Monday, February 14, 2011

Nashville's Crème Brûlée Inspires an Indie-Rock Homage

Posted By on Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Miels inventive version of crem brulee
In my Food Biz column in the Nashville Post section of this week's print edition of The City Paper, I report on a couple things, including some more details on what Nicki Wood reported here: that Pig & Pie barbecue will return as early as March, with BBQ veteran John Hamilton and his wife Jackie taking over the former Hot Kabobs space on White Bridge Road.

But on a quirkier note, I write about the fact that two prominent figures in indie rock, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James and his friend M. Ward — an indie-folk solo act and half of the duo She & Him with Zooey Deschanel — have started a blog exclusively devoted to the caramel-topped custard known as crème brûlée.

Neither musician lives here, but somehow the crème brûlée they encountered in Nashville has ignited a love affair. In the crème-brû-log, "an online resource for critique and tastings of crème brûlée from around the world," James proclaims Miel's crème brûlée as "the standard to which all other brûlée shall be held."

The rating system is hard to decipher, but happily for Miel and pastry chef Angela Reynolds, they received a score of "infinite." That can't be bad.

James' entries are so fanciful that they're hard to comprehend if you're not from Nashville. For example, his post about the flan at Back to Cuba (flan being a close cousin to crème brûlée) is a long, fictional narrative about Havana in 1957. The restaurant is only mentioned in the text below a stock photo of flan. (Back to Cuba's log rating: 77789987986780123777. I think that's probably a pretty high score.)

After the jump, read James' rhapsody on Miel's dessert, with a cameo appearance by one of America's greatest writers.

I have standardized the punctuation for clarity:

"I notice two hummingbirds sitting on the shoulders of a younger Mark Twain as he licks the caramel off the bottom of his brûlée... and for the first time the idea of Huckleberry Finn pops into his mind and he smiles with the knowledge of future success. He notices me and holds up his brûlée in a ‘cheers' gesture — which I return — thrusting my brulee high into the air in mutual celebration."

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