Within minutes of entering, my 4 friends and I noticed that among the wide array of ingredients showcased, there seemed to be one that reigned supreme- Pork. (Good thing my grandaddy was a pig farmer). Pork belly, pulled pork, Benton’s ham, fried pork skins, crispy bacon, fat chunks of bacon, and pork bread pudding- the hog was definitely struttin’ his stuff.
That is not to say that there wasn’t a sundry of other non-pork filled dishes to choose from- believe me, there was more than I could handle. I could go on for hours about all of the things that we sampled, but I also want to hold your attention, so instead, I’m just going to note the fare that, for me, stood out among the pack:
F. Scott’s – Grilled Flatbread with Benton’s Ham, Cherry Tomato and Bermuda Triangle Pesto
Capitol Grille – Pork Belly with Swiss Chard and Peas (pictured above)
The Culinary Arts Center at Second Harvest Food Bank- Johnny Cakes with Green Tomato Relish, Fried Catfish, and Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade
Mirror – Duck Confit McNuggets with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Monell’s - Jalapeno Stuffed with Cream Cheese Wrapped in Bacon
(and it had nothing to do with
the cute server boy that flirted with my friend Cathy)
The Standard at the Smith House – Creamy Asparagus Soup with Buttermilk and Crab
And last but certainly not least:
tayst’s Root Beer Braised Pork Bread Pudding with Sarsaparilla Creme and Sea Salt
The girls and I had such a fun evening chatting it up with the chefs, especially Chef Jeremy Barlow. So much so that we’re even planning a girls’ night out to visit him at tayst very soon- I’m not sure if he knows what he’s in for….
At the end of the evening, with bellies full, we converged on a picnic table to compare notes. (We all had our favorites, and I’ve told you mine. Hopefully some of the other girls will pipe up with their thoughts.) As we gabbed, the discussion turned to the many awkward moments we’ve experienced at these kinds of events. Like spinach stuck in your teeth when your favorite chef turns to greet you….standing in the middle of the room precariously close to dropping everything -wine glass, food plate, the evening’s program, your clutch purse…..ordering a drink from the bar and realizing the smallest bill you have on you is a $100…..
So we compiled a list of what we now consider our “Tasting Necessities”:
- $1 bills for tipping the bartenders
- handi-wipes/hand sanitizer
- Big bag/purse with long shoulder strap. Needs to fit the program/menu, notepad, pens, bottled water and the above mentioned necessities. A backpack or large fanny pack are also options
This next item is not a necessity, but such a brilliant idea for tasting events and cocktail parties. My friend Katie gets credit for this one, as she purchased some of these to use at last year’s Taste of Music City. You want to drink a glass of wine and you want to eat, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do both while standing with no tables in sight. These handy little mingling plates have a built in stemware holder which frees up one of your hands.
these nice porcelain ones are from Pottery Barn
$24 for Set of 4
and these break-resistant acrylic ones are from wrapables.com
a set of 6 with wine glasses is on sale currently for $21.99.
Order yours now so you’ll be well prepared for Nashville’s next tasting event, Taste of Music City, June 20th on the Korean Veteran’s Bridge. You’ll be able to spot us- we’ll be the girls with fanny packs, mingling plates, and a wad of $1 bills in our hands.