Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jackalope Brewing Co. Hops to Attention, Now Open Fridays

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 2:06 PM

In her "Food Biz" column at the CP, Dana Kopp Franklin takes a peek at the newly opened Jackalope Brewing Co., now soft-opening 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays only (much as its neighbor Yazoo did when it made its debut) at its Eighth Avenue South home across from Flyte.

The taproom is cheerfully appointed, but there’s no kitchen. Caterer Karla Ruiz, considered a local authority on Mexican cuisine, cooks up empanadas and other snacks offsite to serve at the taproom on Fridays. Meanwhile, gourmet cheese purveyor Kathleen Cotter [of The Bloomy Rind at the Nashville Farmers' Market] is putting together cheese plates to complement the beer.

Yes, the beer. What about it? Dana has details:

The current beer lineup consists of three year-rounders and one seasonal. In keeping with the mythological animal theme — yes, apparently the rabbits with antlers known as Jackalopes don’t actually exist — the three permanent brews are named after imaginary beings: Puck, a pale ale; Rompo, a red rye brew; and Bearwalker, a maple brown ale. The current rotating tap is an ESB (extra special bitter) brew called Bitter Over Ewe.

Since I'm the rare Biter who's never developed much of a taste for beer, it's the food that sounds most tempting. We tried Ruiz's empanadas last Saturday at the West Nashville Farmers Market — one of the coolest events in town, by the way — and they were outstanding: yellow-gold with crispy edges, oozing cheese and poblano bits and topped with a homemade slaw. The article says Jackalope's selections will include fresh guacamole and chips for $4 and a tostado topped with cochinita pibil (braised pork) for $3.

Jackalope is at 701 Eighth Ave. S., 837-4313.

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Tayst Chef Jeremy Barlow Gets Prestigious Invitation To Cook at Beard House

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Taysts Jeremy Barlow wins the Scenes Iron Fork competition in 2009.
Jeremy Barlow, chef-owner at Tayst, will cook dinner at New York's James Beard House on Aug. 22. He's the first Nashville chef to be honored with such an invitation since Sean Brock cooked there in 2005, when Brock was chef at the Capitol Grille at The Hermitage Hotel. (Chef Brock has since moved on to McCrady's in Charleston, S.C., and last year he won a James Beard Award as best chef in the Southeast.)

The James Beard House is the headquarters of the Beard Foundation, which presents the coveted Beard Awards and offers scholarships, workshops and other educational initiatives. It also hosts dinners by some of the world's best chefs.

If you don't regularly dine at the famous house in Greenwich Village, you can enjoy a similar special dinner here. Barlow will present the same menu at Tayst on Aug. 17-18.

"The event will be presented in identical fashion as it will at the legendary Greenwich Village Beard House, with a six-course dinner, including wine pairings, beginning at 6:30, for $85 per person." Tayst says. "The event at the Beard House begins with a cocktail reception; guests at Tayst will enjoy the same cocktail and array of hors d’oeuvres, but at Tayst this portion will be seated rather than standing." Reservations are required; call 383-1953.

Check out the full release:

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What the Super Chefs Will Be Cooking: Savor Nashville Menus Announced

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 11:20 AM

The big Taste of Music City and Savor Nashville events will be happening downtown this weekend. In advance of the special Savor dinner on Saturday night, June 4, which will bring five James Beard Award-winning chefs to our fair city, organizers have released the menu of the dishes that the visitors will be preparing with five local chefs.

The guest chefs have impressive resumes: Robert Del Grande, executive chef and partner of the renowned Cafe Annie in Houston; “Godfather of American Cuisine” Larry Forgione; Bob Kinkead, chef and owner of Kinkead’s in Washington, D.C.; Lydia Shire of Locke-Ober restaurant of Boston; and Norman Van Aken of Norman’s in Orlando.

The participating locals will be Matt Simonds of the Hilton Downtown Nashville, Jeremy Barlow of Tayst, Matt Bolus of Watermark, Brian Uhl of Sunset Grille and Megan Williams of Capitol Grille. I'd put that roster of kitchen professionals up against any town's talent. Entertainment will be provided by Grammy Award-winning songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman and friends, and wine will be served with each course, courtesy of Concannon Vineyards.

The dinner is at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Nashville Downtown. Tickets are $150 per person (which includes access to a silent auction with 100 percent of auction proceeds benefiting Community Food Advocates), and it's not too late to get a seat. Check out the menu:

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Food Network Canada's 'Eat St.' to Feature Three Nashville Trucks

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 5:51 AM

Food Network Canada's Eat St., a show dedicated to mobile cuisine purveyors, will be in town June 4-6 filming three of our fine vendors: Grilled Cheeserie, Riffstruck and Barbie Burgers.

There's no immediate word on when the Nashville segments will air, but the three local trucks join a a proud list of food carts featured in the show's season-and-a-half so far, including G'Raj Mahal (Austin, Texas), Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (New York), Where Ya At (Seattle), the pig-shaped Maximus Minimus (Seattle) and Creme de la Creme (Portland, Ore.).

So glad I caught Barbie Burgers on Memorial Day weekend at Five Points in East Nashville to sample the cheesesteak before their moment in the national spotlight.

With so many good choices among Nashville food trucks, it's too bad Eat. St. is spotlighting just three, but the show left us with a hopeful tweet (eatsttweet on Twitter) concerning its next season:

"Shout out to NV trucks we can't feature this trip: @TheLatinWagon @terradelicious @yayosomg @izziesice @Bangcandyco @pizzabuds #season3?"

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Woodbine Farmers Market, Flatrock Music & Arts Festival Saturday at Coleman Park

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Woodbine! Jewel of the South Nashville quadrant! Friend to the white bean and the taco truck! Home of the city’s largest residential collection of Airstream trailers! Behind those manicured lawns lies a seething jungle of cutthroat karaoke, community involvement mixers and progressive parties. And before there was Woodbine, there was the community of Flatrock — whose name neighborhood organizers have borrowed for the yearly Flatrock Music & Arts Festival of food, music, art and automobiles.

The fourth annual festival gets a huge boost from the just-opened Woodbine Farmers Market, held Saturday mornings through October in Coleman Park and offering local goods ranging from basil-infused lemonade to artisanal breads, coffees and cheeses. We understand this week's market will be necessarily smaller because of the daylong event. But if luck holds out, stop by organizer Mary Crimmins’ adorable Airstream trailer dispensing Middle Tennessee dairy products — it’s called the Dairy-Air — then stick around for a full day’s celebration.

Bluegrasser Randy Kohrs and legendary Nashville musician Buzz Cason command the stage, along with Boomerang, Corazon, Justyna Kelley, Sara Jean Kelley and Excuses. As you watch (or dance, if your balance is keen), snack on treats such as Vietnamese and Cuban sandwiches, barbecue, tacos, ice cream and fried chocolate pies from area businesses, then peruse some 65 artisan booths and a show of vintage cars.

The festival runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Coleman Park at the corner of Thompson and Nolensville. Admission is free.

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Wandering Wino: Happy Memorial Day Edition

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Happy Memorial Day weekend from the Wino. This week, we have an effervescently fun wine tasting, a charity event and a new place to bend your elbow and fill your growler which just opened last week. On to the news:

First off, the bubbles. Midtown Wine and Spirits is teaming with Suzy Wong's House of Yum to present a tasting of four sparklers from Emeri, a popular line of wine from Australia. The event will begin at 6 p.m. next Tuesday, May 31, at Suzy's House at 1517A Church St., where $25 will get you appetizers plus samples of Emeri's Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pink Moscato and Shiraz. Come get your nose tickled.

Next, cast your mind back to when we told you about the upcoming Jackalope Brewing Co. Well, the taproom at 701 Eighth Ave. S. (near Division Street) has launched. Starting today, they are open for your pint-drinking pleasure on Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., and and they'll add Saturday and Thursday to the schedule as they get their big equipment up and running.

Owners Bailey Spaulding and Robyn Virball have four craft brews ready for you to try, and a small menu of beer-friendly snacks that includes Chef Karla Ruiz's famous empanadas, and cheese plates selected by The Bloomy Rind's Kathleen Cotter.

For info and updates, check out the website or visit Jackalope Brewing Company on Facebook. The phone number is 837-4313. You can also look for more details in Bites colleague Dana Kopp Franklin's Food Biz column in Monday's edition of The City Paper.

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Weekly Open Thread Wants a Do-Over

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 5:35 AM

With a Firehouse Subs opening near 100 Oaks, it seemed like a good idea to get a preview by visiting the Charlotte Avenue location.

I got the medium meatball sub. Very cleverly, the roll is split vertically and meatballs are tucked into the crevice, making it easier to eat, since the meatballs and sauce don't squish out the sides. It's a good deal at $5.49.

We also ordered the kids combo of turkey and provolone plus chips and drink. I like that there's not an age limit — anyone can get it, which is great if you have a small appetite. At about $5.75, it's a good price. All told we're up to $11.24.

And we ordered the large Italian, which has nearly twice as much meat and cheese as a medium. Add a $7.50 sub and we're at $18.74. Add 9.75 percent tax and we're at $20.47. Our receipt said something like $23.42, so either we are idiots or something went wrong or we accidentally added extra meat.

Anyway, mistakes happen, but the fact is none of our sandwiches was any better than average, and the Italian was doused in a sweet vinaigrette that soaked into the bread and was really a jolting flavor profile.
Such a disappointment: I could have taken that $23 and eaten something really good down the road at Lucky Bamboo or Kien Giang.

What meal lately made you want a do-over?


Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Government Says Its OK for Your Pork Chops To Be Pink

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Thermys gonna need some dental work, taxpayer.
  • USDA.gov
  • Thermy's gonna need some dental work, taxpayer.
Grilling pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees—some 15 degrees below former recommendations—has gotten the nod of approval from the USDA, the federal department charged with meat safety matters.

In practice many consumers have been doing this for years, but others have been grilling until the last traces of pink were gone, thereby ensuring that pork, already bred to be 30 percent leaner than the pork of grandma's day, would be entirely chewy and dry.

A couple of notes:

* The ruling applies only to whole cuts of pork: ground pork still requires 160 degrees, just like ground beef and ground lamb.

*The pork must be allowed to rest for 3 minutes. The temperature continues to rise for a couple of minutes after it's removed from the grill, so any pathogens in the meat continue to be destroyed.

*Remember: 145-degree pork is still a little pink. Pink is good. And anyway, color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.

What that means is that now more than ever, you can't tell by cutting open the chop whether it's safe or not. That's the job of a reliable meat thermometer. Major grilling holidays Memorial Day, Father's Day and July 4 are all upcoming, so if you don't have a good meat thermometer, those are great excuses to get one.

Read the press release here.

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Comings and Goings: Dick's Open and Church's Closed

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM

There's been quite a bit of activity on the restaurant front of late, and it's getting a little hard to tell the players without a score card. I can tell you that the current score is Dick's +1, Church's -2.

Dick's Last Resort opened their newest outpost this week in the space where Buffalo Billiards used to be at 154 Second Ave. N. Never fear, pool sharks. Buffalo's moved upstairs and Coyote Ugly remains in the basement of the same building. Which is to say that if you're looking to be playfully abused by the wait staff while eating copious amounts of fried food, then 154 Second Ave. is the place to be.

Downstairs at Coyote Ugly pneumatic bartenders do in fact dance on the bar, but don't leer too much or you will be verbally put back in your place. Just enjoy the view and your really expensive longneck and keep quiet. At Dick's, it's even harder to avoid becoming part of the show.

A draw at Dick's is the razzing that patrons receive from the staff. After being seated at long picnic tables, expect to be bibbed and quite possibly have a to-go bag placed on your head with some semi-vulgar epithet written in Sharpie to get you in the party spirit. It's all in good fun. If you ask for napkins, they'll be flung at you in a shower of fluttering paper. Tree-huggers might want to stay away.

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USDA's Top Honcho Has Lunch at Burger Up

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 8:34 AM

  • Twitter.com/BurgerUp
In general, I think most restaurant owners would probably be pleased to have a top member of the U.S. government drop by for a meal.

But when you're Burger Up in 12South, a restaurant that has proclaimed a mission to spread the word about the benefits of eating locally — serving up beef and produce from nearby farmers — it's nice to get a thumbs-up from one Cabinet member in particular: the secretary of agriculture.

U.S. Department of Agriculture chief Tom Vilsack happened to be in Nashville on Monday promoting flex-fuel gas stations — spots where trucks can fuel up with a formula of 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline, not just the standard formula of 10 percent ethanol — which the government is touting as a way to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. (There's plenty of disagreement on that plan, but that's a topic for another day.) Then on Monday evening, Vilsack did a live appearance on Nashville-based cable network RFD-TV.

While he was in town, Vilsack's staff was looking for the right lunchtime destination, preferably one that meshes with the goals the USDA promotes. Burger Up was the place they picked.

"Secretary Vilsack is interested in supporting family farmers," spokesman Justin DeJong says. "Burger Up sources ingredients from Middle Tennessee. ... Triple L [the Franklin farm that supplies Burger Up's beef] is a multigenerational family farm." DeJong went on the give me the USDA spiel about generating economic growth and keeping rural America strong.

One of the USDA's local guys, David Glasgow (communications director for the rural development office in Tennessee) was also at the lunch. He had a simpler answer for why the team picked that particular restaurant: "Burger up has great-tasting food. That was the first criteria."

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