But my favorite spot for shopping for culinary shirts is a cheeky website called Food on Your Shirt. The wacky team of designers at FOYS have created scores of bold graphics to allow you to express your love for beer, bacon or bakers. There is a decidedly geeky bent to many of the designs, which fits in well with the atmosphere in many kitchens around town.
It's difficult to pick a favorite, but it's a fun way to pass a little time to just scroll through the inventory. I'm thinking the "Hangry Hangry Hippos" needs to go on my birthday wish list.
But there is a subspecies of grillmaster that is truly intense when it comes to year-round outdoor cooking. The Facebook group Hardcore Grillers has called for this Saturday, Feb. 7, to be the annual World Hardcore BBQ Event, and you're invited to participate. All you have to do is sign up for the event on Facebook and then throw something on the barbie, no matter how inclement the weather.
They're almost to their goal of 5,000 participants (including me), and by the looks of some of the comments it seems like like many of the hardest of the hardcores are from Scandinavia. Y'know, where they frankly don't care about the weather anymore. Even if you're not into cold dunks and saunas, it's not like there's any football left to watch. Grab a couple of steaks or some chops and fire up that grill. Post pics of your results on the Facebook page and join in the fun.
Your mother says, "Wear a sweater."
A Bites tipster in Clarksville passes along the following restaurant sign, to which we can only add our applause.
We'll accept alternate headlines or captions in the comments, if you have them.
Perhaps you were part of Nashville Scene's inaugural Tap That Beer Crawl last summer, when we herded groups of beer nerds around Nashville to enjoy samples from our city's ever-evolving brew scene. Perhaps you were one of the people who got to ride on my bus (yes, we provide transport by way of spacious, air-conditioned charter buses — who wants to walk around outside in August, anyway?) which meant that you got to enjoy all of my beer-fueled bad jokes and feeble attempts to start flippy cup tournaments at each location. And perhaps you were one of the people on my bus who peed in the parking lot at Yazoo near the end of the crawl ... and if you were, I totally have pictures of you, which I will keep under wraps for a reasonable bribe.
OK, shenanigans aside, Tap That is a really cool event because you get to learn all about local beer from the people who make it, so you can share this knowledge with your drinking buddies on future visits to these fine watering holes. So as long as you promise to behave like a semi-responsible adult, we'd like to invite you to join us. The fun happens on Sunday, Aug. 17, (because on the seventh day, everybody drank beer) from 1 to 6 p.m. This year, we'll be stopping at Yazoo Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Brewery, Craft Brewed, Hops + Crafts and Jackalope Brewing Company. Tickets are $30 and include beer and transportation from brewery to brewery on the aforementioned air-conditioned bus. Food will be available for purchase along the way from some of your favorite food trucks.
Obviously this is a 21-and-up event, and I used to be a bartender, so I can totally tell if it's a fake ID. Also, while we generally frown upon peeing in parking lots, we totally hate drinking and driving, so call an Uber or one of those pink moustache rides to get to and from the event. I predict that this event will sell out, so get your tix today. And if you're a cute, single guy, please sign up for my bus. Kidding. Not really.
If all of this is not enough to entice you to immediately buy tickets, I leave you with some photos of last year's debauchery after the jump. Who knows, maybe one of the parking lot pee pictures is in there?
So the new Paleo Grilling book from Tony Frederico and James William Phelan doubles as a guide to the diet craze and a fine cookbook for the grill. Thanks to a snafu on my part, I had an extra copy of the book to give away, and several of you weighed in to lay claim to the prize.
After the random number generation spun round, the number came up 6. Since I didn't count my own comment, our sixth commenter is beloved Bites comment contributor (with 365 interjections!) S L. I always enjoy seeing S L's handle appear below one of my posts, although to my knowledge we've never met.
So if he or she is willing to temporarily lift the shroud of anonymity and email me at cchamberlain at gmail dot com, I'll make sure to deliver the prize in person as soon as is mutually convenient. Otherwise, I'll just leave it inside one of the demo grills chained together in front of the Walmart at 100 Oaks.
Congrats, S L!
All you have to do to enter is to answer a few easy questions about Tennessee food that no Bites reader should have any difficulty with at all. (Especially if you remember dear old D-A-D. Hint, hint.) The contest runs until Sept. 30, and you can enter once per day per computer or mobile device.
And you might just want to take the time to stuff that entry box, because a pretty impressive roster of Tennessee artisans have contributed to the prize bounty. Just locally, the list includes: Willa's Shortbread, Brittle Brothers, Blushing Berry, Goo Goo Clusters, Loveless Cafe, Porter Road Butcher, Nashville Toffee Company, Portside Java and The Hamery. That's not even mentioning some other treats from outside of Middle Tennessee. Here's your final hint: Benton's Bacon.
So click on over to Local Palate's sweepstakes page and feel free to share with whoever referred you if you happen to win. I'm ineligible, dadgummit!
All you have to do is make sure that you are signed up with Uber (and have downloaded the app here). For one day, an additional button will appear on the app home screen that says "ice cream." Request that, and if a participating driver is nearby, you and your friends can be enjoying a tasty frozen treat within minutes. Although it could possibly be a lot of minutes, since demand may be tremendous while the ice cream is being offered from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
You don't need any cash, because like with a regular Uber ride, your treats will be charged to your account in an automatic transaction. Recruit some friends, since it's $25 for five helpings of premium ice cream. Nashville will have UberX cars and local ice cream trucks to offer bundles of five treats for you to share with friends, co-workers, or loved ones. Don't worry about wastage, since any leftover ice cream will be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank at the end of the day.
So if you're looking for a fun way to cool off, but don't feel like making the journey to your local ice cream parlor, Uber it!
Even so, you're going to have stiff competition as the YASNI contest enters its 25th year. You've got less than 36 hours to submit the magic entry that slays your neighbors, tickles our readers and leaves your competitors shaking their fists. All you have to do is complete the phrase, "You are so Nashville if ..."
What've we got to talk about this year? Let's see … The Amp, charter schools, craft brews, Vanderbilt baseball, the World Cup, the drained lake at Centennial Park, the Green Hills skyscraper, the Sylvan Park roundabout, the Melrose marquee, the Ryman facelift, RCA Studio A, the First Saturday Art Crawl, wine in grocery stores, Will Pinkston, Record Store Day, Pilot Flying J, Two Ten Jack, James Franklin leaving, OZ Nashville, Al-Jazeera Nashville, Private Lives of Nashville Wives, Stacey Campfield, barbecue on Belmont, Scarlett on drugs, Policymic on East Nashville, competing farmers markets, Diarrhea Planet, Crazy Hearts, drones, Third Man Records, Barista, Thicker Than Water, Two Old Hippies, decriminalizing marijuana, The Contributor, that other street paper that's not The Contributor. Oh, and having improper relations with an ATM and a picnic table.
Do not post your entries below in the comments box. We will route them straight to YASNI Siberia, the special purgatory reserved for entries about the intricacies of Old Hickory Boulevard or pronouncing "Demonbreun." Instead, fill out the online form — again, by the end of tomorrow night — and start rehearsing an acceptance speech for the July 17 issue that sounds humble. May the best YASNI win!
Running the numbers, I figure I've published about 1,575 posts about restaurant news, wine, beer and spirits tastings, chef profiles and some generally silly stuff that I thought might be of interest. I've also made 725 comments in an attempt to insert some snark or moderate streams of contributions from you entertaining and passionately opinionated readers. I am proud to admit that I have finally made it to the five restaurants I was embarrassed to have never visited when I first started this gig.
I've gotten to meet and interview food luminaries like Thomas Keller, Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown, as well as television personalities like Adam Richman and Paula Deen. In my five-minute talk with Paula, I got about four intelligible words on my voice recorder. "LOVELESS! BISCUITS! FRIED CHICKEN!"
As far as occupational hazards go, I've probably gained about 10 pounds, mitigated by almost daily trips to he downtown YMCA. I've endured a few painful gout flare-ups and a nasty little bout of diverticulitis, but the food I've eaten, the friends I've made and the opportunity to share in the culinary conversation with y'all has made it more than worth it.
Here's to another five years!
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