Friday, November 30, 2012

The Road, No.18: Grassmere Grill & Kabob [Eating Our Way Down Nolensville Pike]

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Falafel for breakfast. Sweet.
  • Falafel for breakfast. Sweet.
Welcome to The Road, my column in which I'm going to attempt — key word: attempt — to eat at every non-chain restaurant on Nolensville Pike between I-440 and the county line. I'll readily admit that even though I live right off Nolensville — Paragon Mills represent! — and revel in the diversity and quantity of its eateries, I have barely scratched the surface of what the strip has to offer. But now I'm going to rectify that, and hopefully you'll join for what's likely to be a wild ride.

Episode 18: Grassmere Grill & Kabob
Address: 3802 Nolensville Pike
Phone: 837-2568

OK, so maybe I shouldn't have followed up Shish Kabob with Grassmere Grill & Kabob — it seems a tad bit unfair to compare the relatively low-key GG & K to the swankier SK. But then again, I don't have the self-control to deny a bright, glowing awning that boldly declares "kabob," especially now that the sun disappears beneath the horizon shortly after I get out of bed. I mean, the holidays are all about basking in the warm, warm glow of artificial light, right? And soup. This season is all about soup — which might be my favorite thing out Grassmere Grill & Kabob.

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Wandering Wino: Mmmmmm ... M. Edition

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 7:42 AM

Over the summer, Dana told us about the new project from the owners of Mack and Kate's, M. Restaurant in Cummins Station.

Earlier this month, M. Restaurant and Bar started welcoming customers to its sleek dining room, and if you haven't had an opportunity to try the restaurant out yet, there's a perfect reason coming up this Monday, Dec. 3, when they'll be hosting a wine dinner featuring BNA Wine Group.

The menu of food and wine looks fabulous:

Amuse-Bouche with Roederer Estate Brut

1st Course

Cast Iron Skillet-Seared Scallop Pear brown butter, celery root, Benton’s country ham prosciutto

Wine Pairing: Bandwagon Monterey Chardonnay

2nd Course

Crawfish Toast Crawfish veloute, sweetwater valley cheddar, jumbo lump, crystal hot; Bobby John Henry roasted garlic crostini

Wine Pairing: Butternut California Chardonnay

3rd Course

Pan-Roasted Salmon Butternut Risotto, pecorino, sugared & Spiced walnuts, swiss chard, cranberry-pinot syrup

Wine Pairing: Bandwagon Pinot Noir (80% Willamette/20% Monterey)

4th Course

Crispy Pork Belly Candied apple gastrique, Hazelnut brittle, Asian vegetables, soy caramel sauce

Wine Pairing: The Rule Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

5th Course

Cherry Cola Braised Short Rib of Beef, Sweetwater Valley cheddar-apple fried pie, collards, cherry cola bbq

Wine Pairing: Volunteer Napa Cabernet Sauvignon


Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Pate Sorghum-espresso custard sauce, zinfandel-poached fall fruits

Wine Pairing: EOS Late Harvest Zinfandel

The dinner will start at 6 p.m. and will be prepared by chefs Kevin Powell and Toby Willis. They invite diners to come in early to enjoy some champagne beforehand if you would like. The meal costs $75 per person plus tax and gratuity, and seating is limited.

RSVP is required, so call M Restaurant at 615-678-1591 to hold your spot at the table.

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The Weekly Open Thread Is a Stone Fox

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 5:56 AM

If you see this pair of socks, please return to D. Patrick Rodgers at Nashville Cream. They were knocked off his feet by The Stone Foxs chicken and waffles
  • If you see this pair of socks, please return to D. Patrick Rodgers at Nashville Cream. They were knocked off his feet by The Stone Fox's chicken and waffles
No, we're not suggesting we're hotter than Georgia asphalt here at Bites. I mean, we are, but that's not the point of this thread. We're just hippin' y'all to some news we just got: The Stone Fox is having a Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Later that evening, bands such as Heypenny, Promised Land, The Tyler Family Band, Joey Plunkett 5, Birdcloud and more will play their holiday favorites.

In addition to being an exceptionally cool new club featuring local and touring indie-rock, folk and experimental acts, The Stone Fox has some damn fine bar food. I've sampled the hot chicken bites, the kimchi Reuben and a great veggie dish called The Laughing Man, and really liked 'em all. They are also serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. I haven't tried the brunch, but over at our sister blog Nashville Cream, D. Patrick Rodgers (aka D. Piddy) says the chicken and waffles knocked his socks off. (Hopefully not into someone else's food.) And he's got more info on the Holiday Market.

Vendors at the market include Third Man Records Rolling Record Store, Cumberland Valley Kombucha, Buttermilk Road Sunday Suppers, Acorn + Archer handmade jewelry, Emily Leonard fine art, Green Bee Designs, Baby Bear Shop, DCXV Clothing, Be Simple Massage, Bang Candy Company, as well as over a dozen local artisans and crafters. We can't think of a more enjoyable way to do your holiday shopping.

Well, come to think of it, Porter Flea is pretty awesome too. And it takes place 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday at Marathon Music Works.

Heard about any other good local-centric holiday shopping opportunities? Any other dining news of interest? And is anyone else loving Rolf and Daughters as much as I am? Two visits and I'm hooked.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sunflower Cafe: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

In this week's Dining column, Scene restaurant critic Carrington Fox visits Sunflower Cafe, the new "nearly vegan and largely gluten-free eatery" on Azalea Place in Berry Hill.

What she encountered at the Sunflower was a bumper crop of bright, winning vegetable flavors.

Fox says that especially in contrast to the "giblet-juiced, lipid-loaded" excess of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, Laura Yazdian and Gabrielle Mittelstaedt's vegetable-based cuisine was tasty yet also light and healthful.

The cafe's "dazzling array of soups, salads, entrees and desserts ... leverage fruits, vegetables and grains into a menu remarkable for its bounty of farm-fresh flavor and creativity," Fox says.

Sunflower Cafe is at 2834 Azalea Place (457-2568). It serves lunch Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and this Friday it's hosting the kickoff dinner to the second annual Tennessee Local Food Summit, which Chris Chamberlain hipped us to last week.

Read Fox's full review here.

Meanwhile, has anybody else sampled the ample buffet at the Sunflower yet? Feel free to comment below.

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Tasteful Reminders: Thomas Keller Signing and Vivek's Epicurean Adventure

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 7:41 AM

I promised I'd share further details on Thomas Keller's impending visit to Music City this Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Hutton Hotel if they became available, and lo and behold they have. So I will.

The first round of information that came out about the $250 event didn't make it clear that the evening is more than just an opportunity to meet Keller and his co-author Sebastien Rouxel and get a signed copy of their new book Bouchon Bakery.

The event is also a benefit for The Nashville Food Project, and proceeds raised will go to support the group's effort to cook and distribute meals to Nashville's homeless communities and some weekly-rent hotels that house many folks in the transition to and from homelessness. Chef Keller is even going to pay a visit to the same kitchen that I was fortunate to be asked to help out in earlier this year. I reckon he might have a more creative contribution to add to the menu than my kale chips.

In a really nice bonus, Viking Corp. will be donating a commercial range to The Nashville Food Project's kitchen during Keller and Rouxel's visit. After seeing what the volunteer chefs put out off their old stoves, this should make them even more prolific.

Your philanthropic dollar will go a long way with this organization, and you'll also get quite a bit of bang for your buck considering the talent that will be providing eats and treats for the book signing event. The list of participating chefs reads like a who's who of the Nashville culinary community, and in a Bites first, I'm going to quote myself to remind you who will be there:

Local chefs who will be returning the favor by cooking for Keller and the assembled masses include Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson of The Catbird Seat, Tyler Brown from the Capitol Grille and host chef Charles Phillips from 1808 Grill in the Hutton. Etch's Megan Williams will be handling the pastry duties, and Chris Carter and James Peisker from Porter Road Butcher are sure to be pitching in something cool as well. Other participants are Matt Bolus, Bart Pickens and Alisa Huntsman of Loveless Cafe, Rebekah Turshen of City House and in a really cool development Lisa Donovan of Buttermilk Road Supper Club.

Tickets are selling fast, so make your reservation here.

Another cool event coming up in a few days is the latest installment of Vivek Surti's Epicurean Adventure Supper Club.

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Hit the Road for Some Holiday Spirits at Woodford Reserve

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 6:13 AM

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the traffic on the interstates should have died down a little bit, and maybe you want to take a little trip somewhere other than over the river and through the woods.

From now until Dec. 23, Woodford Reserve in Versailles, Ky., is offering a lovely holiday brunch Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays 12:30 to 2 p.m. Chef-in-Residence Ouita Michel and her culinary team have created a bountiful holiday buffet full of Kentucky favorites and seasonal specialties, and you can take a tour of the distillery afterward to walk off some of the calories.

The buffet is only $25 per person, which seems like it must be some sort of loss-leader when you take a look at the menu:

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whiskey Wednesday: Prichard's Expands; Belle Meade Bourbon Honored by Garden & Gun

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 5:50 AM

Tennessee-based whiskeys have been making a bunch of news lately. While Kentucky still dominates the industry, folks are beginning to look a little farther south for innovative products, and we're lucky to have new products and distilleries springing up all over.

First off, Prichard's Distillery, based out of Kelso, Tenn., has announced that they plan to open a second manufacturing facility at the Fontanel in Nashville. For 15 years, Prichard's has developed a large portfolio of spirits out of their distillery just north of the Alabama border, but now they see the opportunity to bring their show to the big city. Phil Prichard is the patriarch of the current brand, but five generations ago his ancestors were known for making some of the finest whiskey in Davidson County.

Now Prichard's will be building a new distillery to the 136-acre property at the Fontanel Mansion off Whites Creek Pike. Hopefully by next spring, visitors will be able to watch Prichard's small batches of rum and whiskey being made using classic copper-pot-still techniques. I've reviewed several of their products here on Bites, and I look forward to seeing them a little closer to home.

Meanwhile, the Nelson brothers of Green Brier Distillery, the impetus behind Belle Meade Bourbon, made the news recently when they were named as runners-up in the Food and Drink division of Garden & Gun magazine's third-annual "Made in the South" awards.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Place at the Table Continues With Dinner and a Message About Organic Food

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 7:35 AM

Wednesday afternoons smell particularly wonderful when you’re at the corner of West End and 23rd Avenue. That’s where Martha Stamps cooks dinner every Wednesday at West End United Methodist Church for A Place at the Table. It’s a community dinner that features the cuisine of Stamps and her catering staff as well as a movie (often a documentary) and discussion.

This week, the film is “In Organic We Trust,” which raises the issue of organic food labeling and asks the question, "Is organic really better for us or just a marketing scam?" Ask any small farmer and you’re likely to get an earful. It's a subject dear to Stamps and the local farmers who supply her business.

On the menu Wednesday night (sourced from the aforementioned farmers) is turkey hash with egg noodles (stewed pumpkin and cabbage is the vegetarian option), a salad of butter lettuce with radishes and pickled beets and carrots, cinnamon apples and sweet potato pie. Dinner and a movie costs $10 for adults and $5 for children. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and the movie starts at 6. Make reservations by calling 615-321-8500. Upcoming films/lectures include It’s A Charlie Brown Christmas on Wednesday, Dec. 5, Jim Embry on Dec. 12, and a bit of relief from all the consumerism with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on Dec. 19. Sign up for the newsletter to get information about each week’s menu.

And don’t forget that Martha Stamps Catering also offers takeout lunches/dinners for sale every weekday from the WEUMC kitchen as well. Check the takeout calendar for the menu and to place your order. Delivery is also available with a minimum order.

A Place at the Table
5 p.m. Wednesdays
$10-$12 for adults; $5-$6 for children
West End United Methodist Church
2200 West End Ave.
Reservations: 615-321-8500

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Coffee Cup of Kindness: Celebrate the Fifth Annual Crema Christmas

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 5:42 AM

One of the biggest things I miss about working downtown now that my office is about twelve steps from my bedroom is being able to head over to Crema for a quick cuppa. Rachel Lehman and her gang have created a really warm welcoming environment and serve some damn fine java, and I can't believe they've been open for more than five years now. Over that time, they have also participated in some philanthropic efforts that have raised more than $12,000 for local charities including Safe Haven Family Shelter.

This year the coffeehouse at 15 Hermitage Ave. will celebrate their fifth annual Crema Christmas on Dec. 9 from 3 to 7 p.m. They'll be serving their wares and featuring works by nearly a dozen local artists including Red Earth Trading Co. and Aaron and Michelle Grayum. Proceeds from art, food and drink sales during the event will benefit Safe Haven and People Loving Nashville. Drop in anytime during the festivities to enjoy some fine food and drink and see some great art. You'll be helping out some really worthy causes.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

In the Shadow of Giants, Sole Mio Ups Their Game

Posted By on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Is there any downtown restaurant luckier than Sole Mio? After almost two decades of cooking serviceable Italian classic cuisine in two different locations, suddenly they find themselves at ground zero of the Nashville culinary and tourist scenes. Great new restaurants are springing up all around them, and the new Omni and Hyatt Place hotels are under construction next door and at their back door. All of these developments should draw hungry diners into the neighborhood looking for options.

Recognizing that these opportunities also represent competition for the smallish comfortable eatery, Sole Mio's management decided not to merely maintain the status quo and just hope for the conventioneer spillover of folks who couldn't get in to Husk or Etch. Instead, they have hired a new executive chef and revamped their menu to feature more artisan farm-to-table fare. Chef Sheena Brooks takes over the toque and brings more than years of experience to the kitchen.

While she intends to keep many of the favorite Northern Italian classic dishes on the menu, Brooks also wants to add specials that will feature more regional artisan ingredients like Porter Road Butcher, Kenny’s Cheese, Noble Springs Dairy, Living Raw and Drew’s Brews. The BLT Pasta special features Allan Benton's smoky bacon to dress up what could otherwise be a pretty typical dish, and the special dessert for this month is a pumpkin pie spiked with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream.

So before all those out-of-towners start checking into the new hotels and taking up all the good tables at Sole Mio, you might consider checking the place out again. Or maybe even for the first time, before a show at the Schermerhorn or if we ever play hockey again. They are open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and for dinner only on Sundays.

Sole Mio
311 Third Ave. S.
(615) 256-4013

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