Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lucky Bamboo on Charlotte to Reopen With Dim Sum Service

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

The owners of Chinatown restaurant in Green Hills, which has been getting positive reviews (including from the Scene) since an overhaul last year, have taken over the shuttered Lucky Bamboo restaurant space on Charlotte. They plan to reopen Lucky Bamboo in the next few weeks with dim sum service and an extensive menu of dim sum delights, something Nashville has been lacking for a while.

Details are still few, but we know the team aims to open the new Lucky Bamboo (which they are describing in an ad as "Your hot pot and dim sum H.Q.") sometime in December. And as of late last week, they were hiring, encouraging candidates to apply in person at the restaurant, 5855 Charlotte Pike, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Lucky Bamboo space is in the same retail strip that houses K&S World Market. The new owners are touting its banquet facilities, with the ability to serve up to 300 people.

This is promising news, indeed. Bites will keep you posted.

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Taste Test: The Straight Poop on Luwak Coffee

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Thanks to my friend Jason White, who recently returned from a trip to Bali, a few lucky Scene staffers were treated to some kopi luwak — coffee made with beans that have been eaten and excreted by Asian palm civets, then harvested, cleaned and roasted. Something about the digestive process supposedly works miracles on the beans.

Yum! What's not to like?

Naturally, a few of us were a little squeamish about the whole concept, but we felt it was our civet doodie, er, civic duty to sample the coffee.

The upshot: Tasters were pretty unanimous in their praise for the coffee — bold and robust, but very smooth too, with virtually no acidic bite. The packaging materials included a description that mentioned hints of chocolate and caramel, which seems about right. And we were definitely wired to the gills before long. As one taster noted, the coffee produced a nice clean buzz, in the same way that high-end liquors do, compared to their cheaper counterparts.

It's worth noting that PETA and other animal rights groups claim that many kopi luwak beans are harvested from caged civets that are abused and force-fed. The packaging on the beans we used said they were harvested from the forest floor — but realistically, who can say for sure? Furthermore, I'm confident that everyone on our taste-testing team would tell you kopi luwak beans are not worth $120 for roughly half a pound. The price alone should keep your conscience clean.

Of course, as Steve Haruch posited, if a local, sustainable farm-to-cup civet bean movement were to take hold, all bets are off.

Excerpts from the lively, caffeine-fueled conversation follow. (Warning: If "civet doodie" had you rolling your eyes, there are far more egregious (and vulgar) puns ahead. Proceed at your own risk.)

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Let's Talk Tofurky: New Products for Veg*ns on the Go

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 8:16 AM

It’s that time of year again; Tofurky Day is next week! While I strive to make more “whole foods” for my family, I do like and appreciate a Tofurky roast. It’s a great way for a new veg*n to survive the holidays, and it’s also great for those of us wanting a nice turkey substitute on our traditional holiday tables. The Tofurky feasts are really good, and the gravy is delicious (but be sure to follow preparation instructions exactly or you’ll get a dry roast). But there’s more to Tofurky than just, um, Tofurky.

Last year, I wrote about Tofurky’s parent company, Turtle Island Foods (still independent!) and their line of great vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives (most under the Tofurky brand name). This year, they’ve expanded their line to include some new convenience meals: “chick’n” pot pie, eggless quiche, and hot sandwich pockets.

They graciously sent me a sample of several of the new products to try out. I have to say, I was a bit dubious about a vegan pot pie. Not the filling so much, but the crust. Gotta have a rich, buttery crust on a pot pie; otherwise, what’s the point? But this pot pie (including the crust) was delicious. It was actually better than the pot pies I remember eating when I was a kid (and my husband agreed). I was hoping that my daughter (a picky eater) would like it, but once she finished the top crust and was just left with mostly filling, she pushed it aside. But we gladly finished it for her.

The quiche was also quite tasty. I’m not a big fan of really eggy quiches, so because this one is egg-free, I liked it quite a bit. But if eggy quiches are your preference, this version isn’t going to do much for you. The pockets were also quite good and easy to prepare. The pepperoni pizza (with an herbed crust) was my favorite. I didn’t even let my husband have the second pocket in the package. And I feel no remorse.

Now, just because these are vegan foods, don’t think they are “health food.” The pot pie has about as much fat and calories (and sodium) as a standard pot pie of a similar size. Which is why it tastes so good. The pockets, however, are definitely more diet-friendly, with each at 300 calories or fewer per pocket.

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The Daily Meal Shares 48 Ways to Fight Hunger

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 7:37 AM

National food blog The Daily Meal is the latest home of editorial director Colman Andrews, the former founder and editor-in-chief of the erstwhile Saveur magazine. Andrews has put together an interesting list (unfortunately in slideshow format) of "48 Things You Can Do to Fight Hunger in America." Among the excellent suggestions like supporting local and national food banks and charities, Andrews spotlights three initiatives from a group called WhyHunger.

This NYC-based organization works to fight hunger worldwide, with programs like "Imagine There's No Hunger," a partnership with Yoko Ono Lennon, an annual Hungerthon auction and Bloggers without Borders, an international initiative to spread awareness about hunger issues. Hungerthon brings exclusive online auctions, social media activation and a live radiothon broadcast across the country on Dec. 5.

In fact, the first lots of the auction have already gone live at and include some really unique items like a visit to the set of NFL Sunday and a Les Paul Gibson signed by members of Fleetwood Mac.

Nashvillian Martina McBride has kicked in two tickets and a meet-and-greet to her concert at the Prudential Center in March, where she'll be performing with George Strait. Now that's a valid reason to visit New Jersey!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We're Here for Beer: Yazoo Dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House — POSTPONED

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 7:40 AM


UPDATE: Bites received an email this morning from Tina Tackett, sales manager at Ruth's Chris Steak House on West End, saying the beer dinner with Yazoo won't take place tonight: "We have had to postpone our Yazoo Beer Dinner scheduled tonight due to a poor response. We must have scheduled it too close to Thanksgiving!! We will be rescheduling it in February and will let you know the date as soon as it is confirmed. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes!"

There are few things in life more satisfying to me than a great beer and a well-cooked steak. I rarely go out to steakhouses, because I cook meat exactly the way I like it at home on a probably too frequent basis. But every now and again an event catches my eye that might just cause me to put the ol' Green Egg in cold storage for awhile.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, Nov. 20, Yazoo Brewing Company is joining forces with the meatmeisters at Ruth's Chris at Loew's Vanderbilt for a beer dinner. Starting at 6 p.m., you can enjoy a three-course dinner plus dessert, all paired with beers from Yazoo for $59 per person including tax and tip. Here's the menu:

First course - Spicy Lobster and Calamari paired with Yazoo Hefeweizen

Second Course - Louisiana Seafood Gumbo paired with Yazoo Hop Project

Third Course- 6-ounce Filet with a scallop on Polenta cake, with red beans and rice and our signature mushrooms paired with Yazoo Dos Perros

Dessert - Mini Chocolate Sin Cake with Fresh Berries paired with Sly Rye Porter

If you're interested in attending, call 320-0163 to hold your spot at the table.

Yazoo Beer Dinner
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Ruth's Chris Steak House
2100 West End Ave.
Phone: 615-320-0163

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Merridee's Breadbasket in Franklin Gets Spot in Daily Meal List of 50 Best Bakeries in the U.S.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 5:58 AM

Do you recognize this bakery?
  • Do you recognize this bakery?
The folks over at The Daily Meal have compiled a list (sorry, a GIF-less list) of the country’s 50 best bakeries. To compile the list, they started with over 1,400 bakeries and applied a number of criteria, including how long the bakery has been in business, originality of menu, if the chefs have received awards, if all the baked goods are made from scratch, and “buzz factor.”

How they got to their initial list of 1,400-ish from the estimated 6,000 or so bakeries in this country, I’m not sure, though at least some bakeries were considered due to a nomination from a panel of experts. These experts (some of whom have bakeries that made the list) contributed additional criteria, including atmosphere, technique, consistency, service, what their “standout specialties” are, and if they can make a good croissant.

Unsurprisingly, New York tops the list with nine bakeries. Massachusetts, Pennsylvaina, and Oregon each have four; California, Florida, and Washington state each have three bakeries on the list. Ultimately, bakeries in just 24 states made it, including a single bakery right here in Middle Tennessee.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Husk Nashville Names New General Manager, Kenny Lyons

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Kenny Lyons
  • Husk Nashville
  • Kenny Lyons
Husk Nashville, the six-month-old sister restaurant to chef Sean Brock's blockbuster Husk in Charleston, S.C., has a new general manager.

Kenny Lyons, a Watermark veteran who has worked on the management team at Husk Nashville since it opened, has been promoted to run the front of the house at Husk Nashville as general manager, the company announced today.

Dan Latimer, the GM of Husk in Charleston, had been overseeing operations at Husk Nashville as well. The release said Latimer "will continue his role as general manager of Husk Charleston as well as continuing to consult with the Nashville location."

Husk Nashville opened to great anticipation in May. And while the food has generally been well-received, especially the dinner menu (see Carrington Fox's review in the Scene), some diners have complained that service failed to match the ambitions of the restaurant as a whole.

Naming a general manager who works full time in Nashville seems like a savvy step. Lyons is a Nashville native who also has expertise in wine, according to his bio on the Husk website.

Here's the brief statement the company released today:

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We've got a Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey Contest Winner!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Based on his or her contest entry, I'm not completely certain if Bites commenter Fancycwabs has already read John Currence's Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey, or if he or she is a he or she, for that matter. But regardless, Fancycwabs is the lucky winner of a free copy of Chef Currence's new cookbook, and it would certainly make a great gift.

If he or she would like to email me at cchamberlain (at) nashvillescene (dot) com, I would be happy to arrange the delivery of this very entertaining book. And I promise to keep Fancywab's identity a mystery if desired.

Congrats, Cwabs! I can't wait to see how fancy you really are ...

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Bites Book Club: Southern Hospitality

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 5:52 AM

If you don't know Anne Quatrano, then I'm about to introduce you to an icon of the Southern culinary arts. Quatrano operates four of Atlanta's most beloved restaurants, Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe', Quinones and Abbatoir as well as Star Provisions, one of the coolest markets I've ever visited. All of these spots are right near Ikea, so for Pete's sake, don't go to the cafeteria for those Swedish meatballs on your next inexpensive furniture shopping trip!

After 28 years of working as a chef, Quatrano has finally written her first cookbook, Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality. Unlike other cookbooks that are simply lists of recipes, organized my type or particular meals, Summerland is focused on entire meals, banquets even.

The 100 recipes are presented as parts of an entire celebratory meal, which perfectly demonstrates Quatrano's focus on hospitality and dedication to using ingredients sourced from her family farm, which also contributes the title of the book. Chapters are divided by month to feature the seasonal bounty, from a September pig roast to a fireside New Year's brunch to a May picnic. Quatrano also thoughtfully includes recipes for basic breads, stocks and bouillons, which serve as the bases for many of her meals. She's also not afraid of a good cocktail, so there's a recipe for one of those at the beginning of each chapter.

The photography in Summerland is gorgeous and plentiful. Quatrano's prose as she describes the stories behind the farm fêtes that inspire her menus is entertaining and profound without getting too deep for the casual reader. As a look inside the mind of a Southern cooking legend, this book is a definite winner and would make a great holiday or host gift for your favorite party planner. (Or food blogger!)

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Etch Introduces New Lunch Items, Happy Hour Deal

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Beef Tenderloin Hoagie
  • Beef Tenderloin Hoagie
On the heels of cooking what looked to be an excellent Spanish meal this week at the Nashville Food Project benefit, chef Deb Paquette of Etch has some new tricks up her sleeve to announce. The kitchen has revamped the menu for what has already proven to be one of Nashville's favorite business and casual lunches.

Here's the description of a few of the new items that have been added to the midday repast:

• Confit Turkey Quesadilla w. smoked gouda, mustard kale & bread and butter poblano pickles

• Fall Salad w. guava sweet potatoes & ginger goat cheese

• Beef Tenderloin Hoagie w. fried oyster mushrooms & pickled fresnos served with house-made chips

That hoagie has my name on it!

In other Etch news, they are now offering an Etchy Hour. (Hey, where'd they come up with that name?) Here's the deal:

Headed to the symphony or Predators game? Join us in our bar beforehand for Etchy Hour and enjoy a selection of your favorite appetizers and libations at a great price. Plus, we'll even valet your car for free. Etchy Hour is offered Monday-Friday 4-6:30pm and on Saturday 4-5:30pm.

The Etchy Hour menu offers upscale bar snacks like Duck Confit, Pork Belly, Octopus and Shrimp Bruschetta and Chef Deb's outrageous Roasted Cauliflower for $8 apiece.

You don't need reservations for happy hour, but if you want to hold a table for lunch or dinner, you can make them online.

303 Demonbreun St.
(615) 522-0685

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