I find the new menu item — a starter of rock shrimp and okra, served "Sicilian Lifeguard style" with lemony garlic mayonette for $12 — to be quite alluring. (I'd rather have okra instead of grits with my shrimp, any ol' day.) But what's especially interesting is that the prices have been nudged downward almost across the board.
Perhaps the most notable price dip involves that 16-ounce USDA Prime bone-in tenderloin that was a bone of contention for some Bites readers. It had been $58; now it's $49. Also, the line-caught salmon with Roman trading spices and cucumber-mint raita: Formerly $27, it's now $21.
And almost everything else has gotten cheaper by at least $1.
Shackleford partnered with The Painted Cupcake's Tracey Davenport, who tried all the submissions and selected three finalists: Carlene Helble's broccoli cupcakes with hummus, Maiah Aldi's Garden Fairy Cakes and Rober Bosley's apple-cinnamon broccoli cupcakes.
The final judgment will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, at The Painted Cupcake (235 Fourth Ave. N.), and you can help decide the winner of the title and a $150 Visa gift card. Besides samples of the finalists' broccoli cupcakes for voting, there will be special deals on (normal) cupcakes, a coloring station for kids and a raffle every 30 minutes for Painted Cupcake gift cards and children's baking sets.
And if you haven't signed up for the weekly Morsel Code emails, go here and check "Dining Newsletter."
Midtown Wine and Spirits takes the early lead in this week's tasting news with tonight's St. Ann's Wine Tasting & Silent Auction benefiting the East Nashville Hope Exchange.
East Nashville Hope Exchange is a summer literacy and enrichment program for disadvantaged children in the East Nashville Community. The tuition free program, which is held for five weeks each summer at St. Ann’s, develops local children’s literacy and leadership skills while strengthening caregiver and community involvement in children's education.
When: 6-9 p.m., Friday, April 29
Where: St. Ann's Episcopal Church, 419 Woodland St.
How much: $25 per person or $45 per couple
Get your tickets in advance at www.StAnnsNashville.org
After the drinker's high of getting out of the blocks fast with St. Ann's begins to fade, you can hit your stride at Flyte World Dining and Wine as they present a tasting of South African wines led by an expert in the region, Peter Koff. Mr. Koff is one of only two people in the world to hold the titles of both Master of Wine and Cape Wine Master.
They will be accompanying the wine tasting with a light dinner from Chef Ashley Quick. The event will feature the wines of Villiera and Delheim, imported by Fairest Cape and distributed by Omni Beverage. Here's the menu:
Now I learn that Soul Kitchen in Red Bank N..J. will serve low-cost and no-cost meals in exchange for a little volunteer work from diners.
That'll be good, especially if the budget being batted around in Congress is passed: it would cut as much as 127 billion of the supplemental nutrition assistance program (formerly called food stamps) over 10 years.
Meanwhile, Flavor Flav has ditched his chicken restaurant. Prices are going up at McDonald's. Chipotle is running low on naturally raised chickens.
Taco Bell would like an apology from the people who claimed its beef was only 35 percent beef. It's actually 88 percent beef.
The Obama administration is proposing limits on the amount of food marketing aimed at children.
And finally, there's some kind of wedding reception going on in London.
I spend most of my time focused on what's going on here in town, but there's a world of food news that's inspiring, disgusting, annoying or just newsy.
What have you heard this week?
Julie Granda, a baker and Midwestern expatriate from Springfield, Ill., is poised to open Butter Cake Babe Coffee Cafe later this spring in the Nashville Farmers' Market downtown. The cafe takes over part of the former Nashville Coffee Co. space. (The other part of the space is going to Arnold Myint's new grab-and-go location.)
Granda previously had a cafe in Springfield, Ill., where butter cakes were one of her specialties. She came to town on account of her husband, musician Michael "Supe" Granda of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, who's based here now. (He wrote humorously about their Missouri-boy-meets-Illinois-girl romance in a song called "I Married a Cubs Fan," which is played at St. Louis Cardinals games.)
Once in Nashville, she realized nobody was making gooey butter cakes here. So she's taking up the mantle. She'll also sell scones and cookie bars and coffee, along with bagels and various cream cheese spreads.
In light of the Stanley Cup rivalry between Nashville and Vancouver, Rebecca sent Music City a missive, asking if we wanted to make some sort of wager on the playoffs' outcome. "I was wondering if you would be interested in this friendly challenge leading up to tomorrow's first game of the Canucks/Predators series," she wrote.
This politely worded Canadian aggression will not stand. Yes, Miss 604, we accept your "friendly challenge." The terms, agreed upon by our dueling partner in the godforsaken frozen North — OK, the lushly green, conifer-scented, beautifully landscaped North — are as follows: The blog from the winning team's city will receive a hotly coveted, generously apportioned, lavishly assembled (yet small enough to sneak through Customs) package of goods from the losing city's hometown.
So give us some tips on what local foodstuffs we might include — y'know, in this package we'll never have to send. (Scene photographer Eric England has already thoughtfully made the first suggestion: an open can of 200-proof Davidson County WHOOP-ASS!!!) And what Canadian specialties might we expect? Alas, peameal bacon sandwiches are more of a Toronto thing, and poutine doesn't really travel.
Taste of Music City will again feature an opening night reception 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, at Public Square Park downtown. The kickoff event will feature local breweries with selections available for your sampling pleasure. Admission is $25.
On Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., the party expands to include Deaderick Street as downtown turns into a giant tasting pavilion where festivalgoers can buy tickets to sample food and drink from 50-plus of Nashville's favorite restaurants, as well as all of the best local breweries in Nashville and Tennessee in the beer garden, or take a walk through the Jack Daniel's Distillery Tour Experience. Families can enjoy live music all day, a Kids Zone and street performers. The Saturday festival portion of the weekend offers free admission and a pay-as-you-go system for food and drink samples. For a list of participants and more information, visit the Taste of Music City website.
As if that wasn't enough, festival organizers have added two new components to the weekend with Savor Nashville, a Nashville Lifestyles event that brings in six nationally prominent chefs (all James Beard Award winners), who will team up with several Nashville chefs. Here's the official rundown of Savor Nashville:
Now apparently there is a company out of California that is marketing a home wine bar called "the20" which is designed to create exactly that sort of experience. The name comes from radio communication 10 codes, where 10-20 means "location." The company behind the20 sources wines from some of the best grape-growing locations around California. By buying in bulk without the marketing and packaging expenses of major wineries, they are able to offer consumers great pricing on some real boutique wines.
After purchasing a home cask made from the same sort of red oak that wine casks are made of, owners of the20 system receive periodic shipments of 3 liters of red wine from small artisan winemakers on the West Coast. Each shipment costs about $65-$100, which figures out to a $15-$25 per bottle deal. Thanks to the oak and the gravity dispenser system, your wine should remain eminently drinkable for up to a month after you fill the cask. As if it takes a month to drink four bottles. ...
I met the Perl people, Robert and Elizabeth Spinelli, at Iron Fork, or rather, I chatted with them while they ladled up little cups of divine caramelized-onion bisque and smoked pork spring rolls made with their own smoked pork. The rolls were spiked with cherry barbecue sauce and served up with a celery root remoulade. All together now: Mmmmm.
If you missed Iron Fork, or can't get to the Meharry Bookstore, you can catch their fare at Generous Helpings on May 19 at the Farmers' Market. The event benefits Second Harvest; get tickets here.
In Portuñol, the mashup language between Spanish and Portuguese, Bombasha refers to the trousers of the gaucho, or cowboy. Waiters dressed as gauchos carve portions of meat from the same skewers on which they were cooked in the churrasqueira. As long as the paper coaster on your table is turned to the green "sim, por favor" side, the meat will keep coming. If you want to cry uncle or just take a break to digest, flip your indicator over to the red "não obridago" face.
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