Friday, April 30, 2010

Our Weekly Open Thread Has 25 Percent Less Sodium

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 11:10 AM


Snack food and soft drink behemoth PepsiCo says the salt on Lay's potato chips will be redesigned to taste saltier so that less can be used.

Research revealed that only 20 percent of the salt supplies all the salty taste perceived by the taste buds. The remaining 80 percent is swallowed before it's tasted, but still contributes to overall sodium intake.

The new salt has been used in England for three years. Because it is still sodium chloride, the FDA will not have to approve it.

Burger Up on 12th Avenue South is having a very soft opening this weekend, we hear from a source. Don't go yet — it's just family and friends.

Another source sends word that La Paz is temporarily closed.

What's rocking your food world this week?

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'Vincere' Dinner and a Movie Deal Tonight at Belcourt

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Austin's Alamo Drafthouse is known for its theme events pairing spaghetti Westerns with a spaghetti dinner. The Belcourt goes them one better tonight at 6:15 p.m., pairing the opening night of Marco Bellocchio's highly acclaimed drama Vincere with a meal from Savarino's. For just $25, which includes admission, you get baked ziti, salad, bread, a glass of wine and cannoli.

Here's a clip from Bilge Ebiri's rave this week in the Scene, worth reading in its entirety:

Marco Bellocchio is one of the great nihilists of the Italian cinema. He has spent five decades exploring Italy's social institutions — the family in Fists in the Pocket and China Is Near, the press in Slap the Monster on Page One, the military in Victory March, religion in My Mother's Smile — and pretty much finding madness and chaos at the heart of each and every one. It makes sense that much of Vincere, which may well be his masterpiece, takes place inside an insane asylum.

Actually, it could be said that the whole thing takes place inside an insane asylum, since Bellocchio depicts Italy in the first decades of the 20th century as a place of latent madness and grandiose irrationality. Intensely operatic, handsomely mounted, and at times unbearably dark, Vincere tells the story of Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a passionate and headstrong bourgeois who became Mussolini's mistress (back when he was a socialist). She financed his early political endeavors by selling off all her possessions, had his child, yet found herself suddenly out of favor as Mussolini became a fascist and grew into "Il Duce." Dalser may or may not have married Mussolini, but she did spend much of her life trying to establish her legitimacy as his wife — getting branded a nutjob as a result.

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Wandering Wino-Drinko de Mayo Edition

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 8:25 AM

Margaritas aren't the only way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Try a little jugo de uvas at some of these upcoming wine tastings.

The Wine Loft in the Gulch is partnering with "I Run for the Party" for the First Annual Cinco in the Gulch Block Party. They will host a booth with fun games, wine trivia and a wine basket giveaway. The fun begins May 1 at 3 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

The Wine Loft will also host an on-site Patio Party at their brand new patio, fully furnished with an outdoor lounge feel, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. So go party with them this coming Saturday.

The Wine Loft is at 503 12th Ave. S. in The Gulch.

Woodland Wine Merchant is hosting a Spring Vegetarian Dinner at Marché on Wednesday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m. Sign up early as their past vegetarian wine dinners have been among their most popular events.

Wednesday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m., $40 per person; call 262-1111 for reservations.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Why Wait? Celebrate Uno (y Dos) de Mayo

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 12:43 PM

Cinco de Mayo is coming soon ... y'know, sometime in early May. But there are some events coming up this weekend in case you want to start celebrating early.

First off, The Local Taco invites you to join them at their first anniversary party on May 1-2. They have one of the best patios in town and are planning some great fun for the weekend. Drop by and wish them a happy birthday. They also shared the news that they are planning to open a new location soon in Brentwood at 146 Pewitt Drive. That puts it right between Wild Iris and Judge Bean's, so I smell a new gastronomic triangle being formed!!

Closer to town, Belmont University is presenting Fiesta Belmont — Nashville's longest running Latin music street fair.

Fiesta Belmont features local Hispanic food, traditional dance exhibitions, and free activities for the kids, including face painting and inflatable slides. And who can resist an inflatable slide? There will be live music all day featuring Mariachi Justicia Norteña, the West Bound Ranger, El Grupo San Rafael, Lee Shanel, Destellos Culturales, Oscar Anthony and the Westfolk Band, and local favorite Ocho Triente.

When: Saturday May 1, noon to 7 p.m.
Where: Fiesta Belmont is located in the center of Belmont University's campus, 1900 Belmont Blvd.

Come for lunch or make a day of it. Bring the whole family. Admission and parking are free. For more information, salsa over to their website at


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Learn a Classic Southern Salad from Joe Shaw of Miro District

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 7:43 AM

Chef Joe Shaw tells a roomful in an unidentified venue in an unidentified city how he makes Ravigote Salad, a New Orleans favorite. If his soft drawl and simple explanation appeal to you, there are more Joe Shaw clips at YouTube. Unlike most cooking shows — which aren't actually about cooking, are they, now? — this clip makes me want to cook something.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tayst to Close ... for a Facelift

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Scared you there for a minute, didn't I?

The staff at neighborhood favorite tayst, at 2100 21st Ave. S., is taking a brief sabbatical to rework the decor a little bit. Chef Jeremy Barlow wouldn't give all the details of the anticipated changes but did hint that the high chairs that left short people's feet hanging off the ground were probably on their last (overly tall) legs. The dining area will also be reconfigured to create more usable space, and expect a new coat of paint that might replace the bordello red that surrounded diners for the past six years.

To prepare loyalists for the brief interregnum between the old tayst and the new, Chef Barlow is throwing a "Last Supper" on May 28, and he's inviting you to help plan the menu. Visit tayst's Facebook page or email him at to suggest your favorite dishes from meals gone by. Jeremy will compile a list of his greatest hits and make them available for dinner that night to help tide us over while we wait for the grand reopening. Hopefully it won't be more than a week or two.

I hope he has faster contractors than some places I know of. In related news, Burger Up and Kayne Prime Steak House are opening someday. No, really ...

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Savory 'New Southern' at Potlikker

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Southern Foodways Alliance sign in the City House backyard at Potlikker film festival
  • Southern Foodways Alliance sign in the City House backyard at Potlikker film festival

It seemed like half the city's food writers and purveyors braved the lowering skies Sunday for Potlikker, a celebration of Southern food and film and an opportunity to learn a little about the work of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Guests thumbed through the Cornbread Nation cookbook as they swigged Southern-ish drinks like rhubarb lemonade and chocolate milk and iced coffee, spiked with Corsair liquors. John Egerton, dean of Nashville gourmets and editor of Cornbread Nation I, beamed as he socialized. Linus Hall dispensed Yazoo brew in the backyard. (Who even knew City House had a backyard? And it's really nice.)

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Dim Sum Fun for Young at Lucky Bamboo

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM

People often ask me for family-friendly restaurant recommendations, and I usually launch into a list that includes La Hacienda, Kalamata's, J. Alexander's (on White Bridge), Jim ’N Nick's and a few more. My 5-year-old happens to love Whiskey Kitchen, and Whole Foods offers something for every palate, from sushi to pizza.

But next time someone asks, I'll add a new name to the list: Lucky Bamboo.

On a recent outing to the weekend dim sum service at the elaborate new Chinese eatery on Charlotte, which is the subject of this week's review, I realized I had forgotten something — my kids. Never fear, my offspring were safe at home with a responsible adult, but looking at the surrounding tables filled with ankle-biters, I wished I had the little Foxes with me.

What fun to explore the bounty of dim sum through a child's eyes! Shrimp dumplings, chicken and sticky rice in banana leaf, sesame balls ... my crew would love those delicacies. Chicken feet, beef tendon, and those purple and green cakes? Maybe they wouldn't love them so much, but at about two bucks a plate, who cares? Skip the creepy stuff and move on to something yummy. Dim sum is fun for all ages.

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Wine Wednesday: Take Off With Highflyer Wines

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM

I'm a little bit conflicted. While I do support the rights of Tennessee consumers to buy wines in supermarkets, and I do favor ordering wines via mail order, in almost every case I prefer to buy wine from my favorite local wine merchants. So I've made it a point not to review wines that aren't available through Middle Tennessee wholesalers and distributors. But every now and then I find something that I want to share with Bites readers, and now that it is legal to buy from out of state wineries that have paid for their import licenses, you might as well hear about some good ones.

I'm speaking specifically this week about Highflyer Wines from Michael Austin. I first heard about these wines from the always entertaining and usually informative "3 Wine Guys" podcast. They rated the 2007 Highflyer Centerline Red as one of their best buy recommendations of last year. Even though the winery only produced 49 barrels of Centerline, they created a wine which measures up to some of the other popular "cult reds" while managing to keep the price point below $30.00/bottle.

Centerline is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Tempranillo and Grenache sourced primarily from Napa Valley’s Somerston Vineyards. A small amount of Vivio Vineyard's Syrah from the northern end of the Sonoma Valley adds backbone and elements of spice to the wine. With aromas and flavors of blackberry jam, cocoa, strawberries and espresso, the palate is luxurious. Together, these varietals produce an eminently drinkable table wine which is complex and balanced. This wine is great to drink on its own, but it is ridiculously good with spicy, peppery foods including bbq.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Southerner Far From Home Gets Rare Taste of Okra

Posted By on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Stewed okra at the Sands, 10th Avenue North.
  • Stewed okra at the Sands, 10th Avenue North.
Our dear old friend Wendell came through town for the Country Music Marathon, so we set up Sunday brunch. He wanted to visit Loveless, but there wasn't time for the travel and the wait, so we arranged for Monell's.

Monell's wait was more than an hour, so we shifted to Plan B: Farmers Market for B&C, Swett's or Nooley's. Wendell grew up in Arkansas and attended Vanderbilt, but then married a Danish woman and moved to Pennsylvania. Consequently, the amount of cornbread, okra, barbecue and biscuits in his life has dwindled to dangerously near zero. He wanted Southern food.

The kebab joint was the only Farmers Market restaurant open for business, so we got in the car to scratch our heads. We took the back way home, passing The Sands on 10th Avenue North, which, mercifully, is open Sundays.

The ham was slow-baked and pulled from the bones in chunks, not slices. The sweet potatoes were in a sugary sauce touched with cinnamon, fried pork chops curled under a blanket of gravy. Turnip greens were rich, spicy and bitter, the lima beans buttery, and the cornbread just out of the fryer.

As he feasted on his ham, greens, cornbread and slick okra, he said, "I just never, ever get any of this in Pennsylvania." Mostly it was the greens and okra.

If I left Nashville (or really, the South), it would be cornbread I'd miss the most. What would tug at your culinary memory if you moved away from town?

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