Changes in the calendar and the weather tend to be accompanied by changes in the restaurant and food service industry: openings, closings, new hours, new menus and new chefs. Here’s a rundown of some recent local developments, all on the table for your dining pleasure.
Though summer is officially still more than a month off, summer operating hours are already in effect at Las Paletas, the Mexican popsicle shop at the corner of 12th Avenue South and Kirkwood. The store will be selling its fresh lime, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, chocolate-wasabi, chili-cucumber, green tea and other inventively flavored frozen treats from noon to 7 p.m. Tues.-Sat.
Change in schedule
With the departure of Vanderbilt students for the summer, Grins is changing its hours of operation. The popular kosher-vegetarian café, located in the Ben Shulman Center for Jewish Life on the Vandy campus, will stay open for an early dinner for the next couple of weeks. Extended hours, in effect through May 22, are 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. Beginning Memorial Day, Grins will remain closed until the first week of August. Grins and the Shulman Center are at the corner of 25th Avenue South at Vanderbilt Place. 322-8571.
In honor of Armed Forces Day, Krispy Kreme stores are asking folks to do their patriotic duty and eat more doughnuts. On May 17, Krispy Kreme will be making red-, white- and blue-sprinkled doughnuts; for every dozen sold, the company will donate $1 to the United Service Organization. For 62 years, the USO has been providing morale-boosting programs and services to enhance the quality of life for military personnel and their families.
Vino de España
Fortunately, you don’t need to speak Spanish to drink Spanish. On Monday, May 19, Yellow Porch will present a tasting of Spanish wines presented by a Seattle wine importer. Chef Kim Totzke will also be preparing tapas to complement the beverages. The tasting will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public for a $15 charge. The Yellow Porch is at 734 Thompson Lane. 386-0260.
Terry Carr-Hall, owner of Provence Breads and Cafe, emphatically believes in the pleasure and power of bread. He’s putting his passions into action with a partnership between his store and St. Luke’s Community Center. Provence bakers have created a European-style multigrain bread, which is being packaged in a wooden basket and sold at the Hillsboro Village store and at participating Episcopal churches. The loaves are $4.50, and all proceeds from sales will benefit St. Luke’s Community House. The special sale will continue through June 1.
St. Luke’s has served the West Nashville community since 1913, offering 24 different social services, including child care, Mobile Meal, emergency food and home repair.
On May 19, stock up on natural and organic foods at either of Nashville’s two Wild Oats stores, at 3909 Hillsboro Pike and 3201 Belmont Blvd. When you do, you’ll also be lending a helping hand to the Nashville Family Shelter: On that day, Wild Oats will donate 5 percent of sales to the nonprofit volunteer organization, which provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and support services to homeless families. For more information on Nashville Family Shelter, log on to www.home.bellsouth.net/groups-nfs.
As a way to give back to local communities, Wild Oats holds 5 Percent Days four times a year, with various nonprofit organizations serving as the beneficiaries. The days raise, on average, a total of $20,000 annually in each city. The company, which operates 102 stores in 25 states and British Columbia, will soon be opening a third Nashville-area store in Cool Springs.
Fresh from the market
The Farmers Market at The Factory at Franklin kicked off its season Saturday, May 3. Already, 23 vendors are signed up, along with many day vendors who will participate as the growing season gets into swing. In addition to fruits and vegetables, shoppers can also find plants, herbs, compost, fresh eggs, baked goods and hormone-free meats and poultry. Demonstrations are held regularly, and live music will frequently be scheduled on weekends. Located in located in Bldg. 9 of the Factory, the Market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m.-noon, and on Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It will remain in operation for the duration of the growing season, which runs through October.
At the Nashville Farmers Market on Eighth Avenue South, Hill & Hollow CSA has begun its Saturday-morning distribution of organic produce to co-op members. Membership is now closed, but nonmembers will have good reason to visit, as they can purchase locally hatched eggs, cheese, baked goods and other products from Hill & Hollow. The CSA (which stands for “community supported agriculture”) also sometimes offers excess produce for sale to nonmembers.
Gulf Pride Seafood Market, which sells fresh fish and shellfish from its store in the Nashville Farmers Market, will soon be opening a larger store in The Factory at Franklinalso in Bldg. 9, where the Farmer’s Market is taking place. According to owner J.D. Johnson, the new store will have 32 feet of display space, a 1,000-gallon lobster tank, a deli counter serving New Orleans-style po’boys and indoor seating. There will also be a 7-foot-wide round table, similar to those found in port-side fish markets, where people can stand and eat. Tentative operating hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays, with Sunday hours from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. But Johnson says the store won’t set definite hours until he and his employees have a chance to gauge customer traffic.
Light my Saffire
Saffire restaurant, also located in The Factory at Franklin, has introduced a new menu, brought some new staff on board, and added some new promotions to its weekly schedule. Chef and co-owner (with Tom Morales) Scott Alderson has his kitchen staff in place, with Ray Whitlock serving as executive chef; Whitlock formerly served with Alderson at 6º. Kristin Gregory is on board as sous chef; she trained under Alderson at Marina Café in Destin, Fla., and Café Thirty-A in Seagrove, Fla.
Alderson has been manning the front of the house, though he spends weekend nights at the stove. On the menu, he has eliminated sushi, though he maintains the raw bar items. There is a daily special on soups, salads and terrines, while frequent entrée rotations won’t extend to Alderson classics like chicken-fried chicken, fish and grits, and Sonoma mac and cheddar, all of which remain on the menu.
Customers who sit to eat dinner by 5:30 p.m. will purchase one dinner full price and get the second slashed in half. Meanwhile, weeknight specials include Tuesday-night wine tastings pairing five different wines with five different hors d’oeuvres for $15 a person. Reservations are highly recommended for the tastings, held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. “Wino Wednesdays” offer a selection of many wines by the bottle for 50 percent off all night. Thursdays are “Band of Artists” night, with live jazz-funk-fusion performed by Circus Maximus and visual art created on site by Rachel Kice. Performances begin about 7:30 p.m.
Finally, every night, the cooking team is offering a five-course tasting menu priced at $39, or $59 with wine pairings. Saffire is at 230 Franklin Road. 599-4995. Hours: 5 p.m. till closing Tues.-Sun.
Wild Boar executive chef Robert Price has re-created one of the restaurant’s most popular selections: the Lobster Degustation Menu. Chef Price will personally prepare four courses of Maine lobster: lobster cappuccino; Napoleon of lobster, endive and watermelon with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction; skillet-seared Hudson Valley foie gras and sautéed lobster claw with candied daikon radish in a vanilla emulsion scented with sauternes; and butter-poached lobster tail with roasted carrot ravioli and spring ramps in an English pea emulsion. The four-course immersion in culinary decadence is $65 per person, or $130 per person when the courses are paired with tasting portions of specially selected wines.
The spring à la carte menu has some notable items, such as South Texas wild boar and a beet and goat cheese terrine on arugula. Wild Boar is at 2014 Broadway. 329-1313. Open for dinner 6-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., until 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; bar stays open later.
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