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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
615.736.5305

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.

pourtaste_3

 

For years now, I’ve wanted to make the trip down to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, a 5 day festival celebrating all things cocktail. However, I’ve now lost that desire. Want to know why? Because Nashville is going to have its very own festival inspired by events like Tales!

Do you know how excited I am for this?!?!? You guys. Seriously. This is going to be Awesome. Yes, that is awesome with a capital A.

Music City Spirits & Cocktail Festival, created by PourTaste‘s Jon and Lindsay Yeager, will be a multi-day celebration showcasing our rising cocktail culture. With a variety of seminars and tasting events held at various venues in and around town, there is truly something for everyone.

Mike McCloud, creator of the World Food Competition in Las Vegas, will serve as an honorary judge throughout the week. He’ll be awarding the best cocktails here in Nashville, and the winners will be able to showcase their skills alongside PourTaste at WFC 2014  in November. Imbibe magazine’s 2012 Bartender of the Year Ryan Maybee, David Wondrich (described as the world’s foremost expert on the history of the American cocktail), and Woodford Reserve‘s master taster, Marianne Eaves, are just a few of the industry notables leading sessions.

Below I’ve provided a list of offerings by date, including the cost. For more specific information on each, be sure to visit Music City Spirits & Cocktail Festival.

Music-City-Spirits-and-Cockatil-Festival-2014

Wednesday, May 7th

Marquis de Montesquiou Armagnac Seminar: Sessions 1 and 2 @ Gray’s on Main, Franklin ~ $50

Tequila Party by El Jimador & Herradura @ Pavilion East ~ $35

Thursday, May 8th

Mini Beers with Licor 43 @ Treehouse ~ $25

Wine Cocktails with Bolla Prosecco and Banfi Rosa Regale @ Pavilion East ~ $35

Friday, May 9th

Dobel Tequila Happy Hour @ Antica ~ $25

Bourbon & Bluegrass by Woodford Reserve & Old Forrester @ Homestead Manor, Thompson Station ~ $75

Saturday, May 10th

Meet & Greet with Woodford Reserve’s Marianne Eaves @ Smoker’s Abbey ~ $25

Del Maguey Mezcal Seminar @ DevDigital ~ $35

David Wondrich’s 5 Iconic American Cocktails @ DevDigital ~ $50

Grand Tasting Gala @ Loews Vanderbilt Plaza ~ $100

Sunday, May 11th

ImpexBev Master Scotch Class @ Smoker’s Abbey ~ $35

Germain-Robin Brandy Class @ Antica ~ $35

Jack Daniels Experience @ POP event space ~ $35

 

Stay tuned as I’ll have more exciting stuff regarding this festival in a couple of weeks!

 

Volunteer Opportunity

They’re also looking for volunteers to help out with all events, so if you’re interested in working behind the scenes (and quite possibly gaining some great cocktail-creating experience!) visit this link to sign up.

Images courtesy of PourTaste

Grilled Cheeserie

Nat’l Grilled Cheese Month & Grilled Cheese Day

The entire month of April
~and~
Saturday, April 12th, 2014
12 – 4 pm

Richland Park
4601 Charlotte Pike
Nashville, TN

April is National Grilled Cheese Month, so naturally The Grilled Cheeserie is celebrating! Every week this month, our city’s beloved food truck will feature a different, “simple, amazingly melty grilled cheese” using some of the South’s best cheeses, paired with their delicious homemade tomato soup.

In addition, on April 12th (National Grilled Cheese Day), they’ll host a picnic at Richland Park, which is free and open to the public. Retro Sno truck will be there and so will Porter Road Pastry, serving “Grilled Cheese Retro Snack Cakes”. Take a gander, they look delicious!

Porter Road Pastry menu:
PeaNUTELLA with Banana Sliver on Brioche
Green Hill Camembert with Fresh Strawberry Jam on Brioche
Apple Compote with Sharp Cheddar on Brioche

In addition to all the great eats, there will be lawn activities, a photo booth and raffles for Grilled Cheeserie gift cards, so be sure to mark your calendar!

~UPDATE~

Grilled Cheeserie would like to give away a $50 gift card to one of my readers! To enter all you have to do is this:

~ Contest Closed ~

And the winner is…..

#12 Louise

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling what your favorite past or present Grilled Cheeserie Melt of the Moment or Specialty Melt is.

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 love @GrlldCheeserie’s [fill in your favorite Melt of the Moment or Specialty Melt here]. Tell @betheats your fave for chance to win a $50 gift card! http://bit.ly/1h8BiqV”  – NOTE: Please make sure you don’t copy and paste this directly without actually filling in your own personal favorite!

Then be sure to come back here and tell me you’ve done so.

3.  Follow me on Instagram (betheats) and upload a photo of your favorite Grilled Cheeserie Melt of the Moment or Specialty Melt and hashtag as #GrilledCheesePicnic, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

Contest ends on Saturday, April 12th 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!

cookies for kids cancer

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Bake Sale

Saturday, April 12th, 2014
2 – 5 pm

4031 Sneed Road
Nashville, TN 37215

Recently my fellow food blogger, Amanda over at High Heels to Hot Wheels, asked me if Archer and I would like to participate in a bake sale she was putting together to raise money for kids’ cancer. The mission is, of course, to raise money as well as awareness, but also to teach our children about the importance of giving back. Really, how could I say no to that? So my ‘little cookie’ and I will be baking up goodies this week to sell on Saturday at Amanda’s house in Green Hills. There will be giveaways and fun activities planned for the kiddos, so please come by and see us!

 

Iron-Fork_logo

Iron Fork

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
6 – 9:30 pm

Commodore Ballroom at Vanderbilt University
310 25th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37240

Cost: $45

(Must be 21 years or older to attend)

It’s that time of year again! Who will win the coveted golden fork? The lineup of chefs for this year’s Iron Fork competition is stiff: Matt Bolus from The 404 Kitchen, Hal Holden-Bache from Lockeland Table, Kristen Gregory from Firefly Grille and Chris Carter & James Peisker from Porter Road Butcher.

If you’ve never been to this culinary event before, here’s how it works: each chef has 1 hour to prepare plates for a panel of judges based on a secret ingredient. Last year I was fortunate enough to be on that judging panel and Jessica Benefiled (then of Virago, now of Two Ten Jack) wowed us with her maple syrup skills. While it’s fun to watch the heated action in the kitchen, you’ll definitely want to stroll around the perimeter of the room nibbling on cuisine and sipping cocktails from some of Nashville’s best restaurants.

Visit the event site to purchase tickets now.

 

mccabe-crawfish-boil

McCabe Pub Crawfish Boil

Saturday, April 19th, 2014
3 – 8 pm

McCabe Pub
4410 Murphy Rd
Nashville, TN 37209

Cost: $30

I don’t know about you, but this is the time of year when I’m looking for an excuse to spend time outside every single day. I’m so excited that outdoor events are starting to show up on my calendar, and one of the first ones this month is a crawfish boil for a good cause.

McCabe Pub will host its second annual crawfish boil benefiting the LAM Foundation, an organization that seeks a cure for lymphangioleiomyomatosis, a rare lung disease that McCabe’s co-owner, Stefanie Dean Brown, was diagnosed with in 2010.  The $30 ticket to the event includes all-you-can-eat crawfish, 3 drink tickets, live music and other entertainment.  Tickets are available online at www.mccabepub.com, and will also be available at the door on event day, cash or check only.

bounty barrel

 

Bounty & Barrel: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Dinner

with Deb Paquette and Maneet Chauhan

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
6:30 – 9:30 pm

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 5th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $150/person

(Must be 21 years or older to attend)

Probably one of the most exciting dinners this month (at least to me) is one that is part of the five market Bounty & Barrel dinner series presented by Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel. Food Network Chopped’s Maneet Chauhan and one of my favorite Nashville chefs, Deb Paquette of Etch, are teaming up to create a five course dinner with cocktail pairings to benefit Mending Limbs, an organization that raises awareness for adequate prosthetic coverage and assists amputees financially.

There is limited number of tickets available for this one, so you better hurry and purchase now before they’re all gone! Click here to purchase and learn more about the event.

 

vous-et-moi-pop-up-dinner

Vous et Moi Pop Up Dinner

Friday, April 25th, 2014
6 – 9:30 pm

Secret Location to be announced 24 hours prior to event

Cost: $80

Chef Tiffani Rozier, a chef and culinary coach that can often be found teaching classes at the Nashville Farmers Market, will be hosting her first pop up dinner this month at a top secret location. The family-style feast will feature a French menu of five courses with wine pairings, and as you can see for yourself below, it looks delicious! Grab your tickets at the event site.

Vous et Moi Menu:

Salade

Salade Lyonnaise
A salad of bitter, woody frisee tossed with smoky lardon and topped with a rich, silky poached egg

Salade de Lentilles à la Lyonnaise
Classic bistro food from the Lyon region of France, warm Lentils du Puy, served with potatoes, Lyon sausage, dressed with a light vinaigrette

Charcuterie Board
Plateau de charcuterie du Lyon Rosette de Lyon – Poulet pâté de foie – Pâté en croute – Rillette du Canard – Cervelas de Lyon – Saucisson Sec de Canard

Entree

Quenelle de le Mérou, sauce Nantua
Light, airy, fish dumplings in a rich crayfish sauce

Bavette à l’échalote
Pan fried skirt steak with sauteed shallots and red wine

Aile de raie aux câpres
Skate wing poached in court bouillon finished with capers and a brown butter sauce

Haricots Verts a la Lyonnaise
French green beans sautéed in butter and onion finished with fresh parsley

Plateau de fromages

Cheese Plate
Assorted local and French cheeses | Pate de Fruit
Local Honey | Toasted baguette

Dessert
A custom box of locally made French desserts from Dozen Bakery and Sweet Darling Patisserie

nfta_orig

Market Takeover

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Nashville Famers’ Market
900 Rosa L Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37208

Details are still coming together on this one, but it sounds like it’s going to be an awesome event so go ahead and block off your day! A “Market Takeover” is scheduled for Saturday, April 26 at the Nashville Farmers Market.  There will be 15-20 food trucks on site, music, a contest with a ‘secret ingredient’ component, food bloggers, and other fun stuff! Stay tuned for more….

whole-grains-prize-pack

Today, April 2nd, marks this year’s official Whole Grain Sampling Day. Recently I was contacted by Oldways and the Whole Grain Council to be one of their ambassadors for this special day. As I think I’ve told you before, I get a lot of emails asking me to try products, participate in events, etc, etc. A LOT. When I started this blog, I did it because I loved to share my special finds and recipes with people. That simple. I didn’t do it to get free products, and I still don’t. But, over time, as my readership grew, so did my inbox. Even though PR agencies and consumers goods companies are constantly pitching products to me, I rarely accept their offers.

However, when something comes along that I feel is a good fit for me, my family and/or my readers, I hop on it. That was the case with this. For many years now, when I’m at the grocery store, I’ve searched for and chosen products that carry the whole grain seal. It’s just what I do. I know the health benefits, and personally, I love the taste and texture of foods made from whole grains.

NEW WG stamp ver. 3.AI

 

So, here I am- an Ambassador for this special day- trying to do my part to turn others on to the beauty of whole grains. In exchange, I was the recipient of an absolutely amazing gift box full of whole grain products to sample. I’m not kidding, I was blown away when this shipment arrived! Do you see that photo at top? That’s not even all of it! It’s going to take us a while to get through the entire box, but we’ve already found a few favorites.

Archer is particularly fond of  the Barbara’s Snackimals cereals and I’m a big fan of the cinnamon brown sugar belvita breakfast biscuits (perfect with my coffee every morning!) And I’m thrilled to have discovered freekeh. More to come on this ancient grain in the future….

 

favorite-whole-grain-products

Some of our favorite whole grain product discoveries so far: freekeh, belvita breakfast biscuits, Barbara’s Snackimals cereals

Which brings me to the best part of this post. I get to give away one of these incredible whole grain gift boxes to one of my readers!!! All you have to do to enter is this:

~ Contest Closed ~

And the winner is…..

#25 Jennifer J

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite whole grains products are. It can be a brand, specific items, or even a dish that you create using whole grains. If it’s a recipe, I’d love for you to share a link if you have one!

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 love whole grains & want to win the awesome #SampleWholeGrains gift box that @betheats is giving away! http://bit.ly/1ec1Na0” 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 whole grains products (brand, item, actual dish you’re eating!) with the hashtag #SampleWholeGrains, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

 

Contest ends on Saturday, April 5th 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: I received a free whole grains gift box and another to host this giveaway. I was not compensated for this post and opinions are solely mine.

bulk-section-whole-foods

 

It’s April! There is just something about this month that really invigorates me. Even though spring technically starts in March, April looks, feels and even sounds more like the beginning of spring to me.

In addition to April being the real, true start of Spring (in my mind at least), it’s also Earth Month. Appropriate I think. The flowers are blooming, the grass begins to turn green, the Earth is coming alive around us!

A few weeks back, I got an email from the Bulk is Green Council (BIG), asking if I’d like to participate in their Earth Month challenge, a pledge to Love Bulk Foods. It didn’t take much convincing, as I already understand that purchasing from bulk bins can provide significant environmental benefits. However, until they threw out a few fun facts and figures, I don’t think I really grasped the magnitude of it. Check this out:

  • If Americans purchased all of their coffee beans from bulk bins for one week during Earth Month, 5,000,000 lbs of foil packaging would be saved from landfills. That’s the equivalent of 1,916 compact cars!
  • If Americans purchased all of their almonds from the bulk bins for just one week, 1,500,000 lbs of waste would be saved from landfills. That is equivalent to 130.6 elephants. In one week.
  • If all American families bought their peanut butter from the bulk bins for one week during Earth Month, 14,403,350 lbs of waste would be saved from landfills. That number is staggering!

I would absolutely love for you to join me in taking the pledge to love bulk foods and purchase them once a week during the month of April. All you have to do is visit LoveBulkFoods.com and sign up. By doing this, you will automatically be entered into a weekly drawing to win a prize pack filled with useful items for your natural bulk pantry. (Full disclosure: I got one of the packs for helping to spread the word about this challenge. Great stuff! A cute tote bag, glass storage containers, seasonings, rice, granola, and a few other fun things).

At the time I am typing this, there are only 4 people from Nashville that have taken the pledge (and that # includes the 2 adults in my own household), and only about 20 from the entire state of Tennessee. Help me raise that number and show that we love the Earth!

 

coffee ice ball

Coffee Ice Ball made using Arctic Chill Ice Spheres

In 2009, I discovered ice balls. It all began when The Patterson House opened here in Nashville and introduced our city to a plethora of ice options, each of which complemented a particular style of cocktail.

Not long after experiencing that first one, I searched the internet and found an ice ball tray online to buy my better half for our own home bar. We’ve been using that tray ever since.

So when Rizzi at Arctic Chill reached out and asked me if I’d be willing to do a review of their silicone ice ball makers, I was game. I knew that I already loved ice balls, and while our tray had been getting us by all this time, I’ll admit it has its issues. It’s a hard plastic that is prone to cracking, and it’s not always easy to get the ice balls out of the tray. Sometimes you have to run water over them to loosen up.

arctic-chill-ice-balls

I’m happy to report that the Arctic Chill molds are super easy to use and the balls pop right out since they’re formed in the flexible silicone shell.

Of course, the most important part is they look amazing in your cocktail! (okay, so maybe it’s also important that they melt a lot slower than normal ice cubes so your drink stays cooler longer)

ice balls with flowers arctic chill

 

While creating a clear ice ball with plain water is fun, I took it a step further and played around a bit. I made coffee ice cubes to put in my after dinner drink of Dancing Pines Chai Liqueur and cream – so delicious. This might sound a little weird, but I also froze a flower inside of one! It looks so pretty – would be a great idea for a shower or just a spring party of some sort.

If you’re looking for a unique gift and the person is a cocktail enthusiast or likes to entertain at home, this is perfect! You can purchase on Amazon for $19.95.

 

 

Disclaimer: While I was given a free set of Arctic Chills Ice Spheres, I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are solely mine.