Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Paella Party! Learn Technique, Sip Wine With Lisa Mays and Natchez Hills

Posted By on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 5:52 AM

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Lisa Mays was an avid food and wine blogger and frequent commenter here at Bites before she moved away to the Hill Country near Austin for a year. Now she's back in town with a new business, paella parties. Now I haven't found a good paella in Nashville since Zola's closed, so I'm enthused about the idea of Lisa bringing her monster-sized paella pan to my house (or even better, somebody else's so I don't have to clean up) and mixing up a big batch of that seafood-rich Spanish treat while teaching all about the history and preparation of paella. She'll even leave you with the recipe.

If this intrigues you, Lisa is planning an event at Natchez Hills Vineyard this Sunday, July 28, starting at 3 p.m. For just $20, you'll get to sample the wines of Natchez Hills and enjoy a shrimp, mussels, chicken, clams and chorizo paella. That sounds like a heck of a bargain to me and worth the hour-and-a-quarter drive from downtown Nashville.

The cost is $20 per person plus tax, and seats are limited. Call the winery at 931-285-2500 or go to the website to reserve your spot.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

More Music City Eats Details Released

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM

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Since Dana first broke the news of the upcoming Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival, there have been lots of questions about the details. As a first-time festival, it's understandable that the organizers are crossing some of the T's as they go along, releasing more information as the the event (Sept. 21-22) approaches. Nashvillians were pleased to see a smattering of local chefs added to the roster soon after the initial announcement of participants that mainly featured national celebrichefs and FOKOLs (Friends of Kings of Leon.)

While the FOKOLs are certainly impressive — folks like John Besh, John Currence,Tom Colicchio, Giada De Laurentiis, Mike Lata, Ed Lee, Donald Link, Tim Love, Aaron Sanchez, Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo, Michael Symon and Jonathan Waxman — this is, after all, a Music City event, so the more local chefs included, the better. A major portion of both days of the festival will be dedicated to "Flavors of Nashville," which will feature many of our local favorites. Here's the official announcement:

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Get 'The Drop' on Online Grocery Ordering and Delivery

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 7:29 AM

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You may remember Plumgood Food, the grocery delivery service that had a good run in town during the middle of the Aughts. Ultimately, the economic downturn hammered them in 2008 and led them to close down at the end of that year.

Now a new service called The Drop has stepped into the space. they describe their model as your "personal grocery shopping and delivery service that simplifies your to-do list and gives you your weekends back. We strive to choose the freshest foods available and deliver them within hours of purchase. Our goal is to bring the local grocery store to you, plain and simple".

The company even promises to help you with your menu planning with an online recipe depository and meal planner coming soon. They have chosen some of Nashville's favorite shopping destinations to source from, and their fees seem pretty reasonable for a busy Nashvillian on the go who doesn't want to spend time pushing a cart around. Here's how it works:

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Menu and Team Expand at The Food Company in Green Hills

Posted By on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 5:53 AM

Smoky Chicken Club from The Food Company
  • Smoky Chicken Club from The Food Company
The Food Company has been a Green Hills tradition and favorite lunch location since Jackie Daniel first opened it 15 years ago, but there have been so many good changes of late, it's probably worth a new look. While Daniel is still involved in the business where she created a cult following with her inventive menu of addictive sandwiches and salads and her personal approach to her clientele, she has turned over some of the daily restaurant operations to Strategic Hospitality to help re-energize Food and Company. That's right, the same folks behind The Catbird Seat are now in the chicken salad biz, and they definitely know not to mess with that chicken salad recipe!

Lunchtime stalwarts like that chicken salad, the tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich are still on the menu, but The Food Company has employed experienced Nashville restaurant professional Molly Martin to retool and expand the offerings. For example, the consistent popularity of the grilled cheese has evolved into a whole section of the menu called the "Melt Shop." Now you can find variations like the Frenchie (with gruyere and caramelized onions on farm bread) and the Eduardo (with muenster, roasted poblanos, avocados and black bean salad) to give new options to the original cheese melt. Whenever possible, Martin has crafted sandwiches that feature regional farm-fresh ingredients like the Sweetwater Valley Farms cheddar and Benton's bacon that join smoked gouda and a delicious tomato jam on the Big Smokey.

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The Weekly Open Thread: What Do You Think of Stevia?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 4:33 AM

Stevia, I dont believe ya
  • Stevia, I don't believe ya
I've tried a couple of different drinks sweetened with stevia recently, and I have to say, I really don't like it. I know it's supposed to be a naturally derived sweetener with zero calories, but it tastes weird and synthetic to me. It doesn't taste any better than aspartame as far as I can tell, though it may be better for you.

In fairness, I never drink any diet sodas or drinks, because I don't like the taste of most artificial sweeteners, either. And I'm not a big soda drinker anyway. I do like ginger ale (Canada Dry is my preferred brand) and the occasional Mexican Coke. And I can see if you are someone who is trying to lose weight, a more natural alternative to zero-calorie sweeteners is a good thing.

But it ain't for me.

What say ye, Bitesters? Stevia yea, or stevia nay?

And what else is going on?

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summertime Peach Porn

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Oh yeah, its on, baby!
  • Oh yeah, it's on, baby!

Singer-songwriter Jeff Finlin was a fixture on the local music scene a decade ago, before he decided to pack his bags and move to Colorado. But the South just kept calling his name, in no small part, because of our more — excuse the pun — fruitful peach season. So in April, he moved back to Nashville. Read Jeff's lusty ode to the ultimate summertime fruit below, and check out more about his new album My Moby Dick and book of poetry Time Less Travel here. And here's a Critics' Pick about Finlin's album release show in May.

Note to reader: Even though fruit is the name given to those plants which have an ovary used for food, and throughout history the peach has been a frequent metaphor for the female genitalia, in no way during the course of this writing can the peach be misconstrued as such. In other words, if that’s what you are thinking, you are the one with the dirty mind.

The first bite of the season is always the most sensuous. The anticipation is heart-stopping. As the first bit of furry delight tickles your upper lip you can almost taste the orgy of nature’s promise before it hits your taste buds and washes down the back of your throat. You’ve been waiting all year for this bounty of your longing. You pierce the skin and the juices explode. As they drip down your chin the pleasure is almost unimaginable. The mind is overpowered by the connection to the flesh of nature itself. You can taste the sweetness; the satisfaction. The sunshine bursts through your head. Intertwined, you can taste the energy squirting back on itself. You moan with delight. It’s a miracle. The edge of the cosmos is at hand, and you feel you can just go ahead and die now. It’s like prom night minus the back seat of that '72 Maverick.

It’s love … yes??

No.

It’s the first summer peach.

Continue reading »

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Two Food and Drink-Related Charitable Events Report Record Results

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 5:54 AM

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The Nashville food and drink community is incredibly generous when it comes to charitable events, both the restaurants that participate and the diners that contribute. As many events as we announce here at Bites, you all never let us down when it comes to supporting good causes.

Dining Out for Life is a particularly popular fundraiser here in town that has benefited Nashville Cares thanks to the largesse of Music City restaurants and diners for more than a decade. On a personal note, I was one of the chairs of this year's event and I was absolutely blown away by the generosity of the restaurants that participated and the thousands of people who made it a point to eat out on a Tuesday night to help Cares support people living with HIV in Middle Tennessee.

I certainly don't want to claim any more responsibility for this year's results (other than the three meals I personally ate out that day), but 2013 was a record year for DOFL. In fact, the event blew past every single goal the organization set for this year, raising more than $160,000 from 73 participating restaurants! The largest money-raisers were Arnold Myint's restaurants blvd nashville and PM, in addition to his co-owned restaurant Suzy Wong's House of Yum, also owned by David Taylor, Keith Blaydes, Joey Brown and Todd Roman, which brought in more than $16,000 during the night of DOFL and through an extremely well-attended Sunday brunch at blvd. Thanks to all the patrons and restaurants who took part in this year's DOFL.

Another big event was New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat, which brought together 5,000 people in Centennial Park last month, with more than 1,200 of them participating in the fun and wacky bike parade.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pickings Are Plentiful Now at Bernie Ellis' Blueberry Farm

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Not Bernie Ellis blueberries, but a close facsimile.
  • Not Bernie Ellis' blueberries, but a close facsimile.
Need blueberries? Let Bernie Ellis be your huckleberry. His farm in nearby Santa Fe (pronounced "fee") is loaded with organic berries, and if you're looking for an outing with the kids in the weeks before school starts back up, this seems a golden chance to fill a few buckets in bright sunshine.

More from Bernie:

My organic blueberry farm (picked as the model operation by the UT School of Agriculture in 2012) is overflowing with ripe, sweet and bountiful berries NOW. My farm is in northwest Maury County, about 12 miles south of Leiper's Fork. I allow folks to pick by appointment only, and I am happy to schedule folks from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

My berries are $15/gallon U-pick and $25/gallon if I pick and deliver them to Nashville and surrounding areas. My berries are now being featured in Martha Stamps' catering operation and are attracting loads of pickers who appreciate fresh organic fruit. I need loads more pickers NOW. For more information or to schedule a visit, call me at 931/682-2864.

If you want to know the story behind Bernie's farm, and the woman whose legacy he continues, click here. It's a memorable story, made even more significant by this one.

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Enjoy a Whiskey Weekend at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 7:41 AM

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If you're looking for a staycation opportunity, the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel has a great idea for you. Taking advantage of the recent fascination with all things whiskey, they have created "Whiskey Weekends," a chance to enjoy a two-night stay at the property accompanied with a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Nashville's newest distilleries.

With the recent remodeling of both Mason's Bar and Mason's Restaurant, Loews has introduced a nice whiskey motif to their decor and menus. The new cocktail list features many products from local distilleries ad might just prompt you to see where these are made. Now here's your chance.

According to the Loews Facebook page:

Experience the art of distilling with an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at Nashville's notable distilleries: SPEAKEasy Spirits, featuring Whisper Creek and Collier and McKeel Handcrafted Tennessee Whiskey, Corsair Artisan Distillery and Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey.

Your 2-night stay at Loews Vanderbilt also includes two complimentary libations in Mason's Nashville, Nashville's newest late-night spot. On Saturday afternoon, they'll take care of the transportation on the 4-hour distillery tour.

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Inaugural Bellevue Farmer's Market This Friday Evening

Posted By on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 at 5:58 AM

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One of the nicest trends I’ve seen in Nashville recently is the popularity of neighborhood farmers markets. I love the Nashville Farmers' Market, but there are many people who are more likely to shop farmers markets if they’re more conveniently located. Markets in Franklin, Donelson, Hendersonville, East Nashville, Vanderbilt and South Nashville as well as two in West Nashville mean that more and more people have access to farm fresh food, often directly from the farmer.

And now there’s good news for the people of Bellevue. Though those in the westernmost parts of Bellevue have access to McNeil’s Produce Stand out on Highway 100 (just past the Loveless Cafe/Natchez Trace Parkway), those in the eastern portion will be happy to hear there’s a farmers market starting this Friday, July 19, at Bellevue United Methodist Church on Old Harding Pike.

The market is being organized by Elizabeth and Robert Spinelli of Perl and will be held on Friday evenings from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., a time determined to be the most convenient for the area, the farmers/vendors and to avoid conflicts with popular Saturday morning markets.

Among the vendors who will set up at the Bellevue Farmers Market are Walnut Hills Farm, Circle T Farm, Clover Cove Farm, Mary Alice's Organic Lemonade, Basil and Bergamot Flower Farm, Naturally Yummy, G&G Family Dairy/Tennessee Real Milk, Ann Marie's Artisan Bakery, Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese, Kerfluffles Marshmallows, The Peach Truck, Sylvan Meadows Farm and Perl.

Vendors are still being added to the roster, and organizers are seeking additional vendors as well. If you or someone you know is interested in selling at the market, please email bellevuefarmmarket [at] gmail.com. Booth fees are “low” and a portion will go to the Bellevue Food Bank.

For the latest information, follow the Bellevue Farmers Market on Facebook.

Bellevue Farmer's Market
Bellevue United Methodist Church
7501 Old Harding Pike
Fridays, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. now through October

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