Monday, October 25, 2010

Help Pick the Winner of the Scene's First Photo Contest

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Dig, if you will, a picture. A picture taken in Middle Tennessee. A picture taken in Middle Tennessee and submitted to the first Scene photo contest. We're now down to 30 finalists, and starting today you can vote to choose the winners. All you do is go here, vote for the ones you want to vote for — I know I have my favorites — and do that up to five times a day until we crown our champion(s).

Voting ends Nov. 5, which means you could conceivably vote 60 times between now and then. Also, if you like what you see and might want to buy a real-life print of one of the final 30 photos, come to the photo party at Oasis Center on Nov. 10, where you'll be able to bid on prints — that's from 6 - 8 p.m., with free food and stuff. Until then, it's up to you to decide whose photo gets printed the largest in the Nov. 11 issue.


Try Some Big Italian Reds at Booze Camp at Amerigo

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Depending on how geeky you are, you may not have ever heard of Bar Camp or Pod Camp. As a full disclosure, I have many friends who help organize both events, where techie Nashvillians get together to swap ideas and best practices in the internet and technology realms.

But if you follow these events and their fans on Twitter or Facebook, it doesn't take too long to realize that they can get a little, how can I say this nicely ... self-involved. After tweet after tweet of Bar Camp planners sharing every iota of information of their planning process, ex-Mothership BBQ restaurateur Jim Reams made the tongue-in-cheek proclamation on Twitter that maybe he should start his own spin-off Bar Camp event and call it "Booze Camp."

It didn't take long for other followers to take up his idea and join the Booze Camp bandwagon. After several sold-out events, Reams and Booze Camp have found their groove as one of Nashville's favorite and most affordable drinking and eating events.

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A Winner in the Photo Caption Contest

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 6:43 AM

A timely and off-color rhyme won the Weekly Open Thread Caption Contest. El Zorro's four lines with, shall we say, a blue ending, takes the Hardee's $50 gift card.

To refresh your memories, here's the caption penned by Zorro, a frequent commenter on this blog.

I asked for medium-rare
I got this beef eclaire
I'm in a state of shock!
This looks like Favre's c***!

Congratulations Zorro, and thanks to everyone for your entries.

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This Just In: Nashville is Super Fun and Has Good Food

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 5:28 AM

It's a little juvenile, the thrill I get when outsiders realize that Nashville is a great place to visit and even better place to live. Having spent decades defending Nashville, now longtime residents are in the odd position of downplaying the city's many charms lest everyone move here and Midtown parking become even tighter.


The latest to discover the city's appeal, and especially our dynamic dining, is Tasting Table, a short daily digest of food and dining that distinguishes itself with editorial independence, deep research and snappy writing.

Nashville's food scene has come a long way. Where rhinestoned cowboys once ate gut-busting fried chicken, there are now quinoa tacos, microbreweries and a growing craft cocktail scene.

Quinoa tacos can only mean one thing: Mas Tacos, which also gets accolades for its fish tacos and aguas frescas in its new bricks-and-mortar location in East Nashville. (Check out Scene critic Carrington Fox's rave review here.) The editors at TT also love up Holland House for its reinvented Southern dishes such as cola-marinated skirt steak, and laud Southern Bred for its well-made traditional meat-and-three fare, like creamy chicken and dumplings. The Blind Pig No. 55 made the list for barbecue expertise — I'm still trying to squeeze in a visit for the barbecued lamb shoulder. (Anyone had this yet? Bites awaits a report.)

TT recommends a November visit for travelers to catch the CMA awards (Nov. 10), the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ festival (Nov. 6) and the reopening of the Opryland Hotel (Nov. 15). Everybody give a big "Welcome y'all" to Tasting Table and our visitors.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Wandering Wino: Enjoy Wine in Some of Your Favorite "Haunts"

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 6:50 AM

Sure, it's pretty easy marketing to come up with a "spooktacular" or "haunted" promotions at this time of year, but somehow around the beginning of the last decade Halloween was turned into a big drinking holiday. So why not take advantage of the opportunities being offered by your local wine sellers to try something new?

The Wine Loft in the Gulch is hosting a Haunted Loft Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 29 from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Just drop in or call 891-2967 to get your tickets. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Your ticket includes one "creepy" drink, one "spooky" appetizer and a live DJ with laser show. That's right, I said laser show. (I just removed all the exclamation points from the press release. You're welcome.)

I shouldn't poke fun at The Wine Loft. They are trying something new on Tuesday nights with their "Out and About in The Loft" on Tuesday nights from 7-10 p.m. in partnership with Out and About magazine.Enjoy a half-price bottle of wine. No tickets or reservations are necessary for this event.

The Wine Loft Gulch
503 12th Ave. S., 891-2967

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Contest Time at Weekly Open Thread!

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 5:30 AM

  • flickr
Our benefactors at Hardee's are back. Hardee's turned 50 last month, and in honor of their birthday they want to give a Bites reader a $50 gift card.

To show you how Hardee's looked back in the day, dig on this screen shot from a Hardee's flickr stream. or see a larger image here. It's classic American packaging.

Now for the contest. All you have to do is write a clever and original caption for the photo below of a guy and his burger. The best one will be the winner. As usual, civility is valued as much as humor and creativity.

Happy birthday to Hardee's, and thanks!

Weekly open thread is full of the giving spirit — what can you bring to our weekly confab of ideas, thoughts and general foodiness?


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dogs Now Legal on Restaurant Patios in Nashville

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Though we've all seen (and perhaps welcomed) dogs in restaurants' outdoor dining spaces, it has technically been illegal in Nashville. Until now.

As City Paper colleague Joey Garrison reports, Metro Council has voted, by an overwhelming margin, to legalize the presence of dogs on restaurant patios.

The move was made possible by a new state law that says municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 may pass bills allowing the presence of dogs in outside eating areas.

In Nashville, the council leaves it up to businesses to decide whether they want to admit doggie diners. If so, the restaurant must pay $20 for a Metro health permit.

However, the law includes a lot of rules for dogs in restaurants, outlined below.

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Porta Via Expands Menu, Awaits Neapolitan Stripes

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 6:42 AM

Following my 2010 Best of Nashville writer's pick extolling the spread of Neapolitan pizza options in town, some readers have mistakenly assumed that Porta Via Italian Kitchen and newcomer Bella Napoli have Italy's official Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana certification. Neither one has the AVPN stamp.

The requirements are extremely strict, including specifications regarding the use of Italian Caputo 00 wheat flour, mozzarella di bufala cheese and Vesuvian tomatoes.

In any case, Porta Via, which opened on White Bridge Road in late 2009, and Bella Napoli, which opened along Villa Place in August, serve excellent pizza, embracing the demands of Neapolitan pizza construction, and Nashville is luckier for it.

As for technicalities, Porta Via has been working for a while to earn official AVPN certification — they are just awaiting their site visit from representatives of the AVPN to confirm their bona fide Neapolitan status. (Be patient. There aren't a lot of direct flights between Naples and Nashville.)

Meanwhile, here's an update on Porta Via: They have expanded the menu, including daily lunch specials, a full martini menu and house-made pastas. If that intrigues you, check out the official release below:

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Gardening at Night at the Nashville Farmers' Market

Posted By on Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 5:39 AM

Click image to embiggen
  • Click image to embiggen
What, am I the only one old enough to remember REM's "Chronic Town?" Well, you won't actually be able to garden, but you can sure shop in the gardens at the Nashville Farmers' Market from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tomorrow, Oct. 22, at their Night Market event. Your favorite vendors are staying open late to offer you their cornucopia of autumn goodies. Many purveyors will also be handing out samples to tempt you. Think of it as trick or treating for zucchini.

Pick up recipes to find the perfect ingredients for your Friday night or weekend meals. Hill & Hollow will be offering a workshop in making your own mushroom log. For $25 you can drill, stuff, and wax your very own log with everything you need to grow your own shiitake mushrooms. Please rsvp to this workshop at

Plus there will be live music and wine available for purchase. The flyer also mentions a "boozeball bar." I have no idea what the hell that is, but you can bet I'm gonna try to find out. I'm guessing it has something to do with the New Orleans-style snowballs from Fleur de Lis, so that's got me pretty excited. Come spend a pleasant evening on the equivalent of an urban hayride, then find your way home through the asphalt corn maze of downtown on a Friday night.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Euro Cukes: Classic Cucumber Salad at Gerst Haus

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 12:10 PM

The German and Central European cookbooks on my shelf pretty much share a similar recipe for cucumber salad —cukes cut into slices, seeds cut out, and dressed with sour cream, sometimes a little dill, occasionally a pinch of sugar, and onion, perhaps chives. (The older, more ethnic versions call for salting and draining the cucumber slices, but I never tasted any improvement using that technique.)

And what do you know, it's the cucumber side dish that chef Boyd Barbee is serving at Gerst Haus. It's really unusual to find it in a restaurant, especially in Nashville, where our local vinegar-spiked cucumber and onions usually edge it out, even on ethnic menus.

I was so excited that I lectured the table on Central European cucumber salads. Kind of a bore, I know, but exciting to find that level of commitment to the cuisine.

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