First, Mott said he was itching for a "toffee smack-down" pitting the Nashville area's top toffee-makers against each other to determine sweet, salty supremacy. Second — implying that he felt pretty good about Walker Creek's chances should such a buttery, crunchy battle royale materialize — he said, indicating the aforementioned 8-ounce slab with a subtle nod of his head, "I think it's the best in the world."
We don't hear the phrase "best in the world" thrown around too often — at least not in the confections department — but not wanting to let that kind of assertion go uneaten, I gathered up the Scene staff and asked them to taste-test Mott's claim. Here are some of the notes I was able to write down between breaking off more pieces for myself:
Restaurant veterans Doug Hogrefe and Paul Schramkowski are partnering with Chef Paquette to open Echo at 301 Demonbreun St., hopefully by this March. Hogrefe and Schramkowski own several restaurants around the Southeast, including two Amerigos in Middle Tennessee and Char steakhouse in Jackson, Miss. Hogrefe and Paquette have known each other for quite a while, since his wife was an employee at Chef Deb's Zola restaurant. While Deb was running Zola, she and the restaurant won numerous accolades, including being named a Top 60 Restaurant in the Nation by Gourmet magazine and winning the Nashville Scene's first Iron Fork competition.
In fact, it was at this year's Iron Fork, where Deb was a judge, that Schramkowski turned up the burner on their long-simmering idea of opening a restaurant together. We will gladly take a small slice of the credit for this partnership.
During her interregnum between Zola and Echo, Deb has consulted and cooked for several restaurants in town, including developing the menu at Local Taco in Brentwood, guest chef duty at Mambu and cooking for a few months at Miel. While it's been fun to chase her toque around town, it will be even better to know exactly where to go to enjoy Chef Deb's Mediterranean-fusion menu.
Yep, Dollywood! The place where all dreams of Dolly come true, or at least that’s what I’m expecting!
In my research for the trip, I ran across this gem, sitting pretty in the heart of Dollywood:
Dolly Parton’s Sausage Works
Here is the description from the website:
I've never gotten as many thank-yous for anything on Bites as the posts tipping off readers to Jonbalaya Catering and the pork products that pitmaster Jon Heidelberg serves up every Saturday morning at the Woodbine Farmers Market. We didn't try the "pork parfaits" he had last week of pulled pork, mashed potatoes and baked beans layered in a plastic cup, but the sampling we had of just the pork — caramelized bark, moist wood-scented meat — convinced us that maybe such a thing could work.
Heidelberg sent word via Twitter that he'll have whole smoked pork butts tomorrow for $35 at the market, which runs 9 a.m. to noon at Coleman Park, corner of Thompson Lane and Nolensville. If you haven't been, make it a stop on your Saturday-morning farmers market rambles. There'll be a family carnival as well as a gourmet cheese giveaway featuring Kenny's Farmhouse Cheeses — but for the latter, you have to visit the market's website and follow these simple instructions.
Watch also for zingy homemade fruit spreads from Bathtub Gin, the ever-popular Riffs food truck, and invigorating raw juices from Juice Nashville (especially the Oh Yeah, a concoction of kale, collard, apple and lemon squeezings that made me feel like I'd spent a week at a spa). And we can only hope to see the awesome Banjamin's Ghost Pepper Elixer stand, as our supply is running low.
Although the Wild Hare has been reported on a lot, I am finding that it may be one of the best, most consistent and creative menus in town. I have loved everything that I have ordered, which is a rare feat for most new restaurants. From the Wild Hare burger (which may be my new favorite burger in town), to the pizza with herbed ricotta and Benton’s bacon, this place hasn’t missed a mark yet.
My husband and I were also happy to recently find the goat-cheese quesadilla appetizer. We have this theory that you could put goat cheese on anything and we would like it. Think about it — PB&J with goat cheese? Probably good. Biscuits, gravy, and goat cheese? Awesome. Chocolate chip goat-cheese cookies? Probably great.
So obviously, we were excited to try this new twist on a quesadilla — and were surprised to find that this wasn’t an ooey-gooey mozzarella-heavy quesadilla with a little goat cheese sprinkled in. No, it was straight goat cheese (albeit spiced up, as you’ll see below). And since goat cheese doesn’t melt like most cheeses, it was especially nice because it wasn’t greasy at all. I asked the restaurant about the ingredients so that I could try to replicate it at home.
For seven years, the Franklin Wine Festival has held events to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters to help provide at-risk children with supportive mentoring relationships. This year's Grand Tasting will feature more than 300 wines, food from over 30 local restaurants and caterers and live entertainment on multiple stages. The big event will be sponsored by Cool Springs Wine and Spirits and Nissan, but enough about that for now. That event won't happen until late next month.
In the meantime, Sperry's in Cool Springs is hosting a Vintner's Dinner to kick off the festival. The dinner will be held this Thursday, Sept. 29, and features the wines of one of Napa Valley's finest producers, Trefethen Vineyards. Sperry's will match Trefethen's fine wines with a offering of Southern classics. The menu for the night includes:
Girl & the Goat is the Chicago restaurant owned by Stephanie Izard, a highly regarded talent in the kitchen who was the first woman to win Top Chef. A couple of months ago, Izard made a pledge to raise $500,000 for Share Our Strength, a national organization that strives to stamp out childhood hunger and the pet charity of many culinary professionals.
Izard combined her vow with a a book tour to promote her forthcoming cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats & Drinks, hosting dinners with local chefs in the likes of Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Scottsdale, Ariz., Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, and of course, Nashville.
The Nashville dinner is scheduled for Oct. 18 at City House. Ticketing details were not yet available online, but if you'd like to harass the CH folk, call 736-5838.
Meanwhile, what food-related moments did you enjoy this week? What are you looking forward to? Tell Open Thread what's on your plate.
On one little counter in that private space, Huntsman took advantage of all the wonderful fruits that the Loveless had access to for the tankerloads of preserves that they produce for their restaurant and their burgeoning Hams and Jams mail-order business. She reveled in her private kitchen since nobody could see what she threw away during her various trials. Fortunately, her successes vastly outnumbered her failures and now she has chosen a hundred of her best to share with readers in the Loveless' new Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe cookbook.
In addition to all the recipes, the book shares lots of helpful hints for the bakerphobics among us. Huntsman realized that we like our treats sweet and figured out ways to torque up the flavors without making them overly cloying. For example, blackberries share a similar flavor profile as rosewater, so she adds rosewater to her cobbler to enhance the intensity of the berries. Who da' thunk it?
Other tips seem obvious when you read them, but can really help to simplify the process an reduce the mess in your kitchen. For example, if you have trouble handling dough after you roll it out, do your rolling on a sheet of wax paper or parchment. Then you can just carry it over to your pie dish and flip it over to top your pie.
But Barlow's not too busy to plot a second restaurant, Sloco, which will be a lunch-only sandwich shop with an accent on locally sourced and sustainable produce and meat. He's opening the new place in the 12South neighborhood (where he and his family live), in a storefront in the 12th & Paris building at 2905 12th Ave. S., which formerly housed LB’s Market House and before that Greenlight Market.
The plan is to make nearly every part of the sandwich — meat, bread, toppings — in house using local or organic ingredients. Barlow’s shooting for 10 “straightforward sandwiches” with beef, pork, chicken and vegetarian options. There will be some “funky and creative” daily specials as well. (Sloco will undoubtedly be Nashville's first quick-serve sammy station run by a Culinary Institute of America grad.)
In addition to crafting "kickass" sandwiches with ingredients from the local farmers he's cultivated at Tayst, Barlow is planning "in your face sustainability" — lots of information, in signage and on the website, to help people learn about the choices and trade-offs involved in improving the impact of dining and restaurants on the environment.
One of the things Barlow preaches is whole-animal butchering: He purchases whole pigs and cattle from local farmers and figures out how to use every bit, reducing waste. And he plans to do the labor of taking apart the carcasses right in Sloco's front window for everyone to see. Some vegetarians may run in terror, but Barlow figures a lot of foodies will be fascinated, and in the process, learn about the concept of sustainable meat production.
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