I skipped my flu shot once in the past 10 years. And I got the flu. Won't make that mistake again. ... It may not be foolproof, but it sure does improve my odds of surviving the annual epidemic unscathed. Or at least only partly scathed.
But if you're averse to needles or you want to redouble your defenses, Jeni's Ice Cream has a tongue-in-cheek solution with their suddenly famous flavor, Influenza Sorbet. Actually, that's what it was called until last week. "We changed the name because we didn't want anyone to think that it actually cures the flu or contains the flu," the company says. Now it's called Hot Toddy Sorbet.
The sorbet does in fact feature some of the ingredients in a hot toddy like your grandma might make you to ease the pain of your fluish symptoms. (Funny, you don't look fluish ...)
Cayenne pepper, ginger, Maker's Mark bourbon, honey, orange and lemon juices are the base flavors of the sorbet, which makes me think about maybe hanging out in the Baptist ER to see if I can catch a bug. Nahh, there's no reason why we anti-anti-vaccinationists can't enjoy a pint while we're still hale and hearty.
Famed chef and organic food activist Alice Waters was the host at last week's Good Food Awards, held in San Francisco's Ferry Building (which is not just a ferry terminal but a pretty awe-inspiring food market).
Bathtub Gin owners Amy Lorber and Erin Ackley won a gold medal in the preserves category for their Peaches 'n Cream spread, which includes peaches and cinnamon steeped in sweet basil and finished with a generous dollop of cream sherry.
The Good Food Awards, now in their third year, aim to "celebrate the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly produced."
Lorber and Ackley launched Bathtub Gin in 2011. The sisters use mostly locally sourced fruit, and unlike many commercial preserves, "all Bathtub Gin products are made using ingredients free from synthetic inputs and artfully preserved without the use of artificial flavors or pectins," they said in a release.
Bathtub Gin preserves can now be found at gourmet retailers in five states. In Tennessee, that includes The Bloomy Rind, Green Door Gourmet, Lazzaroli Pasta, and Perl Catering's cafe and market. You can also order them online.
Episode 23: Best Gyros
Address: 5814 Nolensville Pike
I'm gonna be straight with you: I have no idea if Best Gyros actually has the best gyros. They smelled delicious and looked scrumptious on the plates of my fellow diners, but I walked into this little shop on the southeast side of the Nolensville-Old Hickory intersection and instantly got the "falafel vibes." It's a sixth-sense sort of thing, the falafel vibes, and I'm not one to argue with them. So yeah, whether or not Best Gyros does in fact have the best gyros is still up for debate, but they've got really good falafel — a far more persnickety dish — and I'm willing to take them at their word.
I have never been to Best Gyro before and honestly had no idea it existed until I pulled in the parking lot. Clearly I missed a memo, because when I walked in at the tail end of the lunch rush the place was packed. I was worried I wouldn't get a seat, but the turnover was quick — I think the whole place swapped out while I ate. The restaurant is simple — a couple of tables, a row of booths, an open kitchen — without much in the way of decoration beyond those awesome Kurdish (I think) picture-rug wall hangings I see all around town. It's a clean, efficient setup that doesn't offer much in the way of bells and whistles. Then again, bells and whistles aren't terribly tasty.
The kitchen at Perl has planned a three-course prix fixe menu for $50/person or $90/couple. Take a peek at the menu to help you with your pairings, or ask the folks at Iroquois for advice:
Charcuterie Plate: headcheese, duck prosciutto, pickled carrot & parsnip, house cured bacon & goat cheese stuffed dates, toasted baguette & housemade spicy mustard
Tarragon cioppino with clams, scallops & prawns in smoked tomato broth with risotto & caper butter
Goat's Milk Crème Brulee, Pistachio Honey Brittle & Lavender Crème Anglaise
Reservations may be made by calling (615) 646-1390. Perl will be hosting another wine dinner on Feb. 15 and their first live music night early in February.
Also today on the west side of town is the weekly Friday happy hour(s) from 4 to 7 p.m. at West Meade Wine and Liquor Mart at the split of Highways 70 and 100. Today they’re featuring eight beers, including some nice high-gravity options.
Beer Selections for January 25th, 2013
Bridgeport Hop Harvest Imperial Pilsner - $7.99
Hop Harvest Pilsner is an Imperial Pilsner style fresh-hop beer using Austrian Aurora hops in the kettle and 4.5 lbs. per barrel of green Oregon Tettnang hops in our hopjack. The base for this beer is Great Western Maltings Co.'s Superior Pilsen malt which gives a very light golden color combined with a biscuit-like pilsner malt flavor to complement that generous amount of hops of European heritage.
Caldera Old Growth Imperial Stout - $10.49
Score: 90 (Beer Advocate) 99 (Rate Beer)
Brewed in late December of every year, this imperial stout ages for one whole year before its release. 8.8% ABV. Pours a deep brown-black. Generous malty character on the nose giving off dark fruit, roast, anise and molasses.
Green Flash Rayon Vert Belgian IPA - $10.99
Score: 97 (Rate Beer)
If Green Flash were founded in historical Belgium, Rayon Vert would have been our flagship brew. A bold layering of hops finds balance from traditional malts. Bottle conditioning with fresh ale yeast and Brettanomyces finishes the beer, adding a delightful effervescence, dryness and continuously evolving character.
Sweetwater Happy Ending - $12.99
Score: 94 (Beer Advocate) 97 (Rate Beer)
This seasonal "Catch and Release" Imperial Stout is a dry hopped stiffy, leading to an explosive finish at 9% ABV that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Southern Tier Choklat Stout - $8.99
Score: 100 (Rate Beer) 95 (Beer Advocate)
At Southern Tier, were not surprised that hieroglyphs of the ancient Maya depict chocolate being poured for rulers and gods. Even through the many voyages of Columbus,the mystical bean remained nothing more than a strange currency of the native peoples. Moving through centuries, the circular journey of cacao has been realized in our brewing house, encompassing the complexity of the darkest, bitter-sweet
candy together with the original frothy cold beverage of the ancient Maya to bring to you our Blackwater Series Choklat Stout.
New Belgium Frambozen Raspberry Brown Ale - $12.99
Frambozen begins with the aroma of fresh red raspberries, followed by the ripe seductiveness of a fruity brown ale with depth and delicate malt notes. It is deep ruby in color, with flavors just as rich. Every year, New Belgium sends a delegate to the Pacific Northwest to oversee the process of turning freshly picked berries into a pure juice to be added in fermentation.
Southern Tier Unearthly IPA - $8.99
Score: 92 (Beer Advocate) 99 (Rate Beer)
An Uninhibited Infusion of Hops. We continue our commitment to innovation with our most aggressive offering yet Unearthly is a manifestation of the brewers crafts skillfully balancing art and the forces of nature to produce a divine liquid. Delicately pour a taste into a fluted glass. Smell the enchanting aromas of the hops come forward as your first sip divulges this beers fervent soul.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - $10.99
With a little creative curiosity, we used spent bourbon casks, fresh from decanting, and filled them with our very own Kentucky Ale. From barrels that once held the finest bourbons of Kentucky, we present Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, a smooth, golden elixir unlike any other. Subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak are imparted to this special ale as it rests in the charred barrel.
*WE WILL BE OFFERING 10% OFF OF THESE SELECTIONS ONLY
Frugal MacDoogal is a sponsor of the upcoming Wine Benefit and Cocktail Tasting benefiting the Assistance League of Nashville on Feb. 8 at Richland Country Club. The event will run from 6 to 9 p.m. and feature over 50 wines available for tasting, as well as food, cocktails and a silent auction.
The tasting costs $100/ person and raises money for the Nashville Chapter of Assistance League, an organization which provides aid to community children in need of school supplies and emotional support.
For more information and reservations, call 615-252-6772.
Samoas: $3.50 per box. Coconut Dreams: $3.39 at Publix, $2.59 at Kroger.
Samoas: dark chocolate. Coconut Dreams: milk chocolate.
Samoas: Available a limited amount of time. Coconut Dreams: available year-round.
It looks as though Keebler is the winner here, but Girl Scouts tend to be cuter than cartoon elves. Additionally, the Girl Scouts sell the only version of my dearly departed Lemon Coolers, reimagined as Savannah Smiles. With all things considered, I declare the Girl Scouts as the winners. And not to be outdone by their corporate foes, the Girl Scouts even have a handy location finder. Just in case you don’t know a cookie pusher. Spoiler alert: They're coming to a Kroger near you.
What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie? Any other dining news or views this week?
"I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, 'Hey, the sign says you're open 24 hours.' He said, 'Yes, but not in a row.' "
Well, as far as Fish and Grits goes, not at all anymore. They closed their doors at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Division a few months ago and have been replaced by a new operation called Mac's Restaurant. Basically a diner, Mac's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and all night on Friday and Saturday.
Highlights of the menu include chicken and waffles with a nice cinnamon waffle and bone-in chicken. Our server said the specialties of the house included battered and fried chicken wings in several sauces and a buffalo burger. I tried the burger, and after hearing about all the wing sauces expected a spicy sauce. Instead I got a lesson in close reading of a menu when I encountered a really unique texture and slightly gamy flavor in the patty. It turns out that the burgers are actually made from buffalo, which the owners buy at the Kroger in Goodlettsville. You learn something every day ...
The latest national Nashville nod comes from Southern Living which named Lockeland Table one of "The South's Best Bars," specifically for their use of bitters. Joining Lockeland Table on the list are Nashville stalwarts The Station Inn and Patterson House, along with the Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel, picked as the No. 1 hotel bar by the magazine.
In honor of all of these establishments, Southern Living has instigated a region-wide happy hour on Feb. 1. Lockeland Table invites all their fans and friends to drop by between 4 and 6 p.m. to celebrate with some of their grapefruit and lavender bitters and their special "Southern Girl" cocktail.
The "Two Boots" name refers to two great boot-shaped culinary regions of the world: Italy and Louisiana. The restaurant opened in New York's East Village in 1987. Founded by indie filmmaker Phil Hartman, it quickly became known not just for pizza but for hosting cultural happenings like live music and film screenings.
There are now 15 outposts of Two Boots around the country. The Nashville location is the first in the South.
Lent comes early this year, campers. In fact, Valentine's Day falls within the period of self-denial, so if you're planning to give up anything like red meat (like I might ...), you probably want to get your steak on ASAP. [Side note: one year I did indeed give up meat and had a real crisis of conscience during a dinner in New Orleans when I questioned whether alligator was meat or seafood. I opted against.]
Fortunately, the Palm Restaurant downtown has come to the rescue with a hearty winter special that runs from now until March 31, which ironically is the day after Lent ends. For those who don't deny themselves, you can enjoy this deal of a choice of starter, entrée and dessert for $49.95
per person for two whole months:
Choice of starter:
Classic Caesar salad with garlic foccacia croutons and parmigiano reggiano
Roasted beet and goat cheese salad with baby arugula, candied walnuts, golden raisins & raspberry
Lobster bisque with fresh lobster meat, cream and brandy
Choice of entrée:
9oz coffee and Ancho chili rubbed 9 oz filet mignon with roasted shallot compound butter
20oz veal porterhouse chop with balsamic-rosemary aioli
Prime skirt steak frites with gremolata seasoned fries and chimichurri
Chocolate chip brioche bread pudding with sun-dried cherry compote
Lest you think I have some bias against lowbrow humor, let me point you in the direction of a skit from the weekend that I actually enjoyed. The Fart Patio on Portlandia was fantastic. After a week of eating vegan food at home, topped off with a visit to Sunflower Cafe, I certainly needed one at home. (TMI? My apologies.)
Regardless, I am still just reeling over the awfulness of the Top Dog Chef bit. Why, Lorne, why?
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