• At the other end of the dining spectrum — our end — Cracker Barrel serves up Thanksgiving dinner for $9.99 per person ($4.99 for kids) starting at 11 a.m. Or serve up to six with Thanksgiving takeout for $54.99 — just make sure you give 24 hours' notice.
• Ellendale's (2739 Old Elm Hill Pike, 884-0171) will have its Thanksgiving buffet available 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; cost is $31.95 plus beverage.
• The downtown Hilton (121 Fourth Ave. S., 620-2178) provides a buffet of roasted turkey, steamship ham, prime rib, a seafood station with smoked salmon and jumbo shrimp, and a "special children's buffet." Adults $46, children 7-12 $14; children under 6 eat free. Reservations recommended.
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• Sick to death of seasonal fare? Kiss turkey goodbye at the Indian buffets at Bombay Palace (2912 West End, 321-6140), Sitar (116 21st Ave. N., 321-8889), the recently opened Taj (3943 Nolensville Road, 750-3490) or their vegetarian counterpart Woodlands (3415 West End, 463-3005).
In this week's print edition of the Scene I reviewed The 404 Kitchen. Chef Matt Bolus — formerly the sous at Flyte and the chef at Watermark — has put together an extremely impressive restaurant wedged inside a shipping container stuck onto the front of an upcoming boutique hotel.
A couple of things that didn't make the final piece ...
— I'm fascinated by Bolus' Italian outlook on food. When he calls his dishes "uncomplicated," what he's talking about is a highly technical, yet non-French way of approaching a menu. There are few if any sauces, and the preparations tend to be very straightforward. When most of us think Italian, we think red-and-white checkerboard tablecloths and chicken parmesan. This is much more in line with the work Philip Krajeck is doing at Rolf and Daughters, but with fewer pasta offerings.
— There's no reclaimed barnwood in the place, which was nice. I was having coffee with someone a few weeks ago who argued that "Barnwood" should be its own category of restaurant: reclaimed wood on the walls, farm-to-table on the menu, etc. The next restaurant that opens as a Southern food place with all of these trappings should just lean into it and call itself "Barnwood 8" and leave R.E.M. on repeat in the background. Take a break, Barnwood 8, you've been on this shift too long ...
— As I was enjoying the meals there I kept thinking this is the kind of place Nashville needs to add if it's going to have a truly great dining scene. It's got a chef with a pretty strong point of view, the food is executed with a high degree of technique and care, and it's a completely unpretentious experience.
Some friends-and-family preview events will start this Monday, with the restaurant officially launching the following Friday. A reservations number, 615-292-7766, is expected to go live this Friday, Nov. 29, at 10 a.m.
Josephine, a sister restaurant to Pontes' Burger Up down the street, is one of the more anticipated openings of the year. Located at 2316 12th Ave. S., it fills a prominent space in the new 12 South Flats apartment and retail development.
Meanwhile, Pontes and her business partner Jim Lewis are working to open another restaurant, Prima, on the ground floor of Terrazzo in the Gulch. When I talked to Pontes earlier this month, she said Prima was shooting for an opening sometime in mid-2014.
And cornbread is probably the only way they did eat corn, since most natives ate what we now call “flint corn,” which is part of a category known as “field corn.” These days, field corn is used for animal feed, oil, and meal/flour. What we eat as whole kernel or "corn on the cob" is a category of varieties known as sweet corn, which came into existence in the 18th century as a hybridization of field corn.
And both field corn and sweet corn are different from popcorn. That’s right; popcorn is a different variety of corn from the corn you eat on the cob and what the farmed animals are eating. You can try to pop other types of corn, but it probably won't happen, due to the different makeup of what's inside the hull (moisture and starch levels).
Popcorn — though also a type of field corn originally — is now its own category of corn and even has its own two subcategories: mushroom and butterfly (physical descriptors of the popped kernels). The butterfly style is most popular with movie theaters. The mushroom style is most popular for caramel corn. I recently learned all of these facts when having a — let’s say — discussion with my husband. Incidentally, he was the one who was right. All I knew about corn was that some is white (and the dried hulls tend to be softer) and some is yellow (which, to me is the more flavorful of corns). There was obviously so much more to know about corn. I should never have argued; I come from cotton country.
Anyway, there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about corn (or perhaps never cared to know). File this away as useful dinner conversation when your uncle, cousin or grandmother inevitably brings up Obamacare or “when are you going to get married/have kids?” at the dinner table. Buy some extra conflict-free time by trying to pop some sweet corn and report back your results.
First of all, unlike most places, the blvd holiday happy hour is every night of the week except Sunday, and stretches from 2 to 7 p.m. That's a window I can hit. The structure of the deal is that you can pick any two items off of the list below for just $8, and the offer includes both food and drink.
Blvd Holiday Happy Hour
Pick any two items for $8
House Red/White Wine
BLVD Fries (small)
Cup of Soup du Jour
Petit Caesar Salad
Pate du Campagne
Pimento Cheese Melt
Hot Chicken Bites
Crab Cake w/Arugula
Saigon Steak Skewers
Mac n’ Cheese
If you can't find something you like on that long list, then you're just too hard to shop for...
Speaking of the holidays, as an homage to A Christmas Story, Myint will keep Suzy Wong's House of Yum open on Christmas Day for anyone whose turkey gets stolen by the Bumpus hounds.
PM and blvd will also be open on Christmas. For New Year's Eve, blvd will actually take reservations, which is unusual for that restaurant, and will be serving prixe fixe meals of three and five courses.
It's the project of Patrick Burke of Seed Hospitality, best-known for Zumi Sushi in Hillsboro Village, and his business partner, chef Jason McConnell (Red Pony, 55 South, Cork and Cow), who will be Two Ten Jack's culinary director. Running Two Ten Jack's kitchen will be another familiar face, Jessica Benefield, most recent winner of the Scene's Iron Fork competition and former executive chef at Virago.
Burke says Two Ten Jack is unlike anything we've ever seen in Nashville. "It's our interpretation of an izakaya, a very informal, unpretentious neighborhood gathering spot, with authentic cuisine, handcrafted cocktails and gourmet ramen."
Izakayas were traditionally sake joints that served snacks, so libations are naturally a big part of the concept.
You've likely heard of turducken — a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a turkey. Well, that fowl lover's dream (some might say a foul lover's dream) is gaining popularity on Thanksgiving tables. And it has its roots in a long history of weird hybrid animal foodstuffs.
In fact, we have a photo of a turducken predecessor, courtesy of The Atlantic, that some folks here at Bites headquarters found quite disturbing — so much so that we have decided to post it after the jump. Vegans, vegetarians, even carnivores with weak stomachs may want to refrain from looking. But you know you just have to click that "Continue reading" link. It's beckoning you ...
The tour will kick off at M.L. Rose in Melrose a little before noon (the website gives the improbably exact time of 11:50, so you might want to show up a little earlier than that), and then makes a couple of stops before the bus settles at Craft Brewed for the feast. Pack your potluck contributions to travel.
There will be tours and tastings along the way and some drink specials to stretch your beer-spending dollars. Here's the schedule:
Thanksgiving Leftovers Brew Bus
Depart from M.L. Rose West
Yazoo Brewing Co. — Tour and tasting
Tennessee Brew Works — Tour and tasting
Craft Brewed Nashville — Family style leftovers meal. Buy one pint, get one free
The Black Abbey Brewing Co. — Tour and tasting
End at M.L. West — First pint free!
All participants must be 21 or older. No exceptions.
There are still a few spots left on the bus, so grab a buddy and sign up here.
Over the weekend, a patron at the Pit and Barrel bar and restaurant on Second Avenue South downtown was fatally shot; police say bar owner Chris Ferrell, 44, admitted to shooting musician Wayne Mills, claiming the killing was self-defense. Police say the investigation continues into the slaying early Saturday morning, though no charges have yet been filed.
In a weird twist, Pit and Barrel (formerly BoondoxXx BBQ & Juke Joint) was the scheduled subject of Sunday's episode of Bar Rescue, a Spike TV show in which host Jon Teffer visits underperforming bars and works with the owner to turn the business around.
After Ferrell (who is NOT the Chris Ferrell who is CEO of Nashville Scene parent company Southcomm) admitted to killing Mills at the bar, Spike TV agreed not to air the new episode featuring the bar. The network managed to replace the prime-time broadcast with a rerun, but the second airing, at midnight CST, went ahead as scheduled.
After outrage from Mills' family and friends, Spike issued an apology:
"In our last minute effort over the weekend to pull the 'Bar Rescue' episode featuring the Pit and Barrel, we regretfully did not remove a late-night telecast of the episode. We apologize to all those affected by the terrible tragedy over the weekend and to Jon Taffer, the production team, and our advertisers for our unfortunate human error."
It doesn't seem like there are always happy endings after Nashville restaurateurs team up with reality shows. Chappy's on Church, for example, closed after it was featured on Gordon's Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
For more on the death of Mills and the reaction from the country music community, check out sister blog Nashville Cream.
One important initiative the SFA undertakes is filmmaker Joe York's series of short documentaries that share the stories of the people who help to preserve the foodways of the South. They have organized most of them here at the SFA website if you'd like to while away an afternoon being entertained.
Last year, York compiled a feature-length film from many of the short pieces and some new footage to produce Pride and Joy, a great survey of his and the SFA's work. I was fortunate enough to watch a screening last year, and it is full of some of my favorite characters in the Southern food universe. The film is now being syndicated around PBS stations, and our local WNPT affiliate has scheduled a broadcast this Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m.
Above is a trailer to give you a taste.
The film is described as "an examination of Southern foodways, including how traditional foodways endure; and how regional foodways may change due to America's increasing ethnic and racial diversity."
That sounds like a description of John Egerton's passions and befits his involvement with the SFA. York also cut together a short clip of some of Egerton's comments that he shot while filming Pride and Joy, which you can watch on the SFA website.
Love this question. So much to say.
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