mccradys-tartare

McCrady’s Beef Tartare – hay roasted beet, farro and lichen

Every year May seems to get busier and busier for me, and this one was no exception. Luckily, part of the busyness includes work travel and usually that’s to great cities with plenty of good food and drink!

Back in late April/early May, I visited Charleston to attend the Southern C Summit. This was actually my third Southern C to attend, with the others last year being held in Jekyll Island, Athens, and right here at home in Nashville. The conference itself has no shortage of fantastic food and drink. In fact, this time around we got to attend a party at High Wire Distilling and brunch at L’Atelier Le Creuset. Pretty cool!

But outside of the conference there was plenty of time to explore the city, including time to have dinner and drinks on our own every night, so here’s a little rundown of where I spent those hours!

lecreuset-selfie

Yes, that’s a bathroom selfie. Couldn’t resist. Had to show that cool Le Creuset pot turned sink!

EAT Charleston

McCrady’s

2 Unity Aly
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-0025

My friend Tabitha was my travel buddy and roomie on this trip, and with really no need for discussion, she made our first dining reservation for McCrady’s. I’ve heard and read so much about it through the years, and have regretted not going when I was in Charleston a couple of years ago.

And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

state-street-pearl-mccradys

State Street Pearl cocktail at McCrady’s

First things first – the before dinner drinks. I was certainly not expecting to come to this white tablecloth, fine dining establishment and have one of the coolest cocktails I’ve ever had, but that’s what happened. The State Street Pearl was made up of gin, aperol, pineapple vinegar, lime, St Germain, and cinnamon boba. Boba, like as in bubble tea!

As for the food, McCrady’s offers a tasting menu, which we chose to do. First course was the gorgeous beef tartare that you see in my photo at the top of the post, and my second course was a trout with fava beans, parsnip, benne and wild bay. Next was the main entree, and I opted for the duo of pork with asparagus, morels, mustard and burnt honey.

For my dessert, I went for the one that didn’t necessarily sound the best to me (normally I would be all about the chocolate), but it was certainly the most interesting and I felt like I couldn’t NOT order it. Even after eating the frozen parfait of grits, geranium and preserved dewberry, I still can’t explain it, but I can tell you it was absolutely incredible!

mccradys-dessert

Frozen parfait of grits, geranium and preserved dewberry at McCrady’s

 

The Ordinary

Seafood and Oyster Hall

544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 414-7060

I feel like the most talked about Charleston restaurant in 2013 was The Ordinary, so there was absolutely no way I could overlook it. That said, I think maybe my expectations were raised a little TOO high. Not that it wasn’t great – it absolutely was. But, I just wasn’t completely blown away by it. I love seafood, and we all know we don’t get nearly enough of it here in Nashville, so it was nice to have all of those fresh options right in front of me.

Everything was delicious, and the service was top notch, so I say if you are in Charleston for a few nights, it’s definitely worth a visit. (Be sure to check out chef/owner Mike Lata’s other restaurant, Fig too. It was my favorite Charleston meal on my last trip!)

the-ordinary-sliders

Oyster Sliders at The Ordinary

The-Ordinary-Pickled-Shrimp

The Ordinary’s pickled white shrimp

the-ordinary-soft-shell-crab-and-dessert

 Soft Shell Crab and an amazing panna cotta with rhubarb and strawberries at The Ordinary

 

The Macintosh

479 King St
Charleston, SC
(843) 789-4299

The one restaurant I knew very little about and just chose on a whim was The Macintosh. Surprise, surprise– I believe it was my favorite meal of the trip! One thing I can say with absolutely no hesitation is that their vegetable plate is unequivocally THE best vegetable plate I’ve had the pleasure of devouring. So, any of you vegetarians out there reading this, definitely put The Macintosh on your Charleston itinerary!

macintosh-charleston-gnudi Gnudi at The Macintosh Charleston

macintosh-charleston-veggie-plate

The Macintosh’s Spring Vegetable Plate with Anson Mills’ Farro Piccolo, Mushrooms, Seasonal Vegetables

macintosh-charleston-steak

Steak at The Macintosh

 

 

DRINK Charleston

The Cocktail Club

479 King St #200
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 724-9411

You know me, I’ve got to seek out the best cocktails in town too, and my heart was happy at The Cocktail Club. Located just above The MacIntosh, if you have dinner there (and you really should go to dinner there), it’s a no-brainer.

In addition to the Cocktail Club, we also grabbed a drink at The Belmont and The Gin Joint (fave from my last visit). Both are worth checking out!

 

cocktail-club-charleston

Cocktail Club’s Double Standard (serrano infused gin, cucumber vodka, ginger, cilantro, celery, bitters) and bacon spiced popcorn

 

 

Hi everyone! Wow. May completely got away from, so I’m really sorry I wasn’t around here too much. Believe me, I have lots of incredible food and drink experiences to share with you, but just not much time to write about them this very second. Soon… I promise!

As for now, I’m going to get to the urgent stuff – all of the events that need to be on your calendar for June. Here you go~

Yum-East

Yum! East

Thursday, June 5th, 2014
6  – 9 pm

Pavilion East
1006 Fatherland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Cost: $45/person

I wasn’t able to attend Yum!East last year, but this year’s lineup is definitely calling to me. Favorites like Edley’s East, Five Points Pizza, Jeni’s, Lockeland Table, Marche, Olive and Sinclair, Porter Road Butcher, and Two Ten Jack are just a few of the vendors that will be in attendance with some yummy eats. In fact, there are over 30 different East Nashville businesses serving up food and drinks!

A benefit for Fannie Battle Day Home for Children, Yum!East was a sold out event last year, so be sure to purchase your tickets soon.

For more info, click here (Note: even though this event benefits children, you’ll want to leave the kiddos at home because it’s 21+ only!)

crankin-logo

Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’

Sunday, June 8th, 2014
3 – 5 pm

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

Cost: $10 for adults (goes up to $13 at midnight on June 6th)
$8 for children (goes up to $10 at midnight on June 6th)

Definitely one of my favorite family friendly activities of the summer is Miss Martha’s Ice Cream Crankin’. The only bad part? With hundreds of gallons of homemade ice creams to sample, I usually need some Tums by the time I leave!

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?

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

Four_Roses_Range

Four Roses Bourbon Tasting at Mason’s

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
5 -7  pm

Mason’s at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel
2100 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $10/person

In honor of the upcoming Father’s Day, Mason’s is hosting a bourbon tasting on the Loews patio along the West End Avenue side of the hotel. Don’t feel like only dads can attend though – it’s for everyone!

For the low, low price of only $10, you’ll get to choose from a flight of Four Roses Bourbons or a specialty cocktail featuring the bourbon as well as a few small bites from Chef Brandon Frohne. Hope to see you there!

Reservations for the event can be made at 615-321-1990.

 

Nashville Wine and Food Festival

 

Nashville Wine & Food Festival

Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Noon – 5 pm

Riverfront Park
Nashville, TN

Cost: $75/person or $125 for VIP

There seem to be so many new festivals popping up that it’s hard to keep track of them, but this new one caught my attention recently – mainly because of some of the restaurants that are involved:  The Farm House, Holland House, Rumours East, Watermark, Tippler, Antica, Martin’s, Josephine, and Porter Road Butcher.

The inaugural Nashville Wine & Food Festival will pair tasting tents stocked with more than 150 wines from around the world with a full roster mouthwatering plates from a lineup of local restaurants, merchants, and vendors.

For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the event website.

 

Battle-of-the-burger-Nashville

Nashville Lifestyles’ Battle of the Burger

Thursday, June 19th, 2014
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Pine Street in the Gulch (between Velocity & Pine Street Flats)
Nashville, TN

Cost: $20/person

Recently I was able to give some input regarding the best burgers in town for Nashville Lifestyles June “Best Burgers” issue that just hit newsstands. (Be sure to pick up a copy so you can see who made the list!)

To go along with the June burger issue, NL will also be hosting a live burger competition involving some of Nashville’s top chefs. Attendees will get to taste all the burgers and vote on their favorite. Come find out who will be crowned Nashville’s 2014 Burger Champion!

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

savor 2014

 

As I mentioned in my May calendar round up a few days back, one of my favorite culinary events, Savor Nashville, is coming up at the end of this month. With several James Beard nominated visiting celebrity chefs and some of Nashville’s finest, it’s sure to be an incredible couple of days worth of eating!

The Celebrity Chef Dinner being held on Thursday, May 29th, is a seven-course meal with wine pairings. Featured celebrity chefs include:

Frank Bonanno of Mizuna and Luca d’Italia, Denver
Gerard Craft of Niche, St. Louis
Michael Ginor of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Hudson Valley New York
Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis
Andy Tincer and Michael Hudman, Hog and Hominy, Memphis
Charles Phillips of 1808 Grille in the Hutton Hotel, Nashville

 

What:

Celebrity Chef Dinner

When:

Thursday, May 29th
Doors open at 6 pm
Dinner at 7 pm

Where:

Hutton Hotel
1808 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $160

 

On the following Saturday is the Challenge to the Chefs Brunch where our own Nashville top chefs will compete in a cook off using locally produced ingredients provided to them. I was fortunate to be a judge at the challenge a couple of years ago, and let me assure you, it’s a great (and delicious) time!

The Challenge participating chefs are:
Karl Worley, Biscuit Love
Jamie Watson, Cafe Fundamental
Andrew Little, Josephine
Derek Fulton, M Restaurant & Bar
Jonathan Humphrey, Mason’s
Chris Futrell, Music City Tippler
B.J. Lofback, Riffs Fine Street Food
Jason Slimak, Saint Anejo
Larry Carlile, Silo
Dale Levitski, New Restaurant to be released

 

What:

Challenge to the Chefs Brunch

When:

Saturday, May 31st
10 a.m. – noon

Where:

Bridge Building
2 Victory Avenue, Nashville, TN 37213

Cost: $35

To purchase tickets for either or both events, click here.

But before you do, you might want to try your luck at winning two (2) All Access Passes, which will get you into both events- a $370 value! That’s right, Nashville Lifestyles has been kind enough to allow me to share this awesome opportunity with my readers!

~ Contest Closed ~

And the winner is…..

#39 Tricia

To enter, all you have to do is this:

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me which chef you’re most excited to meet, or whose food you’re dying to taste.

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 (@betheats) on Twitter and tweet “Win 2 all access passes to @NashLifestyles‘ Savor Nashville from @betheats! Enter here: http://bit.ly/1uT2XBK” then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Like Eat. Drink. Smile. 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 Friday, May 16th at noon CST. 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 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

Retro-Sno-Logo-Final-Vector

Retro Sno Birthday Bash

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
Noon – 5 pm

Centennial Park
2500 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37203

Retro Sno is celebrating two years of successful Snoball business TOMORROW with the #RetroTurns2 Birthday Bash at Centennial Park. Held in conjunction with the kickoff of the spring season Musician’s Corner, the bash will include giveaways, face-painting and an unveiling of their second truck.

Retro Sno fans and followers can submit their name ideas for the new truck on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #RetroTurns2, and co-owners Morgan Williamson and Elizabeth Nunnally will select their favorite name from the entries, and announce it on stage during Musician’s Corner. The individual submitting the winning entry will receive a Retro Sno Season Pass, good for a free Snoball each day that the truck is open for business this Summer and Fall!

For more information about the birthday bash and the “Name That Truck Contest” visit the Retro Sno website.

jackalope_logo_category

2nd Annual Beer & Cheese Tasting

with Jackalope and The Bloomy Rind

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
5:30 – 7:30 pm

Jackalope Brewing Co.
701 8th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $25 in advance
$30 at the door

Beer and cheese are the perfect pairing- yes, really! Jackalope Beer and Bloomy Rind Cheese are coming together once again to benefit a fantastic cause, the Tennessee Respite Coalition. This organization 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.

As my own family has faced a situation in the past, and is facing another one in the future where an organization like this could greatly relieve some stress, this is near and dear to my heart and I would love to see them raise lots of money to help many! So please, go eat some delicious cheese, drink some fantastic beer, and know that you’re helping some families that will be forever grateful!

To order your tickets click here.

SHFB_GenerousHelpings_RGB

Generous Helpings

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
6 – 9 pm

Nashville Farmers’ Market
900 Rosa Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37208

Cost: $50/person in advance ($60 at the door)

Easily one of my favorite food sampling events of the year, Generous Helpings will feature more than 30 of Nashville’s best independent restaurants showcasing tastings of signature appetizers, entrees and desserts, plus a few wines and craft beers. For a full list of participating restaurants, click over to the Scene Bites Blog where you will also be able to find links to bloggers that are giving away tickets to the event. You might notice that my name is listed….and yes, I do have tickets to give away! Just scroll to the very bottom of this post to find details on how to enter.

 If you try your luck and don’t win, then you can purchase your tickets here.

 

Urban-Gardening-Festival-2014

Urban Gardening Festival

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
9 am – 4 pm

UT Extension Demonstration Garden
Ellington Agricultural Center
5201 Marchant Drive
Nashville, TN 37211

Cost: FREE

This is such a cool event for any of you that are interested in gardening or even just planting a few containers like me. There are so many details to share that I think maybe the easiest and most readable way to do so is just to bullet them out for you, so here goes:

  • Urban Gardening Festival is a FREE community event designed to educate and engage visitors with local artisans, exhibitors, gardeners and vendors from throughout the Greater Nashville area.
  • Master Gardeners will be teaching how-to workshops on a wide variety of gardening methods and techniques suitable for the varied urban landscape of Nashville, including composting and fermentation, container and raised bed gardening, keyhole gardening, mushroom gardening, organic gardening, rain gardening, square foot and vertical gardening, and worms and vermiculture.
  • Other specialized topics will be exhibited or presented by local agencies and nonprofits, and local entrepreneurs and vendors will also have artisanal products available for purchase.
  • Many different varieties of plants, including annuals, herbs, and perennials, will be available to purchase throughout the event at the Master Gardeners of Davidson County’s annual Plant & Craft Sale as well as from select vendors.

For more information, visit the event page.

 

savor 2014

Savor Nashville

Thursday, May 29th and Saturday, May  31st, 2014

Celebrity Chef Dinner
Thursday, May 29th

Hutton Hotel
Door open at 6 pm
Dinner at 7 pm

Cost: $160

Challenge to the Chefs Brunch
Saturday, May 31st

Bridge Building
10 a.m. – noon

Cost: $50

One of our city’s best culinary events is coming up at the end of May, Savor Nashville. I’ve participated in this event every year since its inception in 2011, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. If you want a fancy dinner, they’ve got a fancy dinner. If you want a more casual meal, they’ve got that too! I’ll offer up more details next week and also have a fabulous giveaway to share with you, so stay tuned!

 ———————————————————————

Generous Helpings Giveaway

~ Contest Closed ~

And the winner is…..

#29 Renee V

To enter for your chance to win 2 tickets to Generous Helpings being held on Thursday, May 15th, all you have to do is this:

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me which restaurant you’re most excited to try at Generous Helpings, or what you’ve eaten at past years’ events that you loved the most!

Optional

For up to 3 additional entries, you can do any or all of the following. Note: You must leave a separate comment for each optional entry.

2.  Follow Second Harvest on Twitter and tweet “The always fun & very delicious Generous Helpings is on 5/15 & @betheats has tickets to give away! Enter here: http://bit.ly/1mlMo01 ” 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!)

4. Sign up for Second Harvest’s Email List and then come back and tell me you did so (or just tell me you’re already on it if that’s the case).

Contest ends on Wednesday, May 7th at 4 pm CST. 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 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

 

 

McCormick-Curried-Chicken-Salad

When I think about my favorite foods, most of them are boldly spiced – Thai, Indian, and Mexican definitely hold a top spot on my list. Oddly, I wasn’t raised eating exotically spiced cuisine. In fact, quite the opposite. We didn’t have a whole lot of dining options in my small Kentucky town, and my mom isn’t a fan of anything spicy, so I wasn’t really exposed to it until adulthood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I also love the Southern staples of my birth, and they bring me comfort in a way that nothing else ever will. But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve found that adding *a dash of this and a dash of that* to some tried and true recipes can really make them come alive and cause me to crave them on a regular basis. Take for instance that Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken I discovered a while back. The Garam Masala gives it a mind-blowingly delicious flavor, so much so that I’ve made it at least once every two weeks for almost four months now!

I’m so addicted to it, that when I got an email from McCormick saying that they were celebrating Indian flavors in April and May, and specifically called out Garam Masala, my interest was immediately piqued.

Each year, they come out with a “Flavor Forecast” which celebrates food and flavors on the horizon. McCormick’s Flavor Forecast 2014 report offers a look at the mouthwatering tastes and trends that will be connecting people and cultures around the world and driving culinary innovation in years to come. One of this year’s trends is Modern Masala: Going beyond basic curries, people are exploring the vibrant flavors of richly spiced Indian cuisine in new, modern contexts.

 

McCormick-Modern-Masala-spices

Which is what brings us here today. They offered to send me a collection of Indian spice blends from their Gourmet Collection, consisting of Garam Masala, Hot Madras Curry Powder, Red Curry Powder and regular Curry Powder so I could experiment in my kitchen and come up with a little something of my own. I brainstormed for several days and had all sorts of cooked dishes swirling in my head, but after a busy weekend chasing my toddler around, cooking was the last thing I felt like doing. I was standing at my open refrigerator door, just about to take a few bites of some cold, leftover Garam Masala Slow Cooker chicken (yes, I love it even cold and leftover), when inspiration hit.

I hadn’t had chicken salad in a longgggg time. Too long. While I’m not a big fan of regular chicken salad, a couple of years ago, I discovered a curry chicken salad from a vendor at the farmers’ market and fell in love. Back then I was buying it on pretty much every Saturday visit to the market. Last year I started going to a different market though, and alas, there is no chicken salad vendor at the new one.

So, that was my bright idea! Why not try my hand at making my own curry chicken salad?  I could use the leftover chicken, my new McCormick spices, and a handful of other ingredients I just happened to have on hand. Brilliant. I’m being practical, not heating up the house when it’s 80 degrees outside, conserving my own energy (which I have very little of these days) with the minimal prep work required, and I’ve now got a nice little snack that I can eat on the run. Happiness!

 

Curried-chicken-salad-on-endive

Print

Curried Chicken Salad

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed or shredded chicken
1 stalk celery, chopped (approx 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup dried currants*
1/2 large red apple, chopped small
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp McCormick Curry Powder
1/4 tsp McCormick Garam Masala
1/4 tsp McCormick cayenne pepper
1/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, curry powder, garam masala, and cayenne pepper until well blended.

Fold in the chicken, celery, dried currants, and apple to the dressing. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Add the toasted pecans and serve at room temperature.

*you can use any type of dried fruit

Giveaway

In 2014, McCormick marks its 125th anniversary by celebrating the role flavor plays in all of our lives, inspiring flavorful conversation, and giving back to communities around the world. You can read more about the Flavor of Together program and hear flavor stories on their website.

To inspire you to share your own flavor story, McCormick has offered up one of their awesome anniversary packs to one of my readers! The pack includes a McCormick recipe book, a branded canvas tote, and a collection of Indian Spice blends– all valued at $50.

What does flavor mean to you? How have certain flavors shaped your life? What dishes do you remember from your childhood?  When you experience a certain cuisine, does it bring back fond memories? Each of us has our own flavor story!

~ Contest Closed ~

And the winner is…..

#7 Manda

All you have to do to enter is this:

Mandatory

1.  Share your own unique flavor story by commenting on this post using the hashtag #flavorstory. It’s that simple!

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 “I’m sharing my #flavorstory with @betheats and hoping to win an awesome McCormick prize pack! Won’t you? http://bit.ly/1rJdYTH” then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Follow me on Instagram (betheats) and upload a photo of any of your favorite dishes with the hashtag #flavorstory, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

Contest ends on Saturday, May 3rd at noon CDT. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. If they don’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

 

Disclosure: McCormick compensated me and provided me with the four Indian spices seen above in order to create a recipe to share with you. As always, all opinions are my own!

 

image_2

 

A couple of weeks ago I told you about an event I’m really excited for, the Music City Spirits and Cocktail Festival happening May 7th – 11th. Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to visit their website and really dig into the schedule, choosing a session or two to attend. Me? I’m going to try to make it to as many as possible!

One of the first on my list is Mini Beers with Licor 43, because (a) mini beers just sounds cute and (b) Licor 43′s tagline is “the Spanish Smooth Sensation” and (c) the event is being held at The Treehouse. How can I not love all of that? Seriously, there is a little more to it than that –I’m fascinated with this “mini beer” concept since I’d never heard of it before. An after dinner drink made up of orange liquor and heavy cream, it sounds like something that’s right up my alley.

Then there is Bourbon and Bluegrass in Thompson Station. Uh, duh. No brainer.

Imbibe’s 2012 Bartender of the Year will be doing a session on Mezcal, a beverage I’ve enjoyed on occasion but really know nothing about. Gonna change that!

The Jack Daniels Experience will be my first chance to see the brand new POP space in East Nashville, and the Grand Tasting Gala will be a chance to taste every single beverage brand that is participating in the multi-day series of events. I would say that’s definitely a very grand tasting.

pourtaste_1

 

Now for some really great news for you~the organizers of the festival have given me a  pair of tickets to give away for the Grand Tasting Gala! Held on Saturday night, May 7th, a single ticket to this event is $100, so you’re looking at a $200 value for this prize. Not too shabby!

To enter, all you have to do is this:

~ Contest Closed ~

And the winner is…..

#22 Susannah

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me what session or event from the Music City Spirits and Cocktail Festival schedule is the most appealing to you. If time and money were no object, would you want to attend several? If so, share all that you’re interested in!

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 (@betheats) on Twitter and tweet “An exciting festival of cocktails is in 2 weeks & @betheats has tickets to give away! Enter here: http://bit.ly/1ibcd07 ” then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Like Music City Spirits and Cocktail Festival 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 Friday, April 25th at 4 pm CST. 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 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

 Moto-Crudo

Moto’s Sunburst Trout Crudo
blood orange, fennel, benne seeds

I often like to eat at a new restaurant at least a couple of times before I say much about it. However, there have definitely been some first time experiences that leave me so enamored that I simply must talk about it right away. That is the case with M Street’s newest addition, Moto Cucina + Enoteca.

On my recent visit, I had a couple of dishes that I seriously have not been able to get out of my mind, so of course you now get to hear about them!

The Moto menu features “rustic-modern Italian cuisine”, and as you’ll see from what I ate, that encompasses a whole lot more than pasta and pizza. We started with an incredible Sunburst Trout Crudo. The bright, citrusy flavors in this dish make it one that I will want to eat time and time again as the months grow warmer. There is no doubt in my mind that I will go there often this summer just to order this (sorry, not sharing) along with a glass of bubbly. Perfection.

Moto-Octopus

Moto’s Octopus
perfect grill, borlotti beans, pancetta, salsa verde

Well, that’s not entirely true, because there is something else I’ll need to order along with the crudo. In fact, I don’t think I will ever be able to step foot in Moto again without getting the Octopus. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best dishes I’ve eaten this year. Perfectly tender and succulent, it’s the best octopus I’ve ever had. No lie. The best.

In addition to these delightful appetizers, my friend and I also shared the Pork Cheek Terrine with crispy ears, pickled onion and toast points, and the Brussel Sprouts with pancetta and apple agrodolce. Both were great.

For entrees, she chose the Blueberry Lasagna. I know, sounds weird, right? We’d both heard rave reviews for this lasagna and the name alone had us curious. I was afraid it would be too sweet, but the server assured us it wasn’t, and he was right. Actually, I think a more appropriate name for it would be Wild Mushroom Lasagna topped with blueberry gastrique. Of course, that wouldn’t make it nearly as interesting so I get what they’re going for.

Moto-Scallops-and-Truffles

Seared Scallops special at Moto
sunchoke puree, chicken jus, truffles, wild mushrooms

I chose to order the special of the evening, Seared Scallops with a sunchoke puree, truffles and wild mushrooms. I love scallops when they’re cooked well, and these were perfect. Sorry that it was special and you can’t run out and try it for yourself right now!

All in all, a really fantastic first experience at Moto, and I can’t wait to go back again. It’s going to be hard for me to leave room in my belly for much more than the crudo and octopus on my next visit, but I definitely want to try any favorite dishes that you guys have had there, so leave me a comment and tell me what I should order next time!

 

Moto Cucina + Enoteca

1120 McGavock Street
Nashville TN 37203
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starfish throwers

 

Last week I gave you a whole list of awesome food events happening this month in Nashville, but there is another event taking place that I didn’t include because it’s not totally food related — the Nashville Film Festival! This 10 day festival (April 17th – 26th) showcases the work of some incredible independent filmmakers and screenwriters at the Regal Green Hills and Walk of Fame Park downtown.

While I’m sure there are several great films being shown, there is one in particular that I want to urge you to see because I’ve actually seen it and can’t get it off my mind. It’s so inspirational, so moving, so heartwarming….it’s, well, it’s so many things.

The Starfish Throwers is a film that follows three amazingly compassionate individuals as they fight hunger, each in their own way. My words can’t do this documentary justice, so please take a couple of minutes and watch the trailer, then make plans to go see it. I promise you will leave there uplifted and motivated!


Saturday, April 19 @ 1:15pm — Regal Green Hills Stadium 16
Sunday, April 20 @ 1:00pm — Regal Green Hills Stadium 16

 For ticket information, visit the Nashville Film Festival website.