She's calling the it "Extra Large," and it's set for 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Marathon Music Works. The event takes place on Record Store Day, so there will be live music, as well.
But the most intriguing aspect is who she's invited to help her throw the party: a lineup of four well-known chefs from around the country. They'll be cooking up "their own interpretations of traditional Japanese foods," Gavigan says.
"My goal was to bring ramen to Nashville. The next step is bringing MORE ramen to Nashville, so I invited four incredible chefs to join me," Gavigan says. "We will be serving three distinctly different bowls of ramen and an assortment of traditional grilled meats called yakitori."
Otaku South has staged 20 different ramen pop-ups since kicking off in September. "Events like ‘Extra Large’ are exactly what I love to do, bring people together for a great afternoon of music, food and fun," Gavigan says. "The fact that it’s Record Store Day, makes it even better.”
Admission to the party will be free. Ramen bowls (available in three varieties) and a mixed yakitori plate are all $12 each. There will be a full cash bar.
This year, they are upping the ante even more on the Writing Conference with a stellar lineup of speakers and a special dinner. Session leaders include Kat Kinsman of CNN's Eatocracy; Julia Reed of Garden and Gun; Chef Hugh Acheson, the author of A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen; and one of my favorite food essayists, Francis Lam. The exact schedule of the conference still seems to have some TBAs in it, but with these speakers plus others, it should be well worth the trip for anyone interested in both reading and writing about Southern food.
One event on the schedule that is written in stone should be worth the price of admission all by itself. On Thursday night May 16, conference attendees will load into a bus and take the short trip to Walland where they will enjoy a special dinner at the Barn at Blackberry Farm. If you've ever wanted to experience the unique opportunity to enjoy a meal at the Barn, but haven't been able to afford the fare, this may be your best chance ever to live like the landed gentry. I guarantee the food will be fabulous and the conversation among participants will be engaging.
Whether you ever aspire to be a food writer or you just want to rub shoulders with some of the luminaries of the field in a literary fantasy camp, the Southern Food Writing Conference should be right up your alley. Visit the official website for registration and more information.
The list of competing chefs includes: Joe Brogna of Park Café, Thomas Cook of Prime 108, Brandon Frohne of Mason’s, Chris Futrell of Pub5, Anita Hartel of Rosebud Bistro, Matthew Lackey of Flyte World Dining and Wine, B.J. Lofback of Riffs Fine Street Food, Kevin Powell of M. Restaurant & Bar, Kevin Ramquist of F. Scott’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar, Robert Spinelli of perl café, Karl Worley of the Biscuit Love Truck and Paul Wright of Eastland Café. This impressive roster of culinary talents will prepare dishes including one or more of these locally produced ingredients: spices from The Doug Jeffords Company, Harper’s Grand Champion Country Ham and Sequatchie Cove Creamery’s Dancing Fern Cheese.
The program is being held in partnership with Hands On Nashville's Urban Agriculture Program, which will be hosting most of the classes at its Urban Farm on Mill Creek in South Nashville’s Glencliff neighborhood. Included are classes on how to make your own mushroom log, companion planting in backyard gardens, and composting kitchen scraps. Among the instructors are the Barefoot Farmer, Jeff Poppen, and Dan Demonbreun of Sinking Creek Farm. Check out the full list of classes here.
Invest a little time and money in these classes and you’ll be on your way to a bounty of fruits, vegetables, and fungi. Perhaps you’ll even have enough to share for me, since most of my garden’s bounty is swiped by the squirrels (which is why the hydroponic window gardening class is of particular interest to me). Hurry up and register soon, though; the class on square-foot gardening has already sold out!
As I told you last week, there are some pretty notable wine events coming up in April, all of which benefit some really good causes around town. Fire up your Google calendar and clear your schedule.
The good people at Midtown Wine and Spirits help out many nonprofits around town, but one of the dearest to their hearts is the event that they are the Platinum Sponsors of, the 11th annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction Benefiting the East Nashville Hope Exchange. The soiree will take place at St. Ann's Episcopal Church at 419 Woodland St. on Friday April 19 from 6 to 9 p.m.
The ticket price is a ridiculously reasonable $25 per person, which gets you access to a massive tasting of great wines from around the world, courtesy of Midtown. There is also a large silent auction that features donations from generous benefactors including jewelry, gift certificates to various restaurants, fine art and sports memorabilia. For you Lady Vol fans, there will be a basketball signed by Pat Summitt on the auction table.
To give you an idea of the scale of this event: Even with such a low admission price, last year they raised more than $20,000 for the East Nashville Hope Exchange, a nonprofit summer program that develops leadership and literacy skills for economically disadvantaged children in East Nashville. Perhaps most importantly, the program helps to prevent "summer learning loss" for the kids.
"Last year, more than half the students showed gains in reading level and comprehension, phonics, word recognition and fluency, while 85 percent either maintained or showed gains in four areas tested,” said Ed Miller, president of the Hope Exchange Board. “These results are especially significant since research has shown that particularly for children living below the poverty level, reading skills often decline two to three grade levels over the summer.”
If you want to help out this very worthy organization and have a great time doing it, buy your tickets at their website.
There's another shindig going on that same evening April 19 down in Franklin as the group behind A Vintage Affair throws a big party to raise money for Williamson County charities that benefit women and children in the county.
Askinosie will be conducting two very different chocolate tastings in the new private dining space at Miel, The Barn. The attractive interior features barnwood, planked walnut tables and burlap, and seats up to 30 guests. It should make a great venue for the events.
The first tasting is on Friday night, March 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. Miel bartender Adrien Matthews (ex-of tayst and one of my personal favorites) will be pairing chocolates with beer, wine and spirits. The event is $55 per person plus tax and gratuity, but I doubt you'll go home hungry.
To recover on Saturday morning, March 30, you can return from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. for coffee pairings by Dose Coffee and Tea. They'll be emphasizing the fruity and nutty components of both coffee and chocolate in what should prove to be a delicious caffeine-laden brunch. The fare is $40 per person plus tax and gratuity.
Seating is limited, so call (615) 298-3663 to purchase your tickets.
Mash is making 11 stops around the country, and Music City is stop No. 3 after Austin and New Orleans, so be gentle in case the Brooklyn folks look a little bit hung over. ML Rose on Franklin Road is the headquarters for Mash week, with events planned all week and discounts including $3 Brooklyn Lager drafts, $3 Brooklyn Summer Ale cans and Brooklyn's golden girl, Sorachi Ace on draft. The kitchen will feature a "Brooklyn Burger" (New York state sharp cheddar, Brown Ale sautéed onions and crispy bacon) on the menu.
Here are the other events taking place at ML Rose:
Vertical tasting of 3 years of Black Chocolate Stout (bottles) plus a sampling of the beer which doesn't exist.
Brooklyn Summer Ale Kickoff & Trivia Night
Brooklyn BLAST! featured on draft while House Chef Andrew shows his mic skills with Brooklyn & Beer trivia. Bring your beer money and your thinking caps, premium swag is on the line.
Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Party
Help us celebrate our 25th year on God's green earth with a tapping of our latest Brewmasters Reserve, Silver Anniversary Lager. Also available will be the bottle re-fermented version, featuring beautiful artwork from Brooklyn Artist Fred Tomaselli. We'll raffle off a signed copy of Brewmaster Garrett Oliver's Oxford Companion To Beer & a Steve Hindy edition homebrew kit.
All week long enter to win a Classic Picnic Cooler by buying a Brooklyn Beer.
Once I finally had the opportunity to meet Ted and Matt in person a couple of times at events like the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and Big Apple BBQ Block Party, I discovered they are completely genuine in the easygoing demeanor they show on television. These are two of the most down-to-earth guys who ever hit it big in the world of culinary celebrity.
Their first book, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook met with a little bit of acclaim. Like it won the Julia Child Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the James Beard Award for Best Cookbook. (You liked it! You really liked it!) They describe that book as their "culinary coming-of-age story," and the easy narrative style and deeply personal anecdotes about learning to cook and appreciate their native cuisine make it an excellent read.
Their second book emphasized simpler recipes. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor shows how two brothers who spend much of their lives on the road can still find the time to cook and serve delicious Southern meals to their families. Ted lives in Brooklyn, so he may have to look a little harder to find good collards than his brother does in Charleston, but they both prove you can get it done.
Their latest book is The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen and concentrates on the hot cuisine of their hometown. While I was at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival last month, Ted and Matt were presented with the Laura Hewitt Culinary Legend Award for their contribution to the community, so they are clearly appropriate carriers of the city's foodie flame.
If you want to help out Nashville Fashion Week (which in turn benefits the newly established Nashville Fashion Forward Fund), dig out your nattiest 1920s gear and head over to the event website to buy your tickets. Since the folks behind Speakeasy Distillery are involved, you know the drinks will be the bee's knees!
Usually the evening fairly quickly devolves into seeing who will pay how much to get the celebrities to do something slightly embarrassing or to convince the sports figures to sing their rivals' fight songs. But it's for a great cause, and if you want Gator-for-life Kevin Carter to sing "Rocky Top," you'd better be prepared to come off of that checkbook!
This year's event will be held at the Palm on April 2 starting at 7 p.m. with a VIP reception for patron-level donors beginning at 5:45. There will also be an after-party at Honky Tonk Central in case you don't get a ticket before the main event sells out. The list of celebrity waiters is being released a few at a time on the event's Facebook page, and you can find out more info about the evening and the cause and buy tickets at the official website.
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