I’ve been anxiously awaiting the new Burger Up on 12 South for months. As my trip to China drew near, they were getting closer and closer to opening the doors. My hope was that they would open before I left so I wouldn’t miss out on the grand opening…I hate when I miss out on these things you know!
But the day came for me to board my flight and sadly, no Burger Up yet. Fast forward 2 weeks when I arrive back in Nashville after eating loads and loads of Chinese food. With an intense burger craving, I plotted where to go to get my fix. Lo and behold, what do you know? I hadn’t, in fact, missed out on the opening of our new burger joint. Instead I was just in time, as the doors were opening that very weekend!
I’d previously gotten a sneak peek at the menu from Chef Chris Hyler, and was so excited to try so many things, but that night it was all about the burger. And it did not disappoint.
Some of the other tempting items on the preview* menu and on my list of things to try very, very soon:
Roasted beet, local goat cheese, and red onion over mixed field greens with white truffle aged sherry vinaigrette
Po Boy- choice of fried shrimp, crab cake, trout, or oyster, blue cheese house slaw, fresh local tomaotes, spicy lemon lime remoulade
Fried house pickles with buttermilk ranch
Quinoa and black bean burger with cilantro lime creme fraiche
In fact, I might just make my way over there next Monday night to sample a couple of these since they are participating in Eat Out for Nashville!
2901 12th Ave S
(12th and Paris)
Nashville, TN 37204
*these were on the menu on opening night, but as the weeks go by, they could be making tweaks
As Nashville begins to dry out, many are looking for ways that they can help. Some of you may not be physically able to lend a hand in the clean up efforts, but a week from today an event will take place that should be easy for anyone and everyone to participate in, because all you have to do is eat!
Nashville restaurants and food media are pulling together to organize “Eat Out for Nashville”, a charity event that will benefit the flood victims of Middle Tennessee. On Monday, May 17th, participating restaurants will donate 50% of their proceeds* to the Tennessee Emergency Response Fund of the Community Fund of Middle Tennessee. Doug Hogrefe, owner of Amerigo, is the one responsible for this brilliant (and generous) idea, and was the first one to add his restaurants to the list.
Now the word is starting to spread and others are coming on board, including one restaurant that has barely been in business for a week! Here’s who we’ve got so far:
Amerigo (both locations: West End & Cool Springs)
Bravo Gelato (NOTE: Village Green location open until 9 pm Monday night)
Garden Brunch Cafe (breakfast and lunch only)
Lazzaroli Pasta (open 10-6)
Lazziz Persian Restaurant
The Melting Pot
O’Charley’s (click here for participating locations)
Paradise Park Trailer Resort
Pied Piper Creamery
Rumours Wine Bar 12 South
(List Updated 5/16)
All of you Middle Tennessee restaurant owners out there- please email EatOutForNashville@gmail.com or call Chris Chamberlain at (615) 852-7675 for more information on your participation!
NOTE: Most restaurants are donating for dinner only or for specific meals, although some are participating all day. It’s a good idea to call the restaurant in advance to confirm.
*In addition to particpating in Monday’s Eat Out for Nashville fundraiser, Menchie’s Yogurt will also be hosting a Flood Benefit Weekend on Friday 5/14 & Saturday 5/15, giving 10% of their sales to help flood victims. Customers are also encouraged to make additional monetary donations to the fund at the Menchie’s store, and as added incentive, dollar for dollar will be matched (up to $2,000). Each contributing customer will receive a Menchie’s T-shirt (while supplies last).
In case you haven’t heard the news, our beloved Nashville Farmers’ Market has risen from the flood waters and will be open for business today! Please go and support our local merchants as they need it now more than ever!!
Perhaps not a delicacy to me, but yet, they’re not as bad as they look.
Sesame Balls (no filling)
Pork, Beef, and Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Fried Morning Glory with Balachan
(also know as “hollow vegetable” with spicy sauce)
Red Curry with Scallops
And that’s where my journey ends. I hope that you’ve enjoyed following along and I’ve inspired you to be a little adventurous in your eating. Try something new and foreign–you never know what new love you might find!
In case you haven’t heard, hours upon hours of rain this weekend turned into flooding and now our beautiful city is underwater.
Whether you live here or not, there are many ways you can help, and the Nashvillest.com website has the most comprehensive list of just how to do so.
For those that live here, keep thinking positive thoughts. We’ll get through this. Even if the national news media doesn’t seem to notice or care that we had people drowning, houses floating down interstates, and major landmarks flooding.
For those of you that don’t live here, please just keep sending your love our way. We need it right now.
The next stop on my journey was Zengcheng, a county-level city within Guangzhou, where we stayed at a gorgeous resort high up in the mountains (photo at left). With 36 natural hot springs, a beautiful pool and spa, it would have been a wonderful place to vacation with my honey. Unfortunately, he was 8,000 miles away.
Once we arrived and dropped our things in our hotel rooms, Tony, the owner of the local factory, took us on an excursion to a local point of interest- an eco-tourism park at the foot of the highest waterfall in China. We arrived too late in the day to hike the trails up to the waterfall, but were able to enjoy the picturesque surrounding area, which including perusing the vendor stalls set up in the park.
On the menu:
After this fantastic final meal in mainland China, it was time to head back to Hong Kong for a couple of days as I wrapped up my Asian adventure. Stay tuned tomorrow to hear about my final meals –two of my favorites for the entire trip!
The next stop on my journey Guangzhou, China’s third largest city, is known as the food haven of the Republic of China. Eating is a big part of Chinese culture, but for this particular area, that doesn’t really adequately describe their way of life. These people are known not just for eating, but for eating everything! In fact, it is often said that Cantonese people “eat everything that swims except a submarine, everything that flies except an airplane, and everything with four legs except a table”. Almost five days in the area not only allowed for some free time to explore, but also meant plenty of food adventures, so settle in and prepare yourself for a long post….
The first night we arrived, two of the local guys from the Guangzhou sourcing office picked us up at the airport and became our unofficial tour guides for the rest of the stay. Sensing that I might be in need of a break from the heavy, multi-course Chinese meals we’d been having, Samuel had them arrange something a little different for our dinner. With approximately 1000 tables, Japan Fusion is touted as being the largest Japanese restaurant in Asia. You can’t imagine the size of this place! I was scared to go to the bathroom by myself for fear of getting lost. Seriously.
Dinner was definitely lighter than the fare we’d been consuming, and a nice break before the multi-course Cantonese meals that lie ahead. Our Japanese menu: assorted sushi and sashimi, two mushroom dishes, cheese smothered tofu, snapper sashimi and fried snapper (the fish was brought to the table live on a skewer for presentation before taking back to the kitchen to fry. I thought I would spare you that sight), and spicy mussels.
The next day we had lunch with a local factory contact at Jumbo Pearl restaurant. As a whole, this was definitely one of the better meals of the trip. The menu:
Spicy Beef with Peppers
Freshwater Fish with Yellow Bean Sauce (shown below- delectable!)
Fish cooked in Cabbage
Alligator with Garlic, Mushrooms and Broccoli (shown below)
This was delicious, so I inquired about the ingredients used in the preparation- the alligator was fried then added to a mixture of oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, ginger, and garlic
Wow! I couldn’t quit eating this. The mushrooms were not fried like what we think of when we say fried mushrooms. There was no batter on them, the ‘fried’ just referred to the style of cooking, pan-frying.
“Snails“- at least that’s what they were calling them, but I don’t really think that’s their proper name. They’re pictured below in the red sauce. Anyone have any idea what they are?
Served piping hot with toothpicks to dig out the wormy creature inside, they were -believe it or not- quite good!
That was lunch! So, so, so much food, but of course we had another big dinner ahead that night at Bing Sheng Restaurant. On the menu there:
Pork 3 ways- Crispy Barbecued Roast Pork, Fried Pork Belly (thick layer of fat, but quite tasty), and Thinly Sliced Barbecue Pork Belly (paper thin & very good!)
Water Spinach with Beans in Vinegar (this vegetable they just refer to as “hollow” vegetable was served at many meals)
Whole Fish served various ways:
1) Fried Fish Head and Tail – way too bony for me to deal with
2) Sashimi with bowls of various toppings including shredded ginger, spring onions, herbs, and crunchies to create your own tasting spoon (pictured above) so wonderful that I lost count of how many I ate!
3) Fish Skin – very strange rubbery texture (shown in pic below)
4) Egg with Fish “insides” – they don’t let anything go to waste!
The next day we lunched at Mao Jing restaurant, (named for Chairman Mao) a restaurant known for their spicy food. You know I love some spiciness!
Greeters at Mao Jing restaurant (note the statue of Mao to the far left)
On the menu:
Fava Beans again (I love these things!)
These beans were listed on the menu as Sha Guo Can Dou, which Eric said translates to Frosted Pan No Sauce- so basically just describing the cooking method.
Duck, Yellow Eel, and Cow insides (???) – yeah, not my favorite
Frog – listed on the menu as Gan Guao Tian Ji (translates to Dry Pan Frog)
Glass Noodles with Spicy Sauce
Whole Chicken in a Pot -great flavors, tender & juicy
Pork with Peppers
Steamed Cabbage with Garlic Sauce (pictured below) - Scrumptious!
Can you tell what I am holding in my hand? Perhaps not. That would be a pig hoof. The pork flavored soup arrived with a piece of leg bone protruding from the bowl, a set of plastic gloves and a straw. Anyone want to guess what you do with the straw? Why, you insert it into the leg bone and suck out the marrow! Not exactly my cup of tea, but at least I can say I did it.
That night we dined at Shui He Tian Restaurant in the Panyu district of Guangzhou. It was explained to me that this was a “locals only” place. Tucked back behind several buildings, it was difficult even for the local with us to find after a couple of phone calls, so I’m pretty sure no tourists ever stumble upon it!
Scallops with Black Bean Sauce -a bite of perfection (pictured above)
Fish head and 1,000 year old egg with ginger- the egg isn’t really 1,000 years old, but the dark color made it a little scary. As I had discovered with other dishes, it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Not great, but not bad.
Sweet Potato Leaf cooked with Pork and Garlic
Assorted Mushrooms with Carrots and Green Onion
Spicy Fried Shrimp with Peanuts (yes, yes, yes!)
Crispy Skin Barbecue Pork
Steamed Fish with Ginger, Spring Onion, and Mushrooms (very clean, fresh flavors)
Crispy Noodles with Mushrooms and Onions in Oyster Sauce (like Ramen)
Warm Almond Milk- served in a bowl like soup, this was very soothing
After dinner we decided to burn off some calories with a hike to the local mall. Okay, so we weren’t really looking to burn calories, that was just an added bonus. We were actually in search of dessert, specifically Ginger Milk. Samuel knew this place served the best ginger milk around, and in his opinion, my trip would not be complete without trying it.
Ginger Milk Curd, or simply Ginger Milk as they called it, is a warm Chinese dessert that originated in this very district of Guangdong- Panyu. Ingredients include sugar, ginger, and milk, with the key to this particular recipe being water buffalo milk. The preparation takes some skill to make sure it gets hot but not too hot. The photo below show the two girls preparing our bowls (note the action shot of the milk in the air as she stirs it just so).
Once the mixture is poured into a bowl and allowed to cool for two to three minutes, it solidifies into a custard. Perfectly yummy, warm, and comforting, this was definitely one of the high points of the entire trip.
At this point of my journey, I’d had 6 very full work days. I’ve only been sharing the fun food stuff with you, not the hours I’ve spent touring factories and traveling between cities. Every day I’d been averaging 12-14 hours of almost non-stop work or travel with little time for anything else other than eating. After 2 days of walking the floor of the Canton Import and Export fair, I was a little burnt out. Fortunately, we made it through the show in less time than we thought it would take, leaving us about 5 extra hours to explore and shop before hitting the road again! On this particular day, we were also joined by Fanny, one of my contacts in the Guangzhou area. As much as I enjoyed traveling with the guys, it was nice to have another female around for a little while.
After sightseeing, we had lunch at a beautiful restaurant on a lake with lush landscaping. The food here was just adequate, but that’s okay, because the surroundings made up for it. The table was filled with BBQ Goose; Mushrooms, Scallops, Peppers, Garlic & Greens; Fish Soup; Traditional Bok Choy; Pork with Ginkgo and Peppers; Steamed Fish with Green Onions; and Pork Bun with Mushrooms & Spring Onions.
At this meal, the guys also ordered Apple Cider Vinegar to drink. When they informed me of this, I was a little bewildered considering the only apple cider vinegar I knew of was to cook with, not to drink. When it arrived in a wine bucket, on ice, in a bottle just like you’d be served white wine, I was a little less fearful. Turns out it was quite refreshing. Oh, the many delightful discoveries you can make when you’re willing to try new things!
The desserts here were better than the lunch dishes: Egg Cups (pictured below)- little tarts that reminded me of mini chess pies; Coconut Gelatin- even though I was fairly stuffed I ate more than one serving; Ginger Milk- this was not nearly as good as what we had the night before at the mall. Samuel explained that it was because the milk was not as pure. Instead they used 2 kinds of milk blended together, not just the water buffalo milk.
After lunch it was time to hit the road again, traveling to Pattra Resort, high in the mountains of Zengcheng, another city in Guangzhou. This stop of the trip is a story in itself, so it will have to wait until next week. I hope that you guys are still enjoying following the details of my trek through China. I promise only a couple more posts and we’ll be at the end of the trip. Some of the best parts are still to come!!