If you've ever wondered what you might need to open a full-service sit-down restaurant, bakery and cafe, take a look at the online auction for the liquidation of One Hundred West, Eats a la Carte and City Limits II. The troika of restaurants along Highway 100 closed up shop earlier this year, and the owners are selling the extensive inventory of equipment--including tables, chairs, refrigerators, plates, stemware, a tilting braising pan, a tabletop bread slicer, gas stove, cheese melter, convection oven and more.
The auction closes Tuesday, June 30 at 2 p.m.
Ordering sake can be slightly traumatic, which I forget until the server is looking at me expectantly. Kurosawa Junmai is a reliable choice, but when it's not on the menu, and there's not a "house" sake, all bets are off.
There are all those confusing classifications of sake, and variations within those. They mean something, but like the characters of Japanese writing, it's a mystery. And that doesn't even begin to address the different breweries.
Last time I got "sak'd," at Sushi Yobi on Demonbreun, I picked the one with the best name: Zipang. Gekkeiken Zipang.
What a name! There's the crispy crunch of Gekkeiken and the fizz-bang of Zipang. Gekkeiken! Zipang! How couldn't a sake live up to that onomatopoeic name? Not since Pink Panty Pulldowns has there been such a good name for alcohol.
The Zipang was a little sweet, but worth ordering again, just to say the name.
Zipang happened to be a lucky guess in a fraught field, but seriously, what's a good, widely available dry sake?
If you missed the engaging doc Pressure Cooker during its hit appearance at this year's Nashville Film Festival, you'll get another chance when the Belcourt screens it tomorrow and Wednesday as part of its Food on Film Week. So far, response to the movies has been unusually strong, starting with the sold-out panel discussion Carrington moderated last Friday at the theater, and this film was included by programmer Toby Leonard as a kind of palate cleanser.
PRESSURE COOKER From Spellbound to Wordplay to The King of Kong, the competition doc has become as formulaic as Christopher Guest's mock-doc analogues. But the genre is practically foolproof, as directors Mark Becker and Jennifer Grausman prove yet again in this irresistible underdog saga. Their subjects are inner-city Philadelphia high-school kids, drilled by their tough-loving instructor Wilma Stephenson to win a citywide cooking competition with life-or-death college scholarships at stake. Which means this isn't some frivolous Iron Chef face-off: Each plate holds a kid's future in the balance. Given a mighty boost by Prince Paul's hip-hop score, this is the rare doc that might actually benefit from the sprawl of the reality-show format--but that won't stop you from biting your nails when the group's most disadvantaged student hears her name called at the podium. JIM RIDLEY
Does anyone else thinks it's uncanny that we launched The Beet Beat , a seasonal salute to the most red-staining of all veg, on the day that Michael Jackson precipitously beat it out of this mortal Neverland?
In honor of the King of Pop, the Beet Beat continues with chef Kristen Gregory's recipe for Beet Vinaigrette. I recently enjoyed a drizzle of this light and faintly sweet dressing over a side salad with a burger and a spiced pear martini at Curt Cole's Green Hills neighborhood restaurant. By the time I returned a few days later for a lunch of Thai-style grilled shrimp with red curry coconut broth and jasmine rice, the beet vinaigrette had beaten it to make room for a bacon cream dressing. Expect to see Beet Vinaigrette on and off throughout the summer as Cole beats a path to the Amish farmers and returns with a haul of beets and other local seasonal produce.
Firefly Grille's Beet Vinaigrette
4 cooked beets (any color), peeled, rough chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
A few sprigs basil and parsley, rough chopped
3/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/8 c. Dijon mustard
3/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. chili flakes
3 c. canola oil
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
In blender, combine all ingredients with exception of the oils. Blend until smooth. While blender is still going, remove top and slowly add oils until completely emulsified, finishing with extra virgin olive oil.
Remember a few weeks back when I wanted to sow the Great Wall of Corn out in front of my house and everyone said it was tacky? Well, Personal Farmer Peter Anderson at Gardens of Babylon invited me for a tour of his vegetable/flower garden at the Farmers' Market, and all I can say is dammit, this bountiful show of color and produce could have been mine, if only I hadn't been such a wuss.
Behold the luscious contrast of colors--the vibrant edible nasturtium cuddled up against the weimaraner-hued lamb's ear, the zinnias flaunting their sunny blooms against the staid foundational green of the lemony sorrell...And what's that I see peeking daintily over this elegant composition of fresh-faced flowers...could it be? Yes, it's corn. Just like WHAT I WANTED TO PLANT, but nooooo, you all said corn was for the back 80.
Lesson learned. It's time to drag the edible agriculture out from the back yard. Next year when it's time to sow brazenly the planting strip between the sidewalk and the street, you won't find me being such a shrinking violet.
The Belcourt Theatre's Food on Film week continues with The End of the Line, opening Sunday, June 28. For a full schedule of films, visit The Belcourt's website.
THE END OF THE LINE (June 28-29) If Monsanto emerges from Food, Inc. as the cat-stroking Bond villain of agriculture, it turns out the fishing industry has its own Dr. Evil: Mitsubishi, which controls some 40 percent of the world's market in bluefin tuna--and which Rupert Murray's documentary accuses of hoarding frozen reserves that will become a piscine goldmine once the last bluefin has been flopped onto a dock.
Unfortunately, that may come sooner than later, as Murray and investigative journalist Charles Clover argue in this muckraking doc. The world's growing taste for sushi and seafood--stoked with nets big enough to suck up a dozen 747s--is rapidly depleting populations of tuna, grouper, red snapper and other desirable fish. Leading with the near-extinction of Newfoundland's cod in 1990, the movie warns that the end result of overfishing will be net losses in every sense of the term.
Hopscotching from Chesapeake Bay to Tokyo fish markets to the shores of Somalia, where divers face the end of their way of life as foreign trawlers vacuum the seas, Murray lays out a chilling argument that seafood could be a thing of the past as early as 2048. As moviemaking, The End of the Line is Discovery Channel standard-issue bolstered by fine undersea footage--but its message of impending crisis will leave its hooks in you. JIM RIDLEY
Precious Baby spent the week at camp, and back home, it was goodbye mac and cheese, so long chicken fingers! Mommy got to eat anything she wanted aaaaalll week long. With no pants on, if she felt like it.
Minute 255 A.D. (after drop-off): Los Rosales' green enchiladas and a margarita in the beautiful dining room.
Day 1: Not hungry/not cooking/not eating. Drank a 756-ounce Diet Coke, visible from the Google Earth satellite, at a completely inappropriate and not-kid-friendly movie
Day 2: Floor refinishers monopolize all surfaces under feet. Shoes off. Pants required. Lunch at Whole Foods. Tofu in yeast gravy (*memories of being 19 years old at Laughing Man*)
Day 3: Corrieri's Italian beef panino is a candidate for finest sandwich in town. House air-conditioning not working right, so pants off. Dinner of bigos, golubtsi and pelmenyi at Taste of Russia. Pants on. Need a "clapper" for pants on/pants off.
Day 4: Dinner and over-refreshment a the Scene twentieth anniversary party. Husband reports pants stayed on.
Day 5: Distant family reunion. Weinie roast. Third cousins. Pants required.
Day 6: Precious Baby returns. Thank goodness she's back where I can protect her from all those bad influences out there.
Thanks to the technological miracle of blog post scheduling software, only the most observant readers may have noticed that while certain contributors to the Bites conversation have been attempting to change their complexion through freaky, unconventional means, I actually spent the past week trying to acquire some color the old-fashioned carcinogenic way in Cozumel. Ever the slave to frequent reapplication of high SPF products while floating in the shady portion of the pool, I'm more of a braiser than a broiler when it comes to tanning. I'd put the result at medium-rare at best.
We chose the all-inclusive option for our resort, figuring that the secluded location would make it less likely that we'd want to run into town for multiple dinners anyway. Combined with the Swine Flu Hysteria Discount® we got through our travel agent, the trip was almost cheaper than staying home.
Annnnnd...you get what you pay for. Not that the magic wristband didn't come in handy at the bar area. We came armed with a stack of $1 bills for tipping that would have made Pac Man Jones proud. Paying an extra buck a round to the local bartender sure beats contributing a twenty to FatCarlos'nSenorMcGillicuttyFrogTimeWarnerInc's coffers for a yard of premixed frozen libido booster anyway. Plus, we rinsed our toothbrushes with free Dos Equis because we were concerned about the potability of the tap water in the hotel room.
Similar to cruise ship fare, all-inclusive tourists can expect flashy European names for simple resort-kitchen meals. What the menu promises as "Warm Mousseline of Sole," you would probably describe as "Fish with Tartar Sauce." The staff did attempt to make up for the undistinguished flavors with the plating of the dishes. We learned to keep our sunglasses on while dining lest we impale an eyeball on a deep-fried plantain skin antenna sticking out of the top of just about every seafood presentation. Hey, we'd been drinking free margaritas.
Wanna know if cheese goes bad if you leave it sitting out? If Chattanooga has any great restaurants? If Boss Hogg's barbecue stacks up? Then consult Bites' open thread from last week. It's time once again to open the floor to whatever subject is on your mind--new restaurants, exotic foods, odd experiences, etc.
Here's Any No Mouse responding to an urgent query about where to find oxtails for sale in Nashville:
Personally, I go with convenience and pick up a bunch of oxtails at Kroblix. They make a pretty good stock with nice gelatin. And while it won't have a whole lot of flavor left in it, you can use the meat in another preparation and add your own flavor to it for a quick protein boost. Maybe in a soup or some tacos or something.
Call it the School of Hard Ox. In the meantime, if you have tips, news, gossip or anything else you want to pass along in private, send it to cfox (at) nashvillescene (dot) com.
The Belcourt's Food on Film week begins tonight with Food, Inc. After the 7 p.m. screening, the theater will host hors d'oeuvres from Whole Foods and a panel discussion with raw-food advocate Laura Button; Cindy Delvin, president of Tennessee Organic Growers Association; Will Harris, owner/operator of the grass-fed cattle farm White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Ga.; Cassi Johnson, director of Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee; and Marty Mesh, executive director of the Florida Organic Growers. On Saturday starting at 11 a.m., the theater turns its parking lot into an Outdoor Info/Expo Fair for local farms, producers and organizations. For a schedule of films, visit The Belcourt's website.
FOOD, INC. (June 26-July 2) If you've read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, then you know the main characters in this sobering documentary about the American food system: Big Corn, Factory Farms and Supermarket Pastoral. Part spy thriller, part animal snuff film, Food, Inc. brings to genetically engineered and hormone-enhanced life the story of post-industrial farming, with menacing scenes of crop-dusting helicopters, aerial footage of manure-caked feedlots, and one mother's heartrending campaign to improve food safety after her toddler died from E. coli.
The political, environmental and personal themes that made Pollan's book an unexpected page-turner also make for a riveting couple of hours at the movies. (It doesn't hurt that the occasional voiceover by co-producer and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser sounds like The X Files' David Duchovny.) Director Robert Kenner paces deftly from poorly ventilated chicken sheds in the Midwest to alabaster halls in Washington, D.C., to make the case against a web of agribusiness and consumerism--from the FDA turning a blind eye on food safety in favor of Big Beef, to Monsanto browbeating farmers who decline to use pesticide-resistant seeds.
Like any good persuasive campaign, Food, Inc. presents only one side of the story. The heavyweight industrial growers declined to speak on camera, and little voice is given to the global nutritional advances associated with industrial agriculture. Still, by the time Bruce Springsteen breaks into "This Land Is Your Land" as the closing credits roll, your high-fructose-corn-syrup-infused movie snacks won't taste as good as they once did--and Kenner will ably have made his point. CARRINGTON FOX
UPDATE: Bites will put up an open thread Monday to get your reactions to the movie (and the other films in the Belcourt series). Be there. Aloha.
This place has closed
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