And yet the competition is still wide open — at least until midnight Friday, the deadline for submissions. Did you capture a show, a city landmark or a local character in a never-to-be duplicated moment? Did you catch something on film that basically serves as a visual punch line to the "You Are So Nashville If ..." contest? Did you photograph something that sums up the city in a single image? Did you snap a shot and think, "I love this dirty town"? Those are images we want to see.
You have until Friday to submit up to five entries, at $5 entry fee apiece. Click here for more information. We can't wait to see what you come up with.
Highlights include beer dinners at Lockeland Table, City House and Rolf and Daughters and a craft beer brunch at ML Rose in Sylvan Park, which I'm told may be the most fun event of the entire week. Apparently, after a week of hard work, volunteers and beer reps really let their hair down at brunch and share some of the best beer they've sampled during the week. Last year, these beer dinners sold out within minutes of being offered, so keep checking back at the website for the announcement of on-sale dates.
In addition to the restaurants, many of your favorite watering holes will be participating by offering special deals on craft beers and holding "tap takeover" events where a particular brewery is highlighted for an evening.
If you are a restaurant or bar owner (we know you all read this blog so you can hear what anonymous strangers think of your life's work) and you'd like to participate, all you have to do is plan an event and email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he'll add you to the calendar. Even if a bar just wants to offer 50 cents off on draft craft for a Happy Hour, they are welcome to be a part of Nashville Craft Beer Week.
The East Nashville Beer Festival will also take place during that week, so keep an eye here for more information about what I personally think is one of the premier beer tasting events in town. Get your pint glasses ready and draw straws to pick a designated driver!
Black, a successful songwriter before he turned his hand to restaurants, opened Pie in the Sky at 110 Lyle Ave. in 2008. Before that, the space had a long history as a Music Row hangout, including its days as Longhorn Steakhouse.
"This building is where Music Row came to eat and drink for 30 years," Black said in the announcement. "Brooks and Dunn were introduced in this building, and legend has it the rights to 'Friends in Low Places' was sold for a bar tab."
The new interior will feature photographs and memorabilia celebrating Music Row singers and songwriters.
As for the menu, executive chef Robert Pittler plans to create a "New Southern food experience" using fresh local ingredients. Pittler is a veteran of Hard Rock Cafe who has worked at restaurants around the world. In 2004, he joined the kitchen at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel's restaurant.
The Row will feature "classic mixology, a full bar and Midtown's only all-local and Southern regional draft beer wall."
Meanwhile, Black is scouting space in the Nashville area for moving the Pie in the Sky location. His two other Pie in the Sky outposts, Lenox Village and Cool Springs, are staying put.
I'm at a bit of a disadvantage on this topic. My husband is allergic to shrimp, which doesn't prevent me from eating them, of course, but makes shrimp less of a destination food in our household.
Coincidentally, I actually floated this question among friends over the summer when trying to plan a shrimp-and-grits fan's birthday festivities. As a result of that research, we went to Fish & Co., which worked out pretty well, but that option doesn't exist anymore.
So what are your thoughts, Bites Nation. Who has the best shrimp and grits in town?
You'll have a chance to see their hog butchering and curing facilities and learn about the process that has been practiced for six generations in Smiley Hollow. They promise "a true farm to taste experience." The class will be held this Sunday, Feb. 3, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Ridgetop is about 20 miles north of downtown Nashville, but there is no way to drive like the crow flies, so give yourself a little traveling time.
Space is limited, so RSVP to Troy as soon as possible if you're interested. The cost is $35 per person, and you can pay with cash or check at the event. To hold your spot, send an email to Jolie Yockey. If you have further questions, call Troy at (615) 829-3811.
One of the nice things about walking into Porter Road Butcher is that you know that the folks behind the counter know where their pork/beef/chicken/lamb came from. I found this out last year when I was reporting a story for the Scene — Porter Road develops close relationships with the farmers who raise their meat. So, when they closed the shop for a couple of days, I jumped at the chance to ride along with the entire crew to meet some of their sources. A Monday trip went south, visiting a lot of places I went last spring (some pictures are here on their Facebook page) so I went on Tuesday's northern route to Jolly Barnyard Farm and Tennessee Grassfed beef.
Want to know what an East Nashville butcher shop loaded into a 10-passenger van is like? A lot of plaid, a lot of beards (one person joked about surprising the Tennessee Grassfed folks with a "big load of hipsters") and more than a few wide-eyed folks happy to see where the sausage really comes from. Here's a sample of the day through Instagram:
I'd like to tell you I knew the route we took on the way up, but beyond up I-24 near Ashland City, I couldn't tell you how to get to Jolly Barnyard Farm (this is what happens when butchers navigate). Samuel Yoder moved the operation down from Kentucky last fall and is in the process of setting up a big chicken operation — all natural on 300-plus acres. These chicks were in a modified greenhouse to keep them warm.
At schools in Japan, the Post's Chico Harlan reports, "The meals are often made from scratch. They’re balanced but hearty, heavy on rice and vegetables, fish and soups." All the kids get identical meals, and if they don't eat their lunch, there are no vending machines providing snacks. And most younger kids aren't even allowed to bring lunch from home.
If the topic of school lunches interests you, note that childhood obesity — a related concern — is the focus of tonight’s A Place at the Table. The special guest, Dr. Greg Plemmons, director of the Pediatric Weight Management Clinic at Monroe Carell Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, will be speaking and answering questions. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and both omnivore and vegan meals — with a Cajun flavor — are available.
Th school lunch issue is of particular interest to me, because kindergarten is in the near future for my daughter — though I have plans to send lunch to school with her so I can feel good about what she’s (supposed to be) eating.
And the article really made me think about school lunches when I was a kid. I ate the cafeteria food for just a few years in elementary school before switching to bagged lunch. I waited in long lines for terrible food and usually had only the time and interest to eat some of the fruit and vegetables (as in, applesauce and overcooked green beans). Unless it was pizza day. The other entrees didn’t just disinterest me, they disgusted me. I never did take even one bite of beefaroni.
High school was worse; the lines for hot lunch were so long that if you were unfortunate enough to be on the top floor of the school in the period before lunch (served in the basement), you had no time to eat after standing in line. Assuming there was even any palatable food left.
So when I present you with "The 30-Day Vegan Challenge," I'll make no promises that this is something I think I'll take on personally. But since there might be some Bitesters out there that might be interested, here's the info on decarnivorificaton.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is a speaker and the author of The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan and Vegan’s Daily Companion. She promotes the vegan lifestyle and encourages others to follow her in her pursuit of a new diet and philosophy.
Her program is a series of daily emails, newsletters and videos designed to encourage and educate and to help new vegans stay on track as they develop a new regimen of eating and living. She provides recipes to help with shopping and cooking and answers common questions addressing topics ranging from nutrition (“Where do I get my protein?”) and food (“I can’t live without cheese!”) to the practical (“I don’t have time to cook!”) and social aspects (“My job requires me to eat out a lot.”)
Though the menu and location are still being kept secret, B.J. Lofback did reveal a few details. This first dinner in the series has Lofback and Carlos Davis of Riffs teaming up with Shane Autrey, of Smoke Et Al. Each of the three chefs will prepare a course for diners and then collaborate on a trio of desserts. Also, this will be the first time that these guys will be hosting a pop-up dinner in a location that has an actual kitchen instead of having to set up a workspace or working from the trucks. Which means they'll likely be a little more daring and a lot less stressed.
I can also tell you — without seeing the menu — that the food will be fantastic. These are two of my favorite food trucks in the area, and these guys have consistently created some amazing food. I can't not get the fried pickled okra with Bama white sauce from Smoke Et Al if I see the truck out and about. Those guys have also made some amazing salads for me, which sounds less fantastic than it actually is. I don't really like salad, but what Smoke Et Al serves is no iceberg wedge with a cup of blue cheese dressing.
And from grilled mac-and-cheese and sweet potato hash to vegetarian banh mi and kare pan, Riffs has created some of the best meals I've had over the past couple of years. In short, there's no real risk in buying tickets before the menu is revealed. Still need some convincing? Check out fellow Bitester Chris Chamberlain's review of this summer's Riffs pop-up dinner at Corsair. Even if you have some dietary restrictions, you'll be fine. Just email chef[at]riffstruck.com and let them know if you have any allergies or other special dietary requirements. Ticket information is available on the Riffs website.
Riffs Fine Street Food and Smoke Et Al Pop-Up Dinner
Friday, Feb. 1
Seatings at 6 and 8 p.m.
$65 per person for four courses, BYOB
A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee
The location at 715 Team Blvd. in Smyrna will be the 92nd owned by the company, which specializes in "marinated flame-grilled chicken, guava barbecue riblets, roast pork and many more Caribbean-inspired favorites." They also serve mix-and-match entree and side dish combos called "Tropi-Chops."
The party starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday, and the first 100 people lined up with bags packed will enter a drawing; the winner and guest will be immediately whisked away by limo for a trip to Key West.
For more details, check out the official release after the jump.
(A version of this story appeared in my Food Biz column in today's print edition of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post.)
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