Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Final Four Time for the Ulika Burger Brackets

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 1:43 PM

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We promised we'd keep you up to date with the progress of the 64 burger playoff going on over at the Ulika BBQ blog. Unlike this year's NCAA hoops tourney, it's pretty much been chalk over at Ulika, with three No.1 seeds and one No. 2 making it to the semis.

But that doesn't mean they aren't worthy competitors. Long-time favorite Rotier's goes up against newcomer Gabby's in one bracket, while neighbors P.M. and Brown's Diner face off in the other. Head over to the voting site and make your voice known.

There can be only one!

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Lucky Bamboo Dim Sum Parade

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 8:02 AM

Like an elephant, Bites never forgets. Misplaces, yes; forgets, no. In response to two requests for photos of the dim sum at Lucky Bamboo, we present the following. (Lucky Bamboo is at 5855 Charlotte Pike, in the center with K&S Market, 457-3133.)

Shrimp pearl dumpling
  • Shrimp pearl dumpling

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La Hacienda, Second Bite: Rising Like the Phoenix Edition

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 6:47 AM

Tortillas as big as your head!
  • Tortillas as big as your head!

After months of anxiously waiting for the owners of La Hacienda to reopen after their recent kitchen fire, fans are finally able to frequent their favorite Mexican restaurant. We dropped in about a week after they reopened and can say that La Hac didn't lose any of their mojo in the fire.

On the contrary, the spotless new kitchen was rapidly sending out entrees to a hungry full house and everything we saw go by our table looked very appetizing. They are paying special attention to the little touches which I don't remember necessarily being their forté before the fire. Creamy guacamole had a pleasantly surprising texture contrast with the addition of crisp strips of avocado mixed in like the greatest Maggie Moo's concoction ever. The shrimp in my fajita quesadilla were cooked perfectly with a taste of the grill that didn't overpower the flavor of the seafood. Vegetables in the cheesy veggie quesadilla were crisp and fresh.

They're definitely back on their game at La Hacienda. My only quibble was about the flimsy flatware offered to us. It was actually flat, which made eating all that great food sort of difficult. I'd have been better off with chopsticks. So bring your own fork and head over to La Hacienda soon. As always, feel free to report back your impressions here at Bite.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Throwdown with Miss Martha to Help the O'Bryan Center

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 2:03 PM

How would you like a chance to prove your cooking creativity while helping out a good cause? The Martha O'Bryan Center is hosting an amateur cooking competition to support a "food desert" initiative in Nashville's poorest neighborhood. Watch your friends and neighbors "throw down" for a chance to win fabulous prizes.

Amateurs will be paired with professional chefs to create a meal using the ingredients that can be found in a typical basket of food offered to neighborhood families. Contestants will be encouraged to concentrate on nutritional content as well as taste as they plan their menus.

Enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres while watching the action and there will also be complimentary wine and beer for you. There will be a silent auction showcasing the work of young photographers who spent six weeks documenting their food stories, including what, where and when they eat.

When: 5-8 p.m., Saturday, April 10

Where: Martha O'Bryan Center, 711 South Seventh Street, Nashville 37206

Tickets: $40 in advance, $45 at the door

For more information: Visit www.marthaobryan.org/throwdown or call 254-1791, ext. 133

Hosted by: Young Professionals in Support of Martha O'Bryan Center

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Taste of India Opening in Cool Springs

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 1:46 PM

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Word has made its way to Bites that Taste of India is opening in the spot formerly occupied by Taste of Russia.

Indian food lovers have it pretty good in Cool Springs -- Taste of India joins Bombay Bistro on nearby Carothers Parkway.

No other details yet, except that I predict they will save at least 50 percent on sign-painting.

Taste of India: 101 International Drive (off Carothers Boulevard) in Cool Springs

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Veranda Restaurant to Open Soon in Former Trace Space

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 6:06 PM

A high-profile building in Hillsboro Village is about to reopen as a new restaurant concept. The space at 2000 Belcourt that housed the former fine dining spot The Trace and more recently, a defunct Tangredi family project called T's Tuscan Bistro, will open soon under the name Veranda.

An illustration from the sign permit application for the new restaurant filling 2000 Belcourt
  • An illustration from the sign permit application for the new restaurant filling 2000 Belcourt
The entrepreneur behind Veranda is Wayne Fricks. He is best-known in the restaurant world as a former owner of the legendary Stock-Yard restaurant. Fricks bought that business from Buddy Killen in 1999 and sold it in 2004.

Fricks says he wanted to take some time after leaving the Stock-Yard before opening a similar business. But the empty restaurant space intrigued him. "I kept looking at it and looking at it, and finally I called, and bam! I was back in the restaurant business."

His team has been working on the building for some time to adapt it to his concept of "high-quality American food, steaks, seafood and pasta."

Fricks promised the menu will include a range of prices to make it accessible. He has recruited Chef Andrew Bragdon to take charge of the kitchen.

"It's going to be a real nice quality place to have dinner; good food, good atmosphere," Fricks says. He adds that he plans to hold some practice dinners before throwing open the doors for a soft opening, probably sometime this week.

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Yazoo Brewery, Bigger and Newer-y

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 4:54 PM

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Saturday afternoon in the new location of Yazoo Brewery, corner of Division and Overton, around the corner from the Gulch, found a good crowd in the spacious room, lining up for growlers and samplers. The cheese plates hit the spot as always. The sunny day on the patio was a relief, as were the improved amenties (the ladies room was clean and comfy, with no cold drafts up one's skirt).

And despite a college friend's maxim, "Always drink standing up, so you'll know when you've reached your limit," it's good to know there'll be a seat where you can settle in with your sampler.

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More About Lazziz: Fine Feta for Sale

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 1:00 PM

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While browsing the aisles at the grocery store that adjoins Lazziz Persian restaurant on Nolensville Road, I stumbled across a brick-sized can of Valbreso French feta, a brined sheep's milk cheese whose firm spongy blocks miraculously crumble into creamy curds.

Having purchased the 21-ounce can for $10, I've been on feta jag for over a week now, accenting everything from pizzas (made with flatbreads also purchased at Lazziz) to Israeli couscous. One of the best experiments so far involved roasted red peppers with capers, olive oil, garlic and the mildly salty feta, which deceptively retained its shape in the roasting process, but whose texture assumed an ethereal fluffiness.

Based on this decadent experience, our next festive feta fest will involve simply roasting a block of the cheese and slathering it onto hunks of crusty French bread.

You can also try the cheese as part of the opening salad plate at Lazziz, where the well-priced meal begins with a platter of French feta, fresh herbs, radish slices, pink onion and lemon wedges.

Lazziz ( 333-0772) is at 3725 Nolensville Pike, just north of the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

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April Fools' Day Food Events -- No, Really

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 12:14 PM

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It seems as if we have turned more and more holidays into drinking events. Halloween is still months away, but as we find ourselves in the lull between St. Patty's and Drinko de Mayo, maybe we should co-opt April Fools' Day into an eating opportunity. Luckily, two Hillsboro Village eateries have offered you a head start.

Fan favorite Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan is throwing his third annual Karaoke for a Cure event Thursday night at Cabana. Finnegan and many of his Titan teammates are not afraid to make April Fools of themselves as participants can bid and dare them to tackle songs instead of ball carriers. Expect the typical fabulous food and drink options of a charity event at Cabana and take advantage of what is regarded as one of the best silent auctions in town.

Tickets are $100 ($80 tax deductible) and all proceeds go to benefit Cortland's ARK 31 Foundation and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association's Man and Woman of The Year Campaign. For more information, head over to the foundation's website.

Just up the street, Chef Jeremy Barlow of Tayst will have an April Fools' Day Dinner featuring Giornarta wines (see the menu after the jump). This event will start at 6:30 p.m. with an introduction and talk by Brian Terizzi. The menu looks fantastic!

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Comfort Food and Creature Comforts: Hardee's Slanket Giveaway

Posted By on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 6:53 AM

Not Mr. Pink
  • Not Mr. Pink

In an event that could not possibly be worse timed considering I'm still stuck in meatless Lent and temperatures are finally starting to rise, your friends at Hardee's want to give some lucky Bites reader a free Happy Star Slanket. As if Hardee's doesn't occasionally start enough debate here on the site as it is, now we're going to probably stir up the emotions of the rival Slanket vs. Snuggie camps. Never let it be said that we shy away from controversy. ...

They are rolling out a new Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburger. It's comfort food for grown-ups: melted American and Swiss cheeses on grilled sourdough bread, and (since it is Hardee's) the addition of a charbroiled 100 percent Black Angus beef patty and crispy bacon. Hardee's has thoughtfully realized that it's difficult to eat a burger while you have a blanket spread across your chest, so they are offering you a blanket with sleeves. Oh right, a Slanket with sleeves. Or as many logical people call them, robes that you wear backwards. If my doctor doesn't start turning up the thermostat in his office, I'm wearing one at my next visit so he can still have, umm, err ... access.

But wouldn't you look ironically hipster cool wearing a bright yellow Slanket with a smily Hardee's logo on your chest? It has to earn you a few free drinks in your favorite Five Points watering hole. The contest winner will also receive some coupons for free Grilled Cheese Bacon Thickburgers. You'll have to buy your own Tide Pen to clean up your chin dribblings.

So here's the deal, leave a comment below stating where you'd be willing to wear your Slanket. We'll draw a commenter at random on April 1 (no Fooling!) and award the prize. And don't think we won't hold you to your promise of where you'll wear it.

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