The cookies, often individually packaged and handed out on airline flights, are pretty addictive, and a package of two has never been enough to satisfy me. Some people may also recognize Biscoff as the maker of Anna's Almond or Ginger Thins, which I usually buy on trips to IKEA (the cookies are made in Sweden). The scarcity of these cookies often leaves me wanting more, and now I have sweet relief in the form of a deep jar of SPREAD!
This jar is identical in size to a peanut butter jar, and the creamy stuff is similar in color. Did I mention it has fewer calories than peanut butter, is vegan, and comes in smooth or crunchy? Although my mom found this treasure on vacation in Florida, I learned on the website that it is usually sold at Whole Foods, World Market, Fresh Market, and Harris Teeter. I would give World Market some time to refresh their stock, as I may have bought all of the jars available over the past weekend. I am seriously giving jars of Biscoff Spread as Christmas gifts. It's that good.
At first I had a hard time imagining what else it could be used for other than dipping with apples or eating with my finger straight out of the jar. But then my mom emailed me a link to recipes on their website! These will definitely be Christmas gifts to to less-important friends who do not deserve a whole jar of spread (I doubt they will mind).
You see it here: crunchy-tipped golden shreds of roast pork, seasoned mayo and pickle. Instead of a Cuban loaf, this is made like a panini which is a better solution than grilling, as the result is crisper and less oily.
I love a Cuban sandwich mostly for the rich roast pork and the tang of Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle.The Latin Wagon's sandwich omits the usual sliced ham. Ham on a pork sandwich always struck me as much of a muchness, so its absence doesn't bother me.
It does brings up a topic that's always lurking in my head: How many of the basic elements can be missing from a dish and it still retain that identity? For instance, if a banana split is missing the whipped cream, but has everything else, you'd still call it a split. But what if it's a split banana plus ice cream and whipped cream? Is it still a split? Or does should it have sauces?
At the other end is fettuccine alfredo, which over years on restaurant menus accumulated a multitude of toppings: my favorite example was blackened chicken over spinach fettuccine alfredo. I would argue that it's no longer fettuccine alfredo; it's blackened chicken over creamy green pasta.
Generally, what's your pet peeve in the "identity crisis" of menu items? And more specifically, is a Cuban a a Cuban without the ham?
Lines were long as people not only sampled the wares, but took the time to interact with the artisans and learn about their products. I saw a lot of commerce going on as well, so hopefully the companies who exhibited will consider the event a financial success for them and return next year as the event gets even bigger.
An old Night Market stalwart and a newcomer in market were two of my favorite treats of the evening. Sarah Souther of Bang Candy Co. set up her Prosecco bar like she does at almost every night market and poured delightful cups of the Italian elixir flavored with some of her Bang Co. syrups. WIth a line that was at least 20 people deep all night long, the winsome Sarah kept a smile on her face while she kept the people happy by mixing up sparklers that employed her array of add-ins. Particularly popular were prosecco with ginger/rosemary, habanero/lime and "syruprisingly," celery.
The national media has also taken notice of Bang Candy Co. as she was featured in a nice writeup by Garden & Gun's "Talk of the South" e-newsletter. Good for Sarah!
My other favorite find was Ron Marks and his AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery, a two year old company that is the only producer of Greek yogurt in the southeast. They make all their products in small batches and use only milk from local hormone-free cows. This fresh milk is delivered the day that it comes out of the cow and is processed into AtlantaFresh's delicious yogurt products within a few days.
Mumbo Jumbo Seasonings first caught my eye at foodblogSouth, where area vendors got a lovefest from a very attentive bunch of food writers.
The "Mesa" was the first blend I tried, and its precisely balanced flavor combination and high-grade Mercan Chilean roast chilies, ingredients so fresh they were still slightly moist. A sample of the "Elegance" packed a whiff of lavender in the herbes de Provence, coarse pepper and sea salt. Java blends pulverized coffee with cayenne, cinnamon and chili for is rib-ready and an instant steak solution. "Everyday" is an all-purpose alternative to salt-heavy seasoned salt. They're super-fresh, high-grade blends made with an expert's palate, and they're really something completely different.
"We knew we didn't want to be on the shelf next to McCormick," is how Suggett phrases the product's niche. The problem isn't finding what to do with them — it's having enough time to discover all the ways you could put them to work.
So I asked Suggett. She uses the Mesa in bloody marys (brilliant!) and on popcorn, Elegance on grilled fillets and on asparagus. Her toddler eats the Java on cucumber slices, while Mom uses it for grilling pork, yielding a crisp, coffee-cinnamon crust. She slow-cooks brisket in the "Everyday" and onions and nothing else.
It's not as if I didn't plan for pests: Mine are under bird netting, which is pinned to the ground in most places, and surrounded by cat fur. It worked against rabbit and deer, anyway.
Once the tomatoes were gone, something began chewing strips from the lower one foot of the stalks, so now all the tomato plants are dead before I harvested a single tomato. Mother Nature, you're welcome!
Really I shouldn't complain — the befurred rodent of the sciuridae family can do much worse: It's estimated that 17 percent of all damage sustained by the fiber optic network is caused by squirrels. I definitely think some bounty-hunting is in order. It's for the public good!
Ousley Ouch, straight outta Sylvan Park, is the labor of love of Ric Ousley, his wife Haseena and his sister Mona. Ric and Mona began brewing up a salsa to the family's taste two decades ago. It was spicier than most supermarket salsas, for sure, but that's what drove him — he wanted a full-flavored salsa with a little more heat.
Like so many families, Ric's brood recommended that he bottle his creation. Unlike other kitchen putterers, though, he actually did it.
Ousley Ouch is that salsa your parents may find a little too hot, but is just about perfect if you like it kickin'. That's the mild, and there's a hot, too, for the fire-eaters among us. It has a thick, chunky texture like homemade — no drips! — and calls out for a good, sturdy chip.
To try Ousley Ouch, make a Saturday visit to the West Nashville Farmers Market, where Ousley reports he sold 60 jars last week, or a Tuesday visit to the Centennial Park market, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Produce Place on Murphy Road was Ousley's original retail outlet, and it's now also available at the Belmont Bi-Rite and Apple Market on West End Avenue. Ousley has been chosen as a vendor for Whole Foods series of sidewalk fairs the next one is Aug. 3, and the salsa will soon be on the shelves at Whole Foods.
And of course, as a premier tomato product, naturally they'll be at the Tomato Arts Fest Aug. 13.
That can only mean that banh mi is having its moment as the "it" sandwich.
This archetypal Franco-Vietnamese food, banh mi combines a baguette with fillings of Vietnamese roast pork, sliced jalapeno, cilantro springs, shredded carrot and daikon radish. Beyond that it's endlessly customizable with onions, cucumber, fish sauce, pork pate, ham, aioli, chicken.
For years, the only reliable local source for banh mi was Lao Trading on Eighth Avenue. It was an obvious gap in Nashville cuisine, particularly considering the many midstate residents of Vietnamese and Laotian heritage. At last, it's popping up here and there, at Miss Saigon and Viet Noodle House.
What's next for banh mi? It would be a natural starting point for Arnold Myint's experimentations, or as an extension of Far East's menu. It'd be great to have enough clever, expert and innovative banh mi in town to make this list, or even begin to have this many options.
Then there's Chef Laura's fantastic array hot meats, home-style vegetables, meatless offerings and pasta — a little European-influenced something here, a little something for the macrobiotic eater there. Honestly, it's a patchwork quilt of every kind of food you could want plus a salad bar if all else fails.
I contemplate my choices carefully, because in general, I want to buy things that I don't, won't or can't make at home. So I look at a lot of wonderful-looking food with a running checklist in my mind: We had meatloaf two nights ago; I'm weary of collard greens; we're having baked pasta on Thursday; I can make baked chicken anytime.
That process is how I happened to end up with this ripsnortin' plate. That's right: seaweed salad and Italian-style panna cotta custard with balsamic glaze.
So I gave Bonnaroo Buzz a try. Coffee and malt ice cream with a whiskey swirl and crunchy toffee bits, it captures the beery, boozy and caffeinated aspects of its namesake music festival, but with the benefit of two other major mood enhancers: butterfat and sugar. I love it like I love any good ice cream.
It just seemed mysterious that it popped up in Chattanooga with only a homemade sign to promote it. Now we know the reason. The folks at Ben & Jerry's initially made the flavor available only in the company's ice cream parlors. Now it's hit the big time, and you can look for it in local supermarkets this spring.
"Bonnaroo Buzz is going from playing intimate clubs to the national circuit," said Ben & Jerry's exec Dave Stever. Today the company sent over a few pints to the Scene's office, so everyone, not just me, could taste the essence of the festival in a cup or cone. (The swag coincided with the release of this year's Bonnaroo lineup. Check out all the Bonnaroo news at our sister site, Nashville Cream.)
Some points Ben & Jerry's marketers stressed: The coffee used in the ice cream is fair-trade certified, from the Huatusco cooperative in Mexico. And Bonnaroo donates its share of the proceeds from the ice cream to the Bonnaroo Works Fund, "which seeks to further the organization's community investment and philanthropic efforts" in Coffee County, Tenn., where the festival takes place each summer.
At owner John Dyke's long-awaited Gulch expansion of his popular East Nashville market, the culinary brand names in question are Laura Wilson — the chef at the bygone Ombi, who recently helped launch Holland House Bar & Refuge — and Sam Tucker — the onetime pastry chef at Watermark who recently helped launch Burger Up. And the delicious discount for the discerning diner is the $7.99-per-pound price tag on Wilson and Tucker's ever-changing array of comforting and contemporary cuisine.
Located in a former warehouse across the street from the venerable Station Inn, The Turnip Truck Urban Fare boasts 9,200 square-feet of gleaming, high-ceilinged space, outfitted with café tables fashioned from wood salvaged from Union Station. Grocery shelves are loaded with organic, gluten-free and local ingredients, flanked by meat, seafood and cheese counters, a gift section and a vast selection of microbrewed beers. ...
On French day, there were coq au vin and vegetarian bouillabaisse. On taco night, there was chili con carne made with textured vegetable protein. On other days, options have included flank steak with vegetables, chicken-and-vegetable skewers, roasted brussels sprouts with wild mushrooms, vegan pad Thai, chicken-fried Eden Farms pork loin and shrimp and grits. (Hint: The plump de-veined shrimp pair nicely with the pad Thai noodles.)
We walked in yesterday morning just as Chef Wilson was making the rounds with a sampler tray of her corn pudding — one of the many Thanksgiving sides crowding every square inch of the Turnip Truck's kitchen. It's my favorite thing my sister-in-law makes every year, and the one we tasted at the Turnip Truck was bliss — fluffy, custardy, with plump buttery kernels popping in each bite. I understand the hot bar (through tonight) has selections from the store's Thanksgiving menu, and I'm tempted to fill a to-go box with all the corn pudding I can carry.
This place has closed
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