Today is the day. I’m lifting off to the other side of the world! For the next 2 weeks I’ll be eating my way across China. Here’s a little glimpse of the authentic Chinese food I’m excited to feast on:

Stay tuned……

Photo Credit: China Food Montage by the jerk

Food Ramblings

My brain is really fried this week so putting together words that form coherent sentences is difficult. I’ve got a million things on my mind, so at times like these, I make lists. Lists of things to do mostly, but today I made a list of all the places and things I’ve been eating the past couple of weeks. For some reason that sort of thing relaxes me.

Sake in Cool Springs
salmon sashimi is like buttah!

Cha Chah -
the smoked vinegar brussels sprouts are to die for

Las Paletas
couldn’t choose just one, so I got two!
Strawberries & Cream and Mint Chocolate

lots and lots of Pacific Pearls…

serious burger craving satisfied

Bread and Company
favorite salad, the Montrachet

The Dog of Nashville
one of my husband’s favorite warm weather spots

The Patterson House – twice ;-)
Spring menu has launched- go check it out!

Nashville Farmers’ Market -
I’ve been eating yummy cheese all week from The Bloomy Rind
(my friend Kathleen‘s new endeavor)

Suzy Wong’s House of Yum
the Asian Wonton Nachos and Peanut Sauce Chicken Salad just rock.

55 South in Franklin –
I don’t think I’ve mentioned their Bananas Foster Bread Pudding before have I?? Freaking AMAZING!

So that’s where I’ve been the last few days. How about you? Anything really awesome you want to share with me? C’mon, don’t be shy. Your food ramblings will be a nice break from the chaos that is my life at the moment!

Photo Credit: Yum Yum Food Ahead by arimoore

As you know, I’m leaving for China in a few days, and while I’m excited for my adventure, I’m also sad for what I’ll be missing out on here in Nashville. Next week one of my very favorite food events takes place– Nashville Scene’s Iron Fork!

Last year I had loads of fun hanging with some of my girlfriends and chowing down on a ridiculous amount of food. Click here to take a look back at my gluttony.

Chefs at last year’s competition
An impressive lineup of chefs will be competing for the Iron Fork this year, including Jeremy Barlow, who’ll be defending his championship title. Here’s a look at the competitors:

Chris Cunningham of Sunset Grill
Hal M. Holden-Bache of Eastland Cafe
Andy Hunter of Acorn
Jason McConnell of Red Pony, Sol, and 55 South
Jeremy Barlow of tayst

What: Iron Fork
When: Wednesday, April 21st
6 – 10 p.m.
Where: Country Music Hall of Fame
222 5th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37203

Tickets are $30 if you purchase by April 14th, and then increase to $40, so don’t delay- buy your tickets today by clicking here! For your money you’ll get 3 drink tickets and all the samples you can eat. Don’t miss out on what is perhaps THE culinary event of the year in Nashville!

A couple of weeks ago, a pack of Nashville’s finest food bloggers (me included!) descended upon Bravo Gelato in the Green Hills Village shopping center. This mission was not only to sample the goods, but to also try our hand in the kitchen creating our own gelato. And you know how it all came to be? The power of Twitter.

Originally I had planned to give you all the details of our fun afternoon, but my friend Erin over at Erin’s Food Files did a smashing job recapping the whole experience, so insist that you jump over there and read all about it!

Named the top gelato company in the country for 2009, it’s hard to believe this delightful gelato was not really on my radar until recently. As is the case with many things these days, it all began with Twitter. It’s been a few months since I last gave out one of my “Tweet Me Right!” awards,
but @BravoGelatoNash totally deserves to be recognized. Not only does he tempt us with tweets about exotic flavors that are being added to the case, but he often offers up discounts, and even asks what flavors we want to see. Noel (Mr. BravoGelatoNash) does it right by communicating with his customers. I know that doesn’t sound like rocket science but it never ceases to amaze me how many restaurants don’t acknowledge or follow back their audience!

Here’s something really incredible: If you give him the heads up in advance that you’ll be coming and let him know what flavor you want, he’s usually more than happy to oblige.

For that reason alone, you should follow him on Twitter.

In addition to heeding my advice to become a Twitter follower, you should stop by sometime and sample all the tasty flavors. My personal favorites are: Honey Peanut Butter, Fireball Cinnamon Bourbon, Popcorn, White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Dough, Yazoo Stout, and the Maple Bacon we had a hand in creating that day.

Mmm, maple bacon!

As luck would have it, this Saturday would be the PERFECT day for you to enjoy a nice cold gelato. And it’s not just because of the warm weather we’ll have– you’ll also be able to contribute to a great cause!

The store is donating part of the proceeds from this Saturday’s sales to Hot Rod Hustlers, a Country Music Marathon running team. Noel’s friend’s father was diagnosed in July 2009 with Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma, a very rare form of cancer. His children formed this running team to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Here’s how it will work: One flavor in the case will change every 15 minutes, and that special flavor is FREE* with a donation. All other flavors will be regular price with a portion of the proceeds donated to the cause. An added bonus? At least one, and quite possibly a few, Tennessee Titans are coming in to help scoop!

I can think of no better way to spend a few minutes of your time on Saturday afternoon than eating some heavenly gelato and giving to this wonderful cause. Drop by and if you see me, say hello!!

Bravo Gelato
Village Green Shopping Center (inside Christie Cookie)
4117 Hillsboro Road
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 297-0274

Photos courtesy of Erin @ErinsFoodFiles

Yesterday I mentioned that I’m always looking for ways to advance my skills in the kitchen, and free opportunities are especially nice. Well, it just so happens that such an opportunity is right around the corner.

If you were reading my blog last summer, you might remember the technique classes I so thoroughly enjoyed at Williams-Sonoma. If not, click here to take a look back.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken advantage of these free demos, but this month’s healthy cooking series is right up my alley. Unfortunately since I’ll be gone the latter half of the month, I can only attend the first one. As luck would have it, it’s the topic that interests me most- Seafood!

Free education and free food– what’s not to love? I’m all over it. Who wants to join me?

Healthy Cooking Class Schedule

Sunday, April 11th: Seafood
- how to properly select seafood
- cooking it using seasonings, marinades and accompaniments
- demo using the grill and the griddle

Sunday, April 18th: Vegetables
- new and exciting ways to cook vegetables
- creative ways to present the finished dishes
- how to use a food processor to transform ordinary vegetables into extraordinary main dishes, side dishes and snacks

Sunday, April 25th: Chicken
- how to select chicken; differences between organic and free-range
- how to truss and quarter a chicken
- preparing perfect roast chicken and other tasty dishes by using healthier cooking techniques

Green Hills Mall
2126 Abbott Martin Rd
Nashville, TN 37215
(615) 292-5066

*Classes at this store are from 2 pm – 3 pm

Cool Springs Galleria
1800 Galleria Blvd
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 771-0427

Call your local Williams-Sonoma store to find out the time of the class and sign up, as space is limited!

Don’t live in Nashville? To locate the store nearest you, click here.

In high school I wasn’t interested in cooking. My class schedule consisted of marketing and business classes, not Home Ec. It was a few years later before I realized how much I enjoyed being in the kitchen. So with no formal culinary education, a majority of what I’ve learned has come from magazines, conversations with my mom and sister, a couple of classes/demos at local retailers, and of course, trial and error. When I hear of opportunities to advance my skills (particularly for free), I’m an eager student.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. Tonight’s episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations will be a special ‘Cooking Techniques’ show featuring some well known chefs like Jacques Pepin and my buddy, Thomas Keller. Many basic techniques will be covered, including how to use a knife, cook an omelet, roast a chicken, make a red sauce, and grill a steak. All sound fairly simple, but to be honest, I would love a little help in several of those areas!

Click here to see the topics the hour long show will cover, and play the video below for a glimpse:

So tune in tonight if you want to learn a few new things from the masters, or just want to brush up on some basics. Heck, if nothing else, it’s bound to be entertaining!

What: Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations Techniques Episode
When: Tonight! Monday, April 5th
9 pm Central/ 10 pm Eastern
Where: The Travel Channel

Photo and video credit: The Travel Channel

Happy April everyone! It’s spring, I’m happy, and yes, I have a big adventure on the horizon this month. In exactly 2 weeks I’m boarding a big jet plane destined for China!

I’ll be visiting several cities in both Northern and Southern China–mostly working, but of course eating as much as I can too! In the next few days leading up to my departure and while I’m away, my blog posts might be a bit sporadic. I’ve got a lot on my “to do” list to prepare, and a pretty packed itinerary while I’m there, so I want to apologize in advance if I’m not around as much as usual.

But don’t worry, you know I’ll share my adventures in full detail when I’m back on U.S. soil!

Photo Credit: China Paradise by Miss Loisy

For months I’ve been reading reports of the fantastic food coming out of the kitchen at The Silly Goose in East Nashville, so last week I finally made my way over the river to the tiny little dining spot and discovered for myself that the rumors were true.

One glance at the playful menu and I was smitten. It was so difficult to choose just one thing…first I spied the Vivian Salad made up of roasted ruby beets, blue gouda, spiced walnuts, baby arugula, caramelized onion, and red pepper vinaigrette. Tempting, but then the couscous dishes caught my eye. In particular, The King Kong. Now how could I pass that up? The dish was chock full of flavor – sesame couscous with curried shrimp, mint, ginger, cashews, coriander, and avocado. Yum!
The King Kong

My dining companion, Marcia (the fabulous photographer who shot our engagement and wedding photos) went with a friend’s suggestion and ordered The Bird. When the huge sandwich of grilled chicken breast, sun-dried tomato, avocado, bacon, and peppered goat cheese on flax seed bread arrived at the table, she immediately offered to share. It goes without saying–I didn’t say no.


The Bird

Delicious!! I’m not typically a big sandwich eater, but I will definitely be trying out some of their other sandwiches in the future and if they are anything like The Bird, I might be a sandwich convert.

I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving there without trying one of their house made ice creams I’d heard so much about. As the chef explained, they have different flavors available every day, and he tries to have at least one “normal” flavor along with the “weird” ones. However, this particular day they were all “weird” (the chef’s words, not mine!). But hey, I prefer weird! My choice? Coconut Red Curry. A little bit citrusy with a hint of spice, followed by some heat in the throat, it was one of the most delightful desserts I’ve had in a long time.

Smitten I tell you.

I may say I love a lot of things, but I really love The Silly Goose! From their commitment to sustainable, local foods, to the interesting flavor combinations and playfulness of the menu, they have created a true neighborhood gem. I’m just sad it isn’t in MY neighborhood!

The Silly Goose

1888 Eastland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37206-2542
(615) 915-0757