Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fido Closing Until January for Expansion

Posted by on Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 3:32 PM

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If you're in Hillsboro Village this week, finishing up last-minute Christmas shopping or subjecting Village denizens to your mad caroling skills, don't expect to stop at Fido for a bracing caramel-and-mocha-latte Rolover. The popular coffeehouse, part of Bob Bernstein's Bongo Java empire, will temporarily shut its doors at 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 20, to allow crews to knock out the wall between Fido's current space and its upcoming addition next door.

Fido, which has been a thriving Village hangout since it opened in 1996, decided to annex the neighboring space after Taste of Tokyo closed last year. Bernstein says the addition will house Fido's growing baking operation and a new dining area that can accommodate the brunch and lunch crowds by day and private parties in the evening.

John Stephenson, Fido's talented chef, says the plan is to reopen at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2. But depending on construction, it could be Jan. 4. That would mean that despite missing the traditional winter holidays, Fido would reopen just in time to provide wake-up juice to ward off World Hypnotism Day.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Honk if You Love Local Food

Posted by on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 11:33 AM

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This week's dining review features the new East Nashville eatery Silly Goose, which, to put it simply, is golden. Chef-owner Roderick Bailey draws on his education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and as the private chef for a family in Memphis to create a menu that relies on flavor and creativity--instead of bulk. Bailey's roster of couscous, sandwiches and salads showcases local and regional ingredients, from Provence breads to Kenny's Farmhouse cheese and Benton's bacon.

Next week's review will also feature a restaurant that is going out of its way to stock local goodies, from breads by Bobby John Henry Bakery to Bravo Gelato, Lucy's Cheesecakes and Olive & Sinclair artisan chocolates.

So, it seems like this local trend is really catching on. (The Scene's holiday guide provided a list of local artisan foods, including Charpier's cakes, Tennessee Cheesecakes and Partners Tea.)

Now that local restaurateurs have access to interesting local ingredients and products, what hometown or regional foods would you like to see on more menus? And what local restaurants do you think are doing a good job showcasing the tastes of Middle Tennessee?

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Wandering Wino: Holiday Spirits

Posted by on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 9:57 AM

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Don't forget there's more than one holiday going on right now. Friday, Dec. 18, is the last night of Hanukkah, so don't miss this opportunity to get a festive gift for your Jewish friends. Nashville Wine and Spirits is offering 15 percent off of any one bottle of kosher wine through Saturday, Dec. 19. They have a great selection of kosher wines, including vintages from Chile, Israel and Italy, so you're not limited to just Manischewitz.

Tell them you saw the details of the discount here on Bites, and I'll bet they let you buy it without the coupon they sent me. Nashville Wine & Spirits, 4556 Harding Road, 292-2676

If you're looking for a more traditional Christmas drink, drop by F. Scott's in Green Hills and sidle up to the bartender and whisper their current Speakeasy term, "It's a Wonderful Life," for a special discount on F. Scott's homemade eggnog, with bourbon and brandy.

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Unidentifiable Bits Make Our Weekly Open Thread Just Like Fruitcake

Posted by on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 8:56 AM

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Chicken and music on Music Row -- will the patrons be locals or tourists? Did anyone attend the opening night?

Speaking of animal-name restaurants, some of you loved The Wild Cow on early visits. Keep the reports coming.

New Year's Eve is the year's most difficult social occasion -- too tired to party, and too broke. I may stay home and watch a movie. Somewhere, fun people will be doing fun things, and Bites people are always where the fun is. Tell Bites where you'lll be on Dec. 31.

Our weekly open thread is the place to comment on these and bring up other topics on your mind. And keep those ideas coming for local food and dining gift ideas.

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Wine Games Forever

Posted by on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 6:43 AM

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The wine world changes so continually that I don't bother keeping up. Instead, I play a fun little game with Josh at Green Hills Wine Shoppe when the occasion calls for wine.

"Josh, I need a white wine for appetizers like bruschetta, but one that red wine drinkers will drink." "Josh, I need a white for chili." "Josh I need a rose for seafood."

There's always a reason. Usually it's because I prefer white wine and my usually dinner group drinks red, so I take my own white. Or because everyone will bring cabernet, so I want to be different.

It's never easy, or I'd figure it out myself. Josh prefers slightly drier wines than I do, but usually, it's a winner.

The latest was "Josh, I need a light red for lasagna." He recommended Il Campo, a sangiovese from the central coast of California. Fruity enough, tannic enough -- another home run.

So that's one less subject I have to know about, because it's delegated to someone else's expertise. What about you -- in what culinary areas do you defer to the experts?

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Posted by on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 7:26 AM

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A side effect of the rash of new chain restaurant openings in the past few months has been the queues of people lining up the day before to camp out and receive a shot at buffalo wings/burritos/chicken tenders for a year.

Of course the chain's definition of "free _blank_ for a year" usually means a card good for a free portion once a week. Still, 52 freebie Chipotle burritos is not a bad thing...for your gastroenterologist.

From what was visible on the early morning news show live remotes, the camp of expectant folks waiting in the Nashville West parking lot for the opportunity to get free Buffalo Wild Wings for a year looked like a heckuva party. Between bonfires and beer pong tables and corn hole, it could have easily been a tailgater for a college football game. Except somebody else was providing the food.

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When You Think Christmas, You Think "Blow Pops!"

Posted by on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 5:49 AM

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The sugar-hounds in our house are always looking for an occasion -- or a new format -- for sugar.

So a stroll down Target's fine and grand candy aisle -- surely the biggest in town -- turned up all manner of nontraditional holiday candy offerings dressed in holiday finery.

Until recently, red and green M&Ms, King Leo peppermints and those multicolored ribbons of clove-flavored hard candy pretty much had the market to themselves. A few others have edged in -- I sampled red and green malted milk balls at a party this week. With the field wide open now, it's Wonka Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Blow Pops and 10 feet of other ordinary, year-round candies trying to pass for holiday candy.

Who, you might wonder, is out there thinking, "What can I put in the candy jar in December?" Or "what can I sent to school with Dylan?" Whatever the holiday gift-giving or other dilemma was, I wouldn't have thought Blow Pops were the answer.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Click, Don't Clip Coupons From Whole Foods

Posted by on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 3:40 PM

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Whole Foods, the Austin-based supermarket that specializes in organic and natural groceries, has begun to offer its coupon deals online.

The coupons can be found at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/coupons. The company, which has a store in Green Hills and one in Cool Springs, says the selection of coupon deals will rotate every few weeks to stay fresh and in sync with the seasons.

Many of the deals I saw today seemed geared toward holiday baking: offering $1 off Wholesome Sweeteners' agave nectar, Tropical Source's vegan chocolate chips or King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour. Customers just have to print out the coupons and redeem them in the store.

Whole Foods has not traditionally been a huge distributor of coupons, but the online strategy, obviously, saves the company on printing costs.

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Wine Wednesday: Looks Like John Rich is Stocking His New Wet Bar

Posted by on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 9:20 AM

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According to BBC News, a bottle of 1788 Cafe Anglais Vieux Cognac recently sold at auction for more than $36,000. Which leads one to think, if that cognac was "vieux" a year before the French Revolution, what the hell is it now?

The lot was part of a multimillion-dollar sale of over 18,000 bottles from the cellar of a famed French restaurant that has been around since 1582, La Tour D'Argent. Don't cry for D'Argent, though. Even after selling off the 18,000 bottles, their wine list still has more than 400,000 left for your drinking pleasure.

So what's the most you've ever spent on a bottle? I think I've broken the century bottle mark once or twice in a wine store for some high-end California Cabernets like Silver Oak. Dining out, I've been on the receiving end of some spectacular expense account dinners that included stupidly expensive wines being ordered and swilled by my fellow diners--who had no idea what they were enjoying. But when somebody is bogarting the Opus One instead of letting it open up in the decanter, sometimes you just gotta keep up.

Share your best/worst expensive wine story in the comments and maybe we can come up with a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck for the best one.

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Thieves Spend $194,000 on Chain Food

Posted by on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 5:44 AM

Champagne may be the universal toast for loot-happy embezzlers everywhere, but does it go with Pizza Hut delivery?
  • Champagne may be the universal toast for loot-happy embezzlers everywhere, but does it go with Pizza Hut delivery?

We all have a list of what we'd buy if we suddenly had bigger money than we ever expected.

For me, there would be trips to Alinea, Eleven Madison Park, Daniel, French Laundry. Back home, the calendar would be packed with dinners at great eateries and nights at the watering hole. No foie gras or filet would be safe. No champagne would go untried. And a taxi home!

A plea agreement entered in U.S. District Court in Nashville lists the purchases made by Johnny and Jennifer Haney from July 2004 to December 2007 with a credit card fraudulently obtained from her employer. They embezzled, and spent, $1.3 million.

A list of their purchases after the jump.

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