Open Thread

Friday, August 21, 2015

Open Thread Wants to Know: What's the Best Restaurant Delivery Service?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 8:59 AM

click to enlarge FAVOR
  • Favor
I’m not sure if you’ve been paying attention, but there are a lot of businesses out there trying to make it easier for you to enjoy fine food without having to put on pants. That is, restaurant delivery services. In fact, there are so many delivery services that I’m not sure I’ve even heard of them all or know which ones are still in business. Here’s my shot at it: Nashville is currently served by Doorstep Delivery, Delivery Dudes, Order Up and GrubHub, as well the most recent two entrants, Postmates and Favor.

Postmates made quite a splash in its debut a couple of months ago with a large delivery area and flat fees for certain deliveries. It also delivers items from a “general store” including diapers, condoms and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. But without downloading the app and trying the service out, it’s difficult to determine just how expensive the service is. And in many areas around the country, the service gets poor ratings (from customers and employees). Favor just started up in Nashville and has great ratings, but the current delivery area is small, as is the selection (groceries are supposed to be part of the service, but I only saw restaurants on the website). However, the cost is much more straightforward: $5 per order plus 5 percent of the order item (and, of course, a tip). And they promise an expanded delivery area is coming soon.

So, here’s my question: Which delivery service is your favorite? Which is best for those of us who aren’t already walking distance from the busy restaurant hubs? And why? And what else is news this week? It's the open thread, so tell us what's on your mind.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Weekly Open Thread: Where Do You Go for Cheap Eats?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 7:15 AM

click to enlarge fotolia_74750457_subscription_m.jpg
A few weeks ago, when my better half and I reviewed our June credit card bills, we were shocked to find out how much we had spent dining out. We don't live particularly extravagant lifestyles — except apparently where food is concerned. The prices of our restaurant meals weren't as shocking as the frequency with which we were indulging in them. 

Suffice to say we've done a lot of cooking at home the past few weeks. Still, we enjoy the occasional restaurant experience, particularly on busy days when we're both too pooped (or maybe lazy) to cook.

We're never going to completely give up on our favorite destinations — among them City House, Rolf and Daughters and Lockeland Table, and newcomers like 51st Kitchen and Bar and Little Octopus — but we are trying to throw some less expensive places in the mix. 

So, dear readers, we are turning to you for help. What are some of your favorite cheap meals in town? Let's use this criteria: a meal you can order for under $10 (before tax and tip) that still makes your mouth water.

I'll throw out a few of our favorites: The shrimp sandwich at Edley's; the Stevie B. sandwich at Savarino's; a couple of tacos at Mas Tacos; A pupusa and taco at Las Americas; a couple of slices at Five Points pizza; just about anything on the menu at Cizar's Mediterranean Grill, Kien Giang and Miss Saigon.

Whatcha got?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Weekly Open Thread: How's Your BLT Game?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge blt.jpg
It's that time of year again: This weekend, my beloved East Nashville will be crawling with a bunch of damn tomato-heads, hopped up on 'mato-themed art, getting their jollies from chasing the red, seedy dragon. That's right, it's Tomato Art Fest time, and as Joe Nolan points out in his Critic's Pick, you shouldn't "puzzle over the enigmatic motto 'The Tomato: A Uniter, Not a Divider.'" The festival, Joe continues, is not about thinking, but rather "drinking bloody Marys, looking at silly paintings, listening to some jams and eating BLTs." I know that's right.

So, BLTs. Many years ago, I lived in a house on Holly Street with a little vegetable garden out back. About this time of year, my roommates and I would harvest tomatoes as big as the head of a toddler, slice them into slabs thick like filet mignon, and slap 'em onto toast with salt, pepper and mayo. No B or L necessary — a T sandwich was good enough for us.

That said, a well-made BLT is nothing to sneeze at. Mitchell Deli's BLT (which, as memory serves, also features sprouts, cheddar and avocado) is legendary. And that brings me to this week's question(s): What's your favorite BLT? Got a special recipe or variation you go with at home? Do you use Benton's? Veggie bacon? Green tomatoes? And what about your bread selection? Let's talk BLTs.

What else is going on?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekly Open Thread: Hanging Out With Sandwiches at Clawson's and Duke's

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 8:40 AM

click to enlarge The Club Sandwich at Clawson's Pub and Deli - PHOTO: ERIC ENGLAND
  • Photo: Eric England
  • The Club Sandwich at Clawson's Pub and Deli
This week in Dining, we catch up on "overdue rundowns on a trifecta of new — and new-to-us — eateries that serve up barbecue, sandwiches and/or drinks."

On the barbecue front, Jim Ridley visits Constant Smoke BBQ, which has been operating for the past couple years out of a little yellow-green trailer and adjacent "Butt Hut" located in the parking lot of Ace Plumbing Co. in Hermitage. As promised, the brisket was some of the best Ridley's ever tried in Nashville, and it sounds well worth a visit.

But what caught Open Thread's attention was managing editor D. Patrick Rogers' reports on two relatively new spots for sandwiches and drinks.

Clawson's is an eight-month-old pub and deli in the burgeoning Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood that serves hearty sandwiches and has a "staggeringly extensive beer selection," Rodgers notes. The sandwiches are outstanding; his favorite is the No. 4, with salami, provolone and topped with house-made mixed-olive mayo.

Duke's, meanwhile, opened in April next to Marché at 1000 Main St. in East Nashville.

"Just as much as (if not more than) the sandwiches and drink specials, the draw of this Five Points bar in the former home of Nuvo Burrito is the vibe," Rodgers writes. It was founded by local rock 'n' rollers Joey Plunket and Sara Nelson and "frequently sports members of local bands like JEFF the Brotherhood, Hans Condor, Faux Ferocious, Music Band and Promised Land Sound behind the bar, the deli counter or the DJ booth," he says. The tunes and the drink specials are solid, and the menu of nine sandwiches is no afterthought, made with Boar's Head meats and served on local Bobby John Henry bread.

Both Clawson's and Duke's are great hangouts, and as such I'm pretty sure some of you Bites folk have visited them. Anybody want to share thoughts on Clawson's, Duke's or Constant Smoke?

And what else is going on?

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Open Thread Wants to Know Your Best Farmers Market Finds

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 8:18 AM

click to enlarge adirondack_blue_potatoes.jpg
On Saturday, as I was perusing the produce at the Forest Hills UMC Farmers Market, I encountered "Adirondack Blue" potatoes. When I inquired about them, I was told they are good, creamy potatoes that work well for mashing and retain their color after cooking. And indeed, they did! My daughter was thrilled to try some purply-blue mashed potatoes, which had a beautiful color and great texture even with the skins (which were thin) included.

These blue potatoes were just the latest among a number of great foods I've discovered at our local farmers markets. Among my other favorites are "Mortgage Lifter" tomatoes, gold watermelons, cabbage sprouts and other great produce, as well as local vendors such as Karla's Catering, Nutrisha, and Santo Niño de Atocha Tortilleria.

So, Bites Nation, I've asked before, but do you have any new discoveries at the farmers' markets this year? Or favorites you'd like to mention again? What else is going on?

Tags: , ,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Scene's Burger Week Stacks Up With a Citywide Platter of Fine $5 Burgers

Posted By on Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 8:52 AM

click to enlarge burger_week_instagram1.jpg
The Nashville Scene’s inaugural Burger Week kicks off this Friday, running through July 24, and it’s a pretty meaty celebration — 20 or so participating restaurants are each offering a $5 specialty burger during the week. And the most popular burger will be crowned via online voting, with the winning burger makers earning a spot competing at the World Food Championships coming up in November in Kissimmee, Fla.

There’s also a social media contest for burger patrons. To enter: Check in at participating Burger Week restaurants, take a photo of your burger and tag @nashvillescene on Instagram or Twitter using #SceneBurgerWeek.

Every diner who does this will be entered to win the grand Burger Week Patron Prize — the winner will be selected based on most Burger Week restaurants visited and most likes received.

For more details, including a list of participating restaurants and a rundown of the succulent-sounding special burgers each restaurant plans, visit the event page.

(That page is also where you'll be able to vote online for your favorite burger, but that link won't go live until Burger Week officially launches on Friday.)

Tags: , ,

Friday, June 26, 2015

Weekly Open Thread: The Quest for Effective Hangover Cures

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 8:43 AM

  • Illustration: Molly Brooks
In this week's Scene, our glorious leader Jim Ridley takes on a natural sequel to last week's "Adventures in Drinking" issue: the quest for efficacious hangover remedies. His colorful description of the dreaded ailment:

The skull that throbs like Deadmau5's helmet. The aching limbs. The lurching, gurgling stomach, pounding its shoe to be recognized ahead of your pickled liver and your straining kidneys. Every movement plants a knife blade behind your eyes. Every noise amplifies like someone crunching that canoe-sized stalk of celery Woody Allen lugs around in Sleeper. You try to sleep it off, but when you close your eyes you might as well be in Mammoth Cave with a marching band and a horny rhino.

Now, we at the Scene never endorse overindulgence (it's better to live to drink another day, and a hangover will make you feel worse than dead), but we are curious about what miracle cure might ease a hangover should we ever accidentally suffer one.

Ridley consulted a few experts and pored over Nashville's ancient hangover lore to come up with a few suggestions, including Pedialyte (to ease alcohol-induced dehydration) and an old bartender remedy: angostura bitters and soda water (a combo that apparently settles a rocky stomach). Meanwhile, he notes that generations of Nashvillians have sworn by hot chicken (particularly, "in the wee-morning weekend hours when the skies over Dickerson Road were lit by the glow of Prince's blazing iron skillets") and also a loaded-up plate of eggs and extras, like the venerable Grill Cook's Medley at Pancake Pantry.

But I want to crowd-source this sucker. A commenter at the bottom of Ridley's story, a sage by the name of "theanony" suggests this: "Beef pho, all the raw jalapenos added to the bowl, and a Vietnamese iced coffee. Back in business in no time."

What's your advice, Bites folk? And what else is on your mind this week?

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekly Open Thead, Drinks Issue Edition: What's Your Favorite Cocktail or Mocktail?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 9:04 AM

click to enlarge Last Year in Odessa, Holland House - PHOTO: MICHAEL W. BUNCH
  • Photo: Michael W. Bunch
  • Last Year in Odessa, Holland House
This week's Scene is the Drinks Issue, subtitled "Adventures in Drinking." To quote the intro:

"In this week’s cover story, check out a few of Nashville’s most adventurous drinks, discover which beer goes best with hot chicken, and go on the hunt for some of the South’s most sought-after bourbon. And on the non-booze front, see the results of the Scene’s blind coffee taste test, find out what you get when you order a mocktail in Nashville, meet some creative baristas, and read the story of a dangerous beverage cart girl."

It was really one of the most delightful issues to research. Under the "daring drinks" headline, I was tasked with trying the Last Year in Odessa cocktail at Holland House, made with egg white. (Frankly, my assignment really wasn't that daring; despite raw-egg fears, the chance of getting salmonella from a fresh egg white is pretty slim.)  The cocktail was delicious and  remarkably complex.

On a slightly more adventurous note, we also learn about the art of sabrage — opening a bottle of bubbly with a sword — with Friend of Bites Vivek Surti.

Another great segment is penned by Laura Hutson and Megan Seling, two non-drinkers on the Scene staff, who investigate what happens at various restaurants when you ask for a non-alcoholic cocktail. Some responses were surly, but some of the "mocktail" offerings were sublime.

So anyway, Bites readers, here's the question: What's your favorite cocktail around town? (It can be either spirits-filled or alcohol-free.)

And what else is on your mind?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Weekly Open Thread: Do You Shop Organic?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 12, 2015 at 9:06 AM

Amid the news that Costco appears to have overtaken Whole Foods as the No. 1 seller of organic groceries in America, Open Thread's curiosity starts to wander.

We know shopping local is growing more and more popular in Nashville — our recent boom in farmers markets proves that. But do convictions and enthusiam stretch to shopping the organic options at area mega-marts and grocery stores? Everybody from Costco and Whole Foods (obviously) to Aldi, Fresh Market, Kroger, Publix, Trader Joe's and Walmart stocks organic items these days.

Tell us, Bites readers: Do you shop organic? And if so, where do you like to shop? Does an extra price premium matter? (Although it seems like the sticker price gap between organic and conventional is closing a bit these days.)

And what else is on your mind?

Tags: , ,

Friday, June 5, 2015

Open Thread Wants to Know Where to Go for Late-Night Dining

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 9:24 AM

The lush patio at The Treehouse (but not for parties of 2)
  • The lush patio at The Treehouse (but not for parties of 2)
Last weekend, I finally got to try The Treehouse in East Nashville. The experience did not start out great, but the staff, service, food and cocktails were fantastic. I took my compliments and complaints to Instagram and Twitter, which sparked some conversation and questions.

In sum, my complaints included the fact that the restaurant did not open until 6 p.m. (which was not very clear on their website). And after doing laps around Five Points for 45 minutes, we had to wait to be seated because they did not want to double-seat a section (we were third in line). They have a section just for two-tops and seated a larger party ahead of us because we had to sit in a particular section (note: the patio section for parties of two is at the side of building, which is not as lush as the back). However, the staff was very kind and polite in explaining their policy, and once we were seated, the service we got as well as the food and cocktails made up for it. But we probably won’t be back. Primarily because on the rare instance we have a kid-free night, we still have to be back in the ‘burbs by 7:30 for bedtime (so we go out pretty early), but also because crossing the river is just kind of a hassle now, particularly when Melrose and 12South have so many great options and are much closer.

I doubt The Treehouse will miss us, though; we just don’t seem to be in their target market. They open the doors late, but they also serve food late, which caters to a segment of the population that prefers to eat at a time when I’m fast asleep. Several people I know were happy to find out that there was a place still serving great food late (though the menu changes after 10 p.m.) without having to endure painfully loud live music or hang with the tourists on Broadway. As in, a place to grab some good food after concerts, hockey games and other events.

I figured this would be a great Open Thread topic. My days of late-night dining at Sunset Grill and Bound’ry are long gone, so where are the great places to have a civilized meal (good food and good service) after 9 p.m. now? I would certainly recommend The Treehouse (they do reserve some seating for walk-ins), and I suppose Bound’ry is still an option as well as the bar at City House. Chris Chamberlain recently recommended The Sutler, too. But when Sean Maloney asked just a few years ago, answers were mostly about places in the past. So, Bitesters, what places do you like for casual, reservationless late-night dining? And what else is on your minds this week?

Tags: , , ,

Recent Comments

All contents © 1995-2015 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of City Press LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Powered by Foundation