too young to learn to use the (gas) stove, and the knife. But am I too cautious? What is a good age for children to learn "real" cooking skills?
After the first information session regarding Metro's proposed menu-labeling regulations—which would require restaurants to print the calorie counts of menu items—health department officials made the following modifications to the proposed rules:
1. Restaurants with 15 or more stores must print calorie counts on their menus. This number was raised from 10 in the earlier draft.
2. Regulations would extend to retail grocery establishments with in-house dining, such as Whole Foods.
3. Restaurants would have until the end of 2009 to comply with the regulations.
4. The following language was added in an attempt to allay fears of potential lawsuits:
“This regulation is not intended to provide or be used to support a private cause of action by any individual, other than an individual, entity, or agency authorized to enforce this regulation, against a covered food service establishment for compliance or non-compliance with this regulation. This regulation does not prohibit a covered food service establishment from including a statement on a menu or menu board that there may be variations in calorie content values across actual servings based on slight variations in serving size, quantity of ingredients, or special ordering."
The Metro Board of Health will consider the regulations, which are intended to help fight the rising trend of obesity, at the Dec. 4 meeting. Prior to that meeting, the health department will host a public comment session on Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Lentz Public Health Center auditorium, located at 311 23rd Ave. N. Written comments will be accepted until Nov. 13.
The health department will conduct its second hour-long information session today at 2 p.m. at Lentz.
The building that formerly housed Most Wanted Pizza and Moon's Barbecue BBQ, among other previous tenants, will soon reopen with PhadThai Kitchen. With the tag line "Thai Cuisine by Thais," the restaurant has a menu laden with soups and noodle dishes, including tom kha (coconut milk soup), phad kee-mao (spicy fried noodle) and the eponymous and popular phad thai.
Located at 207 Woodland St., near LP Field, PhadThai Kitchen will open at 11 a.m. daily and will serve until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Sunday.
This being a food blog and all, we cede the floor to some sage political commentary, delivered by a rapping jelly donut. Caution: we pretty much needed an oxygen mask by the time this was over.
For people who love to cook, there's hardly a more pleasurable evening than a gathering of food-centric people in the kitchen. And wine. Two Bites commenters whose sweet-n-salty words keep us reading are offering just such an evening with their Cucina Cooking Schoolhouse. On Nov. 10 (with a repeat Nov. 12), cook eat FRET blogger, Claudia Young and former Marché pastry apprentice, Italian professor and frequent traveler to Italy, Joy Ramirez of JoyCooks will teach a pasta-making class in the fabulous cook eat FRET kitchen. With wine.
Each night eight fortunate students will crank out pasta sheets for pumpkin tortellini, dice pancetta for bucatini all'amatriciana and learn the delicate art of handling handmade fettuccine for Fettuccine with Oyster Mushrooms—a beloved Mario Batali dish. And did we mention the wine?
The classes are small, and three hours long, so there should be plenty of hands-on experience. The price is right, too, compared with institutional classes: $60 for a guaranteed educational good time with great people. And wine. To sign up for the "cooking schoolhouse," email cucinanashville (at) gmail.com. Go on and do it—we're thinking it'll be a great night. And anyone who can pull off homemade pasta? Their stock immediately goes way up, which would be useful about right now.
Back when voters were men, the ladies apparently whiled away the day baking a multi-hour, yeast-raised Election Cake.
Thank gosh those days are over and we can spend the afternoon bending an elbow and watching television. So where's the election party, and can Bites attend?
This week's Scene cover story is a series of knock-down-drag-out fights over our favorite foods. Tracy Moore and Steve Haruch duke it out over whether Marché serves a better BLT than Mitchell Delicatessen. Cleveland Pete backs Dan McGuinness' fried fish, while Mr. Pink casts his vote for Eastside's O.G. King fish sandwich. It's a brutal, no-holds-barred issue, especially when Patrick Rodgers socks it to Jack Silverman in the matter of Pied Piper Creamery vs. Mike's Ice Cream. La Hacienda-lovin' Brent Rolen will never be the same after I knocked him out with my compelling case for the Baja Burrito fish taco.
Writing this issue was a lot of fun, as we ate our favorite foods and worked out a lot of personal aggression. Needless to say, we're ready to do battle again. When we go to the mattresses next time, what foods would you like to see pitted against each other?
For anyone who can't wait until spring for the return of Iron Fork, the Scene's chef showdown, you can get a soupçon of culinary competition this Saturday at Iron Spork, when two chefs go head to head in Whole Foods' Salud! cooking school in Green Hills.
Whole Foods chefs Lou from Green Hills and Jack from Franklin will have an hour to put their best forks forward, using a single ingredient and a pantry of supplies. The heated-simmered-and-sauteed competition kicks off at 1 p.m. Guests can monitor the action while enjoying food and drinks, and they can designate their $15 entry fee to benefit either Second Harvest Food Bank's Backpack Program or Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee.
For information and registration email Jolie.Yockey (at) wholefoods.com
Remember fiddlehead ferns, the secret ingredient at the inaugural Iron Fork? What secret ingredient would you like to see this time?
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