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NashVegas

29 Mar

The Best Bites in Music City

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit some friends who live in the Nashville area.  I had  heard many things about Nashville, most of which focused on the gold and glitter of twangy country music.  I was pleasantly surprised by the newly established indie rock wave that has set up there.  It’s given Nashville much more of an Austin vibe.

While there, our group was treated to some really amazing restaurant experiences!  I recognized some of our stops from Guy Fieri’s Drive-Ins, Divers and Dives, but all were  unique, tasty and quirky in their own ways.

 

Loveless Cafe

Mama - Rest in Peace! Your Lagacy Continues!

 

The Loveless Cafe is a must for breakfast/brunch.  Family style was definitely the way to go, with unlimited breakfast treats including fresh fruit, biscuits with jam, a variety of meats (bacon, sausage patties, Canadian bacon, etc), grits and – my personal favorite – the hash-brown casserole.  Every bite was incredible, and they are by far the best biscuits around!

 

Smoker Outside? Try a Smoker-Mobile!

 

I was once told that a BBQ joint is not legit unless it has a smoker on the property.  Well, this place has several, including one on wheels!  This is a must for tailgating in this region, for sure.  Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint lies just outside of Nashville, in Nolensville, TN.  We walked in and the place smelled

redneckpancake

The Redneck Pancake

like home – only sweeter.  I vied for the brisket sandwich with a side of pinto beans and cornbread pancakes (yes, they legitimately look like pancakes!).  Some other highlights from the table included the pulled pork and the redneck pancakes (OMG – WINNING!).  The sides were great; just don’t eat any of the “green bean” looking items in any of the beans.  We were not sure what they were or what they were marinated in, but they were HOT!!!  Beware!  I loved how the signature sauces were sweeter than any Texas BBQ sauce I have ever tried.  They weren’t TOO sweet – just right!  Same thing with the cornbread; there were hints of sweetness compacted with the spicy jalapeno flavors.

 

If visiting Martin’s, make sure to keep on down the road a bit until you hit an Amish grocery store called the Feed Mill.  They have tons of great take-homes, like their various fruit butters (blackberry was my favorite by far), specialty pickles (mmmm bread and butter!) and honey.

 

Half Priced Wine + Champagne? Yes Please!

As the weekend involved some birthday celebrations, our trip would not be complete with out some fancy food and several bottles of wine.  Enter Rumba Rum Bar and Satay Grill.  Our waiter was tons of

stuffed peppadews

Small Favorite: Peppadews

fun and then some, and kept the wine flowing.  Because we all went there on a Sunday, we were able to enjoy their special of the night: half price bottles of wine and champagne.  FUN.  The menu set up resembled tapas – lots of flavors and interesting fusion.  We tried the flatbreads, tempura green beans, stuffed peppadews (pictures – AMAZING), mussels and fried/grilled artichoke to start.  Round 2?  Sliders, more flatbreads (they are that good), the chorizo burger, the red curry stir fry and the roasted Piedmontese beef tenderloin.  Everything was so good, and no one at our table shied away from sharing.  Sampling great food is the best!

 

All our escapades eating out should not be overshadowed by some amazing homemade pizzas my friend Susan cooked.  Her husband (and birthday boy for the weekend) is originally from Kentucky, and he had some special, spicy sausage which was local to the state of Kentucky to add as a killer topping for one of the pizzas.  Oh yeah, small other tidbit about the sausage pizza: substitute marinara sauce for mashed potatoes.  BOOM!  For the vegetarians in the group (and those observing Lent), Susan provided a roasted veggie pizza, too.

One thing I love about Nashville, aside from being Austin’s doppelganger, is how inexpensive everything is!  Food, beverage, land – everything.  It’s nice!  The weather was gorgeous.  The spread out homes with giant lawns, built upon acres and acres of land were all so pretty.  The attitude there was refreshing, too: very laid back, calm and all about enjoying the space and sounds.  I definitely want to go back soon!

 

Our Group
Eating Out

What a Fun Group to Eat Out With

 

 

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Chocolate

22 Feb

The Chevy Sweet Hunt

The Aussie & The Longhorn

Words cannot express how fun this event was!  My company, Fleishman-Hillard, held a sweet scavenger hunt, so to speak, for foodies who are prominent in the Dallas social media scene.  Not only did I transition myself immediately to this account solely to help plan this project (OK, I ❤ Chevy, too), but I also was able to tag along as an “undercover” blogger.  I helped recruit some familiar faces to participate, too!

So, the rundown:

  • 2 Video Cameras
  • 4 Stops Along the Way
  • 4 GM Vehicles With OnStar to Get Us “There”
  • 12 Foodies, Mouths Watering
  • 100+ Tweets and FB Posts For the Event
Rise No. 1

The Strawberry Soufflé

Participants were given either a Buick Regal or the new Chevy Cruze to test drive for the weekend in honor of the Hunt!  How cool is that?  Free gas and that new car smell? YES please!  Participants went from restaurant to restaurant, dessert tasting to dessert tasting, in their designated car with the help of clues and the use of OnStar.

We started at rise nº1 in Inwood Village, one of my favorite spots in Dallas!  After Urbano had to pass at the last minute due to a large party renting out the space, Sarah F. and I had an epiphany: RISE to the occasion!  And that the restaurant did!  It was definitely a favorite of the day.

Choc Secrets

Chocolate Well Kept Secrets

Second was Chocolate Secrets, a fabulous sweet boutique on Oaklawn.  I have driven by this place millions of times, but I had failed to ever stop by.  The decor was so cute, and the soothing sounds of live jazz set the mood.  Smells of wine and chocolate swirled in the air.  It was definitely a delectable experience; stop by and try the dark chocolate with sea salt caramel!

Dude, Sweet Chocolate

The Dudes & The Sweets

A quick jaunt across town to the Biship Arts District took us to Dude, Sweet Chocolate.  This was a great experience, as the owner Katherine Clapner opened up her store to us as a school of the savory and sweet!  She shared with us how she concepted, created and sold her wares, all while chopping, mushing and sharing a taste of said wares.

Bolsa

A Plate Full of Bruschetta

And finally, we ended up at Bolsa for a fun lunch.  We shared apps (like the bruschetta sampler) and enjoyed what local produce and goods the Bag had to offer.  Several hunters enjoyed what the proclaimed Bishop Arts mixologist had to offer as well.  Me? I needed a tall glass of water after all of that sweetness!

What a fabulous day, and what a fabulous way to promote local restaurants and an incredible brand!  Thank you @ChevyTexan!  Check out the new blog page, Driving the Heartland for a write up and more information on the foodies who took the tasty tour about town.

Chevy Sweet Hunters

Chevy Sweet Hunters

Happy National Cheese Lover’s Day!

20 Jan

Seriously?  Really?  OH YEAH!  That’s right, my calendar says it’s National Cheese Lover’s Day!

I felt an instinctive need to share this with everyone, as pretty much ALL of my friends are obsessed with cheese.  Now I am starting to seriously reconsider my evening plan; a cheese tray comprised of delectables from Jimmy’s and some Pinot Noir at the Wine Therapist sounds very tempting!

Cheese Display

Happy Cheese Day!

Special acclamations to my friend Melinda who is enduring a rigorous no-cheese diet until April.  Girl, I have no idea how you do it!

Some thoughts I will leave you with:

  • What is your favorite type of cheese?
  • What Dallas restaurant do you think offers the best cheese tray?
  • When do you eat your cheese?  As an appetizer, with your main course or, as the French do, as your dessert?

Regarding the above, I would have to say aged, sharp white cheddar or a rich, creamy brie; Rise No. 1’s cheese cart; and cheese anytime – all the time!