Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Arnold Advances! Watch Tonight's Top Chef at Tribe Nashville

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 4:31 PM

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World Cup, shmorld cup. The only cup we care about is the one Arnold Myint's using to measure as the new season of Top Chef zooms into Week 3. Will Arnold seize upon the momentum lost by front-runners Angelo and Kenny, who stepped on their toques in last week's tag-team school-cafeteria flameout? Will his nemesis Kelly plant a paring knife in his back at her first chance? Most important: Did any of those schoolkids last week join a 12-step program after Amanda spiked their lunches with sherry?

Don't sit home alone and find out. We can't imagine a livelier audience than the one cheering Arnold on tonight at Tribe Nashville, just next door on Church Street from his irrepressible nightspot Suzy Wong's House of Yum. (Which, by the way, we hear is going great guns these days thanks to its chef-proprietor's national exposure each week.) Folks start showing up early on Wednesdays to take advantage of the $2 drink specials (hello, Smirnoff!), but we hear if you arrive by 7:30 p.m. you'll likely have a seat for the 8 p.m. broadcast on Bravo.

How long will these Arnold viewing parties on Wednesday last? Only one man in Nashville knows — and he's not telling.

"No matter how much we tried, we couldn't get Arnold to talk," says Tribe owner David Taylor, one of Arnold's partners in Suzy Wong. "And we gave him a lot of shots."

Tribe Nashville is located at 1517A Church St., 329-2914. Suzy Wong's House of Yum is at 1515 Church St., 329-2913.

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Groupons + Facebook = Jackpot ... or How I Just Got $120 Worth of Meals for $20

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

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So you know how your mom always told you, "If something sounds too good to be true, then it is too good to be true." Well your mom was right ... most of the time.

First off, she never met me. (So humble, I know!) And second, she never experienced the fabulous windfall that can occur when the wacky, wonderful worlds of Facebook and Groupons converge.

Personally, I've never been a coupon guy, and I'm always late to the table when the Nashville Originals have their discount certificate sales. But the Groupon emails arrive in my inbox once a day like clockwork, and after my recent Groupon experiences, I pay attention. For those of you who haven't jumped on the bandwagon, Groupon sends out a daily deal from a restaurant, store or service, almost always for half-price.

What's really made this such a bargain for me is that every time I've bought a Groupon, I've posted it to my facebook page. And for every person who clicks on the link on my page and goes to the Groupon site and buys her or his first Groupon, I get a $10 credit toward my next Groupon purchase.

And that synergy has led me to get $120 worth of meals for $20 in the last couple of weeks. Here's how:

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Nashville Siblings Launch Lotus Energy Drink — And It's Actually Quite Tasty

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:41 AM

The local trio behind nationally marketed Lotus Energy Drink
  • The local trio behind nationally marketed Lotus Energy Drink
Right off the bat, let me say I'm not much of an energy drink kinda guy. I think Red Bull is pretty much just a way to ruin a perfectly good shot of Jägermeister. When I lived in Brazil for a month, I did get hooked on Guarana soda, but that stuff was low octane compared the the 27 cafezinhos I drank on a daily basis.

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So it was with some trepidation that I accepted an invitation to learn about Lotus, a new premium energy drink being launched in Nashville. When I did a little online research beforehand, I became even more concerned. Shots of previous launch parties featured throngs of beautiful spokesmodels and buff men with popped collars and Ed Hardy shirts strutting around chugging small cans of Lotus that looked like generic AA batteries in their massive paws. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but that's just not my scene.

However I was intrigued by the local angle to the story. You see, Lotus Premium Energy Drink is the brainchild of three Nashville siblings, Li Jackson and her brothers Jay and Thomas Umboh. All three graduated from local high schools and started careers after college. Then a year ago, the Umbohs decided they wanted to reunite for a family business venture. They conducted a lot of market research to determine what sort of product they wanted to create, they chose the premium energy drink space, long dominated by Red Bull and Monster.

Underscoring the importance of marketing when dealing with the JägerBomb/beer pong demographic, the first things they developed was the product name and logo. I think they did a pretty good job with a bold image of a dragon and a lotus flower that would make a kickass tattoo. Next, they found a beverage manufacturer in Austria, the same country were Red Bull is produced. Because, y'know, that's apparently where all the energy is...

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nashville-Based Chain Dick's Last Resort Expands

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM

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Dick's Last Resort, a party-happy restaurant chain whose holding company is based in Nashville (but doesn't have a location here), is getting bigger. Bites' sister site Nashville Post reports that Dick's has opened a store in Baltimore's tourist-centric Inner Harbor area.

Other locations for Dick's (whose tagline is "a joint where you can let it all hang out") include Myrtle Beach, S.C., Las Vegas and Dallas.

Dick's will enter Tennessee soon. For its next location, the chain has set its eyes on Gatlinburg. The parent company, DLR LLC, is run by Logan's Roadhouse co-founder Ted Moats.

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Smoke Like a Pro with the Peg Leg Porker

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 8:56 AM

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With the Fourth of July coming up, many minds turn to barbecue. While there are lots of places in town to pick up a pound of your favorite smoked pork, occasionally it's nice to be able to show off your grillsmanship and smoke your own butt or shoulder. Luckily, The Peg Leg Porker himself, Carey Bringle, is there to help you out.

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If you've never met Carey, you're missing out on one of Nashville's true characters. He's the kind of guy whose business card reads: "Wars Fought — Stud Service — Revolutions Started — Tigers Tamed — Assassinations Plotted — Bars Emptied — Governments Run — Uprisings Quelled — Orgies Organized." Depending on when you ask him, he will tell you that he lost his leg to a shark attack or in a bar fight or that he donated it to an Olympic marathoner that needed a spare tire. The truth is more mundane, but Carey's attitude is always optimistic and contagious. The delicious irony of this old joke only makes it better. Plus, it fits in perfectly with the logo on his barbecue sauce.

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A competition cooker, Carey is a three-time medalist in the Memphis in May World BBQ Competition and Bon Appétit magazine named his sauce as one of their top five favorites. Rather than keep his proprietary recipes and secrets to himself, Carey has assembled a kit of tools and ingredients to allow you to make your own pulled pork or poultry on your gas or charcoal grill or your home smoker. He sells them on the QVC network or you can get one at his website for $39.99.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Famous Chefs From Across South Cook Up Flood Relief Benefit

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 8:50 AM

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  • Click to embiggen

A dinner benefiting two organizations "on the front lines of flood relief," as the flier proclaims (Nashville's Mobile Loaves and Fishes Inc. and the Community Resource Center) is set for 7:30 p.m. July 13 at the Cannery Ballroom. After cocktails at 6:30, diners will sit down to a meal created by some of the most renowned chefs from across the South. Check out this roster of rock stars:

John Fleer, Lonesome Valley, Cashiers, N.C.
John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, Miss.
Lee Richardson, Capital Hotel, Little Rock, Ark.
Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta
Kelly English, Restaurant Iris, Memphis
Nick Seabergh, Giardina's, Greenwood
David Gaus, Washington, D.C., based pastry chef

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Sopapilla's Shrimp, You're So Vein

Posted By on Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 7:22 AM

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  • ian.umces.edu
It turns out that a love of beets is not the only culinary opinion that Dwight K. Schrute and I share. The mustard-clad bureaucrat and I also share an objection to eating shrimp that have not been deveined.

"You know that line on top of the shrimp? That’s feces," the sage of The Office points out, with the enviable bluntness bred from life on a Scranton-area root farm.

That's what I wanted to say the other day when dining at Sopapilla's, the subject of this week's dining review. While I enjoyed the fresh bounty of jicama, shrimp, walnuts and goat cheese that adorned the chipotle honey shrimp salad, I wished the shrimp had been cleaned.

Sopapilla's is far from the only eatery that overlooks the pasty gray filament of crap in its shellfish. As perfect as La Hacienda's shrimp soup is, it would be even better if the shrimp didn't still have their guts. If I think too hard about it, I feel like I'm flossing with a very tiny intestine.

I haven't done an exhaustive count, by any means, but I'm guessing that deveined shrimp are the exception rather than the rule in these parts. I know, I know, life is short and deveining shrimp is tedious. But I can't help siding with the Beetmaster on this one: Shrimp poop = yuck.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Fido, Belcourt Team for Wine, Snacks and Joan Rivers Documentary

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 2:20 PM

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A new documentary about Joan Rivers opens today at The Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village, and nearby cafe Fido is hosting a Girls Night Out party paired with the film.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is getting strong reviews in the Scene and elsewhere.

It seems appropriate that the film chosen for The Belcourt's first Girls Night Out is directed by two women (Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg) and focuses on one of the legendary women of comedy. Rivers is also one of the most controversial women in American pop culture, and if you think she's abrasive, you don't know the half of it. We hear the movie blows viewers away with an unfiltered look at Rivers' honesty, insight and wildly vulgar wit.

The party starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, at Fido, 1812 21st Ave. S., where chef John Stephenson will serve up hors d'oeuvres and wine. After the pre-film nosh and dish, guests will cross the street to the historic Belcourt to watch the film at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is $25 ($20 for Belcourt members) and includes food, wine and tickets to the film. Membership costs as little as $45 a year and it's well worth it. Show your member card and get movie tickets for just $5.75 anytime and 20 percent off concessions in addition to other benefits.

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Weekly Open Thread Likes Kimchi and Ice Cream

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:57 AM

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But not in the same bowl. Probably.

Steve Haruch's First Bite visit to Uh Wool Lim in Antioch had Bites Nation debating the relative merits of all the Korean restaurants in town. Meanwhile a big scoop of frozen dessert news (Hot & Cold and Sweet CeCe's will compete in Hillsboro Village; Pied Piper Creamery is planning a second location in Berry Hill) had opinions swirling. (See posts below.)

Ultra-premium artisan coffee on Trousdale? So it is written. Let it be so. Finally, we were thrilled to see savvy Nashville chef Arnold Myint step into the spotlight in the second episode of Top Chef. Go Team Arnold!

Any thoughts, sour as a pickle or sweet as a sundae, you want to share with Bites in this first week of summer?

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Wandering Wino: "I'm Me-el-l-l-l-ting" Edition

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 11:44 AM

If Dorothy had a bottle of summer wine in that bucket, maybe the Wicked Witch would have chilled out. (Image from dollmarket.com.)
  • If Dorothy had a bottle of summer wine in that bucket, maybe the Wicked Witch would have chilled out. (Image from dollmarket.com.)
When the weather is this nasty hot, it's all the Wino can do to drag himself off of the couch and out of the house to attend some tastings. Luckily, some of our usual subjects are throwing exciting events to make it worthwhile to crank up the A/C in the ole WinoMobile. Or you could take a cab since the air conditioning should pre-cool your ride and get you home safely after you're finished tippling.

Grand Cru is throwing a casual Wine Social on Tuesday, June 29, at 5:30 at Park Cafe at 4403 Murphy Road. Your $15 admission gets you six wines and snacks from the kitchen. Call Grand Cru at 627-3900 for more info and to hold your place at the table.

September Norman at September's in Hendersonville invites you to come in from the heat for their Martinis & Makeovers event 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 29. Get your Sex in the City on and learn makeup tips, try new colors, update your look and more at this event featuring Arbonne all-natural cosmetics.

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