New York City, here I come! Tomorrow morning my friend Melissa and I will be jetting off to spend 5 days with our good friends Leslie and Annika, eating and drinking our way through the Big Apple.
We’ve got a full itinerary ahead, including stops at Gramercy Tavern, Paris Commune, and The Spotted Pig, amongst others. But the highlight of the trip, actually the #1 reason we’re making this trip, is our a very special dinner with a certain celebrity chef, Tom: Tuesday Dinner.
Back in the fall when we heard the news that Tom Collichio was opening the private dining room next to his Craft restaurant to personally cook for a select group of diners, we wanted in on the action. Melissa and I have been swooning over Tom for many seasons while watching Top Chef so the thought of being within just a few feet of him as he prepares our food…well, I’m not sure how either of us will behave. This once in a lifetime opportunity is worthy of a blog entry of its own, so stayed tuned next week for more!
Now before I go start packing, I’d like to mention one last item on the agenda. When I saw this story on Serious Eats a couple of days ago, I got a good chuckle. Next week The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is rolling out for business in West Village and Chelsea. Yes, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Doug Quint, a professional bassoonist working on his doctoral degree, is joining his friend Andrea (a flutist) in building her ice cream empire by becoming an ice cream truck driver. (Click here to read an interesting New York Times article about how Andrea got started.)
In addition to rainbow sprinkles, toppings will include olive oil & sea salt, nutella, toasted coconut, crushed pretzels, and bacon –how can I resist? You better believe I’ll be scanning the horizon and keeping my ears peeled for the sound of cha cha music.
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to check in with me next week as I share all of our adventures!
Photo credit: apple bite by owaief89
As an avid reader and subscriber of Nashville Lifestyles magazine, each month I eagerly anticipate the new issue, knowing it will be chock full of what’s hot in Nashville. For the little bit of money it costs me once a year, in return I’m provided a countless number of interesting articles on food, entertainment, fashion, travel, and decorating all year long (not to mention they throw some awesome parties).
Since I’m such a fan, it’s only natural that I connect to them using social media sites like facebook and twitter as well. (Yes, I’m twittering now- check out my feed in the sidebar). As I’m looking through my twitter updates a few days ago, something catches my eye- “Recipes from Nashville’s best restaurants: all their secrets revealed“. What could this be? Nothing could have prepared me for the life-altering gift I was about to receive. Holy smokes, it’s the recipe for Radius10′s Low Country Shrimp and Scallops!
When I heard the news that Radius10 was closing a few months ago, I took a moment of silence. Why is it that all good things must come to an end? Why? Why? Sadly, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never again have the opportunity to delight in Chef Jason Brumm‘s grits, but now Nashville Lifestyles brought hope to my heart. They may not come from Jason himself, but I hold some faith that I can replicate the crazy-silly scrumptiousness in my own kitchen.
You too can share in this marvelous gift, as well as many others by clicking here for their online compilation of recipes from some of Nashville’s favorite restaurants and chefs. You’re not a grits fanatic like me? Not a problem- maybe Park Cafe’s Green Chile Mac & Cheese strikes your fancy? Or Mambu’s Wasabi Crusted Tuna Salad, Copper Kettle’s Bread Pudding, Sunset Grill’s Sorgum Roasted Pork Tenderloin….I’ll leave that up to you. For now, back to the source of my enthusiasm…..Behold:
Low Country Shrimp and Scallops (from Radius 10)
1 quart cream
1/2 pound butter
4 1/4 ounces quick grits
1 cube chicken bouillon
(or 1 tablespoon non-MSG chicken base)
ASPARAGUS AND CHANTERELLE CORN RAGOUT:
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 cup corn, cooked and removed from the cob
2 cup wild mushrooms, chanterelle preferred
1/2 cup white wine
4 ounces Glace de Poulet (available at gourmet grocery stores and amazon.com)
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
12 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-in pieces
SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS:
18 shrimp (size 16-20, meaning there are 16-20 shrimp per pound)
18 scallops (size 10-20, e.g. 10-20 scallops per pound. Maine diver scallops and bay scallops are
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to season
Melt the cream and butter together in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Sprinkle the grits into the boiling cream and butter while stirring with a whisk. Continue to stir for one minute until it's thickened, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring regularly. While the grits are cooking you can make the sauce (see recipe below). After 25 to 30 minutes, when the grits are tender, add the chicken bouillon cube, stir until it is fully incorporated and remove from heat. Radius 10 lets the grits cool down for 20 minutes so they're firmer before serving.
Place 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat and add the corn and mushrooms and saute for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 30 seconds and add the white wine. Bring it up to a simmer and reduce by half, around two or three minutes. Add the glace de poulet and stir for a minute until it's melted. Bring the mixture up to a simmer for two minutes, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, halved tomatoes, basil, thyme, remaining tablespoon butter, scallions and asparagus, allowing the heat of the sauce to cook the vegetables.
Shrimp and Scallops:
Divide the vegetable oil between two saute pans, which have been heated over full heat for a minute. Season the shrimp and scallops with salt and pepper and add to the pans when the oil starts to smoke. Saute the scallops for 3 minutes, around 1 minute and a half on both sides. When they're done, the flesh is opaque; if you prefer them rarer, remove from heat when the flesh is slightly translucent. Saute the shrimp for a minute on both sides or until they're pink and firm.
Place a scoop of grits on the center of each plate, and arrange three scallops in a triangle around the grits, with three shrimp on top. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce over the grits and serve.
Now if they can just get me Rumba’s Chili Long Beans recipe……
Photo Credit: Shrimp and Grits by Biskuit
Cruise on over to your neighborhood Sonic
for a free 10-ounce
Root Beer Float!
The drive-in is giving them away
tonight between 8 p.m. and midnight*.
*while supplies last
If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out Urban Flats
in the Gulch, now is the perfect opportunity because Half Off Depot currently has $25 gift cards for $12.50!
Click here to purchase
Other sweet deals that might interest you:
Meat-n-Three. If you’re from the South, that term needs no further explanation. In case you’re not, let me elaborate: a “Meat-n-Three” is typically a mom and pop restaurant that offers plates consisting of one meat, 3 vegetables (sometimes 2), and a homebaked bread. The offerings usually rotate according to the day of the week, with a pretty extensive list of vegetables and a few meats. The prices are reasonable and the clientele runs the gamut from blue collar to politicians and professionals. To break it down in simpler terms- we’re talking grandma-type-cooking in a place that’s not too fancy, but full of character.
Our area has hundreds of meat-n- threes, but to be completely honest, I’ve only been to a handful. Why you ask? Two reasons – First, even though you wouldn’t know it from this blog, I try to eat pretty healthy most of the time, and unfortunately most southern staples do not fall into that category. Second, my parents only live a little over an hour away in Kentucky, so if I’m feeling the need for some comfort food, that’s where I go. No one can serve up down-home cooking better than my mom, so why even bother? Enter Arnold’s Country Kitchen, the 28 year-old Nashville institution.
Recently the James Beard Foundation chose Arnold’s as one of their America’s Classics winners. For those not familiar, the JBF Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields. Time magazine put it best when they deemed the awards “the Oscars of the food world”. Wow. Okay, got my attention-perhaps it was time for me to pay them a visit.
Just a small roadblock in my path- Arnold’s is only open for lunch. On weekdays. Considering I work 20 miles away Monday through Friday, this might make enjoying lunch there a bit difficult. But alas, nothing gets in the way of me and my food. I was in desperate need of some time off anyway, so what better way to enjoy my day of leisure? I recruited the hubby (not difficult to do for this assignment), and we made our way to the small brick building that houses Arnold’s on 8th Avenue.
Within seconds of walking in the door, we were greeted by the friendliest bunch of people I’ve ever encountered. As we browsed the daily specials list on the chalkboard, the servers continued to chat and joke with us, causing me to grin from ear to ear. This was true southern hospitality defined! I would go back again and again to absorb some of the happiness radiating from this place even if the food hadn’t met my expectations (no need to worry about that, because we soon found out for ourselves that they are dishin’ out a whole lotta goodness).
As I dug into my steaming bowl of Chicken & Dumplings, all the stress that had built up from my week at work vanished. This rich and creamy dish, with it’s tender dumplings, melted in my mouth and blanketed me in comfort. Add to that some mashed potatoes and southern style green beans, and I was transported back to Sunday lunches at my grandmother’s house. How does food do this to me? I can’t speak for my better half, but from the non-verbal cues he was giving off, I could tell the fried catfish, hushpuppies and macaroni-n-cheese were doing more than a sufficient job in satisfying his hunger.
Obviously we weren’t counting calories or carbs that day.
Dare I compare to my mother’s cooking? Let’s just say this-it’s the closest I’ve ever found to it. If you find yourself with a day off, you’re in town for a visit, or you’re lucky enough to work nearby, GO. I guarantee your spirits will be lifted when you enter the doorway. Just be prepared that upon exiting, you may be ready for a nap.
Arnold’s Country Kitchen
605 8TH Ave S
Hours: Mon-Fri. 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Click here to meet Jack Arnold and family and hear the story behind Arnold’s.
Last night’s Generous Helpings was my final foodie hoorah before a week of detox in preparation for my upcoming 5-day eatfest in NYC. And boy, did I make the most of it.
Within minutes of entering, my 4 friends and I noticed that among the wide array of ingredients showcased, there seemed to be one that reigned supreme- Pork. (Good thing my grandaddy was a pig farmer). Pork belly, pulled pork, Benton’s ham, fried pork skins, crispy bacon, fat chunks of bacon, and pork bread pudding- the hog was definitely struttin’ his stuff.
That is not to say that there wasn’t a sundry of other non-pork filled dishes to choose from- believe me, there was more than I could handle. I could go on for hours about all of the things that we sampled, but I also want to hold your attention, so instead, I’m just going to note the fare that, for me, stood out among the pack:
– Swiss Chard Gratinata
F. Scott’s – Grilled Flatbread with Benton’s Ham, Cherry Tomato and Bermuda Triangle Pesto
Capitol Grille – Pork Belly with Swiss Chard and Peas (pictured above)
The Culinary Arts Center at Second Harvest Food Bank- Johnny Cakes with Green Tomato Relish, Fried Catfish, and Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade
Mirror – Duck Confit McNuggets with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
Monell’s - Jalapeno Stuffed with Cream Cheese Wrapped in Bacon
(and it had nothing to do with
the cute server boy that flirted with my friend Cathy)
The Standard at the Smith House – Creamy Asparagus Soup with Buttermilk and Crab
And last but certainly not least:
tayst’s Root Beer Braised Pork Bread Pudding with Sarsaparilla Creme and Sea Salt
The girls and I had such a fun evening chatting it up with the chefs, especially Chef Jeremy Barlow. So much so that we’re even planning a girls’ night out to visit him at tayst very soon- I’m not sure if he knows what he’s in for….
At the end of the evening, with bellies full, we converged on a picnic table to compare notes. (We all had our favorites, and I’ve told you mine. Hopefully some of the other girls will pipe up with their thoughts.) As we gabbed, the discussion turned to the many awkward moments we’ve experienced at these kinds of events. Like spinach stuck in your teeth when your favorite chef turns to greet you….standing in the middle of the room precariously close to dropping everything -wine glass, food plate, the evening’s program, your clutch purse…..ordering a drink from the bar and realizing the smallest bill you have on you is a $100…..
So we compiled a list of what we now consider our “Tasting Necessities”:
- $1 bills for tipping the bartenders
- handi-wipes/hand sanitizer
- Big bag/purse with long shoulder strap. Needs to fit the program/menu, notepad, pens, bottled water and the above mentioned necessities. A backpack or large fanny pack are also options
This next item is not a necessity, but such a brilliant idea for tasting events and cocktail parties. My friend Katie gets credit for this one, as she purchased some of these to use at last year’s Taste of Music City. You want to drink a glass of wine and you want to eat, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world to do both while standing with no tables in sight. These handy little mingling plates have a built in stemware holder which frees up one of your hands.
these nice porcelain ones are from Pottery Barn
$24 for Set of 4
and these break-resistant acrylic ones are from wrapables.com
a set of 6 with wine glasses is on sale currently for $21.99.
Order yours now so you’ll be well prepared for Nashville’s next tasting event, Taste of Music City, June 20th on the Korean Veteran’s Bridge. You’ll be able to spot us- we’ll be the girls with fanny packs, mingling plates, and a wad of $1 bills in our hands.
As you might recall, previously I made mention of a place by the name of The Patterson House. You know, the new Nashville bar that is every cocktail connoisseur’s dream? Besides the extraordinary drinks, the fabulous food and the gorgeous wallpaper, I’m also enamored with their ice.
Each cocktail is crafted to perfection, so only a fool would mess it all up by using just any old ice cube. At The Patterson House, eight different types of ice perfectly complement each beverage. Your first thought might be- that’s a bit gimmicky – but then, you get it. Or at least I did.
You see, I’m notorious for moving on to the next drink while leaving behind a good amount of liquid in the bottom of my glass. The simple reason- I don’t like to drink swill. It was recently pointed out to me that most bars use what’s called “cheater” ice- ice that melts almost immediately, watering down your drink. The bars that really know what they are doing put a little more attention into this oft-neglected ingredient, resulting in drinks that you want to savor until the very last drop.
Of the eight variations at The Patterson House, one ice in particular dazzled even the hard-to-impress boys at the table on our last visit. The Ice Sphere. After much examination, we declared this ice the coolest. (pun intended)
The next morning as I sifted through my most recent issue of Food & Wine magazine, what appeared before my very eyes? Ice sphere trays! How happy would hubby be if he had his own set to play with at home? Well, I’ll tell you- pretty darn happy. Without further ado, please meet the newest addition to our home bar-
Spherical Ice Tray Set
Who knows if our home-produced spheres will be as magical as the ones at The Patterson House, but at the very least they’ll be an interesting topic of conversation with our guests! I’m thinking flower petals or fruit suspended in ice will make for quite a lovely cocktail…….
Summer is almost upon is, and to get through the hot, sticky months, I need plenty of the cold, creamy stuff! Growing up in a small southern town meant lots of ice cream socials with family, neighbors and church friends. I can remember sitting on the porch surrounded by ice cream machines- taking turns cranking with my sister and cousins then licking the bowl clean of the fruits of our labor. Mmmm, I can almost taste that homemade peach ice cream…..
So when I heard about this cool contest by Edy’s Ice Cream, I was inspired. For the past few years, Edy’s has been recognizing American neighborhoods with it’s “Neighborhood Salute”- giving away Ice Cream Block Parties to 1,500 lucky people! The town I grew up in had a population of 2500, which meant that not only did I know my neighbors, but almost every resident. After college I found myself living in a laid-back beach community in San Diego, making friends with my neighbors in no time flat thanks mostly to the fact that we all spent alot of time outdoors. Neighborhood block parties could be found on almost any given weekend. Sadly, that hasn’t been my experience here in Nashville. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only met one couple on our street, and to say that I “know” them would be a stretch. I’m sure there are several of you out there that find yourself in a similar situation. We’re often so busy with our own over-scheduled lives that we don’t stop to get to know the people right next door. What better way to meet neighbors than to invite them over for an old fashioned ice cream social?
Just click here to enter and write a short “essay” as to why your neighborhood deserves to win. If you’re creative and enthusiastic enough, you may be one of the lucky ones to scoop up enough free Edy’s Slow Churned® light ice cream to feed up to 100 guests, plus a free party in a box. This Friday, May 29th is the last day to enter, so get crankin’!
Photo Credit: ICE CREAM by spike55151