Marché Artisan Foods, East Nashville

November 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

We finished the trip with brunch at Marché Artisan Foods in historic East Nashville. I’d heard wonderful things and when we showed up to a packed house at 9:10 when they opened at 9:00, I knew this was going to be good. This place was BUSTLING this early, I couldn’t believe it. Lots of kids/families and a really friendly energy fill the place. There is a bakery/coffee area if you want to purchase some baked goods or specialty breads while you wait for your table (which we did) and watch all the food get carried out by the waiters so you can drool over what you want.

We were seated after the first wave left, about 20 minutes.  The menu changes daily but I’m sure there are always fresh, great choices.

I know it seems simple but the eggs just looked so fresh and fluffy, I couldn’t resist a basic: scrambled eggs, sausage and grits.

This french toast was nice and light with the right amount of sweetness and no overwhelming stuffing (not that I don’t like a good cream-cheese stuffed french toast every once in a while)

Oooh these roasted potatoes are so, so good. Buttery and soft, why don’t mine turn out the same? Either way, I still went out and bought some red potatoes tonight; must’ve been on the brain

I can’t personally attest to this Meatloaf sandwich since I didn’t try but if it’s line with the rest of the menu, I’m sure to the meatloaf-lover this is delicious.

Going to Marche is a really nice way to start the day and I will definitely be coming back for breakfasts to come!

A Very Special Weekend Roundup

November 5, 2012 § 3 Comments

This past weekend was one that I had been looking forward to for a long time. Not one, not two, but three very special events were colliding and I couldn’t wait to get the weekend started.

We kicked it off Nashville style with the 46th Annual CMA Awards. This event was so much fun and I am so glad it’s home is in Nashville! Not only was it one star-studded performance after another, but the fans and the energy in the crowd had a contagious,  anything-goes kind of feel- from cut-offs to ball gowns.

Next, my mom and my sister came into town for a visit and some wedding planning. Of course we had to show off our favorite joint, Patrick Martin’s, so they could taste what real bbq is.

We definitely do not have this at Philly “barbecues” when we grill hot dogs and hamburgers. It’s very impressive to a Northerner

We also wanted to bring them to what just might be our favorite date spot in Nashville, City House. Our waiter even let it slip that they were catering to Anthony Bourdain after his show. I love the wine in the picture below, Glornata Gemellaia, Sangiovese, Merlot, Paso Verdot, Paso Robles, CA 2010 which I’ve ordered at two different dinners now and it’s paired with everything.

Pre-Tony

And then I came face to face with my long-time celebrity personality crush, Anthony Bourdain. I spent many a lazy college afternoon watching No Reservations, devoured Kitchen Confidential (and the not quite-as-good Medium Raw) and stood in a jam-packed Barnes & Noble in NY to hear him speak with David Chang.

Up close & personal in the front row. I have the best fiance in the world.

My answer to the “what’s your dream job?” question was always the same, “Anthony Bourdain’s sidekick.” Listening to him speak Saturday at TPAC, I got to hear the inside scoop of just what it would take to be on his team–namely, humiliation, exhaustion, lots of strange food, too much liquor and a dash of skirting the law. Maybe I should just enjoy getting my fix from his upcoming CNN show.

Tennessee Brew Works, Nashville’s New Kid on the Block

October 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

I love to have the inside scoop and this past weekend I got the first taste of one of Nashville’s newest brewers. They specialize in craft beers and started with one pot on a stove. What they’ve come up with though awesome, really unique and great-tasting beers. We had an absolute blast tasting them this weekend and it’s so refreshing to actually be able to smell the ingredients in a beer just like wine (unlike some other beer varieties I’ve been known to throw back). My favorites were a light, floral-y beer that had a secret farm ingredient (!) and a subtle IPA that I actually enjoyed since I am not a crazy hop head. They are planning to do a bunch of dinners and pairings before opening up shop so be sure to keep an eye out for Tennessee Brew Works events! The logo below is still in the works but the beer is ready for action.

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Smiling Elephant, Nashville

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was recently directed to The Smiling Elephant for some of the best Thai food in town and am so, so in love with this food that I can see myself returning again and again (if only they delivered!). When you walk through the door, there is a giant gong to the right that you are instructed to bang if you enjoyed your meal. Surrounding that are photos of the some of the famous faces that grace this place (Ben Folds, Nicole Kidman, etc). Even more thrilling are the smells that waft through and get your stomach growling. If you step in further you’ll see men working on giant woks and realize where the smells are coming from.

Thai Iced Tea

Lemongrass soup. I will need to find a similar recipe to recreate at home, this broth could cure the flu.

Dumplings

Smiling Elephant Pad Thai- Stir-fried green bean noodles with tofu, eggs, bean sprouts, ground peanuts and chicken

I wish I could remember the name of this. It was a new dish that had pork, tomatoes, eggplant and basil. Sort of like a delicious Thai Sloppy Joe over rice

I’ll admit the dessert was a little unusual. Banana in a rice cover cooked in banana leaves. Somewhat chewy in texture but sweet, it was interesting though not something I would need every time. I’d rather fill up on the dishes above.

“Like the food? Let the Cooks Know! DON’T BE SHY! HIT THE GONG!”                                          “We know we like you!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Artisan Cheese Festival

October 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I found out there was a cheese fest going on, there was no way I could not attend. It’s clear I love me some cheese (here, here and here) so even the fall chill couldn’t bring us down at the Nashville Farmer’s Market this past weekend. For $44, we got to sample goods from over 20 cheesemakers across the Southeast as well as wine and craft beer. Though there were some organizational issues at first (this is only the festival’s second year), the cheese-hungry crowd figured it out and we soon tried so much, I think I got cheesed-out (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either but when Whole Foods was giving out apple slices, I had never been happier to see the fruit). It was a super indulgent way to spend a Saturday–someone mentioned “bucket-list worthy”–and I hope to attend for many years to come.

Bonnyclabber Cheese from Sullivan’s Pond Farm

Some of my favorite bites were not straight cheese but the spreadable goat cheeses blended with herbs, nuts, savory preserves, etc. from Stone Hollow Creamery in Birmingham. These things make entertaining a no-brainer.

Wine to wash it all down. My favorite was from Le Mistral

With so many dairy farms present, there were some delectable ice cream choices. We went with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams–the Dark Chocolate is TO DIE FAR it is so rich, it tastes like frozen brownie mix. Perfectly paired with Goat Cheese and Cherry

Our favorite takeaway was The Preservation Society’s Pepper Jelly (we came home with two jars). It was so sweet and peppery it’s good any time of day. I was thrilled to learn they also sell in Whole Foods so I can restock easily.

 

Your Plans for the Month of October

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week saw a turn of the calendar which means a whole new page to fill with activities. It seems like as the weather cools, people are squeezing in everything they can before people turn in for the winter. So get out and enjoy as much as you can!

How fun would it be to stomp grapes this weekend? What a great idea. A Vintage Affair continues the celebration of its 12th year of supporting nonprofit organizations in Williamson County with The Grape Stomp at Animalia. It will be held this Sat, Oct 6 from 2-7 at Animalia, a veterinarian clinic near the Westhaven neighborhood.

If you love cheese as much as I do, then the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival is a must-do event. On Sat, Oct 6, sample 75+ handcrafted cheese from over 20 artisanal cheesemakers from six states around the Southeast. Each cheesemaker will be on hand to introduce and share their cheeses with. And with each $44 ticket comes a $5 voucher. They’ll also be craft beers, wine, tea and other beverages on hand to wash down such creamy, stinky goodness.

This week is the last chance to catch Smokey Joe’s Cafe! The Franklin Theater is putting on the broadway revue that features fun hits that range from rock to rhythm & blues from legendary songwriters Lieber & Stoller. It promises to be a really good time and with an outstanding cast, could be the perfect date night with dinner in downtown Franklin.

I am so excited to explore Germantown during it’s heyday–Oktoberfest. Any festival with steins, sausage and lederhosen has to be a good time so be sure to be there out and about on Sat, Oct 13th. And to relieve some of the guilt of overindulgence, there is a 5k around historic Germantown beginning at 8:00 AM the morning of the street festival.

I am totally ready to whip out my English-degree-pants and head to the Southern Festival of Books Oct 12-14. Each year the Festival brings to Nashville approximately 250 of the nation’s and region’s most prominent authors, spanning all genres (including chefs). There are so many things on this schedule, I can’t even handle it, and every session is free and open to the public with no advance registration or tickets required. Just make sure to get out early since seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Luke Bryan is set to headline the 5th annual Capitol Street Party on Weds Oct 17. The free concert will move from Demonbreun Street to Lower Broadway this year with Luke and newcomers Kelleigh Bannen and Jon Pardi performing on a stage set up on Broadway between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

 

I think it’s clear I love a good wine festival (here and here) so I am very glad to see another one on the calendar in Nashville. On Friday, Oct 19 from 7-10 pm at the Factory in Franklin will be 300+ wines to sample, live entertainment, seminars and so much more. Tickets run $75 or $85 at the door.

To celebrate the Latin American holiday of Los Dias de Los Muertos, head out to Cheekwood for their Fall Festival. The event has tons of kid-friendly, artsy activities as well as a marketplace, live music, and food. AND the event is free for anyone under 17.

 

 

City House, Nashville

September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

I have a bucket list item to cross off: City House Sunday Night Supper. It was a wonderful place to bring our out-of-town guests since the building itself is gorgeous and rustic (much larger than it appears on the outside), has a really cool atmosphere (complete with hipster servers, eclectic music mix and attractive guests) and an amazing ever-changing menu (which includes an entire dedicated “pork snacks” section). I love the shared plates style so you can sample as much of this yummy, creative cuisine as possible.

Popcorn Big Hoss Dry Rub, Belly Butter

The popcorn was a quick and tasty way to whet our appetite. Rich and salty… methinks we were onto something with our gourmet toppings here.

Octopus, Peppers, Chilies, Sausage, Garlic, Oregano, White Wine, Bread

I am normally a huge octopus fan–the meaty texture, the smoky taste. But I am more accustomed to lighter Greek/Mediterranean preparations since I found this pairing with the sausage a little too salty.

Milk Braised Butt & Biscuits, Black Pepper

This. Pork. Butt. Is. Delicious. I think this was my favorite bite all night. The meat was perfectly tender and succulent and the biscuit was buttery and a pleasant surprise accompaniment.

Spaghetti Squash, Fontina Fonduta, Bread Crumbs, Lemon, Parsley

I was so impressed by this spaghetti squash that I ran out and bought one the next day and cooked it. I’m not kidding, I’ll document it here. This pairing was better than anything I made though since there was melted cheese all over but it was kept bright by the lemon and parsley.

Pizza, Sausage, Ricotta, Garlic, Oregano, Parm, Chilies

This pizza had my two most favoritest components: extra thin, crispy crust and ricotta cheese. I could’ve eaten the whole thing myself.

Pork Meatballs, Tomato Ragu, Grana Padano, Focaccia

Our waiter informed us that the pork meatballs are actually included on the menu every Sunday. They are popular for a reason–super soft with an acidic perfect tomato sauce. I only wished I had more bread and sauce to mop up!

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