From now until Dec. 23, Woodford Reserve in Versailles, Ky., is offering a lovely holiday brunch Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays 12:30 to 2 p.m. Chef-in-Residence Ouita Michel and her culinary team have created a bountiful holiday buffet full of Kentucky favorites and seasonal specialties, and you can take a tour of the distillery afterward to walk off some of the calories.
The buffet is only $25 per person, which seems like it must be some sort of loss-leader when you take a look at the menu:
But two iconic Sewanee restaurants recently went through some major transitions, so it's worth a few bytes here at Bites. Shenanigans, home to the famous rhomboid door and the hangout of generations of University of the South students, closed earlier this month after owner Ward Cammack listed the property for sale. It's not the first time the restaurant has changed hands in recent years, and locals and alumni hope that someone will open that crooked front door again soon. At least, they do have a new option to purchase a cold beer as Jackalope Brewery partners Jimmy and Sarah Wilson have opened the Blue Chair Tavern at 41 University Ave. which previously housed a Sweet Cece's, which was also owned by Cammack. The new Tavern focuses on microbrews, many of which come from Jackalope.
The other big restaurant news on the mountain is the reopening of Pearl's Foggy Mountain Cafe after four years of looking for a new owner after the latest in a series of fires shut the place down in 2008. Dan and Joy Hickey leased and refurbished the building for a soft opening in August, and now they are starting to hit their stride in time for homecoming weekend at the university. The Hickeys added a large new deck for outdoor seating and moved the entrance to the rear of the building. Now diners enter through a warm bar area (wo)manned by Jane Borden, a talented mixologist who aims to bring craft cocktails to an audience that has had little access in the past.
The five-day UNwineD fest is more than just a wine event, including live music, coastal cuisine, an art fair and even an offshore fishing tournament. It will run Oct. 24-28 with the main location being the Grand Lagoon Marina between two of Panama City Beach's stalwart restaurants, the Boatyard and Captain Anderson's.
The musical headliners are the LoCash Cowboys, who will play the evening of Friday, Oct. 26. The Jeffrey Steele Band will entertain on Saturday evening, Oct. 27. Here are the food and drink details:
On the Festival site, the Luxury Lounge will be the scene for local seafood, not to mention three full bars, from the area’s most desirable restaurants.
Entrance to the festival is free. Festival attendees will enjoy food and retail vendors, children’s activities, community performances, and BMI music entertainment. Admission into the Luxury Lounge is $10 per night, where a premier showcase of seafood dishes and drinks are available for purchase, and various demonstrations will be shown.
Other events include Raise Your Spirits, a ticketed VIP wine dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Captain Anderson’s Restaurant which will benefit the Beach Chamber Education Fund and the FRLA Educational Foundation Bay County ProStart Schools; and a ticketed VIP BMI Songwriter Harbor Cruise aboard the Lady Anderson Dinner Cruise Ship on Thursday, Oct. 25.
For even more info, check out visitpanamacitybeach.com.
WhiskyFest New York will feature pourings from more than 300 whiskeys led by Whisky Advocate writers, master distillers and master blenders. The event will be held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square Oct. 26-27, and VIP tickets have already sold out.
Every previous WhiskeyFest New York has been a sellout, so if you're interested buy your tix online ASAP. Pack a suitcase and your stunt liver.
They'll be reprising their Nolensville Road International Tour (Sean should tag along and knock out a few stops on The Road), and they'll also be traveling even farther down Nolensville Road to visit Pat Martin's joint and sip some wine at Arrington Vineyards.
Check out all the details below and find out how to sign up to join in on the fun:
But the truth is that for one weekend in June, Manhattan is the center of the barbecue universe. The 10th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party will draw over 100,000 visitors to Madison Square Park to enjoy the wares of 18 of the country's best pitmasters, including four from New York City. Admission is free for the event, which runs June 9 and 10, and plates of 'cue from the vendors will run about $8. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait in line with thousands of Yankees to buy those plates, so eaters in the know invest the $125 to buy a FastPass.
The FastPass entitles you and a friend to cut to the front of the teeming masses and pick up your samples from all the vendors in a special express line. You'll also receive $100 toward food, beverage and merchandise, so it's really only $25 to pig out like a rock star.
Since it's the 10th edition of the block party, they're pulling out all the stops this year. The Southern Foodways Alliance will be shooting one of their excellent food documentaries profiling the pitmasters who have attended all 10. I've also heard a rumor that there might even be an air-conditioned trailer where attendees can screen some of Joe York's previous barbecue films. On a hot June day surrounded by all those people, that might be an excellent respite from the claustroporkaphobia.
Here's just a partial list of the activities scheduled for the National Cornbread Festival. There's a run, a church service, a jam tent, a cornbread eating contest, a beauty contest, tours, arts and crafts, a 4-H cook-off, an auction, a street dance, a film and more. There's not a minute of the National Cornbread Festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn., that isn't stuffed with activity.
The festival, April 27-29, showcases Lodge cookware, Martha White products, South Pittsburg (population 3,100) and Five Star ovens, made in nearby Cleveland, Tenn.
(Side note here: My oven is a Five Star, and not only is it a superior piece of equipment for the money, but the one time I needed help, an actual guy from Tennessee answered the helpline, then got in his truck and drove to my house. That's what they call customer service, right there.)
Cook-off finalists were announced last week, and they're from all over: two from North Carolina, two from Tennessee, two from West Virginia and, in an unusual twist, two from that legendary cornbread producing state, Connecticut.
The festival's Cornbread Alley lets you sample all the miraculous recipes and uses for cornbread that local organizations can devise. The result is a mix of traditional, unusual (Tooti Fruity Cornbread Balls, with pineapple and maraschino cherry) and others new but so smart you think "Why didn't I think of that? — like this recipe for Pork Puppies from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in South Pittsburg:
Starting with practice round and the Par 3 tournament early in the week, patrons stream through the gates hoping to catch a glimpse of their golfing idols and hopefully witness something miraculous. (Did I mention I was greenside when Louis Oosthuizen holed out from 253 yards away for the only double eagle in the history of the Masters on hole No. 2? Don't be a hater.)
Other than the thousands of folks cramming the golf shop to happily part with their money in return for Masters insignia-embroidered swag, the concession stands at Augusta National are probably the site of most of the commerce that happens in the city during the week. And usually in transactions of $5 at a time.
Lines are long, but they move quickly and efficiently thanks to the incredibly friendly well-oiled machine that is the Masters brand of customer service. Young ladies in green shirts smile as they wave people from the line into available registers and quickly total their sandwich wrappers and beer cups. All products are available via self-service, so the counters are covered with beer cups, racks of sandwiches and tubs of chips and fruit for patrons to select as they proceed down the cafeteria-style line.
As an aside, this sort of customer service and polite obedience by the patrons also makes the restrooms at the Masters the most efficient in all of sports. In one of the few places where the lines for the men's rooms are at least twice as long as for the distaff set, the queue fairly flies around the serpentine ropes, exactly not like any amusement park line you've ever been stuck in.
Each restroom has a team of Maître D's (Maître pees?) who greet each patron and get them to focus on the task as hand as they efficiently direct the process. “We got a 10-second rule around here, folks! I need two standers and a sitter on the back nine! I got two shakers on the left, step up boys!” You'll never see a more convivial communal experience at a sporting event unless your team wins the Stanley Cup at home.
But back to the food. Brand names are not emphasized or even allowed for most products sold at the Masters. If you try to enter the grounds with a bottle of water, you'll be told to strip the label off of it, lest Dasani receive any free airtime. In the one place where beer companies don't display their logo absolutely everywhere in a NASCAR fashion, the brands of brew are completely obscured. Your choices are “regular beer,” “light beer” or “import beer,” and are only discernible from each other by the fact that the imports come in a green cup instead of a translucent one so that the cashiers know to charge you $3.75 instead of $3. Intrepid journalists could find out the truth though by simply taking a look the mountain of empty kegs stacked out behind the concession buildings. (It's Coors, Miller Lite and Amstel. Shhh!)
Non-alcoholic beverages are even more generic with options of “classic cola,” “diet cola,” “lemon-lime” and my personal favorite “sport drink.” Now me, I drink beer when I watch sports, but was unable to use that logic to save two bucks on my fourth round of the day.
Last year the lovely and talented Jennifer Justus wrote an excellent article in the Tennessean about a ramp hunt led by the king of the smoker, Allan Benton. Since ramps are frequently cooked up alongside bacon to intermingle their wonderful garlicky funkiness with the smoke of the pork, Benton is certainly an appropriate guru for leading such an excursion.
Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, our local daily has not allocated the disk space to keep this entertaining account of the adventure online, but Justus fortunately republished her article on her personal blog A Nasty Bite. I hope she doesn't mind extra eyes looking at her slightly embarrassing story of almost running out of gas on the trip, because you should really read it. Besides, her fellow Nashvillians Thomas Williams and Chef Matt Bolus should be more chagrined, anyway, by her account of Benton picking through their hauls of what they thought was the mother lode of ramps. "Lily, lily, lily, ramp, lily, lily, lily..." Heh.
If you'd like to go ramp hunting on your own, North Carolina is the place to head. There are at least three major Ramp Celebrations coming up over the next month or so in the Tarheel state. Courtesy of the N.C. Division of Tourism, here's the skinny on the great search for Allium tricoccum:
Fish Camp is situated near Defeated Creek, and photos on its walls demonstrate just how near. The May 2010 floodwaters rose almost to the porch roof. They rebuilt right away and reopened.
The menu centers around Tennessee River catfish; says so right there on the cover. It's freshly caught and freshly fried, and available in about six different permutations. The largest option is all-you-can-eat ($11.49), and the smallest is the catfish sandwich ($4.29), a thick slab of fresh cat fillet fried crisp outside but still tender inside and tasting of clean water, fresh fish and cornmeal.
Fish Camp goes the extra mile, too, with the sides: homemade potato chips, hush puppies from scratch, cooked to a deep brown crackle outside.
Owners Troy and Kim Bates have a place to rightfully be proud of. In fact, Centerville — who knew it? — has at least three terrific places to eat. Throw in a trip to the Pink Cadillac drive-in movies, and I'd call that an ideal warm weather outing, practically in Nashville's back yard.
Family cemeteries are much more interesting than memorial gardens. In a family cemetery, the stones tell the story, if you know how to read them. My great-great grandfather had the grim task of establishing a cemetery when his beautiful, smart 27-year-old daughter died giving birth to her fourth child. Seventy-two years later, that son chose burial beside the mother he never knew in a small, remote cemetery instead of a busy, cheerful family cemetery among a sprawl of his siblings, cousins, aunts, grandparents, and everyone else with his last name.
You have to listen carefully to cemeteries, and brace yourself for what you might learn. That's the dark side venerating deceased ancestors.
While it's good to know where you came from, it's also relief to leave the dead to bury the dead and seize life.
So with "barbecue eyes" on, we turned the car back toward Davidson County and found Papa Kay Joe's, which got its own sweet write-up by the Southern Foodways Alliance (it's a stop on what they call The Southern BBQ Trail). Here's a quote from a 2008 interview with pitmaster Devin Pickard:
"There’s no knobs, there’s no gas lines, there’s no eyes, there’s no thermometer; there’s — there’s nothing. It’s just coals and a shovel and you do it — you do it long enough and you begin to learn how to fire the meat. ..."
Smoky, pink, juicy and irresistible, the meat is offered with a choice of three sauces, but it doesn't really need them.
There are two locations in Centerville: the mothership on the Linden Road (which Nashvillians call Highway 100) and a satellite on Ward Street (that's by the McDonald's, behind the gas station). Papa Kay Joe's has been operating for years; not having eaten this fantastic barbecue yet is an indication I need to drive out and see the family more often.
Come on Nashville even on Nolinsville road it is no real! The only real mexican/Latin…
It is for sure a deli. They make their own roast beef/pastrami/corned beef, sell it…
1) Go ahead and shoot me, but Chuy's is good. Very good. Not upscale, but…
Cafe Poca Cosa in Tucson. I have eaten there 6 or 7 times and every…
I dunno...I think you'll find plenty of people willing to pay for Mexique. I actually…