Flip through the January issue of Food & Wine and you'll find a piece called "Nashville In 10 Plates," by Catbird Seat's Erik Anderson, as told to F&W's Kate Krader.
There's a lot of good stuff in there — octopus at City House, the chicken salad sandwich at Coffee, Lunch, Sarah Gavigan's ramen pop-ups — but first on the list is the chicken liver pâté at Lockeland Table.
Now I don't know if Anderson gave them in order or was just listing off 10 things (my guess is the latter), but it was numbered 1 through 10, and that pate was first, and HOLY CRAP DO I AGREE WITH THAT AT NO. 1.
The pâté — $9 on the starters menu — comes in a small mason jar under a layer of Benton's bacon fat with smoked peach preserves and toast.
I tried it for the first time last week, having been tipped off by someone to make sure and order it. I'll go ahead and confess that I might not have ordered it otherwise, because my first reaction to chicken livers is not usually, "Wow, that sounds fantastic." It spread so smoothly on the toast, and I lopped a bit of the preserves on top and took a bite. It's just the textbook definition of umami. (Yes, I know. I used the "u" word. I should go to foodie jail. Sue me.) I might have even elbowed someone out of the way to scrape the last bit out. If we hadn't been in polite company, I would have licked the jar.
The entire list, in a slightly altered (and annoying) slideshow version, can be found here.
1. Drink more water. For my height, weight, and activity level, I should be drinking just over two liters of water a day. I currently drink about one. And I don’t know why; I like water. I did better at drinking water when I had a regular desk job, I suppose because taking a break to get water was a way to cut the monotony. [How much water should you drink?]
2. Eat less white stuff. I’m not joining in on the War on Wheat, but I do need to cut back on white pasta and white bread and certainly on refined white sugar.
3. Limit dining out. My friends in food service probably won’t be happy to read that, but we’ve been eating restaurant food far too often in the past two months (including more Taco Bell than I'm willing to admit). If we had a lot of evening activities or if I worked full time, I would take no issue with our enthusiastic support of the restaurant business. But more often than not, we get takeout or go out because I’m just too lazy or uninspired.
4. Related: Do a better job of meal planning each week. We don’t dine out as often if I’ve got dinner already planned. I have a fairly exhaustive list of entrees and side items to mix and match to create meals as well as a nifty weekly planner white board on the refrigerator in the kitchen. Now I just need to use them again.
5. Buy some farro. Why have I never bought and prepared farro at home? I don’t know, but I plan to change that.
I think that’s about as ambitious as I really need to get. What about you, dear readers? Do you have any food-related resolutions for the new year? Special bonus points if any include “eating less factory-farmed meat or meat-ish products.”
Kay Bob's has been serving their take on flatbreads and kebabs for a little over a year now, but have only recently begun to offer growler fills. They have 25 different craft brews on tap, including local favorites from Calfkiller, Jackalope, Fat Bottom and Yazoo, as well as other notable beers from across the country. If you're aiming low, you can even pick up a half gallon of Bud Light for the road. (Well, not really for the road; drink it when you get home.) Empty growler jugs can be purchased for $5 and refilled for the really reasonable price of $8. During their Wednesday growler happy hour(s) from 4 to 7 p.m., you can save two bucks on your refills.
Of all the entries imagining who said what to make a tableau of Nashville culinary talent guffaw so hard, longtime Bites commenter Pogo came the closest to the truth by guessing, "either Margot made a 'pork' joke or someone's about to get their rooster spatchcocked..." The actual story is that Pat Martin had just told a long dirty joke, which he'd probably repeat for you if you have five free minutes. But when Pogo said "spatchcocked," we knew we had a winner. Plus anybody whose manifesto on the Bites commenter page is "Those who forget the pasta are doomed to reheat it" is a winner in our book.
The winner of a $25 Amerigo gift certificate and two tickets to a Nashville Symphony Orchestra concert was Wallace, whose desire to visit Edley's and Marche was selected by the cyber-random number generator as the lucky one.
So Pogo and Wallace, send me an email to cchamberlain [at] nashvillescene [dot] com and I'll send you your magazine and hook you up directly with StreetSmart for your certificates, respectively. Thanks for playing!
Inside, I found a charming place, with a couple of folks making tamales at a table in the back, then wrapping them in corn husks. Assorted pies sat on the counter. I got six tamales for $5, and some mini-pies that were $1 each. The tamales were divine, and the pies — coconut cream and a combo pecan/sweet potato — were exceptional, by any standards. It was just a snack, as we'd eaten recently, but it was delicious, and Rhoda was delightful.
First off, if you find yourself within 25 miles of Lake Village, make a detour to get to Rhoda's. Check out a video interview with Rhoda here.
Second, does anyone know where to get good hot tamales here? I haven't eaten them often, but I think I feel a major food crush coming on.
Here were her criteria for restaurants serving such a meal:
Time investment: The restaurant cannot have a long waiting list, because anything more than a 15-minute wait could literally kill us when we have the shakes.
General ambiance: The restaurant must be free of triggers from the night before — cigarette smoke, the scent of bar mats or vomit. Low lighting and noise levels are preferable. Bonus points if we don't have to sweat out vodka in front of screaming children and post-church crowds.
Hair-of-the-dog quotient: The restaurant must serve some type of alcohol for the truly infirm.
She investigated two new West Side spots: The Stone Fox and M.L. Rose, and one Nolensville Road stalwart, the venerable Salvadoran restaurant and market Las Americas.
Check out her adventures here.
On a more somber note, this week's cover story is In Memoriam, the Scene's annual recounting of the many notable Nashvillians we have lost in the past year, "vibrant threads we will miss in the city's tapestry." Sadly, that list notes the loss of members of the restaurant community, including Jay Luther of Germantown Cafe, John Dean of McCabe Pub, Mario Ferrari of Mario's, and more. Read the entire package here.
initially, Gwen set up the blog as a place to share recipes with strangers and friends, but soon she found herself sharing more and more about her life at BunkyCooks. About a decade ago, Roger was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, so the two of them have plenty of inspirational stories about his battle with the disease and the adventures they have shared along the way.
Roger is doing much better and has certainly outlived that initial pessimistic diagnosis. His outlook remains positive, and he says his whole attitude toward life has changed. "I'm no longer the hard-charging businessman. I now care more about relationships and stories of people's views and what they care about." Roger mans the camera to document his and Gwen's travel and culinary adventures while they seek out these stories.
Trying to break into the energy bar market is a daunting task by any measure. Supermarkets, convenience stores and health food stores sell a wide variety of products made by Clif Bar, PowerBar, Power Crunch, Promax and many more. Attempting to compete with such established brands might seem like a steep hill to climb.
But Nashvillian Kipkosgei Magut, who recently began a Kickstarter campaign to help fund his chia-seed energy bar business, TribEndurance, is used to climbing steep hills, literally and figuratively.
Magut grew up in a small village in rural Western Kenya in a traditional Nandi community. His family had a few dairy cows on a small plot of land. "The options for young men in my village," Magut says, "were to become farmers (of which I had no luck considering the size of our land) or drunks, or to pay a bribe to obtain a college intake — or get out of Kenya."
Though Kenya is known for producing some of the world's greatest long-distance runners, Magut wasn't aware of the opportunities running could provide — that is, until his friend Noah Biama introduced him to the sport. "He told me that if I wanted to get an education in the U.S., I needed to get a scholarship, because the U.S. education is expensive," Magut says. "He told me that the best option I had was through running. He said that our people, the Nandi tribe of Kenya, are known for their running, and had great success in the international arena."
Hartel has been running the place solo since co-chef Corey Griffith left a while back, and she’s ready to recruit some help in the front of the house.
“I’ve taken on the restaurant by myself for three years, and I realized I need a guy around here who can do things out here [front of the house] better than I can,” she said with a laugh. “The whole thing is more cohesive when we’re doing it together.”
It’s also just the kind of opportunity her new business partner, Jan Firek, has been looking for ever since he moved to Nashville two years ago.
Firek started out as a schoolteacher in Michigan, but eventually landed in the big-city restaurant biz, working his way up the ladder in New York and Los Angeles. He doesn’t like to name-drop the famous restaurateurs he’s worked with, but he will mention a couple formative workplaces: August, the popular bistro in New York’s West Village, and the acclaimed Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.
The menu includes — but is not limited to! — funnel cakes, corndogs (referred to by Memphians as "Pronto Pups," a brand name), deep-fried Oreos, Sno Cones, Polish corndog (the mind boggles), candy apples and turkey legs. My favorite fair food, frozen chocolate banana on a stick and hot apple dumpling are not on the menu, but I suppose I could comfort myself with a deep-fried honey bun and some fried pickles.
If your first thought was like mine — "wow, what a fantastic idea!" — and your second thought was, "I wish we had one in Nashville," you should note that the 24-hour Carnival Food restaurant at 3349 Jackson Ave. is the last of the restaurants still in operation. Google tells me that there were three or four other locations in the Memphis suburbs that have shut down over the past few years. So I suppose if you can't get a location somewhere along the eastern perimeter of Vanderbilt or maybe MTSU, then it might be best to scrap any carnival food plans for the Midstate. Then you could just add this to your growing list of Memphis food destinations to try!
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Someone should recommend that she collect her money up front.