A few months ago, I posted a list of several Nashville spots that were supposed to be coming before years’ end. Since writing that, a couple have been delayed and won’t open until 2014. But in the meantime, even more new businesses that weren’t mentioned in that list have launched, or have announced they’re opening soon.

The following are a few that I, personally, am particularly excited by. This is by no means an all-encompassing list of what is opening in the next few months or what has already opened– nowhere close to it! Really this is a way for me to create a “to do” list for myself in hopes that it’ll keep me on task to try each of these before the end of the year.

If you’ve experienced any of these already, I’d love to get your feedback, so leave a comment!

PRB-breakfast-lunch

Porter Road Butcher West

4816 Charlotte Ave.
(615) 454-2995

Breakfast served Mon – Fri 7 – 10 am
Lunch served Mon – Fri 11 am – 2 pm

Porter Road Butcher opened their new West location in August, and not long after, I dropped in to buy a couple of things and welcome them to the neighborhood. A few weeks after my visit, they announced they would start serving breakfast out of their drive-thru window (Note: can ONLY get it through the drive-thru!!) , and then in early October, they put the word out that they were serving lunch.

And boy oh boy, some of the offerings look incredible! Think big, Southern biscuits with sausage, egg, and Kenny’s Farmhouse cheese for breakfast (WAY better than a drive-thru Egg McMuffin, right??), Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls, and house made pear butter Pop-Tarts (I think I even saw a savory butternut squash and goat cheese Pop-Tart on the menu one day!!). Plus I just caught wind that they are now carrying Glazed donuts, which have also been on my radar for a while but haven’t yet tried.

And that’s just breakfast. Lunch specials that have tempted me: roasted cauliflower soup topped with crispy chorizo, spicy beef empanadas, meatball sub with marinara and Kenny’s Farmhouse swiss, Mexican style Torta with fresh avocado and a jalapeño lime crema, and a PRB Philly cheesesteak sandwich made with pasture raised beef, sliced thin and topped with caramelized onion and housemade cheese sauce. Uh hello. Gotta make my way over to Charlotte soon!

Like their Facebook page to see the daily menu.

 

Churro Queens Churros

 Churro Queen Churros

Churro Queens

When I lived in San Diego, I ate many a churro as I crossed the border to and from Mexico. Fresh, warm, sugary churros – ah, how I loved those things.

Since moving to Nashville I can’t say that I’ve had a really great churro. So when I heard about the newly launched Churro Queens food truck, my interest was definitely piqued. Then pastry chef extraordinaire Audra Dykes sang their praises, and I knew these ladies must be doing something really awesome.

Started by two cousins from El Salvador, Churro Queens make their churros fresh, one at a time, using traditional recipes but are also adding in new, creative ideas. A churro banana split? The Milky Way churro? Check out  their website or Facebook page to see what they’re cooking up and where they’ll be next!

 

 

antica nashville

 Antica Sour
Bourbon, lavender infused local honey, blood orange shrub, egg white

Antica

507 Main Street
(5th and Main, East Nashville)
Nashville, TN 37206
(615)-266-1233

I’ve moaned and groaned about this city’s lack of tapas restaurants before. So word of Antica, described as a “Tapas and craft cocktail bar” pretty much had me doing cartwheels. Is this the small plates place I’ve been dying for ever since Rumba closed???

Very possible since at least one of the members of the restaurant group’s team came from Rumba. One of the other owners has a background that includes Holland House, so the potential for incredible cocktails is also there.

It looks like they’ve been in a soft open phase for a couple of weeks now, with the Grand Opening happening this Tuesday, the 19th!

You can view the full menu on their website and keep up to date on their Facebook page.

 

two ten jack

 

Two Ten Jack

1900 Eastland Ave
Nashville, TN 37206

Last week Eater broke the news that Chef Jessica Benefield is in as the chef of East Nashville’s soon to be opened izakaya and ramen house, Two Ten Jack. While this restaurant was on my radar, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t one that I was super duper excited about. Sure, I like ramen fine, but we’ve got Otaku South already doing a great job with it around town.

However, now that I know that Jessica is a part of it, my interest level has definitely gone up several notches. You see, Jessica won the Iron Fork competition that I judged back in the Spring and her food was out of this world. I can’t wait to see what she does at this new spot!

Check out their Facebook page to learn more and keep up to date on their opening.

 kevin-ramquiest

Chef Kevin Ramquist

The Unicorn

There are a handful of chefs here in town that I simply adore. I love their food, but I also love their personalities. Kevin Ramquist is one of them. Over the past 3 years, while Kevin was the Executive Chef of F Scott’s, the restaurant was named Best Restaurant in the Nashville Scene Readers’ Poll twice and landed on Nashville Lifestyles’ Top 10 Best Restaurants list. In 2012, Kevin even took home the top prize at Nashville Lifestyles’ Savor Chefs Challenge.

Heck, there could have been even more awards that I missed, but I just tell you all of that to say – he’s good, people.

In October he created a Facebook page called “The Unicorn” and posted: “soon, very soon I will be starting a pop up dinner experience here in Nashville.” Of course, I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to hear more about what he had up his sleeve.

Then, just a few weeks later, he made an even bigger announcement to his Facebook friends –  he was leaving F Scott’s to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant! Between now and whenever that opening happens, he’ll be throwing those promised Unicorn pop up dinners plus offering his services for catering.

So, I suggest you all “Like” The Unicorn’s Facebook page to stay in the know on what is to come and reach out to him if you have catering needs. I promise you will not be disappointed!

 

 Note: All photos courtesy of respective businesses’ Facebook pages and Instagram feeds.

Trenchermen_bar

Trenchermen bar
Black & White cocktail: Partida Blanco, Mandarine, Egg White, Fernet-Vallet

 

You guys, I love Chicago. I know that’s probably not a news flash since I’ve said it a million times before, but I just wanted to say it again.

Through the years I’ve had some amazing meals there (just see this, this, this, this, and this), and last weekend I added another spot to my ever-growing list of Windy City favorites: Trenchermen.

Located in Wicker Park, the restaurant lies below street level in what used to be a Turkish bathhouse. My friend tells me the tiles on the walls are the original that were there in the 1920′s…unearthed when tearing off drywall during the build out of the restaurant. Pretty cool, huh? I don’t usually focus too much on the design of spaces when I dine, but there was something about this one that drew me in. So much so that I wanted to learn more about it. If you’re into that kind of thing, check out this article that I found explaining the “Steampunk” look.

Of course, as much as I was fascinated by the space itself, that’s not what has me writing about Trenchermen today. You know it’s all about the food around here!

 

Tenchermen_pickle_tots

Pickle Tots, Chicken Breast Bresaola, Red Onion Yogurt, Scallions

I’m all about trying new things. I like to be tickled and surprised when I dine out. Maybe even a little perplexed by what I’m eating. Perhaps that’s what I loved so much about this place.

It all started with the pickle tots. I can’t even really explain exactly what they are, but I can tell you they were amazing. There are these thin slices of chicken piled on top of these dill tots with a red onion-beet-yogurt sauce. I know, it sounds weird. But I swear, they were awesome.

Trenchermen_gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi, Huitlacoche, Mushrooms, Brown Butter Soy

Actually, pretty much every single thing we ate was awesome-  gnocchi, beets with burrata, tuna tartare on brioche with brown butter crème fraîche…even the simple side dish of eggplant! In fact, that eggplant was probably the best eggplant I’ve ever eaten.

I made sure I took note of the ingredients: Eggplant, Bacon, Sweet Chili, Garlic, and Sesame. Yep. I will be trying my damnedest to recreate that dish at home.

And those things I just listed were only the small plates – the main dishes were still to come!

Trenchermen_entrees

Aged Duck Breast, Duck Mole, Fried Tamal, Hakuri Turnips, Sweet Potato

Berkshire Pork Shoulder, Bulgher, Onions, Broccoli, Umeboshi, Black Bean

Scallops, Cauliflower Cous Cous, Orange, Vaudovan Spice, Bee Pollen

And since we were on a roll and so freakin’ happy with every single morsel we put in our mouths, you know we couldn’t stop. Dessert. Must. Be. Had.

Trenchermen_desserts

Chicory Apple Fritters, Candied Apricot, Cider Glaze, Chai Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Napoleon, Maple Bacon, Frozen Custard

Trenchermen ‘Smores, Dark Chocolate, Popcorn Ice Cream, House Graham, Smoked Mallow

 

 Seriously. Heading to Chicago? Put this on your list.

 

Trenchermen

2039 W N Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-1540
Neighborhood: Wicker Park

Food_Wine_Design_Nashville

 

In yesterday’s November calendar of food events round up, I shared some details for Nashville Lifestyles’ upcoming Food, Wine and Design dinners. Well, I’m back today to give you a few more specifics on menus + a chance to win spots at the event!

November 12th & 13th, 2013

6 – 7 pm Cocktail Hour
7 pm Dinner

Omni Nashville Hotel
250 5th Ave South
Nashville, TN

Cost: $100/person (or $900 for table of 10).
Tickets can be purchased here.

“Feast of the Fish”

Tuesday, November 12th
Chefs: Matt Lackey of Flyte World Dining & Wine and Karl Worley of Biscuit Love

We don’t have the menu yet for this one, but what we do know is that Karl and Matt will be pulling items out of a giant fish tank. Say what???

I’m not exactly sure how that will work and what it means, but definitely could get interesting!

“A Trip to Spain”

Wednesday, November 13th
Chefs: Deb Paquette of Etch and Steven Robillo of Amerigo

the Menu:

smoked goats milk bacalao, almond fried octopus, mediterranean mussels, pea alioli, olives, radish

little Gem and escarole salad,  prawn, romesco, garlic crisps, chili

Red chili duck and plum tart, Jerez fig sauce, chorizo frites, guava sweet potato, safron hazelnuts

paprika pork tenderloin, beluga lentils, Benton bacon, green bean, iberico ham, Marcona almond relish

+

a special surprise dessert

 

Now for the really fun part~ I’ve got two (2) tickets to each night’s dinner to give away to lucky readers!

To enter, all you have to do is this:

~Contest Closed~

Congratulations to the winners!

#59 Niki – for Feast of the Fish on the 12th

#30 Sherri – for A Trip to Spain on the 13th

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me which dinner you want to go to and why. I know it will be difficult, but you must choose only one!

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 “Food, Wine and Design is next week and @betheats is giving away spots at the table! http://bit.ly/16CTAuU”, 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, November 8th at NOON CST. Once the winners are chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the names here on the blog. If they don’t respond within 24 hours, I’ll be forced to choose others, so be sure to check your email!

farmhand-web-banner-2013-11

 

NFM Farmhand Dinner

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Nashville Farmers Market
900 Rosa Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37208

Cost: $50/person

I love the concept of this inaugural fundraiser event being held at (and benefiting) the Nashville Farmers’ Market later this week. Mayor Karl Dean and Troy Smiley of Smiley’s Farm will open up the dinner, and a dynamic team of culinarians and chefs will put their creative and innovative twist on the traditional farmhand dinner.

My friend Vivek of VEA Supper Club will kick off the evening by serving a “Water Break” with a twist – moonshine cocktails and hors d’oeuvres! After that, there will be dishes by Margot McCormack of Margot & Marche, Tyler Brown of Capitol Grille, Laura Wilson of NFM’s Grow Local Kitchen, Megan Williams of Etch, and Mindy Merrell & R.B. Quinn, The “Cheater Chefs”.

For more information, visit the NFM website and to purchase tickets, visit this Hands on Nashville page.

Brandon_James_Beard_Thanksgiving

Mason’s James Beard Preview Dinner

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
6:30 – 8:30 pm

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

Cost: $75/person + tax & gratuity (Wine pairings optional for an additional $25)

In case you haven’t heard the news, Chef Brandon Frohne of Mason’s has been invited to cook Thanksgiving dinner at New York’s renowned James Beard House. While we’re proud and excited for him, it’s not likely that many of us could make the trip to NYC for this dinner. BUT- guess what?

Before leaving on his trip, Brandon will be giving us the opportunity to a preview his entire New South Thanksgiving Dinner right here in Nashville! So what’s on the menu? A pretty incredible spread:

Deviled Farm Eggs with Heritage Pork Belly Marmalade and Mustard Seed Caviar

Spiced Sweet Potato–Walnut Biscuits, Blackberry Mostarda, and Speck

Carolina Rice Arancini with Pickled Shrimp, Peanut Romesco, and Bottarga

Butternut Squash Soup with Foie Gras–Gingerbread Marshmallow, Pickled Apples, Crispy Sage, and Peanut Butter Espuma

Smoked Squab with Heirloom Carrots, German Einkorn, Maitake Mushrooms, Root Beer Leaf, Burnt Onions, Salt-Roasted Beets, and Figs

Grassfed Beef Cheeks with BLiS Maple Syrup–Kumquat Gastrique, Hominy, and Brussels Sprout Kimchi

Heritage Turkey Dinde Roulé with Buttermilk Bread, Sweet Potato Bubespitzle, Wilted Kale, Grana Padano, Tennessee Truffles, and Pickled Cabbage

Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. White Chocolate–Pumpkin Crémeux with Vanilla–Chestnut Beignet, Cranberry Conserva, and Espresso Salt

Seating is limited, so hurry and make your reservation now by calling (615) 321-1990.

 

Food_Wine_Design_Nashville

Food, Wine and Design

November 12th & 13th, 2013

6 – 7 pm Cocktail Hour
7 pm Dinner

Omni Nashville Hotel
250 5th Ave South
Nashville, TN

Cost: $100/person (or $900 for table of 10)

Nashville Lifestyles magazine recently announced a new series they’re calling “Food, Wine and Design”. This month there will be 2 opportunities to participate and when you see the chefs for each, it’s definitely going to be hard to choose which one to go to! (at least that’s the case for me)  

Tuesday, November 12th
Matt Lackey of Flyte World Dining & Wine  and  Karl Worley of Biscuit Love

“Feast of the Fish”

Wednesday, November 13th
Deb Paquette of Etch  and  Steven Robillo of Amerigo

“A Trip to Spain”

Tickets can be purchased here.

Sycamore Hattie Bs Jackalope

Sycamore: Barrel Aged Bash

Sunday, November 24th, 2013
5 – 8 pm

Hattie B’s
112 19th Ave. S
Nashville, TN

Cost: $20/person

Tony and Caroline Galzin, the Sycamore dynamic duo, are working hard on their permanent location (opening in Nashville in 2014!), but in the meantime, they’re still hosting fun pop-ups from time to time.

While most of their pop ups have been more formal, seated affairs, this one coming up later this month is super casual, and definitely easy on the wallet. “Barrel Aged Bash” teams up Sycamore with Jackalope Brewing at Hattie B’s – sounds like a great combo to me! Jackalope is making specials brews aged in Corsair whiskey barrels just for this event and the oh-so-awesome Chef Tony will be whipping up house made sausages and fresh baked pretzels with Jackalope beer cheese.

Food and drink tickets, which guests can redeem for any beer or food item of their choosing, are included in the $20 price of entry. If you just want to eat, you can use all of your tickets for food. If you just want to drink, you can use all of your tickets for beer. My suggestion is that you do a little of both, because why would you want to miss out on either??

Entry purchased in advance includes 5 tickets, and while paying at the door is the same price, it only includes 4 tickets, so plan ahead. You know how the saying goes – “the early bird gets the extra sausage!”  — Go ahead: buy your tickets in advance here.

 

1367424461-nashville_food_truck_associate_logo

2013 Nashville Street Food Awards

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Noon – 5 pm
Centennial Park

 

The 2nd annual “Nashville Street Food Awards” is almost upon us so put on your eating pants! Featuring more than 20 of Nashville’s mobile vendors, the friendly competition will have a panel of judges sampling blind entries in a variety of categories, and customers voting for the “People’s Choice Award”.

Categories include:

Best Taco
Best Between Bread
Best Smoked
Best Dessert
Best Hot Nashville
Best Vegetarian
Best Deep Fried
Best Drink
Best Yazoo
Best Olive & Sinclair

The single highest scoring dish over all categories will be named Best of the Best.

The event is free and open to the public of all ages, and customers will have the opportunity to purchase food from any of the trucks. Menus will include both regular items and small ‘tastes’, so you have room in your belly to sample several!

Participating trucks include Biscuit Love Truck, Crepe A Diem, Deg Thai, Delta Bound, Doughworks, Hoss’ Loaded Burgers, The Grilled Cheeserie, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Julia’s Bakery, The Mobile Chef, Moovers and Shakers, Music City Pie Co., Pappy’s Mobile Café, Riffs Fine Street Food, The Rolling Feast, Slow Hand Coffee, Smokin’ Thighs, Smoothie King, Sum Yum Yum, Two Guys in a Lunchbox, The Waffle Boss, and Wrappers Delight.

 Food Truck Awards 2012 popsicles

The “Desserts” round of judging at the 2012 Nashville Street Food Awards

Last year I had an absolute blast judging the “BBQ”, “Hot” and “Dessert” categories. I can still vividly remember Delta Bound’s BBQ slider with fried pickles and Deg Thai’s mango sticky rice, two of my favorites of the day.

While I’m super sad that I won’t be able to attend the event this year (Chicago bound on Friday!), I am happy to announce that I’m holding a contest to give one of my readers my judging spot!

Adventurous eaters are encouraged to enter, as you’ll be required to taste and judge entries from a few assigned categories, and you won’t find out which ones until you arrive on site that day. Your judging time will be from 12 (noon) – 1:30 pm on Saturday, so make sure your calendar is clear for that time before you enter.

To enter, all you have to do is this:

~Contest Closed~

Congratulations to the winner!

#22 Christina V

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me about the best food truck dish you’ve had in Nashville. -OR- Is there a street food you’ve had in another city that you would love to see made here by one of our very own? Tell me about that!

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 “Want to be a judge at the Nashville Street Food Awards on Saturday?! @betheats is giving away a judging spot! http://bit.ly/17pcUPc”, 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 Thursday, October 31st 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 24 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!

Southern-Living-No-Taste-Like-Home

From time to time I get offers from publishers to review cookbooks, and more often than not, I pass them up. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE cookbooks. However, there are only so many cookbooks one girl can handle! But there are some that I simply cannot refuse, and that’s the category this new Southern Living cookbook falls in.

Since childhood I’ve been a big fan of Southern Living magazine. I even created a video for Magazines.com explaining exactly what I love about it so much. Suffice it to say, they are a trusted source for me when it comes to cooking (amongst other things).

So when I got the email about Southern Living No Taste Like Home, it was an easy “yes!”.  Great decision on my part, as I’m really enjoying diving into this cookbook. Broken into sections of the various regions of the south, it’s more than just recipes – you feel like you learn a little about each place, it’s history, it’s residents, and of course, it’s food.

Southern Living No Taste Like Home photos

I’ve got something marked to try from every region – Crab Cake Hushpuppies and Remoulade from Cajun Country; Tex Mex Grilled Beef with Chipotle-Lime Cream from Big Bold Texas; Shrimp and Grits from The Piedmont & the Mountains; Loretta Lynn’s Chicken and Dumplings from The Bluegrass, Bourbon & Barbecue Trail; and Georgia Peach Deviled Eggs from the Coastal South.

And then there is the one recipe that I was dying to try from the moment I saw it….Alabama White Sauce. Or as they call it in this book, Alabama White Barbecue Sauce. I leave out the word barbecue because honestly, I can slather this stuff on so many things, I don’t want to limit your imagination. Oddly, I don’t like mayonnaise, and yet, I love this sauce that is mayonnaise based. Perfect for smoked chicken, but equally as amazing with fried okra, as our local Smoke Et Al food truck has proven in recent years.

 

AL-White-Sauce-w-cookbook

 

Print

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Makes 1 3/4 cups. Recipe from Southern Living: No Taste Like Home cookbook

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp coarse, ground black pepper
1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp table salt
2 tsp horseradish

Directions:

Stir together all ingredients until well blended. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Now some good news for you. I’ve got an extra cookbook to give away!

To enter, all you have to do is this:

~Contest Closed~

Congratulations to the winner!

#21 Susan Williams

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me the dish that comes to mind when you hear “No taste like home”. It could be something your grandmother made, something your hometown is famous for, or maybe something that is a more recent discovery. Spill!

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 “Win a copy of Southern Living’s No Taste Like Home cookbook from @betheats! http://bit.ly/1c7mQP1” 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 Thursday, October 24th at 11 a.m. 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 one free review copy of Southern Living No Taste Like Home: A Celebration of Regional Southern Cooking and Hometown Flavor cookbook and another to host this giveaway.

DL-1-menu

 

You may remember back in July when I included the brand new (at least to Nashville) members-only Dinner Lab “On My Calendar” for that month. If you don’t remember, or need a refresher, hop over to that post for full details and a short video.

Basically here’s the gist of it – For $100 per year, you can become a member. Dinner Lab hosts around 2 events/dinners per week, for a total of about 100 a year. And, as a member, you can attend as many of those as you want + you can bring a guest.

Each dinner typically costs $50/person, which includes a 5+ course meal, drinks, tax and gratuity. Yep, the whole thing is taken care of with one payment in advance, and then you just show up and have a great time!

 

DL-2-room-layout

 Dinner Lab in Gibson Guitar building on Church Street

Speaking of showing up- that’s also part of the fun. Up until 24 hours before the dinner, you have absolutely no idea where you’re going! A deserted warehouse, a recording studio, an alley, a rooftop – you get to see parts of Nashville that you never even noticed before. So much fun!

Now, I’ll be completely honest. I was invited to attend my first dinner lab free of charge before becoming an actual member. This very meal I’m sharing photos of is from that evening at the Gibson Guitar building on Church Street.

Even though I didn’t have to pay for the meal, I will say that if someone asked me to come to the exact same meal again, I would jump at the chance, and I would gladly pay for it!

 

 

DL-3-First-Course-Gazpacho

1st course: Gazpacho Andaluz
blanca rinon (Spanish white bean) puree, grilled focaccia

The theme for the evening was Spain. When I was sent a few dinner descriptions to choose from, as soon as I saw this one, there was no doubt that it was the one I absolutely needed to attend.

You see, I’m a bit enamored with Spain — I’ve wanted to go on a trip to Barcelona for years and years and years (fingers crossed that maybe that trip will happen in the not too distant future). Have any of you seen me whining on Twitter about the lack of a tapas here in Nashville? Sigh. I digress.

Back to dinner, and the chef that wowed us with his cuisine, Chef Greg Dickson. Before making a move to the newly opened Crying Wolf in East Nashville, Greg worked at one of my favorite restaurants, Etch. Of course he did! So much talent in that kitchen.

 

DL-4-Second-Course-Pulpo

2nd course: Pulpo
Sauteed baby octopus, tempura squash blossom, salsa piquillo

 

As you scroll through this post, you’ll probably notice that some of the photos are better than others. That’s because I took the time to use my good camera for some, but lazily only used my iphone for others. Oh, and for a couple of dishes, I even walked over to the brightly lit expediting area to get even clearer shots.

I just want to point that out to say – don’t judge the dish by the pics, because they really don’t do this meal justice!

For instance, that baby octopus and squash blossom shown above? Would you have guessed that it was one of the best things I’ve put in my mouth this year? Well, it was!

DL-5-Third-Course-Higo-y-Jamon

3rd Course: Higo y Jamon
Charred parma wrapped fig, saffron & albarino gastrique, walnut tuille

DL-6-Fourth-Course-Queso-de-Cabeza

4th Course: Queso de Cabeza
Cornmeal dusted head cheese, baby artichoke, truffled mustard seed vinaigrette

For those that don’t know what head cheese is, let me offer a brief description: a terrine or meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf or pig. To get an even more thorough description and background, check Wikipedia.

I thought the pairing with the chilled, tart artichokes and vinaigrette was perfect. My only small complaint of the entire meal is that I wish this had just a tad more artichoke because the head cheese was a large portion and very rich.

DL-7-Fifth-Course-Conejo

5th Course: Conejo
Torchon of rabbit, rabbit jus, roasted baby carrot

What I love most about this meal is that it was very different from any other I’ve had in Nashville this year. That’s one of the great things about Dinner Lab – they’re venturing into cuisines that you don’t have the opportunity to eat every day. They’re also working with chefs that you may not yet have heard of…sous chefs, line cooks, caterers. It’s fun seeing some of these lesser known chefs shine.

Speaking of shining, the dessert at our Spanish dinner did just that. In fact, it almost stole the show, and looking at it now makes me want to track down the pastry chef and beg her to make me another. Luckily I know where to find her – at Etch! If you haven’t ordered dessert made by the mega talented Megan Williams before, add that to your Nashville “must do” list!

 

DL-8-Sixth-Course-Oliva

6th  Course: Oliva
Arbequina olive oil ice cream sandwich, sea salt caramel, marcona almonds

If some of you reading don’t live here in Nashville, you might still be in luck when it comes to experiencing Dinner Lab for yourself. Already in New Orleans and Austin, they’ve also expanded to New York and Los Angeles, with more plans for Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Miami!

KEEN-SPEAKER-464x464

Two weeks from today I’ll be participating in a really cool conference happening right here in Nashville at our brand spankin’ new, absolutely gorgeous, Omni Hotel. The KEEN Digital Summit is the brainchild of my friend Kristin Luna, travel writer extraordinaire.

This first-time event is perfect for bloggers, pinners, tweeters (twitterers?), writers, business owners, marketers…well, let’s just say a lot of you would fit right in. The speakers range from people like little ol’ me to bigwigs from Southern Living and HGTV. Want to get the full view of who you can expect to see and hear? Check out the roster.

The track I’m participating in is Food & Spirits, but there is also Travel & Lifestyles, Family & Entertainment and Technology. I’m telling you, this conference is packed with amazing learning and networking opportunities! And it’s definitely not going to be all work and no play. On Thursday night, the opening night, there will be a party at aVenue for all attendees, then a Friday night Bluebird-esque singer-songwriter experience at the Listening Room Café, with Southern beer brands showcasing their products. Plenty of fun to be had!

Visit the Keen Digital Summit website to get more in depth details and click here to register to attend!

KEEN Digital Summit

Dates:  Thursday, October 24th – Saturday, October 26th

Location: Omni Hotel, 250 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Cost: $299 for all conference pass*; $149 for day pass

*Here’s some good news – KEEN has provided me a $100 off code for you to use on the full-conference pass! The promo code is: NFB2013.

And…more good news. They’re also letting me give away a full conference pass to one (1) lucky reader!

 

~Contest Closed~

Congratulations to the winner!

#9 Alexandra

To enter, all you have to do is this:

Mandatory

1. Once you’ve had a chance to look at the agenda, leave a comment telling me which speakers or topics you’re most interested in hearing.

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 “Win a pass to the inaugural @KEENsummit ($299 value) from @betheats! http://bit.ly/GUhEPX”, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Like KEEN 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 Monday, October 14th at 9 pm CST. Once the winner is chosen via Random.org, 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!