The conversation sometimes get pretty heated here on the Bites blog. (Anybody feel like discussing the morality of eating meat? Or the propriety of dogs in restaurants?) But we usually stick pretty close to food-related issues, however global.
Today I'd like to suggest you take a glance at our sister blog, Pith in the Wind, which covers news and politics. We've had a crazy weekend at the Scene. Our reporter Jonathan Meador was arrested while covering state troopers cracking down on Occupy Nashville protesters Friday night in Legislative Plaza.
He was carrying a Flip cam, which shows him repeatedly identifying himself as a reporter, but getting taken down and cuffed anyway. Later, authorities tried to smear him by alleging he was publicly intoxicated. Yet his steady and professional voice on the audio disproves that.
Our sister pub, The City Paper, is also covering the issue, including today's story about a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and two attorneys seeking a temporary injunction to block further arrests until the constitutionality of the curfew on Legislative Plaza is determined. Meanwhile, the story is getting some notice in national media.
The only thing that might possibly give Randy the edge for my vote would be Chef Stephenson's distressing predilection for ee cummings-esque punctuation (or lack thereof) in his email blasts — which leads to a lot of extra work for my lazy butt when I share his menus with you. Just to demonstrate this, I'll leave the formatting as is for this example. But please don't let my humorous gripe diminish the impact of Stephenson's efforts or the importance of this upcoming fundraiser.
Chef John and his staff at Fido are putting on a dinner to raise money for a fantastic new program starting at nearby Eakin Elementary to create a new garden that will teach children about sustainable microfarming and educate them about where there food actually comes from. Mark your calendar for 7 p.m. Nov. 4, if you'd like to help out this effort and enjoy some incredible food.
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Chef Avila, formerly of 360 Bistro and City House, is piloting the truck once known as Red Pony Catering. He calls his operation Jay Jay's Good Food Truck, and Bites colleague Chris Chamberlain and I visited him at the somewhat windswept corner of Fifth and Crutcher streets in East Nashville — sandwiched between public housing and the interstate, just outside the shadow of the stadium.
Odd spot, but Avila has his reasons: When he lived in Hawaii, the food trucks always sought out remote locations to avoid traffic and conflicts with locals over parking. To be sure, there's no problem with parking at Fifth and Crutcher.
Given the recent discussion of Cuban sandwiches, we had to try the MVOTCS — My Version of the Cuban Sandwich, meltingly tender beer-braised pork, firm sliced ham and cheese on Cuban-style roll sourced from a Nolensville Road bakery, pickle on the side. A generous portion, the sandwich was big enough to satisfy a hungry person, or share between two smaller appetites.
Stop by GoGo Sushi from 3 to 7 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 29, and check out the touchscreen ordering and the sleek dining room. We hear there will also be free samples and door prizes. And there's a philanthropic twist: A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists injured U.S. service members. (Owner Greg James is an Air Force veteran of Desert Storm, so supporting the troops is close to his heart.)
James, who proclaims his title as "head roller," worked in the big-box logistics industry before turning his energies to the GoGo Sushi concept, which he hopes to eventually franchise.
GoGo Sushi is at 2057 Scarritt Place. See the menu at gogosushi.com, and call 891-7690 to place an order by phone. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Read the full release after the jump
This Tuesday, Nov. 1, l’Eté du Vin is throwing a party for the distaff set with their Champagne and Chardonnay event. Here's the official invite:
Ladies mark your calendars for Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, and save the cocktail hour, 6-8:30 p.m., for some girl time.
Our Sparkling Silent Auction will feature a tempting vast array of white wines and you’ll be among the first to see the new ‘love george’ handbag designs by Katherine Capps.
Join us as we band together to support the fight against cancer.
$100 per person. ($75 is tax deductible.) Valet parking.
Click here to make your reservation.
Fortunately, there's another event tonight that all of us can enjoy together. Saffire Restaurant in Franklin is throwing a Fall Harvest Dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Executive Chef Vinny Tardo has created a seasonally inspired five-course tasting menu of locally grown and harvested ingredients which he will pair with five small-production wines from around the world that have been specially selected as a perfect match for each of the courses. Saffire's wine buyer, Lou Vargo, will talk about the wine/food pairings for the evening.
I keep a mental count in my head of the Times restaurant writers I've outlasted since I started reviewing in 1992. I will share that with you now.
Two years is a pretty short tenure, and I wondered if those factors influenced Sifton's departure. Or maybe dining out every night, sometimes more than once each night, wore thin, coupled with the ungodly amount of perfectly crafted writing involved. At well more than 40 hours, it's a life, not a job.
Bryan Miller, whose Times tenure followed that of Craig Claiborne confided in his farewell column that although he'd lived in his apartment for nine years, the oven had never been turned on.
The departure of the restaurant reviewer from a major daily newspaper was a tectonic shift even a decade ago. But now, with many more places for information — Urbanspoon, Yelp, Chowhound, Twitter, Facebook and dozens of local blogs — neither a single review or a single reviewer is as important to diners seeking good places to eat.
And for the restaurateurs, the single reviewer isn't as critical to success. Or failure.
That's the biggest news of the week in the expanding universe of people who write about food. But other stuff happened too, so bring your questions, complaints, comments and compliments to Bites' weekly open thread.
The Downtown Franklin Association and Heineken are sponsoring an official Memphis Barbecue Network-sanctioned competition tomorrow and Saturday, Oct. 28-29, as part of the 28th annual Pumpkinfest. If you you've never attended this fun event on the square in Franklin, you should definitely get your kids into their best costumes and fill your flask up with a toddy and head down for a day of frolicking. A word of warning — the main drag into town gets kind of crowded as you search for parking, so leave a little early and listen to college football on your car stereo.
More than 50,000 people are expected to attend, and this year includes a new slate of fun events on Friday night, including a street party with entertainment from the legendary soul band The ConSoulers. A Friday Night Sauce Fight competition will pique the crowd's interest and a Smoked Meat Feast will be provided by the award-winning local pitmasters from Puckett’s Grocery. The smorgasborgy will include barbecued lamb shank, smoked salmon Memphis-style, chicken sausage jambalaya, red beans and rice with smoked sausage, beef brisket chimichangas and more, along with a wonderful selection of side dishes. Celebrity judges, including one of our favorite Bites commentators, Beth Sachan, will determine the winners of the best homemade sauce, so this Pre-Party is one you won’t want to miss.
On Saturday, amid all the excitement of Pumpkinfest, prizes will be awarded, the public will have opportunities to taste the professional teams’ product and vote for the Peoples Choice Awards until at 4 p.m., the street party starts again. For a list of the professional and backyard BBQ teams entering their wares into judgment, point your curly tails here.
Make plans to dine out at one of these restaurants tonight and remember that there is still time to register for the 5K if you want to take a more active role in helping out this worthy cause. Learn more at www.breathedeepnashville.org.
Here's a list of the participating establishments:
Fast-forward about a month and Sugar Wagon co-owners Tracy Ardoin-Jenkins and Jane Nickell are hanging out before-hours at Flyte, the innovative eatery on Eighth Avenue where they first met and, about a year ago, hatched the idea to go mobile with a smart, contemporary take on classic American desserts. (Both still work at Flyte, Nickell as hostess and Ardoin-Jenkins as bartender.) The original plan was to go the hood-full-of-horsepower route and outfit a full-size baking truck. But when the financing didn't work out, the duo decided they had a choice: Scrap the whole project or, as Nickell puts it, "shrink the idea, start small [and] show the idea has value." They chose the latter, and so far, the value is apparent — even if the Sugar Wagon, which is about the size of a double-wide podium, looks a bit small when parked alongside "mobile slabs" blasting rock music, cupcake-dispensing converted school buses and the like.
Everything I've tasted of theirs — including a gingersnap-and-pumpkin-ice-cream sandwich that I demolished on my walk back to the Scene office from Flyte — has been scrumptious, bordering on ridiculous. (And I'm not even really a dessert person, usually.) Check them out on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Our friends at Jimmy Kelly's Steakhouse empathize with the pain of Titans' fans and want to do their best to make it all better. Or at the very least to make sure that four fans will be well-fed and liquored-up the next time they go to a game.
All you have to do is visit their website at www.jimmykellys.com and enter their "Guess the Score" contest for next week's battle between our hapless home team and the winless Indianapolis Colts. Talk about two pigs fighting over the last acorn. ...
This place has closed
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