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Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. These last couple of months have been insanely busy and between travel, family time, and work, I simply haven’t had a second to pull my thoughts together and write!

That said I have SO MUCH to write about. Trips to Charleston, Chicago, and Atlanta made for some incredible dining experiences, so even though it might take me a while to get them all posted, you better believe I will share. I’m going to work my way backwards by starting with Atlanta. Earlier this month, I attended my fifth Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, and appropriately, probably put on 5 pounds.

 

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As most of you that have been reading my blog know, I do double duty for many events, including AF&WF. While my career with Goo Goo has me working hard at the tasting tents and spreading the Goo Goo Gospel all weekend, I also try to fit in as many educational classes as I can in the hours the tents aren’t open. This year there were a couple of classes that were favorites.

First, Southern Living’s “Test Kitchen Secrets” demo where I got to chow down on an Open Faced Tomato Sandwich with Creamy Cucumber Spread and Smashed Fried Okra. Gah, I really think I could live on fresh tomatoes. Can’t wait until our famers’ markets here in Nashville are brimming full of them!

My other favorite class was “Forgotten Ingredients” on the grilling deck with Steve McHugh of TX and Travis Milton of VA.

 

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These guys did a great job giving us all a history lesson on regional cuisines and ingredients that have been forgotten over time. We were reminded that Native Americans were the original chefs, and played a significant role in shaping Southern food, particularly in Appalachia and the Ozarks. They cooked Trout with sumac and black locust vinegar (sooo good!) and a Prickly pear mesquite cobbler, both on a Big Green Egg.

 

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The 2016 Goo Goo Girls

 

Then, of course, there were the tasting tents. Three days of so much food & drink — it was impossible to try it all! As always, I had to be strategic and keep the belly space available for dishes that either sounded super interesting or just really decadent. Then there were also the surprises that perhaps I bypassed initially because I thought they were too basic, but then heard from others were awesome. Of course, then I was forced to hunt them down. Because that’s my job, ya know?

 

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On Friday, the first day of the tasting tents, this Brisket on mac & cheese from Grand Champion BBQ (GA) was the surprise dish of the day. I mean, I like brisket, but it’s one of those things I felt like I could eat on any given day, so I passed it by. That was, until I heard from one of my co-workers how delicious it was.

Actually, it was beyond delicious…definitely my favorite bite of the first day. And yes, I went back a second time. And maybe a third. Shhhh.

 

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Just across the aisle in the Southern Road Trip tent I found a much lighter bite – Meyer Lemon Mousse with saltine cracker streussel and sea salt made by City Grocery (MS). I could have eaten about 10 of these spoons, but alas, I practiced self control and only ate two.

 

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If there is a chicken skin anywhere in sight, I’m eating it. And I definitely was not disappointed with these Crispy chicken skins with whipped feta and spicy honey by Parish (GA). Whipped feta and honey, people. It’s all the rage. (as I learned at Butcher & Bee Nashville)

 

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The most beautiful dish I encountered was PintPoint Restaurant’s (NC) Smoked black grouper cheeks wrapped in shiso pickled sea bean and radish, cucumbers, preserved lemon and local mullet roe bottarga. Yeah, I don’t even know what all that stuff is either, but it was certainly interesting!

 

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Other standouts over the weekend were (clockwise from upper left):

Porter Road Butcher (TN) steak with chimichurri

chilled zellwood corn soup with local shrimp, hearts of palm, coconut, peach, and chili from Amelia Island’s (FL) table

5Church (GA) cheddar cheese angioletti with spring peas

Two Ten Jack (TN) ahi tuna poke with apple, radish, chili oil

 

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One of the best simple dishes I encountered was the Bulls Bay Sea Salt (SC) Tomato & Corn Salad with red mash sea salt. Super light and cool, it was refreshing in the heat, particularly after a few days of tasting some heavier dishes.

 

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In addition to all the food, there is always an abundance of great drinking options at Atlanta Food & Wine. In fact, there may be more “drinks” than there are “eats”, and while most are alcoholic, there are still some great non-alcoholic products to be discovered too. I was happy to stumble upon Slingshot Coffee Co’s Cold Brew, and also thrilled to hear the story from the owner about how she just won Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 from Southern Living magazine! Even more exciting – we can purchase it here in Nashville at Whole Foods!

 

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And now for my favorite two dishes of the entire weekend…

At Eat Local Starkville (MS), Ty Thames was serving up a molasses braised pork cheek on bone marrow grits with herb cream, curry fried raisins and apple dust. Holy schmoly you guys. I mean, I can’t even tell you how great this was. The pics definitely don’t do it justice.

 

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I still haven’t stopped thinking about it, and definitely want to try to recreate it some day for friends.

 

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Last but certainly not least, Hattie B’s (TN) hot chicken bite actually won “Best of the Fest”. Over the 3 day festival, attendees voted with wooden tokens for their favorite dishes, and Hattie B’s racked up the most tokens, earning them a $1,000 prize from PNC Bank.

Talk about some hometown pride. While I eat Hattie B’s hot chicken on the regular here in Nashville, there was certainly something special about that little piece they were serving up at Atlanta Food & Wine.

So there you go. A little glimpse into my experience at this year’s festival. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend, and live within driving distance of Atlanta, I really encourage you to make plans to go next year. Every year has gotten better and better, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!

 

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Yum!East

Thursday, June 2, 2016
6 – 9 pm

Pavilion East
1006 Fatherland St
Nashville, TN 37206

Cost: $45/person (purchase tickets here)

21+ event

We all know that some of the best food in Nashville is found in East Nashville, so what could be better than an event bringing together over 30 of those restaurants, chefs, food artisans, and specialty purveyors? The 4th annual Yum!East benefits Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, and this year marks the 125th anniversary of this wonderful organization.

Admission to the event includes unlimited tastings from East Nashville eateries, souvenir glass, open bar with craft beer and wine, and live music.

For more information and a list of participating restaurants, visit www.yumeast.com.

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Thursday, June 2nd – Sunday, June 5th, 2016
Midtown Atlanta

Cost: Various pricing levels

This is one event happening outside of Nashville that I always like to highlight because it is an incredible one, and it’s a relatively easy drive from here. This will be my 5th Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, and every year has been better than the last! I’ll be pulling double duty as an ambassador for Goo Goo and as media, so it’s both work and play for me.

If you take a look back at my experiences here, here , here. and here, I think you’ll see that even the “work” is fun!

Making the trip to Atlanta to partake in all of the deliciousness? Be sure to visit the Goo Goo table in the tasting tents and say hi to me!

 

 

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Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’

Sunday, June 12th, 2016
3 – 5 pm

Front Lawn of First Presbyterian Church
4815 Franklin Pike
Nashville, TN 37220

Cost: $10 for adults (advance)
$8 for children (advance)

One of the best family friendly activities of the summer is happening in just a couple of weeks– Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’!

While the nearly 3,000 attendees stroll the lawn tasting, there will be judges hard at work finding winners for 3 categories: chocolate base, vanilla base and “other.” The winner from each category then vies for the “best of show,” which will be produced next year into a new Purity ice cream flavor. How cool is that?

I’ve had the pleasure of judging this event in the past, and believe me, there are some delicious flavors being served up!

For more information on the event, details on how to enter the contest, or to purchase tickets, click here.

 

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TailGate Beer Candemonium!

Sunday, June 12th, 2016
2 – 5 pm

TailGate Beer
7300 Charlotte Pike
Nashville TN, 37209

Cost: Free, all ages, and open to the public

If ice cream isn’t your thing, then maybe you should grab the family and head over to TailGate brewery & tasting room as they throw a party to celebrate the release of three new cans– Grapefruit IPA, Peanut Butter Milk Stout, and Watermelon Wheat. There will be plenty of  activities on the huge 7.5 acre property, including live music by the Dharmabillies, tastings, and a full specialty pizza menu.

I personally haven’t yet tried the Grapefruit IPA or the Watermelon Wheat, but I have had the pleasure of drinking the Peanut Butter Milk Stout and it is ridiculously good!

 

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FoodBank:Throwdown

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
5:30 – 9 pm

Martha O’Bryan Center
711 South 7th St
Nashville, TN 37201

Cost: $60

This year I will once again be judging a cooking competition for a great cause, FoodBank:Throwdown for the Martha O’Bryan Center. This fundraiser is a friendly competition with a twist- the chefs are challenged to create a winning dish using items typically donated to local food banks. We’re talking canned vegetables, fruits and soups, boxed starches and grains, white bread, and a few proteins.

Your ticket cost covers sample plates from the 8 chefs involved in the Throwdown, adult refreshments from Jackalope Brewing,  and coffee from Frothy Monkey.

I’m excited to see what creative dishes the chefs come up with this year. If they’re half as good as last year’s winning dish, Spam Boudin Balls from Trey Cioccia, we’re in for a treat! For ticket information, visit their Eventbrite page.

 

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Pints + Puppies

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
7 – 10 pm

The Hook
2222 8th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

Cost: $15

While I’m judging Foodbank: Throwdown, across town The Hook will play host to Pints+Puppies on their awesome patio. Have a pup or just love pups? Then this event is for you.

While you’re enjoying some great food and beer with your friends, you can watch the pups compete in skills & trick competitions as well as a tail wagging contest! The winning doggies will be treated to organic locally-made treats as prizes.

For more information and updates on the event, visit the event FB page or CitySocial.

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Brisket tacos at The Sutler

 

The Sutler

2600 Franklin Pike #109
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 840-6124

Hours of Operation

Mon-Wed: 11am-Midnight
Thurs-Fri: 11am-2am
Saturday: 10am -2 am
Sunday: 10am – 3 pm
Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10am-3pm

 

If you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you might recall that I’ve written about The Sutler at least a couple of times before. You probably also know that it’s a bit rare for me to blog about the same place multiple times, but sometimes I just can’t help myself, because there are so many things on the menu that I continue to discover or the restaurant makes a change that gets me particularly excited.

 

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Fried pickles and okra at The Sutler

photo by: Southern Fatty

That’s the case with The Sutler. They recently revamped the layout of the space and a made few menu tweaks, so I wanted to pop in for a visit to check out both.

First, the space. I looooveee the changes they made! They added a front patio, elevated some tables, moved the host stand, and changed some of the dining room seating. Not only does it look great visually, but it also feels better. I never really noticed there was anything “wrong” with it before, but there is certainly something “right” about it now. It feels a lot more comfortable and inviting.

As for the menu tweaks, they’ve added some new options. Of particular interest to me: salads.

 

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Grilled Romaine Salad at The Sutler

photo by Ashley Hylbert

 

There is nothing I enjoy more than a really good salad, and in my opinion, this town is lacking in that department.

Happy to say that Sutler has three great options – an avocado salad, a cobb wedge, and my personal favorite, the grilled romaine with apples, bacon, grilled red onion, and smoked cheddar, topped with a maple vinaigrette. And you have the option to add some extra protein, which for me means steak! Mmmm…steak salad is my jam!

 

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Burger at The Sutler

photo by Southern Fatty

There are other new things to try too (like the buffalo shrimp wraps with celery salad- yum!) but don’t you worry, they kept lots of my favorite menu items like the burger (one of the best in town IMO), the Sweet Potato Humms (I’m addicted), and the fried pickles & okra (help me).  You can check out the entire menu here.

What I’ve also recently discovered is that The Sutler is a fantastic business lunch spot. The menu has something for everyone, and it’s pretty easy to get to right off of I65. For me personally it’s the perfect location as I don’t live too far away, and I’m constantly back and forth between downtown and Green Hills. I’ve zipped up and down that 8th Avenue corridor more than I can count!

 

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The Sutler’s Sweet Potato Hummus

photo by Ashley Hylbert

 

Because I’m so enthusiastic about the thought of lunch at The Sutler, my friends over there have been kind enough to provide a Free Lunch for 2* to one of my awesome readers!

I’m trying out something new (to me) for this giveaway…Rafflecoptor. I’m hoping this is an easier tool to use since so many of you are reading from your mobile devices these days. Feel free to also leave feedback in the comments section letting me know if you like this means of entry better, or the old way I’ve always set up my giveaways. I want to do whatever works best for you!

 

~Giveaway~

Contest Closed

The Winner is….

Annalise Emerick

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest ends on Thursday, May 26th at midnight. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. You must respond within 48 hours or I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

 

*Lunch for Two in form of a $50 gift card

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Nashville Street Food Month

Entire month of May
All over town!

The Nashville Food Truck Association will celebrate its 4th annual Nashville Street Food Month in May, with the official kickoff taking place at Street Food Thursdays on May 5th, where 18 trucks will serve lunch on Deaderick Street in downtown Nashville.

Street Food Thursdays will take place every week during May and June, and feature 18 trucks each week from 11 am – 2 pm. On the weekends, you can always count on finding trucks at Musicians Corner, Elmington Park, Centennial Park, Sevier Park, Nashville Farmers Market and Franklin Farmers Market in addition to several other special events around town.

All members of the NFTA will donate a portion of proceeds from May sales to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Daily events will be posted on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow along to find your favorite trucks!

 

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Strawberry Jubilee

Saturday, May 7th, 2016
10 am – 2 pm

Nashville Farmers Market
900 Rosa Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37208

The Nashville Farmers’ Market will be filled with sweet strawberries, live music, locally baked pies and cobblers, cocktails, beer, wine, food trucks, and much more (see below) for the Strawberry Jubilee this weekend!

10 – 11 am – Strawberry Tasting free strawberry samples in the Grow Local Kitchen

11 am – 12:30 pm – Strawberry Shortcake Contest – Ever been told you make the best Strawberry Shortcake? Well now’s the time to put your skills to the test! They’ll only be accepting 25 entries, so hurry and get yours in. All the details can be found on the NFM website.

Strawberry Jubilee details:

Live music by The Farmer and Adele
Entertainment by local barbershop quartet
Strawberry Mint Juleps
Strawberry Picnic Pale Ale by Blackstone Brewing Co.
Local wine from Arrington Vineyards
The Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck
Coffee by The Trailer Perk
Locally baked strawberry pies and cobblers
Strawberry sampling in the Grow Local Kitchen
Strawberry food inside the Market House
Strawberry Shortcake Contest

 

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Generous Helpings

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
6 – 9 pm

City Winery
609 Lafayette St
Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $50/person (purchase tickets here)

As you heard last week in my post about the Patrons’ Party, I’m a big fan of Generous Helpings. There is always a great mix of restaurants, and this year is no different. There are even some exciting new participants – Butcher & Bee, The Farm House, Bajo Sexto, and Salt & Vine, just to name a few! Here is the full list:

Amerigo
Bajo Sexto Taco
Butcher & Bee
Caffe Nonna
Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Christie Cookie Co.
City House
City Winery
Family Wash
The Farm House
Funk Seoul Brother
Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar
Grilled Cheeserie
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Kickin’ Coffee and Tea
Kroger Chef Shoppe/Murray’s Cheese
Margot Café & Bar/ Marché Artisan Foods
Martin’s BBQ Joint
McConnell Hospitality Group (55 South, Cork & Cow and Red Pony Restaurant)
Nucci’s Gelato
Olive & Sinclair
Porter Road Butcher
Provence Breads & Café
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
Salt & Vine
The Southern Steak & Oyster

Hurry and get your ticket now before they sell out, because it’s getting close! There are still a few tickets left for the fabulous Patrons’ Party happening tomorrow night too, so treat yourself! To find out more, and to purchase tickets, visit the Second Harvest Food Bank website.

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Parson’s Chicken & Fish Pop Up

Friday, May 13th and Saturday May 14th, 2016
3 – 9 pm

Sunday, May 15th, 2016
10 am – 3 pm

Pinewood Social Patio
33 Peabody Street
Nashville, TN 37210

 

Pinewood Social will celebrate the opening of their pool for the summer season with a special weekend long pop-up featuring Parson’s Chicken & Fish from Chicago.

For 3 days, Parson’s Chef Hunter Moore and bar manager Charlie Schott will be serving up some of their restaurant’s most loved items out of the airstream trailer. The menu will include hush puppies, pimento toast, fried chicken sandwich, and Charlie’s famous Negroni Slushy (Parson’s best known cocktail) –  as well as his Red Hook and Michelada.

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Richland Park MarketFest

Saturday, May 21st, 2016
9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Richland Park Farmers’ Market
4701 Charlotte Ave
Nashville, TN 37209

 

MarketFest at Richland Park Farmers’ Market will feature over 50 farm, food and local artisan vendors with live music throughout the day. The festival kicks off with vendors such as Delvin Farms, Bugtussle Farms, Sugar Camp Farm, Green Door Gourmet, Kelly’s Berries, Bang! Candy, The Creole Diva, Papa C Pies and Urban N Farm and Apothecary.

From 10 am – noon there will be activities for kiddos 4-14 featuring Old Fashioned Field Day with the McCabe Community Center Staff, Storytime with the Richland Park Library Staff, Charlotte’s Garden Experience with Todd Breyer and a performance by Mr. Steve. For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.

 

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Generous Helpings Patrons’ Party

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
6 – 9 pm

Sinema Restaurant
2600 Franklin Pike #102
Nashville, TN 37204

Cost: $250/person (click here to purchase)

 

If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, you know that I go to a lot of events. You may also know that one of my absolute favorites of the entire year is Generous Helpings every May. They always have some of the best restaurants in Nashville participating, and it’s all for a great cause, Second Harvest Food Bank. Next week I’ll talk more about Generous Helpings in my “May Happenings” post, but today I simply must share a different, but related, event with you.

A bit lesser known, the Generous Helpings Patrons’ Party takes place a few days before the main event and it’s always a great lineup of chefs. A one-of-a-kind dining experience, there will be a cocktail hour followed by a six-course meal with incredible wine pairings.

I mean, check out the menu below. Hello!

As if that wasn’t enough, a patron ticket also includes admission (a $50 value) to the main event at City Winery on Thursday, May 12th, where you can enjoy tastings from 25 of Nashville’s favorite restaurants.

Generous Helpings Patrons’ Party Menu

Hors d’oeuvres

B.J. Lofback, Funk Seoul Brother
Farmer’s Market Kimbap with Green Strawberry Kimchi
Braised Tofu with Soy Pickled Jalapeño
Spicy Tuna Taco

Mark Rubin, Second Harvest Food Bank Culinary Arts Center
Fried Cheese Grit Cake with Andouille Mousse, Lobster and Red Eye Coffee Mayo
Polenta Cake with Tomato Gelee, Shaved Fennel, Lump Crab and Orange Zest


Dinner

Daniel Herget, Little Octopus
Compressed Melon, Lime Leaf Furikake, Aji Panca, Mango Butter and Wood Sorrel
CONUNDRUM WHITE

Matt Bolus, 404 Kitchen
Wedge Oak Farm Egg with Johnny Red Grits, Raw Greens, Calabrian Pepper Oil and Colatura Di Alici
EMMOLO SAUVIGNON BLANC

Kyle Patterson, Sinema
Ricotta Agnolotti with Pea Mint Puree, English Peas, Blue Oyster Mushrooms and Black Garlic Brown Butter
EMMOLO SAUVIGNON BLANC

Deb Paquette, Etch, Etc.
Seared Tuna with Edamame Spring Green Verde, Tempura Eggplant, Warm Fennel Slaw, Caraway, Lemon Walnut Cilantro Relish and Pine Fresno Syrup
EMMOLO MERLOT

Andrew Little, Josephine
Glazed Beef Cheeks with Peas, Pickled Pear Onion and New Potatoes
EMMOLO MERLOT

Paige Yodanis, Olive & Sinclair
Chocolate Cremeux with Sweet Pickled Orange, Candied Fennel, Chai Whip and Nib Brittle
CONUNDRUM RED- 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

 

Seating is limited at this dinner, so you’re going to want to buy a ticket before they’re all gone. But…before you run off to do that, let’s try your luck here! Second Harvest has generously offered up 2 tickets for me to use as a giveaway for one of my dear readers!  You guys, this is a $500 value!!!  

~Giveaway~

Contest Closed

The Winner is….

#28 Hunter Barrow!

To enter, all you have to do is this:

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me which of these Patrons’ Party dishes you’re most excited to eat.

Optional

For up to 2 additional entries, you can do the following. Note: You must leave a separate comment for each optional entry.

2.  Follow Second Harvest on Twitter and tweet “The Generous Helpings Patrons’ Party is on 5/3 & @betheats has 2 tickets to give away- a $500 value!! Enter here: http://bit.ly/1T6K0En” then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Like Second Harvest on Facebook and come back and tell me you did so (or just tell me you already do if that’s the case!)

Contest ends on Saturday, April 30th at noon. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. If that person doesn’t respond within 24 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

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I have to say, I am not sad that April is coming to an end. It has not been a good month from me and I’m ready to get on with May – my favorite month!

Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on April, but I’m currently trying to shake bronchitis, laryngitis and an ear infection. I’ve been sick since April 10th. The 10th. I’ll save you the math – that’s 15 days! A virus knocked me off my feet for a few days, then I probably pushed myself a little too much a little too fast, and boom. Down again with all of this crud.

Anyway, let’s just say that March was a MUCH better month. In fact, it was a great month, and I wish I could go back to it. Every day I wake up still not feeling my best, I try to cheer myself up by looking back at all of my photos from out trip to San Diego. That usually does the trick. I mean, how can the ocean, sunny skies, and one adorable, happy little boy not make me smile?!?

 

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Can you tell that Archer was a tiny bit excited about seeing the ocean?

It’s hard to believe that it had been almost 4 years since my last visit to San Diego, but it had been! Archer was just 4 months old when we went out for my friend Alisa’s wedding in May of 2012, and I was desperately in need of a trip. The place, the friends, and the time I got to spend with my family was good for my soul.

 

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Sunset in La Jolla with this cutie

 

Archer and I traveled out to SD a couple of days ahead of my husband, and although I was a little worried about traveling alone with a 4 year old, it could not have gone better. Seriously, this kid was on his best behavior and we had the best ‘mommy & me’ time I think we’ve ever had.

Our flight landed a little after 5 pm the evening of our arrival, so we had just enough time to pick up our rental car, drive up to our Airbnb in La Jolla, drop off our bags, and run down to the beach for sunset!

 

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Galaxy Taco’s Hamachi crudo

After sunset we met up with my friend Andrew for dinner at one of La Jolla’s newer restaurants, Galaxy Taco.

While I’m usually a big planner when it comes to dining plans while traveling, this time I planned very, very little. All I knew was that I was going to eat as much seafood and as many tacos as possible, and preferably outside in the fresh air. Galaxy Taco had it all, so it was the perfect first meal!

Google maps and the search term “tacos” led me to find Galaxy. With just a bit more research, I found that Chef Trey Foshee of George’s at the Cove was the talent behind this venture and I didn’t think twice. I knew I had to go there.

In addition to the hamachi crudo seen above (that I absolutely LOVED), I had braised and grilled duck legs with pumpkin seed mole verde, baby turnips, and apple salad, served with fresh corn tortillas. My friend Andrew ordered sweet potato tacos and oh my word. Huge thanks to our server for suggesting, because we probably wouldn’t have chosen them if she hadn’t done so. Wood Roasted Sweet Potato with jack cheese, arugula, and salsa arbo -they were absolutely incredible!

 

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So besides tacos, seafood and patio dining, how did we spend our days in San Diego? There was plenty of relaxing but lots of fun kid stuff too. We visited the Birch Aquarium, spent a lot of time at the beach, went to the famous San Diego Zoo, and took a trip up to Legoland because the kiddo is currently obsessed with Legos.

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My little beach bum

 

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I think this was his ‘King of the Beach’ roar….

 

 

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Did I mention I ate a lot of tacos?

 

Yes, there were tacos at home (sweet home Airbnb that is), tacos at restaurants, even fish tacos at the zoo. Nope, I never got sick of eating tacos.

But there was one more special place I had to hit while in town, and that was Isabel’s Cantina in my old neighborhood of Pacific Beach. Brunch here is my favorite… a mix of healthy with a side of decadent.

 

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The healthy? The Margherita Scramble – eggs scrambled with basil and jack cheese, served with brown rice and topped with marinated chicken, parmesan, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions, avocado sauce, & a pesto drizzle.

The decadent? A King Cake – pancake with peanut butter, bananas, chocolate chips, raspberry purée & powdered sugar. A normal order is 3 pancakes, but one of these babies is enough for me, and thankfully they allow you to get a “side” of just one with any dish.

 

 

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From San Diego Brewers Guild: “Every corner of San Diego County is soaked in craft beer and sunshine”. Truth. It was fun to sit down at the neighborhood bar for a cold one and have this coaster arrive with our drinks.

Note to parents: This little bag of Legos has become my newest trick — we adults can have a drink, a meal, a conversation (!) — and kiddo is totally content to sit piecing these things together and playing quietly for significant lengths of time. Score!

 

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Archer’s first visit to the San Diego Zoo!

 

 

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Buffalo Ranch Octopus at Herringbone
Black Eyed Peas, Celery, Carrots, Herbs

 

Ravi and I were even able to get in a couple of date nights during our trip. Our friends Alisa and Dave took us to Herringbone La Jolla and as soon as I walked in the door, I knew I was going to love it.  Created in a vintage warehouse, there are actual live, 100 year old olive trees growing inside the space.

 

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Herringbone La Jolla

The food, the cocktails, and the ambiance all made for a great night out with good friends.

 

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Truly I can’t believe I let 4 years pass between visits to San Diego. Mark my words– that will never happen again! We’ve already started talking about our next trip, and I honestly don’t know if we’ll even wait an entire year this time. See you soon San Diego! xoxo~

 

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Beer & cheese. Cheese & beer. What’s not to love?

 

A couple of weeks ago I shared a whole list of happenings for April, one of which was this event–  Beer & Cheese to benefit Tennessee Respite Coalition. In case you missed that post, here are the details:

Beer & Cheese

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Jackalope Brewery
701 8th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $25 in advance
~or~
$30 at the door

The Tennessee Respite Coalition is a nonprofit that helps family caregivers, people who spend much of their time caring for family members in need (such as parents with Alzheimer’s, spouses with Parkinson’s or children with special needs), by giving them much-needed time off. My family has had firsthand experience in situations like these, so I know how hard these caregivers work, and how desperately they need a break from time to time. Organizations like TRC are such a blessing.

For just $25 you’re ensuring that some of them get those much needed breaks, and you get to enjoy an unlimited supply of beer and cheese samples selected by Jackalope and Bloomy Rind.  What are you waiting for? Hop on over here to purchase tickets!

Oh, but one more thing… TRC has given me 2 tickets to give away for one lucky reader!

~Giveaway~

Contest Closed

The Winner is….

#3 Sarah Goodin

To enter, all you have to do is this:

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me the name of your favorite beer or your favorite type of cheese. Or you can tell me both!

Optional

For up to 2 additional entries, you can do either or both of the following. Note: You must leave a separate comment for each optional entry.

2.  Follow me on Twitter (@betheats) and tweet “Beer & Cheese. Enough said. Win 2 tickets to the @TNRespite event @jackalopebrew from @betheats! bit.ly/1Scl94T ” then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Like the Tennessee Respite on Facebook and come back and tell me you did so (or just tell me you already do if that’s the case!)  OR follow this link to FB and click to say you’re “interested” in the event

Contest ends on Sunday, April 17th at 10 a.m. CDT. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. You must respond within 48 hours or I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

There isn’t always time for me to write a full blown post on all of my eating and drinking experiences so I’ve decided that once every couple of months, I’m just going to share a few short bits on some of my current favorites instead of waiting until I have time to give you an essay.

Here’s a quick look at some new-ish Nashville places and meals that I give my full stamp of approval~

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 Cocktail at Bastion Nashville

Two new watering holes have opened near me recently and I am head over heels for both of them! Old Glory can be a little tricky to find if you haven’t been there before as it’s tucked away in Edgehill Village behind Taco Mamacita. The former boiler room has an entrance off the alley or you can enter a door next to Legato Gelato. It’s definitely worth the search, as it’s one of the coolest bar spaces I’ve seen in a while. (And the drinks are fab too, of course.)

Bastion in Wedgewood Houston is the latest and greatest Strategic Hospitality/Josh Habiger project, and like many of their other businesses, I’m enamored. I love the layout, I love the bleacher seating, I love the cocktails and I absolutely, totally love the fact that they have Galaga!!!! Oh, and their nachos….the best. They may currently only have one food item on the menu, but man, they do them well.

 

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Photo of me taking photo of sandwich by my friend Tabitha, A la Mode Media

 

Last month Hattie B‘s launched the first new menu item they’ve added since they opened, and they hit it out of the ballpark. Their new spicy hot chicken sandwich topped with slaw and Nashville comeback sauce on a buttery toasted bun is the perfect solution to eating hot chicken on-the-go.

 

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Photo of the Goo Goo Shop’s Grilled Pimento Cheese by my friend Phillip, Southern Fatty

 

Naturally, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Goo Goo Shop these last few months as we opened the new Dessert Bar. There have been days where I felt like all I’ve eaten is sugar on top of sugar. Thankfully, now I don’t have to subsist on cheesecake, sundaes, and pie alone when I’m there working, as last month the Goo Goo Shop Dessert Bar softly and quietly started testing a savory lunch menu. While I’ve enjoyed everything on the menu, my hands-down favorite is the Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. The best part — it’s not too heavy, so there is plenty of room for dessert :-)

The Dessert Bar is now officially serving lunch Monday – Friday 11 am – 3 pm, so you can come check it out for yourself.

 

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 Prima Chef’s Table

I’ve enjoyed many fantastic meals at Prima over the past year+, and recommend it often, particularly for special occasion dining. Last month I had the opportunity to partake in their Chef’s Table experience with some of my best foodie friends, and it cemented the restaurant’s spot on my personal Top 5 Nashville restaurants list.

Chef Sal is super talented, and this meal definitely allows him to shine. The menu is different for every Chef’s Table, and what you will be eating is a surprise, which I absolutely love. Trust the chef and I promise, you’ll be happy you did.