Is something on your mind? Or were you just thinking about what you eat when you get to your destination?
We heard this week that Thai Spice in CoolSprings served its last meals a week or so ago. Owner Tong Prasertsinh tells Bites he's given over running Thai Spice to someone new, who may take over seamlessly and operate the same eatery, or may go in a different direction. Watch the space and, as always, report back to Bites if you get there first.
Whiskey Kitchen, Chris Hyndman's tavern at the top of the Gulch, opened stealthily this week, marking the unofficial debut of Hyndman's M Street project along McGavock.
Housed in the building on the corner of 12th Avenue and McGavock Street previously occupied by Agave, the building has shed its faux-hacienda look and been renovated in a style mirroring the surrounding brick warehouses. The updated building includes reclaimed oak from an old Kentucky bourbon distillery and crocodile leather wall-coverings. Convertible windows on the front open to a patio with a brick fire pit.
With Scott Alderson as culinary director for the M Street group of properties--including Kayne Prime steak house and Virago when it relocates to the Gulch--Whiskey Kitchen debuted with a roster of wood‐fired pizzas, burgers, wings and nachos, as well as salads, light pastas and grilled wraps. Menu prices range from $5 to $14.
With Gina Hendrix-Dawson as wine and spirits director and Austin Ratliff as mixology director, Whiskey Kitchen offers an extensive bar menu of beer, wine and spirits, including more than 100 whiskeys from around the world.
With eight plasma TVs broadcasting sports and music, Hyndman describes Whiskey Kitchen as a tavern-chic neighborhood bar.
Whiskey Kitchen serves lunch, dinner and a late-night menu daily.
So much to do! And by "do" I mean "eat and drink." Really, go out and do something before the flu quarantines everyone. And take hand sanitizer.
Tomorrow (Friday Sept 25) is Taste of Nashville 2009. Food from more than 20 local restaurants and other eatiers. You know 'em and love 'em: Zumi Sushi, Rent A Rita, Jimmy Carl's Local Taco, GiGi's, Chappy's, The Standard, Saffire, 1808 Grille. Live music by the Chris Weaver Band. Cannery Ballroom. One Cannery Row. 7 pm - 1 am. $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Profits to Boys and Girls Clubs of Nashville.
* The Southern Fried Fest is Friday and Saturday in Maury County. Click the link for a write-up of last year's Fried Fest activities. There is a dessert cook-off, a pancake breakfast, and fried foods every which way you turn. Also, it's in downtown Columbia, which is as pretty a courthouse square as you could wish.
* While you're south of town, take in RippaVilla Plantations's corn maze -- it's supposedly amazing this year. Three miles of paths link the planets and solar system, all in a cornfield. Take in a tour of the house while you're there. $7 for adults, $5 for kids. 10 to 10 Saturday and noon to 6 Sunday. Open until November 1. (931) 486-9037. RippaVilla usually hosts a country ham festival this time of year -- if you see signs with dates, report back to Bites.
* Start saving now: next week (October 1) is a $250 luncheon with First Lady Andrea Conte for the Restoration and Preservation of Tennessee's Residence. Price includes lunch and a tour. I went to one a couple of years back (helping with Port-a-Johns, I promise) The food was good, the place is lovely and the networking -- unsurpassed. 11:30-1 October 1. For tickets call (615) 741-7846. )
* Didn't get to booze it up last weekend on the Shelby Street Bridge? Then how about Italian food on the bridge this weekend? Greenways for Nashville and Metro Arts Commission (wut?) are sponsoring Dinner on the Bridge. For reservations call 862-8400 x378. $125 a ticket. Couldn't get info on who is providing the Italian food -- if you know, hook us up. www.greenwaysfornashville.org
We already told you about what a creative bartender Charles Fields from Rumba is, but who knew he's such a baconnoisseur?
Well, apparently everyone who attended the recent "Bacon Takedown" contest held on September 13 at Aerial downtown. The event is a spin-off of the Chili Takedowns which started in Brooklyn in 2005 and have turned into a nationwide phenomenon expanding from just the world of chili into the universe of fondue, salsa, cookies and everybody's favorite pork product-BACON!
In an unheard of double victory, Charles took first prize in both the People's Choice and the Judges' awards at the Takedown with his Bacon Bread Pudding. Here's Charles with Takedown organizer and emcee Matt Timms.And here's hoping that bread pudding recipe makes it onto the menu at Rumba sometime soon!
Head over to the official Takedown site for more pictures and the complete results. They promise to return to Nashville soon. So represent, people!
I was lucky to get a spot on the ultra-overscheduled Chris Chamberlain's calendar and we had lunch at Fat Mo's on Murfreesboro Road -- the Mo's formerly known as Taco Tico.
He got the burger, and I ventured into unknown territory with a gyro. Hey! Stop rolling your eyes -- the TV was on Al Jazeera and there were people wearing headscarves in the place. There was some logic to choosing a gyro, especially since everything else on the menu looks SOS -- Straight Outta Sysco.
You know the frozen product called Steak-Ummms? My gyro was the frozen gyro product, which Chris dubbed "Lamb-Umms." My heart sank when it arrived. But, surprise!, the cucumber sauce was good and was mixed with the lettuce, tomatoes and onions instead of slopped on. The flatbread was grilled crisp and chewy, and the Lamb-Umm had been griddled. So, you know, not bad at all.
I was telling a Chris a funny story about Al Jazeera (didn't see that coming, didja?) The station management reached out to recruit a high profile British friend to work for them. He replied that he was flattered, but since he was a Jew, and gay, the relationship was not likely to prosper.
I guess I have a loud voice but darn if the channel on Mo's TV didn't suddenly get changed to JCTV, that would be Jesus Christ Television, it seemed, given the Christ-core band playing and witnessing. Am I that obviously a WASP? Anyway, besides the burger and the not-bad gyro, that's another good thing about Fat Mo's -- they got the extended super cable package. So you can probably watch soccer there.
But remember, when you go, for sure stick with the burger. Oh, and is there a better name than Lamb-Umm?
This week's dining column features the much-loved Park Cafe, whose menu is now under the enthusiastic stewardship of chef Drew Racin.
Racin's commitment to seasonal local produce was immediately clear when I called him recently to ask for a recipe. After introducing myself on the phone, I explained that my garden was overflowing with butternut squash and I was hoping he could recommend a use for them. Before I could finish the thought, Racin responded by asking if I would sell the squash to him.
Somewhat sheepishly, I explained that my idea of a bumper crop was certainly less than he was imagining and that I would likely need all the squash I had to make even one meal.
None the less, Racin kindly offered the following recipe:
Bruschetta with Butternut Squash:
2 cups peeled, seeded, diced and roasted butternut squash
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pears, diced fine
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese
1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced thin and toasted
Rehydrate cranberries in orange juice and toss with all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Finish with goat cheese and assemble on fresh sourdough.
Tayst Restaurant and Wine Bar has been named a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association, joining six other restaurants nationwide with the 3-Star distinction.
Among the other 3-Star restaurants are Sweetgreen in Washington, D.C., Barr Mansion in Austin, Texas, and Candle Café in New York, N.Y.
The nonprofit Green Restaurant Association helps restaurants become more environmentally sustainable through a certification program and consulting services. All 3 Star restaurants must meet a minimum of 175 points with requirements such as
• Installing energy efficient lighting
• Using low-flow faucet aerators and spray valves to conserve water
• Using occupancy sensors in spaces that don't require constant light
• Installing an Energy Star dish machine
• Using an energy management system that regulates when, and for how long, equipment needs to be on
The 5-year-old Tayst--the first Nashville restaurant certified by the GRA--also uses non-toxic cleaning chemicals and table candles, serves filtered water in lieu of bottled water, and purchases organic cotton uniforms and chef coats. The restaurant sources local sustainable foods with 70 to 95 percent of food purchases (depending on the season) from farms within a 100-mile radius.
While most folks around here are getting pretty sick of our warm, wet weather, apparently across the pond some good is coming out the Greenhouse Effect. The 2009 Bordeaux harvest is in, and frankly the French are feeling fairly froggy about it. A combination of warm sunny days and cooler nights in July and August have apparently led to an exceptional crop of white wine grapes, both in quantity and quality. It is expected to rival the great vintages of 2001 and 2007. Beneficial conditions have also allowed the harvest process to start over two weeks earlier than normal, as increased tanning time meant more vigorous vine growth during the day.
The grapes ripen during the evenings while they take a break from their busy photosynthesizing. This particular crop promises higher than normal acidity and smaller, more intensely flavored berries.
What does that mean to you as a casual wine consumer? Normally a vintage this anticipated would bring a premium on the futures market. Luckily, the increased yields should mitigate the price run-up considerably, allowing you to enjoy some really fine affordable white blends arriving in your local wine shoppe in the next three years.
The primary varietals in white Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle which promise floral aromas, a mouth feel that's smooth as honey, and long, complex finishes of figs, peaches and lemon cream. I can hardly wait! If you can't, the 2007s are drinking very well right now and could cellar for up to a decade more.
Grab yourself a bottle from your neighborhood wine store and roast up a chicken Walken-style with some nice fall pears, and you've got yourself something, mon frère.
Our Twitter buddies at Amerigo on West End (that's @amerigowestend in Twitterspeak if you're looking to follow them) reminded us that September 20-26 is Share Our Strength's Great American Dine Out Week.
According to their website, seventy-five Nashville area restaurants are participating in the event by donating a portion of their proceeds to help end childhood hunger.
Share Our Strength pledges to use these funds to support:
Increasing participation in school food and nutrition programs
Increasing the number of community gardens
Food banks and food pantries
Increasing access to fresh produce
Increasing utilization of federal child food and nutrition programs, e.g. food stamps, school breakfast, etc.
Advocacy around Child food and nutrition-related programs
So fight your own hunger by visiting one of the participating establishments and help fight childhood hunger at the same time. Maybe consider Amerigo first since they drew our attention to this cause, and they have that awesome hot chicken pasta on Wednesdays.
What do you know? This Twitter-marketing thing does work. They sold me.
I spent a day in a midtown Nashville building you have probably seen from the outside, and possibly also inside. From the outside, you'd never guess there is a popcorn cart there. Take a guess, or if you know, tell the Bites readers where that unexpected trolley o' snax is located.
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