The biggest tool in my kitchen is probably me, but as for the most important tool, I guess I'm with Bourdain on this one.
Having a good recipe and the right ingredients on hand makes it easier, which is where Whole Foods gift card and pantry list comes in pretty handy.
Commenter jblank takes the gift card with a recipe for Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad that sounds good for lunch, dinner or potluck, whether you're trying to eat better, or just hungry for something with loads of flavor and protein.
Jblank, message me to claim your card, nwood(at)nashvillescene(dot)com
Here's the winning recipe again.
Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
1 (5-ounce) can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans (or about 2 1/3 cups), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced
1/3 cup sliced red onion rings
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or I just use 1/8 tsp garlic powder, making sure that it's distributed well)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinaigrette or Italian dressing
Combine the tuna, beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley or basil, and ground pepper.
Mix in the dressing and toss to combine; chill. Goes well with leafy greens or flatbread.
A second Joe Natural's is scheduled to open in Cummins Station on Monday, Feb. 20. (A couple preview events may precede the opening.) The cafes are the brainchild of Paul Schertz, a native New Yorker who worked for years in shopping center development in Tampa, Fla., before discovering he loved agriculture. His wife Deborah is the talent in the kitchen.
For details, check out my Food Biz column in today's issue of The City Paper.
This photo was posted on Facebook. If you're as amused as I was, thank me profusely for brightening your day. If you're offended, blame City Paper editor Steve Cavendish, who sent it to me and suggested I post it.
Sometimes it seems like revolving doors are the permanent state at fine-dining spot Watermark in the Gulch. Several chefs with world-class resumes have donned and quickly doffed their toques in that kitchen over the past couple of years. It's downright puzzling, but somehow the quality of the food has remained consistently good the times I've dined there.
Last week Watermark announced the latest executive chef, Bob Waggoner. He's a past nominee for the James Beard Award for Best Chef-Southeast, and his resume is certainly quite impressive.
According to his website, Chef Waggoner has received Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, Food & Wine’s Reader’s Favorite Chef in America Award, the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award, Santé magazine’s 1999 Restaurant Wine & Spirits Chef of the Year, 1999 James Beard Rising Stars of the 21st Century, and an honorary doctorate from Johnson and Wales University. He's one of the few Americans to be knighted with the l’Odre du Mérite Agricole from the French government. And he hosts a cooking show, U Cook with Chef Bob.
Attendees of last fall's Celebrity Chef Tour visit to Nashville got to sample Waggoner's food, and from all accounts his take on Lowcountry cuisine prepared using classical French techniques was pretty impressive. He has already begun to tinker with Watermark's menu, so Nashville foodies can expect to see some new dishes coming out of the kitchen. (Hopefully through the right door.)
If you'd like to experience Chef Waggoner's cooking chops yourself, Watermark is offering a special prix fixe dinner for $75 per person for Valentine's Day. Optional wine pairings are available, and it's likely to sell out, so call 254-2000 to make reservations. Click here to see the enticing four-course menu.
Meanwhile, in other Watermark chef news, I'm happy to be able to report that one of the past luminaries who graced that kitchen, Chef Louis Osteen, has landed in a new gig closer to his home and his heart.
Admission will be $40 for drinkers, and $10 for designated drivers who might want to just soak up the vibe and enjoy the food at the 3 Crow Bar Food Pavilion. There will be a preparty at 3 Crow the night before and an afterparty at the same spot with 2-for-1 deals on selected pints. The event will happen come rain or come shine, since the beer gardens will be under tents to prevent watering down your lager. Hopefully, March will be going out like a lamb by that date.
You can check out the ever-growing list of participating breweries and their beers and ciders by bookmarking this page at the festival website or follow @ENashBeerFest on Twitter.
The East Nashville Beer Festival may offer the first opportunity for many of us to sample the products coming out of the two new tenants of the old Fluffo building that Dana told us about a couple weeks ago. Fat Bottom Beer, you make the rockin' world go 'round!
Tickets go on sale here at 10 a.m. on Feb. 10, and the event will most certainly sell out. Don't be left out of the fun!
I ordered the Big Ltalian ($8), a sausage, pepper, grilled onion and cheese sandwich with a touch of marinara in a wrap, because what's not to love about sausage and onions and peppers, so long as you eat meat? And I got the Triple 6 Tilapia ($8) with coconut cream rice, almonds, bacon and grilled plantain. Bumped into Tabbulous (Tabitha Tune) as she strolled off with a Biggie Smalls Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries, cheddar cheese and Tabasco aioli.
Brashears, assistant kitchen manager at McNamara's Irish Pub, reports that among the 50 to 60 covers the first day, the tilapia was the best seller, followed by Big Ltalian. Parked at Cumberland Transit on Saturday, the truck drew equal parts Twitter and Facebook followers and Vanderbilt basketball fans walking by on their way to the game.
He's scheduled to be at the Meet & 3 event this Friday at the Nashville Farmers Market. Follow @WrappersDLite for updates, and check out the menu from Facebook after the jump.
In this week's dining review, the Scene's Carrington Fox checked out the menu of classic American sandwiches, deli favorites like matzo ball soup, and comfort-food-inspired entrees.
Is anybody on this blog interested in fish and chips? Carrington reports: "We particularly enjoyed the fish-and-chips plate with three planks of flaky white fish, dipped in ale batter and fried into puffy golden mittens. While the shoestring "chips" were excellent, we couldn't resist trading them out for a precious little fryer basket of sweet potato fries — like glassy straps of crisp candy — with bright cilantro lime sauce for dipping."
Read the full review to learn why Carrington found Sixth & Pine to be a pretty good refuge amidst the hectic environs of the mall.
First on the agenda is Woodland Wine Merchant at 1001 Woodland St., which will be pouring samples of two excellent examples of Italian wines made from the Nebbiolo grape tomorrow, Jan. 28, from 3 to 5 p.m.. Here's how your paisano, Will Motley describes the wines he'll have open for you:
Nebbiolo and value don't often reside in the same sentence or really the same zip code for that matter. Comprising some of Italy's most expensive and prestigeous wines, i.e. Barolo and Barbaresco, most of us have been priced out of Nebbiolo's appealing character. Thankfully, there are small production wineries who have yet to break into the mainstream but make some truly authentic iterations that are both affordable and delicious. Here we find Eugenio Bocchino in the Langhe making classicaly styled wines employing organic and biodynamic methods. These wines offer up lots of bang for your buck.
Eugenio Bochhino Roccabella
Langhe, Italy $20
Roccabella is a vineyard that lies right outside the Barolo border that has the makings of an incredible cru. This wine is intended as an ‘introduction’ to Barolo and, more so, Nebbiolo. It has the Bocchino elegance with tannins that, while present, are slightly more subdued and approachable. It is a perfect wine to start learning about the incredible expression of the Nebbiolo grape.
Le Cantine di Indie Vino Rosso del Popolo
Nebbiolo/ Barbera/ Dolcetto
Langhe, Italy $15
Bocchino takes Nebbiolo and Barbera from his own vineyards and blends Dolcetto from a local grower to make this table red, which means 'Wine of the People'. The Nebbiolo comes from his younger vines and sees some oak aging in older French barrels. The Barbera and Dolcetto are aged in stainless steel to preserve freshness. This wine is bright with red and black fruits supported by lively energy, floral aromas and light tannins. It is meant for everyday drinking with a wide range of foods.
If you're willing to make the 90-minute drive down I-24 to Monteagle Mountain, you can take part in a special Italian Wine Dinner at the Monteagle Inn at 204 W. Main St. The proprietors of the inn took a trip to Italy last fall and now want to share the best in wine and cuisine that they discovered during their travels on Saturday, Jan. 28, starting at 6 p.m. The entire shooting match is only $59.95 plus tax and gratuity, and the menu below looks fabulous. Call (931) 924-3869 for reservations.
Borgo Magredo Prosecco
Eighteen bean soup with Italian bread
Borgo Magredo Friuli Grave Pinot Noir
Brutus Caesar Salad with homemade croutons
Palazzo Rosso di Montalcino
Ante pasto plate featuring assorted olives, meats, Palazzo potatoes and
Italian bread with 25 year Barrel-aged Balsamic Vinegar
Vignamaggio Mona Lisa Chianti Classico Reserva
Choice of Grilled Salmon or Grilled Filet Mignon
served with grilled Italian peppers, rich Italian herbed risotto and specialty breads
Palazzo Brunello di Montalcino
Pighin Friuli Pinot Grigio
Delicious Italian Cheese cake
Moscadoro Piemonte Moscato
An armada of great culinarity is gathering for the occasion: including Riffs Fine Street Food, The Grilled Cheeserie, Hoss' Loaded Burgers, Smoke Et Al, Yayo's OMG, Jonbalaya Catering, Love Shack, Blackbird Heritage, Wrapper's Delight and The Latin Wagon.
Distressing news from midtown: New Orleans-style restaurant Chappy's is facing foreclosure, as the bank has called the loan. He's open for now and hoping to renegotiate, according to this story. Chapman's had a tough decade — his previous restaurant on the Mississippi coast was wiped out by Katrina — so go eat a meal there and show the man some Nashville solidarity and support.
Gluten-free in Gallatin: Butterbean Bakery & Bistro has opened on College Street in Gallatin's historic district,, serving from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.. Spotted on the chalkboard menu: brie, caramelized onion and honeycrisp apple panini; creamy herbed shallot soup; soy-glazed portobello and roasted red pepper panini — glorious lunch fare north of the metropolis in gracious and growing Gallatin. See their Facebook page for more.
Here's an idea for Superbowl Sunday food: Buffalo crawfish. How good does that sound? You supply the Buffalo part, and Louisiana Seafood has the crawfish, at just $4.50 a pound. To order, drop in at the Nashville Farmers' Market, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Questions? Call Chris Moran at 225-288-5497.
You've got news to share, too: bring your mini reviews, restaurant openings and closings, and what's on the shopping list this week. Or anything else that's on your mind. Weekly Open Thread is your eatin' megaphone.
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