Casa Azafrán is a project of Conexión Américas. It is a collaborative nonprofit community center, with seven nonprofits working in one 17,000-square-foot building to provide services to local families They have a commercial kitchen and provide a licensed, affordable space for small food businesses to launch and develop.
This Sunday, May 12, Casa Azafrán will host chef Carlos Davis of Riffs Fine Street Food as he creates a locally sourced buffet brunch complete with Bleu Cheese Biscuits with Sorghum Butter, Porter Road Butcher Sausage and Shrimp and Grits. Thirty percent of the ticket price will be donated to Conexión Américas to support their efforts to help Latino families realize their aspirations for social and economic advancement by promoting their integration into all aspects of life in Middle Tennessee.
Tickets are $26.50 for adults and $12.50 for children and are available here. The brunch will be served from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday. You can make reservations for a specific time block when you pre-purchase your tickets, so Mom shouldn't have to wait too long for those good eats.
They have fixed that problem in a big way by hiring Sam Tucker, former sous chef at Watermark who you remember cooking alongside Laura Wilson at The Turnip Truck and at the Scene Iron Fork competition. Tucker has created a menu that he describes as "Southern with a European accent." The list of dishes focuses on local and seasonal ingredients, and one item has already begun to make quite a splash with Eighth and Roast regulars, a breakfast sandwich featuring Tennessee bacon, gruyere, and local eggs served on a fresh baked ciabatta bread. Tucker acquired his baking chops early in his culinary career when he worked at Great Harvest Bread Co. and other spots, so his selections of breads, scones and assorted pastries are notable. He also makes many gluten-free options for the celiacs who are looking for a sweet treat.
Food service hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday (coffee available until 6 p.m.); Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday (coffee is available until 6 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday).
If you want to sample some of Tucker's cuisine, the store is holding a “Try Our Food” open house this Saturday, May 11. Between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., patrons can enjoy a hearty sampler plate for just $5, which will include four large samples of Eighth and Roast’s new menu items. You don't even have to wake up early on a Saturday!
And raise a glass to all the winners and nominees!
Middle Tennessee did contribute to some of the hardware that was taken home from last night's ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. Joseph Lenn, the chef at Blackberry Farm who did win Best Chef-Southeast last night, spent three years in Nashville helping to open the new restaurant at the Hermitage Hotel working under, ironically enough, Sean Brock. Did I mention how tightly knit and incestuous this culinary family tree is?
Last weekend, the James Beard Foundation announced the media awards, and why no Bites commenters won the blog awards (I was rooting for y'all), the CBS Sunday Morning "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" episode did take home the gold for Best Television Program, In Studio or Fixed Location. If you remember, that was the episode that featured a very entertaining segment recounting the history and demonstrating the production process of Nashville's own Goo Goo Cluster.
A big winner from the area was the King of Fermentation himself, Sandor Katz, who's based in Cannon County. His book The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World won kudos as the best cookbook of the year in the Reference and Scholarship category. That's a big-time recognition, and we should offer hearty congratulations to Katz.
If you'd like to learn about fermentation from the Beard-winning master himself, you've got a great opportunity coming up.
For a more extensive education from an unlikely source, you should consider picking up a copy of Wicked Good Burgers by Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and Andrea Pyenson. If that title sounds vaguely familiar, this cookbook comes from the same team of Boston-bred Yankees who published Wicked Good BBQ after carpetbagging their way to Lynchburg and taking home the hardware at the Jack Daniel's Invitational World Barbecue Championship. I'm just kidding about the carpetbagging part. I really like the story of Husbands and Hart, and their barbecue book has given me some really good tips in the past.
Now they have turned their sights on the humble burger in an attempt to raise the level of creativity and technique of the average Joe. (Or Sully or Bubba) They address the art and science of making excellent burgers, from the actual grinding of the meat to cooking methods on your grill, smoker, griddle, frying pan or even sous vide apparatus if you have that level of kitchen. Being kind of a kitchen nerd myself, I appreciate the fact that the authors use very precise weights and measures (including, gasp!, metric) in their recipes.
Some of the burgers are truly over the top, like the $100 Burger that calls for Wagyu brisket and short ribs, foie gras and truffle powder, but most of the recipes look delicious and creative. There are also plenty of recipes for inventive side dishes and toppings like duck fat fries, grilled romaine and dilled salmon roe.
To whet your appetite, they were nice enough to share a couple of recipes that you can try out to kick off Burger Month. If these get your grill preheated, buy the book and check out the rest.
The owners are Mel and Kimala Bond and their daughter Kathleen, a Belmont grad and entrepreneur who formerly worked as a manager at The Turnip Truck Urban Fare across the street.
Bond Coffee opened with limited hours at the end of last week, and now it's operating in full swing. In addition to coffee and espresso drinks, Bond serves pastries (including muffins made in house) and a smallish menu of sandwiches and panini. Some favorites, like the chicken salad, will always be on the menu, and a few options will rotate, according to Kathleen Bond, who oversees the food.
A fun, convenient breakfast item is grab-and-go oatmeal in Mason jars from locally based Haulin' Oats.
The remodeled interior is sleek and light. An iron chandelier with vintage-looking bulbs was going up Monday afternoon.
Bond Coffee Company is at 602 12th Ave. S. in the Icon. The phone number is 615-810-9940.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.
Here’s the deal: For just $15 (per person), you get tastings of four wines (full glasses, friends) plus small plates specially prepared to go with the evening’s lineup of wines. The wine selections generally have a theme, too. For example, we went to a tasting a couple of weeks ago that featured two wines each from two Washington state wineries (Hedges Family Estate and Gordon Estate). The first appetizer was a spring salad with strawberries, goat cheese and walnuts. The second was a butternut squash ravioli with pancetta cream sauce (I had the sage butter sauce instead). In addition to all that, when you stay for dinner, you get 20 percent off your meal. See what I mean about a deal?
Generally speaking, when you attend one of their tastings, you sit in the bar area. The first one I went to quite a while back was rather quiet, but their events have gained quite a bit of popularity, so the atmosphere in the bar during this last tasting was fairly lively. It's also not a particularly kid-friendly event. However, when I lamented via Twitter about having no babysitter, the official Amerigo Twitterer helpfully suggested that we sit at a booth in the dining room instead. That way, we could enjoy the wine tasting and the little one could color or play. What? Have my wine and toddler, too? Why, thank you very much! (I assume many parents would agree that wine and children have a sort of chicken/egg thing going). So that’s what we did. The little one happily ate a pizza and played with crayons while we had our wine tasting and a couple of extra appetizers. We also ordered some gelato (Bravo Gelato!) which made for a happy kid and even happier parents. We all had a lovely time.
The wine tastings take place at both the Cool Springs and Nashville/West End locations and are not an organized, group event. As in, show up when you can (starting at 5:30 p.m. in Cool Springs and 6 p.m. in Nashville) and have the tasting at your leisure. Details about the tastings are available on their website, but the best idea (in order to make plans, particularly if you prefer not to attend with your kids) is to get on their mailing list. This month’s tasting is happening this week — tomorrow night in Cool Springs and Wednesday night in Nashville — and features wines from the Francis Ford Coppola winery.
This year's slate of restaurants and food purveyors is again impressive:
Amerigo Italian Restaurant
Chappy’s Seafood Restaurant
Cork & Cow
Goo Goo Clusters
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Kickin' Coffee and Tea
Kohana Japanese Restaurant
Kroger Chef Shoppes
Marché Artisan Foods
Margot Café & Bar
Nashville State Community College
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Pied Piper Creamery
Porta Via Italian Kitchen
Porter Road Butcher
Provence Breads & Café
Riff’s Fine Street Food
Riviera Provincial Grill
Second Harvest Food Bank Culinary Arts Center
The Bloomy Rind
The Mad Platter
The Turnip Truck
Tom White, the Nashville-based attorney representing McDonald's, told my colleague William Williams of the Nashville Post today that work should begin in 30 days on the new building. Construction should take about four months, White said.
The new McDonald's will be sited in a more pedestrian-friendly way with less asphalt separating the building from 12th Avenue South. White said there will also be more extensive landscaping than the codes require.
"Overall, it will be a great looking site when they are finshed," said Bill Herbert, zoning administrator for Metro Codes. "We are looking forward to it. It was a real process — a lot of give and take and a lot of meetings. McDonald’s, quite frankly, has done a lot of work to make it comply with the code. They had to make some concessions."
Humdingers opened in Brentwood in March, a sister restaurant to two Humdingers in the Memphis area. The new joint is located in the strip across from Kroger at 330 Franklin Road — taking over the former Fred Astaire Dance Studio space and turning the modest strip into an almost uninterrupted lineup of restaurants (including Five Guys, Peter’s Sushi & Thai, and Chile Burrito).
Humdingers isn’t a franchise; it’s a restaurant concept dreamed up by a group of Memphians to put a healthy and moderately priced spin on fish and chicken. The chicken has a kick of its own: It’s inspired by piri-piri chicken traditional to South Africa. Humdingers sells its own line of sauces and spice rubs formulated with the piri-piri chili pepper.
According to Sunshine Post, the catering manager at Humdingers in Brentwood (her husband Trey Post is the general manager), there’s no MSG in the seasonings.
The menu features the aforementioned piri-piri chicken in various levels of spiciness, plus five or six different grilled fish, crispy fish-and-chips, crabcakes, shrimp skewers and more. Fish and chicken can be ordered as a platter with sides, as a sandwich, in a salad or in tacos.
In the Humdingers setup, customers order at the counter, then their meal is brought to their table. The decor is colorful, with an open kitchen providing diners entertainment (or reassurance). Post says they hope to eventually secure licenses to serve beer and wine.
Post adds that catering has already proven pretty popular, especially in corporate or party settings where relatively healthy menu choices are a plus.
Humdingers Grilled Fish & Piri-Piri Chicken is at 330 Franklin Road, Suite 906D, in Brentwood. The phone number is 835-3201. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
A version of this story appeared in my Food Biz column in today's print edition of The City Paper and online in the Nashville Post.
The brews will come from Yazoo's new Embrace the Funk series, plus a great selection of other funky/wild beers selected by Yazoo staff. Yazoo honcho Linus Hall describes the new roster of beers thusly:
Late last year, we started brewing a series of sour ales based on the Belgian tradition of inoculating beers with souring “bugs” and fermenting the beers in used wine barrels with other “wild” yeasts. The beers take a long time to develop in the barrels, but we have several beers that are finally ready. One is “Wild Child,” a smoky sour ale aged in wine barrels with brettanomyces and cherries. Another is “Rufus,” a collaboration blend we did with New Belgium Brewery — a beer we brewed with two different brettanomyces strains, blackberries and black currants, and blended with “Oscar,” New Belgium’s base sour beer for blends like their “La Folie.”
The Bloomy Rind's cheesemonger Kathleen Cotter has promised to bring the funk with some cheeses that will reward the intrepid eater with tremendous flavors.
DJs John Brassil and Doyle Davis (the co-owner of Grimey’s) will be spinning their favorite funk tunes to keep the party hopping. If you remember Doyle's famous "D-Funk" sets from his WRVU days, you know that he'll be digging into the deep tracks to free yo' mind. Your ass will most certainly follow.
Tickets for a day of funky fun are $50 and are available at the event website. As my musical senpai Regi Wooten frequently told me, "What's'n ever it is, it's gots to be funky!"
Great article. I absolutely believe to the statement, "You never know until you try" especially…
Congrats! I'll have to check out the restaurant.
I've been to the one in Lenox Village a few times and the burgers were…
Really excited about his restaurant. I have got to get myself to Memphis in May…
im really excited about this addition. for those of you who have not eaten at…