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!

 

IMG_3669

 

I’m not sure how it’s already October, but that’s what my calendar says, so I guess I have to believe it.

According to that same calendar, it has been 2.5 weeks since the big Music City Eats Festival hit Nashville. Seriously? I feel like it was just a few days ago. My intention was to recap my experience a couple of days after the event…but if I’m being honest, nothing in my life seems to go as planned these days, so I might as well just quit planning!

 

IMG_3691

 

As I mentioned before, I was a “local ambassador” of sorts for MCE, which basically meant that I helped them spread the word about the festival and provided them with some content about the Nashville food scene for their blog. What I haven’t mentioned previously is that in my other life (you know, my real job), I was also connected to the event.

Goo Goo Cluster was one of the major sponsors, providing totes and Goo Goo Clusters for every attendee. An epic Nashville food event like this simply had to have Nashville’s very own candy, right?? And we made that decision long before we saw this interview with Chef Jonathon Waxman, one of the founders of Music City Eats. He loves Goo Goos! (I swear we did not bribe him or pay him for that endorsement!)

 

IMG_3688

 

I tell you all of that in the interest of full disclosure. Yes, I did get a free ticket, but, as is always the case, I wouldn’t bother writing about this if I didn’t think it was worth writing about. Do I think the $275 price tag for a paying person was worth it? Yes. But there are some ifs:

If you are a drinker. The amount of booze flowing at MCE was pretty astounding. And that is not a complaint, quite the opposite.

MCE food drink collage

If you aren’t a vegetarian. There weren’t a lot of vegetarian options, so if I wasn’t a meat eater, I would’ve been pretty disappointed in the food selection.

MCE panels

If you are interested in meeting and listening to chefs talk about food. The panels were fantastic and I loved how accessible and friendly all the chefs were. Yes, Giada is just as stunning and sweet as she seems on tv. Michael Symon is funny as all get out and I now have an even bigger crush on him.

 

IMG_3755

 

For a first time event, I was impressed with how well everything seemed to run and with the way everything looked.

All in all, I had an absolute blast. I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my buddy Erin and many of my other food blogger/writer/just all around cool friends. Um, and I ate. And drank. A lot. These pictures are not even 5% of what was consumed.

My fingers are crossed that Music City Eats returns next year, and the year after that, and the year after that and so on! I can only believe it will get better and better.

So what about those of you reading this that also attended…Any highlights or thoughts on the way things were run? I’ve actually got a meeting tomorrow to give feedback so would love your input!

 

IMG_3706

 

 

IMG_3495

 

Until I had a kiddo, milk isn’t something I thought too much about. I drank very little of it; in fact, I mainly purchased it to cook/bake with.

However, now that there’s a toddler in the house, we go through A LOT of milk! So when Promised Land Dairy reached out to me and offered to send samples, I was definitely more motivated than normal to accept.

Now available here in Nashville at our local Publix stores in addition to Kroger and Harris Teeter, they offer not just traditional white milk, but some unique (and delicious) flavors. Our shipment contained the Midnight Chocolate (reduced fat), traditional white, Cookies ‘n Cream, and Peaches ‘n Cream (reduced fat).

 Archer drinking milk

I have to say, even though I’m not a big milk drinker, just one taste of the Cookies n Cream and I was smitten. In fact, that’s the one flavor that I haven’t shared with anyone else, even my little guy! Just a sip or two is perfectly satisfying when I’m craving something sweet after dinner.

Please don’t go thinking that I’m a greedy mommy, as my little guy finished off the chocolate milk and the peaches n cream within days of opening and he was one happy camper. The sugar content is slightly high, so instead of giving it to him straight, I mixed a little in with his regular milk and it still tasted great.

This is a product that we’ll definitely continue buying as Archer has asked for “peach milk” or “choc milk” several times this week already!

For information on where to buy near you, visit the Promised Land website.

Goo-Goo-Desserts-by-Epting-Events

Amazing Goo Goo creations by Epting Events in Athens, GA

For any of you that follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you might have seen me posting pics and talking about the Southern C Summit I attended in Jekyll Island in May or Athens in August. Organized by the founders of The Southern Coterie, the event is a forum filled with Southern bloggers, businesses, and brand representatives.

Each of the events have been incredibly informative and, most importantly, fun! For me, working full time for a brand (Goo Goo Cluster) but also writing a blog where I work with brands, I’m getting a double dose of learning at each summit. Networking, making new friends and of course my favorite – eating – are all added perks!

 

IMG_2956

If heaven had a signature dessert, this would be it: Goo Goo Cluster Empanadas!

Speaking of eating, that’s a big part of how Goo Goo Cluster has participated at past events. We were the sponsor of the afternoon “Goo Goo Break”. In Jekyll Island, we worked with their convention center to create mini Goo Goo pies. In Athens, it was a local catering company, Epting Events, that made some really special creations for the attendees. Instead of only one treat like we did in Jekyll Island, Epting made 9 Goo Goo creations! They truly outdid themselves and the break was the hit of the entire conference!

  • Savory bites: Pork Slider with Goo Goo Mole Sauce, Country Ham Biscuit with Goo Goo Cluster Crumble and Chocolate-Dipped Bacon with a Crunchy Goo Goo Cluster Coating
  • Sweets: Empanadas with a Goo Goo Cluster Filling, a Goo Goo Cluster Cannoli, Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries with a Crunchy Goo Goo Cluster Coating, Goo Goo Cluster Shortbread, Goo Goo Cluster Caramel Popcorn, and even a Bourbon Goo Goo Cluster Milkshake

I still can’t get those empanadas out of my head. Don’t get me wrong. Absolutely everything was wonderful, but those? Those I dream about. Apparently they aren’t too difficult to make either! Just pie dough with half a Goo Goo Cluster used as the filling. After it is fried, you quickly dust the empanada with sugar. DANGEROUS.

 

Bourbon-Goo-Goo-Milkshake

And the cocktail they give you at heaven’s bar? This. The Bourbon Goo Goo Milkshake

 

The Bourbon Goo Goo Milkshake was also a favorite. I’m fairly certain that a pretty high number of attendees would’ve liked a big cup of that to take with them back into the theater that day! I tell you this because it inspired me.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that the Summit Series continues here in Nashville on October 17th and we are participating once again. This time we’re mixing things up a bit and teaming up with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream to sponsor the bus that will transport everyone from Loews Vanderbilt Hotel out to the Southern Living Idea House on Thursday afternoon.

Want to take a guess as to what everyone will be sipping as we take that ride? Yep! Crazy good Goo Goo Whisper Creek shakes! Chef Brandon Froehne of Mason’s at Loews will also be creating a special treat to serve alongside the boozy shakes. A good time will be had by all!

Something else you should know is that earlier in the day, some of the best Nashville restaurants will also be serving up some good food. Check out this list:

Lunch with Chef’s Market
Bar-B-Que Sliders from Edley’s Bar-b-que
Shrimp & Grits from The Southern
Sweet Treats from Husk Restaurant

Southern C Nashville

 

Southern C Summit – Nashville

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $175/person

For more information and/or to register, click here.

Guess what? There are some ticket giveaways currently underway on a couple of other blogs right now. I’m sharing links with you to those sites so you can try your luck at winning! Hurry, there are only a few days left to enter both:

Em’s On the Road – must enter by September 27th

Nashville Guru – must enter by September 30th

Print

 

Champagne and Chardonnay

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
6 – 8:30 pm

Home of Kelly Pappas Crockett
6145 Hillsboro Pike
Nashville, TN 37215

Cost: $100/person

For tickets, call the Nashville Wine Auction office at 615.329.1760 or visit the website.

 

A few years ago I was introduced to the Nashville Wine Auction through their $29 and Under event, which I really enjoyed. In the years since, they’ve held other parties that I wanted to attend, but there always seemed to be some conflict with my schedule. But when my friend Vivek (who is now the marketing specialist for NWA) told me about Champagne and Chardonnay, I was pretty excited to see that my calendar was clear on October 3rd and I would actually be able to attend!

This ladies-only event will be held at the beautiful home of Kelly Pappas Crockett and will include - you guessed it-  drinking champagne and chardonnay, noshing on hors d’oeuvres, and even some shopping, all to help fund the fight against cancer.

 

 

bottles champagne chardonnay event

Another reason that I am particularly interested in this event is that it’s specifically featuring champagne and chardonnay – two things that I can drink these days. What do I mean by that? Well, some pretty big news that I haven’t yet had a chance to share with you guys is that I’ve discovered I’m allergic to red wine.

I know. Tragic. For those that know me well, you know that I love a good red wine. But, alas, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to taste one again! The pain and suffering I’ve endured after even just a little bit is completely not worth any fleeting pleasure I get from the experience.

Soooo- it’s now white wine and champagne for me from here on out. Since I haven’t spent nearly as much time drinking either of these as I have red wines, I don’t have a favorite or “go to”, but I’m hoping this party will change that. I’m looking forward to sipping, sampling and discovering!

 

 

 

Snapea-Crisps-Box

Full disclosure: Recently I was contacted by Harvest Snap‘s agency asking if I’d like a sample kit for review. While I turn down about 95% of the sample products normally offered to me, this one looked interesting. Since it seemed to be an item I might actually purchase to eat in our home in the future, I gladly accepted.

Here’s the background scoop on these: Formerly known as Snapea Crisps, Harvest Snaps just launched new flavors under the Snapea and Lentil varieties. Snapea Crisps are available in four different flavors: Lightly Salted, Caesar, Black Pepper and Wasabi Ranch. Lentil Snaps come in Tomato Basil and Onion Thyme. And yes, I got to sample all 6 of them!

 

Caesar-Snapea-Crisps

My favorites were the Black Pepper and Caesar Snapea, and the Onion Thyme Lentil. That said, I really liked them all, and while they won’t be replacing real peas and real lentils in our house, I feel better about snacking on these than I do regular chips. Why? Well, the Snapea Crisps are from naturally dried peas, which make up 70% of the product, and the Lentil Snaps are made from 65% Lentils and contain 5g of protein and 13% of your daily fiber. Plus, they’re baked, not fried, and are lower in fat and sodium than most packaged snacks.

Oh, and they passed the toddler test. So on those days when I can’t seem to get Archer to eat any vegetables….I give him these. And he gobbles them up!

What about you? Have you tried any of the Harvest Snaps products before? What’s your favorite?

If you haven’t yet, but want to, use the Find ‘Em tool on their website to find stores near you. They’ve got a sweet deal going on right now too. If you like their Facebook page you can download a coupon for a Buy One Get One Free bag!

Nashville Lifestyles Table Talk

 

Nashville Lifetyles Table Talk

Sunday, September 22, 2013
6 pm

Update:

EVENT POSTPONED

will update with new date/time when available

F Scott’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar
2210 Crestmoor Rd
Nashville, TN 37215

Cost: $95/person (All Inclusive)

Nashville Lifestyles magazine is introducing a cool new series called Table Talk, where each month they’ll team up with a different restaurant here in town to feature one of a kind menus for a chef-interactive dinner.

The first dinner is coming up next weekend and just so happens to be with one of my favorite Nashville chefs, Kevin Ramquist at F. Scott’s. In case you’ve missed some of my posts on him and his food before, be sure to read this post and this post. I think those will get your mouth watering!

For Table Talk, Kevin will be creating a Head-to-Tail menu and there will be beer and wine pairings to go along with his delicious food. If you’ve never been to F Scott’s before, or haven’t yet experienced Kevin’s food or had the pleasure of meeting him, this is a great opportunity to do so.

Tickets are $95 and include a three-course dinner, hors d’oeuvres, drink pairings, tax and gratuity – the whole shebang! Space is limited, so click here to get your tickets now!

 F Scotts logo

 

OR….. you can enter my giveaway for TWO FREE TICKETS! And then, if you aren’t the lucky winner of those tickets, you should buy a ticket and go. Don’t even worry if you’re dateless – I’ll be there solo so I’m happy to be your BFF.

~Contest Closed~

Congratulations to the winner!

#37 Katy M

 

To enter, all you have to do is this:

Mandatory

1. Leave a comment telling me about a dining experience you’ve had at F Scott’s or eating Kevin’s food at one of the various events and competitions around town. If you haven’t had either, then just tell me how much you want to do so!

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 “Introducing @NashLifestyles Table Talk at F Scott’s. Win 2 tix ($190 value!) from @betheats! http://bit.ly/14IDe5h”, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.

3.  Like F Scott’s 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 Sunday, September 15th at NOON 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!