As I explained last week, I’m kicking off my new Twitter series, “Tweet Me Right!” by showing some love to the Nashville restaurant I believe is a shining example for all businesses using Twitter: Amerigo! (or in Twitter speak, @AmerigoWestEnd)

So why did I choose @AmerigoWestEnd? Here’s a laundry list of reasons I think he rocks, including some of his actual tweets:

1) Supports Other Local Restaurants

“Occasionally, AmerigoWestEnd will give a thumbs up to other local restaurants. Tonight’s props: Whiskey Kitchen. Nice job, guys. Enjoyed it!”

2) Generous with Giveaways
In just a few short months, @AmerigoWestEnd has given out multiple gift certificates. Here are just a couple of the tweets:

“Time’s up. I will give out FIVE $25 gift certs to the first FIVE DMs I get. GO! (if you have won before, please let some newbies win!)”

“I’m feeling charitable. A gift certificate to the first three people that Direct Message me. Starting….Now!”

3) Market Research
You don’t have to be a marketing genius to know this is smart.

“Focus group time: What is the price range you generally spend on a glass of wine in a restaurant?”

4) Supporting Worthy Causes
It’s not all about me, me, me. It’s great to see businesses bucking up for charities.

“Please join Amerigo in supporting Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For America Sept 20-26. We are donating a portion of our sales for the week.”

“Link for info on Dine Out: http://tinyurl.com/6lz5lq Many great restaurants in town are also supporting this worthy cause. Eat out!”

5) Informative

“Great night last night! BUSY! Did you know you can make reservations through our website? amerigo.net”

“We haven’t made too big of a production out of it but we are now serving brunch on Saturdays, too. 11 – 2.”

“Joel has cooked up all kinds of infusions lately. Mango habanero tequila, pineapple orange rum, and pineapple vodka Tell him what you think!”

6) Asking Opinions/Interaction with Customers
@AmerigoWestEnd is constantly thanking people for coming in, asking how they enjoyed their meals, etc. But not just that, he’s also asking opinions of his customers:

“What color should we paint the building on West End? Seriously. It’s currently gray and green.”

“Thanks for all of the suggestions on the paint color for the building. May be going with hammered steel and rusted copper. Testing this week”

7) Special Events/Specials
And of course it’s important to keep the customers informed on special events, dinner specials, and lunch specials.

“One more bit of shameless marketing: Pinot Noir/Grigio tasting tonight. 4 wines+small plates for $13. Want a fifth wine? Password: Trevor.”

8) Self-deprecating
Okay, so maybe this isn’t really necessary in marketing a product, but it definitely makes him approachable: “Sometimes I realize I suck at Twitter”

Now to some full disclosure: I’ve been the recipient of one of the most recent giveaways- a $25 gift certificate! So what did I do with that gift certificate? Well, being the wonderful daughter that I am, I took my parents out to brunch! And a fantastic brunch it was. Not only was the food delicious, but the service was impeccable.

My brunch choice:
Garden Vegetable Omelette with Risotto Cakes and Smoked Bacon

Actually, I’ve always had great experiences at Amerigo, both the West End location and Cool Springs. Since my office is in Cool Springs, it’s often my go-to business lunch spot because the menu has a wide variety of options that will please all kinds of palates. Two of my personal favorites are the Goat Cheese and Walnut Salad (greens with balsamic, tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, roasted walnuts and flame grilled chicken) and the Flame Grilled Salmon (salmon with sun-dried tomato herb butter over black bean salsa with green beans). Oh my, and I definitely can’t forget the bread. Oh, the bread. And the olive oil. Oh me. You’ve found my weakness.

There you go folks. My first restaurant pick for “Tweet Me Right!”. Now it’s your turn to go see first-hand what they’re doing right!

Amerigo
1920 West End Ave.
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 320-1740

Amerigo Cool Springs
1656 Westgate Cr.
Brentwood, TN 37027
(615) 377-7070

Click here for the Memphis and Jackson, TN location information

And for you Twitterers, be sure to follow @AmerigoWestEnd immediately!

Ready or not, the holidays are fast approaching and I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started jotting down gift ideas for friends and family. Coming up with unique goodies can be difficult, so over the next few weeks I’ll share with you some of my favorite finds for the cooks and food lovers in your life.

But today I’m feeling really in the spirit, so instead of just giving you an idea, I’m giving you the chance to win a present from me! Yep, today I’m announcing my first ever giveaway!

One lucky reader will receive a 1-year subscription to Cooking Light magazine that you can keep for yourself or use as a gift.

To Enter: all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post telling me the dish you look most forward to eating during the holidays. For me it’s either my mom’s cornbread dressing or my aunt’s sausage and rice casserole. Mmmm, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving!

You can also increase your chances to win by twittering about this giveaway. Just include the link to your tweet in a comment on this post as well. Contest ends this Thursday, November 12th at midnight (CST) when a winner will be randomly selected. Just check back here on Friday* to see who the lucky winner is!!

(Contest only open to residents of the US & Canada)

*Be sure to check the blog on Friday, because if the original winner doesn’t respond within 24 hours, an alternate will be chosen.


Since I’m still unpacking and recuperating from a whirlwind girls’ weekend in Chicago, today I’m just going to share something quick and easy with you. Sauteed mushrooms are pretty simple to create without even using a recipe- just throw together a little butter, a little wine, some herbs, and you’re good to go. But sometimes I want something a little different, and these are just that. A little spicy and a little sweet, I bet they’ll become one of your favorite mushroom preparations, just as they are to us!


Print

Spicy Teriyaki Mushrooms

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp crushed red pepper
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp garlic powder
24 small button mushrooms (about 8 oz), halved
2 Tbsp sliced green onion

Directions:

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, crushed red pepper, ginger and garlic powder. Add mushrooms and green onion. Sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Cook for 7-8 minutes longer, or until there is very little liquid left in the pan. Serve immediately.




Photo Credit: Mushroom by mnem

By the time you read this I’ll probably be up in the air, in a cab, or making my way down Michigan Avenue. Yep, I’m going to Chicago for the weekend!

Great meals ahead, one of which will include Perennial (above)

And of course plenty of great drinks as well,
including The Violet Hour (above)

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back next week to share my adventures!


Photo Credit: Post No Bills (The Violet Hour) by PPoHio

Today I’m introducing a new series I’m calling “Tweet Me Right!” that will cast the spotlight on some of my favorite food and beverage Twitterers. Over the next few months you’ll get to hear stories of my experiences, how I’ve taken advantage of their offers and what sets them apart from their competition.

Note: I’m in no way claiming to be a marketing guru or expert, but since I do have a degree in PR and Marketing, I feel like I know a little something about promoting a product. I really can’t fathom why any restaurant in their right mind would not be using FREE social media to market themselves. Yes, it does require a bit of time, but compared to the cost of a huge advertising campaign, it seems a few minutes a day would result in a pretty good ROI. (if done correctly of course)

So I really want to give props to those Twitterers that are doing it right–those that make themselves memorable and accessible by communicating not just what they’ve got on special for the day, but what music they’re listening to, what they’re eating, what they think about our local sports teams, etc, etc. Oh yeah, and those discounts and special offers? Yeah, those will be a big part of my reporting as well. We all love a good deal, right?

Over the past few months, I’ve frequented at least 8 businesses (yes, I counted) that I had never stepped foot in before I started following them on Twitter. The magic of Twitter* is happening: they’re getting me in the door, I’m spending money, and I’m talking. Alot. Stay tuned to learn which restaurants, bars, and retailers are winning my dollars and why!

*if you aren’t familiar with twitter, refer to my previous post here

Visits to the farmers’ market make me happy. Perhaps you’ve noticed my enthusiasm from this post, or maybe this one, or this one? But now that colder weather is setting in, I’m feeling a bit blue as the variety of choices at the market dwindles. Eating seasonally and locally during the summer when gardens are bursting with fresh produce is a breeze, but now I’m beginning to wonder what I’ll be cooking for the next few months. After tonight, I should have a better idea.

Team Green is sponsoring a free event at the Nashville Farmers’ Market so we can all learn what Tennessee produce is in season for this time of year, making it a bit easier to keep it local through the colder months. They’ll demo local food options and even teach us how to decipher between locally grown, organic and heritage breeds.

And the best part? Samples of tasty holiday recipes! Rumor has it that there might even be some organic beer and wine for the sampling…..

FREE Event
Open to the Public
Tuesday, November 3rd
6 – 8 p.m.
Nashville Farmers Market
NFM Market House

900 Rosa Parks Blvd.

For more information click here to go to the Team Green website.

Years ago my friend Lauren passed this recipe along to me after she discovered how delicious it was, and I stuck it in my recipe box where it sat until yesterday. Shame on me for not making it before now, because Lauren is a very wise woman, so of course she was absolutely right about this. She and I both have a weakness for Indian food, and this dish definitely has some Indian flavor to it. Even the hubby who isn’t a big fan of pumpkin thoroughly enjoyed it- even asking for a second bowl! Mmmm, I can’t wait to eat the leftovers this week.

Go ahead, make a big pot and let it warm you on one of the fall or winter nights ahead!

Print

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Adapted from Rachael Ray, Food Network. Serves 4 -6.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper
20 blades fresh chives, snipped for garnish

Directions:

Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin. Stir to combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, add more salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with chopped chives.




Venus and Mars may be having the best Halloween Party in Nashville this weekend, or at least the one offering the best in food and cocktails! Their “Peer Through the Looking Glass” Party will include Patterson House hypnotic cocktails ($10 entrance fee includes 2 complimentary potions) and treats from Peace, Love, Tea and The Cupcake Collection. That’s right, no tricks here, only treats- really, really awesome treats!

You may recall my affection for Cupcake Collection and my obsession with Patterson House, but you haven’t yet heard me squawking about Peace, Love, Tea. That’s because they are a very recent discovery – just a few days ago in fact. Yes, they were another wonderful find at the Produce Place Fall Fest! Their Earl Gray Hot Chocolate was fantastic, as were the Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream Icing I brought home. (The icing was so delicious that I sent out a tweet wishing for a whole vat of it- and they tweeted back saying they could hook me up! Probably shouldn’t take them up on that offer though if I want to keep my girlish figure)

Anyway…these ladies do alot more than hot chocolate and cupcakes- they throw modern tea parties and offer lots of catering options (that look scrumptious by the way), so I’m looking forward to getting to know their products better in the future, and Friday night’s party seems like a good place to start. Wonder what’s on the menu?

Click here to buy tickets in advance for $10 (or pay $15 at the door). Tickets are also available at the Venus and Mars store on Belmont or at Third Man Records. I’ve heard there are limited tickets left, so it might be a good idea to buy yours now!

Friday, October 30th
7 pm – 11 pm
“Peer Through the Looking Glass” Halloween Party
Venus and Mars – The Showroom
2009 Belmont Blvd, Nashville