Midtown’s “Salute to Julia Child” runs Aug. 1-18, featuring some of the classic French dishes that Child popularized, like vichyssoise, duck a l’orange and Nicoise salad. Some of the dishes will continue to be offered from Aug. 19 through Sept. 1 as part of Nashville Originals Restaurant Week.
Ten percent of proceeds from the Julia Child menu will benefit the scholarship fund at Nashville State Community College’s Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts.
A version of this story appeared in my Food Biz column in the print edition of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post.
New this year will be an "Iron Cocktail" competition on Wednesday, which will feature Nashville mixologists preparing cocktails using one of my personal favorites, Four Roses. A very special event will take place on Thursday night, Sept. 12, as festival attendees will have the opportunity to taste some rare and antique whiskeys that just cannot be found on the shelves of your favorite liquor store or tavern. Don't tell Steve Cavendish, but Pappy Van Winkle will be represented at this tasting, perhaps the entire portfolio. As a bonus, Porter Road Butcher will be providing the snacks that evening.
The Nashville Whiskey Festival will reprise last year's "Women in Whiskey" panel discussion on Friday night. FIve of the industry's most highly regarded female representatives will share their unique perspective of this traditionally male-dominated business. Saturday is reserved for a VIP Tasting and then the Grand Tasting at the Country Music Hall of Fame, home to all of the events at this year's festival. VIPs will get a head start on the rest of the tasters at the event and will have a chance to participate in a special tasting of the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg scotch portfolios. Patel expects around 70 different distilleries to be represented at the Grand Tasting, so come thirsty.
I expect many of these events to sell out, so get on the stick and buy your tickets today. For a full listing of events and pricing, head to the official ticketing page.
Diners were led into the depths of a windowless building, illuminated by worklights until we were greeted by a cozy room set with three tables, a kitchen prep area and a delightful cocktail punch prepared by Jon Yeager of PourTaste. After a convivial half-hour reception, we all sat down to non-assigned seats to make new friends and experience new flavors.
The five-course meal featured food inspired by Chef Robert's grandma, including some absolutely delicious salted cod fritters as a first course. Some of the diners at my table were apprehensive about the braised pig tails and beef tongue on the menu, but to a number they all raved about those dishes. Considering that the entrees were necessarily prepared in Dinnerlab's commissary kitchen and then plated onsite, the freshness of the flavors was even more impressive. The arrangement also meant the pace of the meal was excellent, and all the food was served hot and efficiently.
Each course was accompanied by a cocktail, beer or wine pairing; each was very appropriate for the dishes. By the time we reached the Tembleque, a sort of coconut flan served with rum-spiked peaches and candied sesame seeds, the sold-out dinner was deemed a real success by all assembled.
Now, it's important to note a few things. First of all, this was Dinnerlab's primary chef, who knows exactly how to pull off these sort of pop-ups under a variety of conditions, but all the staff ran the dinner like clockwork. Will they be able to operate as efficiently when the chef is a line cook from a Nashville restaurant who has never attempted anything like this before? It remains to be seen, but that's part of the fun of being a Dinnerlab menu!
Culinarily, Zac is quite the foodie. I even saw him at Husk with several band members the first night I ate there, so he obviously has good taste. Zac and his executive chef Rusty Hamlin have put together quite an impressive roster of food options for festival attendees. The star guest chef is Top Chef, James Beard and Food and Wine best new chef winner Stephanie Izard of The Girl and the Goat in Chicago. Other guest chefs include Giuseppe Tentori from Chicago and Shon Foster from Utah. Gary Valentine from the World Brewing Academy will be serving as the beer sommelier for festival attendees who opt for the Saturday VIP Foodie experience.
The package, which costs $499 and includes your festival ticket, offers all sorts of amenities for those who wish to emphasize the food in addition to the bands. Tickets for the VIP Foodie Experience are only available via phone at 1-877-4FLYTIX (1-877-435-9849). Here's what you get for the upgrade, from the event announcement:
• Celebrity chef cooking demos and samplings featuring Stephanie Izard’s Illinois Farmed Sloppy Goat Sandwiches and Giuseppe Tentori’s Oyster PoBoy Sliders with Kimchi and Peanuts.
• Indoor, intimate afternoon experience hosted by Southern Ground Executive Chef Rusty Hamlin at the Listening Room Cafe Stage.
• Unique craft beer pairings by expert Beer Sommelier Gary Valentine and featured wine offerings to complement each dish.
• "S'Mores School' with Chef Shon Foster featuring his twist on the dessert favorite including handcrafted ingredients such as homemade flavored marshmallows and organic, dark chocolate salt-cured bacon.
Ticket includes Saturday admission to the Festival and the Saturday VIP Foodie Tent.
• Access to the SATURDAY VIP FOODIE TENT: Enjoy the performances from an exclusive Foodie VIP Tent with elevated viewing deck with amazing views of the Main Stage.
• Complimentary catered food and full bar.
• Comfortable covered lounge area.
• Air-conditioned private restrooms, cellphone charging stations and HDTV screens to enjoy your favorite football games.
Yeah, this might seem pricey, but when you compare it the cost of a club seat at a Titans game ($258) and then add in what you could spend on food and drink watching a three-hour football game, suddenly a whole day and night of music, drink, food and fun doesn't seem quite so outrageous. But don't feel like you have to go big or go home.
Music City Tippler is an offshoot of a very successful operation located in the Chelsea Market in Manhattan. The original Tippler is renowned for their dedication to craft cocktails, fine food and classical architectural elements. The Tippler team aims to replicate the gestalt here in Music City with a lengthy cocktail menu of creative libations, American Rotisserie cuisine and a decor highlighted by a 100-year-old mahogany bar, a 300-year-old Italian painting, old railroad ties, walls covered in wood from salvaged water towers, and a stage built out of a 120-year-old barn.
I was fortunate enough to take a sneak peek last week, and from the looks of it, they may have a hit on their hands. The huge interior, which was a bane to the ambiance of the previous restaurant operations, has been cleverly utilized to create three separate areas for drinking and eating. The main dining room is illuminated by Edison bulbs suspended above the tables to create a speakeasy vibe that is an appropriate adjunct to the ornate bar area. The food and drink menus have not been finalized yet, but from what I've heard from local liquor distributors, Music City Tippler plans to feature ingredients that are rarely found in Nashville bars. They are also planning to install a draft cocktail system, which is all the rage in higher-end drinking establishments across the country.
The upstairs section of Music City Tippler is full of comfortable sofas and chairs to create a nice loungy feel, and there's even a bar shufflepuck table up there to occupy your time between drinks. I'm a fan! At FIsh and Co., the downstairs dining area always felt really cut off from the action, but that certainly won't be the case at Music City Tippler. A new bar has been constructed down there along with a small stage to house entertainment. Upstairs patrons will be able to catch all the action from the mezzanine thanks to a balcony that overlooks the stage.
Recently, Alexandra of Sweet Betweens wrote about her visit as did Kira over at Cook, Pray Love and Adrien at Food is a Good Thing. And frequent Bites commenter Tracey, too. Sheesh! I have other friends who’ve been as well, so I have it on good authority that great things come from there.
So obviously, I was interested in trying out Roots Organic's products. I figured I'd get a coupon or two, but no, they sent me their entire line of hummus to try. Eight different flavors! Granted, it's really easy to make a good hummus at home, but I rarely do. Usually only for parties because most recipes have a large yield. A lot of commercial hummus is rather bland, though. Not Roots Organic. They consider themselves “the microbrew of hummus” because it's made in small batches with care. And it’s evident from the taste.
The first I tried was the one that was most unusual: Thai coconut curry. I was dubious, but holy cow, that stuff was good. I took it (and a few other flavors) with me to “tailgate” before a recent show at the amphitheater at Fontanel, and though all flavors got the thumbs-up, the unanimous favorite was the Thai coconut curry. The flavor is not bold, but not subtle either, and the coconut really comes through. It’s not spicy; it had just the right amount of curry. I checked with the company and it’s available at both Whole Foods locations (Green Hills and on McEwen in Franklin). The Turnip Truck also carries this brand, but you might want to request this flavor next time you stop in if you’re on the East Side.
Other flavors were the plain, oil-free (half the fat!), spinach, roasted garlic, black bean, roasted red pepper, extra hot chipotle. Every flavor was better than just about any store-bought hummus I’ve had. I even liked the chipotle, which had a real kick to it from the pepper, but still a really great taste.
As indicated by their name, the most of the hummus ingredients (including the primary ingredients of each) are organic. All are also vegan and gluten-free. Roots Organic products are available locally at Whole Foods, The Turnip Truck, and Sunshine Nutrition Center.
One example of what they are doing to turn this bedroom community and bastion of airport hotels into a real community is the establishment of the Hip Donelson Farmers Market which sets up at the Fifty Forward property at 108 Donelson Pike from 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday from May until October. Scenester Elizabeth Jones (who makes all of our prose look better by distracting y'all with her award-winning graphic design) first told us here at Bites about the market last summer.
Since then, the roster of farmers and purveyors has expanded even further to include some old favorites as well as names I don't know that I've seen before at the other markets I visit around town. There's even a guy giving chair massages for $1 a minute to work out all the stress that the workweek may have deposited in your shoulders. Talk about a happy hour!
Another fun feature is that the market sponsors cooking demonstrations throughout the hours that they are open. Locals share recipes and create dishes showcasing ingredients that can be found at the Hip Donelson Market, so visitors can go home with the instructions and ingredients to recreate the dish at home. Plus, did I mention free samples?!
In what might prove to be a questionable decision, they have asked me to do the demo this Friday, Aug. 2, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. I'll be re-creating a recipe out my book, The Southern Foodie, so I can guarantee you that it will be good. The reason that I'm so certain is that the recipe for the Watermelon and Tomato Salad that I am preparing comes from one of my favorite Southern chefs ever, Bill Smith of Crook's Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Another source of confidence is the fact that since this salad is best served really cold, I'll actually be making the samples that I feed y'all at home in my own kitchen and not having to depend on the camp stoves of the demo space. I have nothing but admiration for chefs that can cook under time pressure in makeshift kitchens, but I sure do prefer the comfort of my own house when I have to cook for 200 people.
So come to the Hip Donelson Market this Friday and do some shopping for the weekend. You'll have at least two opportunities to watch me attempt to not cut my fingers off and enjoy a nice sample of a great recipe. Hecklers are welcome, but not anonymous comment trolls. 8^) I hope to put some Bites commenter's faces to names and aliases, so make sure to introduce yourself.
Sure, you'll see folks wearing suits at lunch, but you're also likely to encounter Hutton guests dressed for an afternoon of sightseeing and site-seeing around town, or a schlubby food writer like me meeting friends for lunch. Since 1808 Grille wants to attract even more locals, they've put together a meal deal for the rest of the summer to encourage Nashvillians to avail themselves of the free parking (!) while dining and give the restaurant a try.
Until Sept. 5, the Summer Special dinner menu features three-course meals with your choice from three small plates, large plates and sweets. For only $30, it's a heck of a deal! One caveat, the offer is not available on Friday or Saturday night, so don't plan a weekend date around this particular deal.
1808 West End Ave.
According to the official announcement: "Riffs Food Truck Jam offers a wide, open space for attendees with ample parking. Live music by local and emerging bands and songwriters will round out the all-ages event. A rotating lineup of Nashville Food Truck Association members will offer a variety of food offerings for purchase."
There's no admission fee for the event, which kicked off earlier this month.
Here's lineup for tonight, Friday, July 26, according to the Riffs page on Facebook:
Riffs Fine Street Food
Sum Yum Yum
Music City Pie Co.
Slow Hand Coffee
Two Guys in a Lunch Box
The Mobile Chef
Not unlike satellite tournaments where contestants can earn a seat and an entry fee for the World Series of Poker, there are lots of qualifying events for the World Food Championships. Nashvillian Mark Medlin recently won the Bull Burger Battle in Indianapolis, earning himself a coveted qualifying position to compete amongst the best cooks and chefs in the world for a part of a whopping $300,000 prize purse.
The Bull Burger Battle Indianapolis (which took place at the Family Leisure store there), is the fourth of five burger cook-offs to qualify the best burger cooks in five local markets to compete in the WFC. By winning the Bull Burger Battle, Mark Medlin also took home a premium Bull Outdoor Angus grill worth more than $2,500 and a free trip to Las Vegas for the main event.
So bummed Nuvo is leaving W Nash 'cause I will really miss that turkey/cranberry burrito,…
Provence makes a top split roll that would be perfect for that sandwich!
I'm looking forward to Boone & Sons, which the Wild & Local folks are opening…
I can see what everyone is saying. I guess what bothers me most about the…
@GrilledCheeserie, that's great news! We will do our best to be there!