Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nashville Wine Auction Schedules Four Days of Events to Celebrate l’Eté du Vin

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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l’Eté du Vin, Nashville's premier wine auction, is the summer focus of the Nashville Wine Auction. The independent 501(c)(3) organization is dedicated to raising funds to support the fight against cancer and distributes funds to other cancer-related nonprofit charitable organizations, all located in Middle Tennessee.

The theme of this year's l’Eté du Vin is "Pour de France," and the event will feature the Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux winemaking regions of the country. Here is the itinerary for your journey around the wine country and the guests of honor:

As attendees “pour” their way through the wine regions of France, they will be joined by three guests of honor: Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, Martine Saunier and Nicolas Glumineau. Pierre-Emmauel Taittinger is the president of The Taittinger Estate, which is the third-oldest wine producing house in Champagne and one of the few remaining Champagne houses that is family-owned. Distinguished for its extensive vineyard holdings of 752 acres, Taittinger is recognized worldwide among connoisseurs for its delicate and natural flavor.

Martine Saunier, founder of Martine’s Wines, Inc., is commonly referred to as a “rock star of the wine world.” Martine has dedicated her life to bringing French wines to America and is the first woman to establish a wine importing company in the United States. Martine has earned an excellent reputation for her ability to recognize the most exceptional burgundies.

Nicolas Glumineau is the Chief Executive Officer of Chateau Pichon Langueville Comtesse de Lalande. Nicolas has spent time in some of Bordeaux’s greatest vineyards, including Chateau Margaux, Chateau Haut-Brion and Chateau Montrose. Chateau Pichon Langueville Comtesse de Lalande has been run by only three families whose work has made this Chateau and its Pauillac wines world-class.

"Pour de France" actually kicks off with tonight's Grand Cru party at the fictional house of Rayna James on the show Nashville. But if you can't make it there tonight, there are four other events where you can help support the Nashville Wine Auction while enjoying some fantastic wine. (Note that chefs Tyler Brown and Sean Brock are cooking at one of the events.)

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That's Not Neil Hamburger: Tony Clifton, Cleopatra Jones and The Dude Grace Two Boots Mural

Posted By on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 5:46 AM

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Fans of public art, Andy Kaufmann and delicious pizza have something new to celebrate: Check out the mural that just went up on the old Great Escape building on Broadway. The new tenant is Two Boots, which Bites reported on back in January. Thankfully the Two Boots folks didn't follow Chuy's lead — instead, they kept the facade on the subtle side, enlisting help from local artist Sheila B. to paint the namesakes of their most popular slices.

See the mural in its natural, construction-zoned habitat after the jump — we're betting the Dumpster and roofers will probably be out of the way by Two Boots' opening, which is slated for sometime before July 4.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chef Matt Lackey of Flyte Honored as One of 'Young Guns' for 2013

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 2:19 PM

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Last month, Bites reported that Matt Lackey of Flyte World Dining and Wine was one 50 semifinalist chefs from across the nation vying to be named one of Eater's 2013 class of Young Guns.

Today we get word that Lackey made the cut. He's one of only 15 chefs to receive the Young Guns honor, out of more than 2,700 nominees.

According to the announcement from Flyte, he'll fly to Los Angeles this weekend for the Young Guns gala, where he plans to serve a signature dish: Bear Creek Farm culotte steak with beets over embers, macerated strawberry, cherry bark puree and puffed buckwheat. LeeAnn Cherry from Bear Creek will also attend the event, where they’ll both discuss the Tennessee farm scene.

The committee that selected Lackey included such luminaries as Sean Brock, Mario Batali, Paul Kahan and Alice Waters.

“I’m beyond honored that the committee has selected me to be among such an esteemed group of professionals,” Lackey said. “Though I’m young in the industry, I’ve had the opportunity to take risks, sharpen my culinary viewpoint, and make a commitment to the ingredients and preparations that I’m both proud of and inspired by. That couldn’t happen without the opportunity given to me by the team at Flyte, and I’m proud to represent them in this national recognition.”

Lackey's in august young-gun company. Here's the full list from Eater:

Young Guns Class of 2013

• Shion Aikawa, Director of Operations, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Austin, TX
• Mike Brown, Chef/Co-owner, Travail and Pig Ate My Pizza, Robbinsdale, MN
• Alyssa DiPasquale, Manager and Advanced Sake Professional, O Ya, Boston, MA
• Jeremy Hoffman, Chef de Cuisine, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, VA
• Ryan Lachaine, Sous Chef, Underbelly, Houston, TX
• Matt Lackey, Executive Chef, Flyte World Dining and Wine, Nashville, TN
• Jessica Largey, Chef de Cuisine, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
• Mitch Lienhard, Sous Chef, Grace, Chicago, IL
• Jayce McConnell, Bar Program Manager, Snackbar, Oxford, MS
• Brooks Reitz, General Manager, The Ordinary, Charleston, SC
• Alissa Rozos, Pastry Chef, St. Jack, Portland, OR
• Hourie Sahakian, Pastry Chef, Short Cake, Los Angeles, CA
• Mark Schieber, Cook and Kitchen Manager, Forequarter, Madison, WI
• Henri Schock, Proprietor and Wine Director, Bottlehouse, Seattle, WA
• Jason Wang, President, Xi'an Famous Foods, New York, NY

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Taste Taste: Gluten-Free Bread From Common Ground

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

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I know. I know. For a dedicated lover of gluten, I’ve been writing about the freedom from it a lot lately. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I visited the Nashville Farmers' Market on a pleasant Friday and stumbled upon Common Ground. Set up in the rear section of the farm shed, they had a variety of baked goods for sale, including a gluten-free sandwich bread.

The folks who make Common Ground breads operate from a bakery and cafe in Pulaski, Tenn., where they live on what is, essentially, a small religion-based commune. They eagerly offer samples of their fruit breads and other baked goods as well as something they call a “green drink” which has yerba mate harvested from a sister community in Brazil. But I was interested in the gluten-free bread, which looked pretty good.

The bread is made from a combination of garbanzo bean (aka chickpea) flour, other bean flours, potato starch and a number of other natural ingredients to give it the shape and mouthfeel of a standard wheat bread. It’s a small loaf, but weighs nearly 2 pounds. The taste is good, albeit tangy (from the garbanzo beans and apple cider vinegar, I assume), but isn’t exactly like standard bread. Its taste is stronger than a regular bread, so it may not be right for your PB&J, but is perfectly suited for cold cuts, tomatoes, lettuce and other standard sandwich filling. I had Swiss cheese, tomato and arugula on mine, and it was delicious.

I note the weight, though, because it is rather heavy. The texture is quite coarse, and it’s filling. Not a bad thing; just worth noting. There were a couple of pieces that were a bit gummy at the bottom, but they tasted just fine. Because it is free of artificial preservatives, I kept it in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator to prevent it from getting stale or moldy, so I toasted it for my sandwich (which helped the gumminess issue). However, it doesn’t brown like traditional sandwich bread because of the lack of added sugar. But it does crisp nicely.

Overall, the bread is a great choice for those who want/need a certified gluten-free sandwich bread. At $5 per loaf (I think), it’s a bit pricey, but sometimes you just want a sandwich. And if you keep it in the refrigerator or freezer, it will last for quite a while as an occasional treat.

You can find a variety of items from Common Ground, including the yerba mate and energy bars along with gluten-free and specialty breads every Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the farm shed at the Nashville Farmers Market. For more information about their cafe, visit their Facebook page.

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Night Market Returns Downtown, and Here's a Handy Tool to Find More Farmers Markets Across the U.S.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 7:32 AM

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As George Benson famously sang (before most of you whippersnappers were even born), "Give Me the Night!" That's right, Night Market has returned to the Nashville Farmers' Market with the next installment kicking off this Friday, June 21, at 5 p.m. Expect the usual suspects of live music and plenty of food, drinks and fun. The farm side of the market will feature local produce, meats, cheeses and more, while the Market House restaurants and shops will be open special hours with special menus. Some of the Market House merchants who normally sell only on Saturdays will be open especially for Night Market attendees on Friday. The Plant/Crafter/Seasonal shed will also have local delights and special guests, and the Flea Market side will be open to regular merchants. The Grow Local Kitchen will be cooking all night, so plan to drop by and say hello. The fun runs until 8 p.m.

If that's not enough market for you, there's a new website set up by the USDA to help you research farmers markets across the country. Although the site is by no means sexy or exhaustively researched, it's not bad for gub'mint work. If you want a tool to help plan your travel outside of the area or maybe to discover a new small market that you haven't visited yet, then the USDA Market Search tool might do the trick. If you know of a market that isn't listed, you might encourage them to register themselves on the site to help flesh it out a little bit too.

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Local Vendors Help Keep the 'Roonies Dancing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 5:47 AM

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Even though I've lived in Nashville almost my whole life, I have to admit that this past weekend was my first sojourn ever to the peace, love and music experience known as Bonnaroo. Now, I'm not a total prude or anything. I went to college in Northern California where chasing the Dead around from show to show for a week or so every year was the law, not an optional activity. And I've done my share of camping and roughing it, but I like to say that now I've reached the point in my life where I like to have something underneath me when I sleep ... like three stories of a Marriott.

So the opportunity to experience the madness and happiness of the 'Roo on a day pass with access to a parking lot that was 50 minutes door to door from my house seemed like an ideal opportunity to check out the scene. And let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised.

I could go on and on about the music and the crowd, but there are others who can do that much more eloquently and authoritatively than I can. What I was there to see was the quality and logistics of the food operations that keep 80,000-plus revelers fed and alive for a long weekend. When I first looked at the roster of food vendors, I was disappointed to see that no Nashville food trucks had been included in the list of "Food Truck Oasis" participants. But after visiting that site and seeing how difficult it would be to keep up with the workload in an infernally hot aluminum tube like the GastroPod out of Miami, I'm glad that none of my mobile food friends were subjected to that.

Instead, Middle Tennessee represented in the food tents that were scattered across the grounds. Almost as soon as I entered the press gate, I encountered one of three Jim 'N Nick's locations. JNN staff members were serving as support to the pitmaster rock stars of the Fatback Collective, who cooked whole hogs every day and catered the VIP artist dinner on Saturday night. But in addition to helping out the Fatbackers, a team of almost 50 Jim 'N Nick's employees from four Middle Tennessee locations and a few from Charleston also manned their own booths and fed thousands of sandwiches to the hungry 'Roonies each day of the festival.

Molly James runs the West Nashville, Cool Springs, Smyrna and Murfreesboro locations of the barbecue chain, and she knew what she was getting into. "They tell you to plan to serve until 3 a.m. every day, and you don't want to run out. But you don't want to have to hold any food over until morning either." She was able to handle this delicate balance thanks to the efforts of all four of her locations who cooked extra meat for the festival.

It didn't hurt that the Bonnaroo organizers were so helpful either. "They have been so friendly and they really know what they are doing like Johnny on the spot. We got one of our trucks stuck in the mud and they had us towed out in less than 15 minutes with one phone call." With such a huge crowd to feed, there is no time for inefficiency on the festival grounds.

Other Nashville purveyors served more specialized foods. Dan Stephenson of Dan's Gourmet served up ramekins of his amazing mac-and-cheese to long lines of festival goers seeking to carboload. As he scooped for all he was worth, I asked him if he was getting rich. He replied, "Nope, but we're having a blast!" It sure looked like it.

A few booths down was the crew from Swagruha at the Nashville Farmers' Market, who were attending their fourth Bonnaroo as a vendor. Lines were long for their excellent selection of curries and dosa meals. I checked in with them after the festival was over and they sounded relieved to be home after such a busy weekend which was mercifully not as hot as last year.

Also at the 'Roo: Frothy Monkey. On Friday afternoon Jeff Gibbs and Khalil Davis were spotted as the friendly faces serving up iced coffee and bottled water to folks seeking a pep-up before an epic night of Wu Tang Clan, Paul McCartney, ZZ Top, Animal Collective, Pretty Lights and more.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pie It Forward: Free Pie in Downtown Nashville Tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 3:43 PM

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  • OccuPIEWednesdays on Facebook
Nashville is about to be the latest stop for a duo of self-described "weirdo/do-gooders" who are traveling across the United States distributing free homemade pie.

Sarah Fertig emailed Bites with a link to the Facebook event page for the Nashville installment of OccuPIE Wednesdays, a gathering titled Pie It Forward Nashville.

Fertig and her boyfriend Chris Kovac intend to set up at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, June 19) in Church Street Park across from the library downtown, giving out free homemade apple crumb-top pie. "Donations of extra food to share, forks, paper plates, and plain old cash always welcome but not required," says the Facebook announcement.

Here's a news account of OccuPIE from their hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich. OccuPIE has a social-action component in its pie giveaway, explained in the manifesto on the Pie It Forward blog.

It seems to boil down to a call for kindness and delicious pie, while stressing that each human being's accomplishments' are the product of many other other people's hard work and inspiration over the years. Fertig's manifesto says:

So even though I put the final product together, untold millions of people have helped to make this pie possible. That’s why I’m happy to share it with ANYONE who has less pie or no pie. And all I ask in return is that if I’m sharing the pie I made with you, please try to learn how to bake pies yourself, so that someday you too may share pie with someone who has less.

The OccuPIE manifesto cites U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's "factory speech" on the campaign trail two years ago as a major inspiration. "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody," Warren said. "Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

The speech made Warren a hero to many; she was denounced as a "crackpot socialist" by others. She won the election.

Pay it forward, pie it forward. Get it? If you wish to support OccuPIE (or just eat pie), check out the festivities tomorrow.

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NY Post Gets Nashville Chefs to Name Their Favorite Off-the-Beaten-Path Dishes

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

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It's always nice when Nashville gets noticed by the national media. (Well, maybe some locals don't agree with that statement, given the joking "Nashville's not really cool; all y'all outsiders stay home!" comments that popped up on a recent Hollywood Reporter story about Nashville.)

But a lot of the national news stories about Nashville — which as I'm sure you've heard, The New York Times called America's new "It City" — are pretty dull and repetitive, name-checking the same restaurants over and over again.

On the other hand, the New York Post , under the headline "Nashville’s cookin’ — Music City hums with star chefs and fantastic food" recently took a more novel and informative approach: asking some of Nashville's best chefs what they like to eat in our town.

For example, the venerable Deb Paquette of Etch praises the Jeyukgui Bakban (described as sliced pork in a spicy sauce) at Korea House on Charlotte Pike. Tandy Wilson of City House, famous for his many skills including wrangling Southern pork (like the house-made belly ham on his wood-fired pizza), proclaims his love for the vegetarian Indian cuisine at Woodlands. In particular he names Woodlands' Gobi Manchurian (cauliflower fritters).

Check out the full story here.

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Cookbook Review: The Big Book of Gluten-Free Recipes

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 7:41 AM

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This week’s edition of Cooking the Books has another specialty diet book crossing my desk. The Big Book of Gluten-Free Recipes by Kimberly Tessmer is exactly that, too. It’s probably the most apt and direct book title I’ve seen in quite some time. Weighing in somewhere around 4 pounds, I think, it’s got more than 500 recipes crammed inside. There’s a short introductory chapter and then right into the recipes.

In that first chapter, Tessmer, a registered dietitian, gives a brief overview of what gluten-free is and why people are choosing the diet. Like anyone’s diet, the author notes that a gluten-free diet isn’t automatically healthy. Plenty of unhealthy foods are gluten-free, and the key to a healthy diet is balance and nutrition. Tessmer notes that many people get their fiber from wheat products, so people who eat a gluten-free diet need to ensure they eat enough fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and other GF foods that are high in fiber.

The next 14 chapters helpfully divide the recipes up among meal type, and among the entrees, by protein/vegetarian. So there are plenty of recipes to make the book worthwhile, despite any dietary restriction other than gluten.

To get the most out of the book, however, you need to already have a base knowledge of the most popular gluten-free specialty ingredients. The one glaring omission of the book (in my opinion) was the lack of a section on properly stocking a gluten-free pantry. For example, as I was perusing the book (back to front, as I usually do), the recipe for Orange Cornmeal Cookies caught my eye, but the required ingredients included corn flour and xanthan gum, so I skipped it. I have been meaning to get some xanthan gum for other recipes, but what am I gonna do with a bag of corn flour? But as I was looking further (Vegetable Lasagna Primavera), I noticed that corn flour on the ingredient list had masa harina next to it in parentheses. Oh. I do have that!

Overall, I think this would be a great book for anyone who’s looking to get more creative with their gluten-free cooking. All of us can get in a rut, so it’s nice to have some inspiration. And in this huge volume of recipes, there’s plenty.

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Taste of Music City Invades Downtown for 11th Year

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 5:46 AM

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It's that time of year when eating and drinking outside becomes something worth pursuing. If it happens to be on a public street, so much the better. (I regularly judge the civility of a city based on their attitude toward public alcohol consumption.) This weekend the 11th annual Nissan Taste of Music City will feature over 40 food vendors and almost 20 beer, wine and spirits in tasting tables spread all over Riverfront Park.

The event will run from 5 to 9 p.m. this Saturday, June 22. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The District, a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to economic and community revitalization of three historic districts and their contiguous areas in downtown Nashville; Broadway, Secondd Avenue/Riverfront and Printers Alley.

In addition to all that food and drink, there will also be music to entertain the tasters, so plan to make an evening of it. Tickets are still available for $45 in advance; they will be $55 if any remain on the day of the event. Head here to take advantage of the early bird special.

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