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!

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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.

Superba, Venice Ca

October 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

This weekend, the stars aligned to create the perfect time for a quick trip to California. Since my brother lives in Venice Beach, we always have a vacation and place to stay at our fingertips there. The flight out from Nashville is much easier than from the East coast so even leaving after work on Friday, I landed in time for dinner. I’m so glad I did because the restaurant was fantastic. It was an Italian spot with a Southern Californian twist called Superba that invites lingering late outside over wine (they have blankets table-side if you catch a beachy breeze). We chose the tasting menu which was served in a totally unique way- small plates style. Instead of everyone getting their own mini portion of each dish, plate after delicious plate was set down before us to share. It’s my favorite way to eat and with pastas made in house, the food was four stars.

I am not one for terrine (center) but I do love me some pastrami and this was some o the best ever (left)

elderflower persimmons, burrata, pistachio crumble, butter greens & hibiscus jelly. I have a confession to make, before this trip, I had never heard I burrata. Have you tried it? It is smoother, creamier, yet somehow lighter mozzarella that I then continued to nine on all weekend. I can not imagine it not going with anything.

black kale salad, parmesen, pickled raisins, pine nuts, croutons & olive oil. Perfection.

broiled hamachi collar, thai bbq glaze, apple & celery leaf salad. I love the way it’s served with the tail on, gorgeous!

crispy brussels sprout, bacon, dashi broth & poached duck egg. Oh this broth was heaven. You could put anything in there, chicken, beef, etc but it just made the Brussels sprouts even more succulent.

brown butter gnocchi, burrata, spigarello, chestnuts & pomegranate. Believe it or not there were two other pasta dishes as well but I didn’t want to gloat. More burrata, and some beautiful gnocchi.

In other news, today is Food Day celebrating real food!

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!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Etch, Nashville

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

Last week saw the opening of Etch, the new restaurant from Deb Paquette of Nashville’s Zola. I wanted to make sure I got in early to try it, especially before it gets too crowded–the space looks out over the construction of Nashville’s new enormous convention center and hotels. Once the mega-complex is up and running next spring, this place is sure to see plenty of business. The staff was really friendly and the space was easy and sleek.

Octopus and Shrimp Bruschetta, and Butter tasting: truffle butter, smoked plugra, butter, goat butter, duck butter

To start, shots of assorted butters. My favorite was the smoked plugra which is a European version of butter made with a higher butterfat content than most butters (of course that’s my favorite) for a very dense flavor. Runner up was the truffle butter which was more subtle than truffle oil. The bruschetta was also great and the octopus was cooked perfectly.

Ratatouille Crudo – carpaccio squash, zucchini, fennel, champignons, provencal herbs, olive oil, eggplant salt, red bell tomato essence, parmesan

The salad we ordered was good–nothing to write home about but it definitely served the purpose of giving us some veggies in between courses so we had something light and crunchy that still tasted better than I could make it at home.

Filet – mushroom pain perdu, smoked red wine gravy, asparagus whisps, rosemary, duck butter

Come. For. This. Filet. The meat is perfectly tender and pink and warm on the inside. But the mushroom pain perdu takes this over the edge. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it was layers of mushroom and bread that tasted like  mellow, earthy stuffing. And I don’t know about you, but it seems like my family hoards stuffing at dinners it is so beloved.

Moulard Duck Breast – Moroccan spiced, carrot pear sauce, ginger grits, tangerine butter, harissa cranberries, cinnamon crumble and tangerine butter

Speaking of family dinners, the duck was Thanksgiving dinner on a plate. The combination of flavors between the ginger grits, cranberries and carrot pear sauce (similar to sweet potatoes) were sweet and made sense, but I think they were a little too fally for our Aug. 31 meal. We should probably come back in a month or two and try it again.

We finished off with some ice cream. I forgot to photograph but what is good to know is, at Etch, ask and you shall receive. We didn’t hear lemongrass ice cream listed in the sorbets of the day but when another desert had something similar, we asked if we could try just that. And they delivered. The lemongrass ice cream was just the right amount of refreshing–but then it was served over white chocolate crumble which brought it to a whole new level adding sweetness and crunch. I think they should definitely add it to the menu.

Weekend Roundup – Labor Day Staycation Extravaganza Edition

August 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

This has to be the first Labor Day weekend since birth that I have not spent at the Jersey shore–and I could not be more excited. As you could probably tell this Yankee hasn’t been in Nashville all that much this month and I am so excited to catch up on all the happenings here. Here is a look at some funtastic to-do’s this holiday weekend.

The Whole Foods of Green Hills Hill Center is hosting it’s second sidewalk farmer’s market tonight! Thursday, Aug 30th from 4-8 pm. I know I will be there.

The Nashville Food Truck Association will hold the city’s first “Nashville Street Food Awards” on Sept. 1 at Centennial Park in conjunction with the fall season kick-off of Musician’s Corner. Beginning at 11:00 AM, over 20 of Nashville’s food trucks will compete in several categories and will offer regular menu items along with “tastes”. The free live music kicks off at 3:00 with the food truck winners announced at 6:00 PM. A  portion of proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

So to recap: Trying as many food trucks as possible in one day? Check. Free live music? Check. Booze (probably/why not?) Check. Good cuase? Check. Sounds like a must.

This weekend is the last chance to visit Cheekwood Garden’s Treehouse exhibit! The treehouses based on great works of literature will close for good Sept. 3.

Try a new spot. August saw of slew of new restaurant openings in Nashville–and not without a lot of hype. Make a resi and go check them out for yourself! Etch, Silo, Lockeland Table and Cafe Fundamental.

See some theater. The Nashville Shakespeare Festival is putting on a post-WWII adaption of the classic Much Ado About Nothing in Centennial Park. Showtimes are Thurs-Sun evenings Aug 23-Sept 16 with a special Monday Performance on Labor Day, Sep 3. Dedicated to US service men and women.

Get your art on at the First Saturday Art Crawl. Every month from 6-9, art galleries downtown host receptions (often with wine :)) presenting local and world-renowned artwork of all genres. Admission is free and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles among the galleries.

Also on my list:

Game Night with lots o’ Catch Phrase

Boating on Percy Priest–because who knew there was a beach-esque place 15 minutes from downtown!

3 days doesn’t seem quite so long now…

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