Tag Archives: restaurants

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

 

 

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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

NOSH > NOM

10 Feb AuroraClosed

Move over, Aurora!  Avner Samuel, you made a very wise choice in reinventing your little restaurant on Oaklawn.  The buoyant atmosphere and constant crowd at the bar is a strong indicator of the successful revamp.  Not to mention, the food speaks for itself.

Nosh

The New Aurora

Not a stranger to the location (across the street from Al Biernat’s and down the strip from La Duni) and having heard acclamations from plenty of my fellow foodies, I had been dying to try Nosh.  It has been open for six months, maybe, but I just had not taken the opportunity to stop by.  A partner in crime, Jodie, texted with an open invite to her reservations on Super Bowl weekend – I couldn’t possibly pass up!

The arctic blast coursing Dallas’ every vein tried to foil our plans.  My ride showed up a few minutes late due to the treacherous road conditions, and THEN his car got stuck in my driveway (which might as well have served as an ideal sledding hill).  Having averted a real crisis of sliding the Bimmer into trash cans, trees and a few pipes, the poor car was at a standstill, tires whirling in place on a sheet of solid ice with no snow shovel in sight (we live in Texas, people).  What to do? Pass on the reservations and settle for a cozy night in by the fire?  Of course not…

Twelve pitchers of steaming hot salt water later, the sheet of ice was ready to be picked at and broken up by a dust pan.  Free at last, free at last – we finally showed up to meet the group almost an hour late.  Whoops!  Oh well, TOTALLY worth it!

On the menu for our table –

  • Starters: humus with hand crafted pita, the life changing Egyptian falafel, and creamy parsnip soup with truffle shavings
  • Entrés: lamb chops for Jodie (if you think I passed up an opportunity to share, you are sick), the flat iron steak “au poivre,” roasted pork shoulder, the Kobe burger (simple, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted), and the fish special – a comforting breaded and pan seared fluke; OH, can’t forget the side of mac & cheese with truffle oil and shavings (the latter we actually didn’t ask for – HUGE pet peeve when waiters assume you want an addition, but it was TASTY).
  • Dessert: what?
Port

Port = Much More Elegant Than This

Several bottles of fabulous wine (Silver Oak at wholesale, thankyouverymuch) lead to and even more fabulous decision to end the night with port wine.  Content and completely full.  Thank you, Jodie Fagan.

Insignificant notes from the night: we were stationed at a table by the entrance to the back room where Jennifer Aniston and her entourage were dining.  Two diners whose attention spans were not as consumed by the food were escorted out of the restaurant after making fools of themselves while trying to catch Jenn’s attention.  Upon heading out, we passed a vibrant Chelsea Handler at the bar.  The camera does actually add a couple of pounds; she is TINY in real life.  Glad she was getting ready to eat a full meal of fabulousness.

Having a Moment: Linda Richmond Would Be Proud

27 Jan

Sharing Sentiment w/ Morgan, Mussels & My Old Friend, Pinot Noir

That’s right – I had a life changing experience last night.  It all started over a Benny’s Bad Day recovery plan, Dancing Bull and some juicy gossip.

Urbano

An Absolute Must

My friend Morgan called me with news that employment with her current company was finally over, and she was moving on to much better things.  Celebrating the new job was immanent! BYOB + Urbano Cafe was a must; I had the wine (so I thought) and I live super close.  Reality check: my wine stash had drastically depleted since arriving home from work – what happened???  A quick text from Morgan affirmed everything was alright; a bottle of La Crema and a bottle of Dancing Bull were on the way.  Stress release – it would indeed be a good night!

I had been to Urbano for lunch before, but never dinner.  What a fabulous experience!  The venue is intimate (as you very well know if you have ever been there), but there is an adjoining bar studio next door for overflow and first taste libations.   Pop goes the La Crema.  Perched at the bar counter, we mingled with some of the staff and learned about a wonderful online community for artisans and craftsman called Etsy.com (touted as the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace for all things vintage, artsy and, well, handmade).

On the way back to the main cafe, we passed a long, family style picnic table where appetizers were abundant – particularly a mussel dish that looked bright with color.  I thought to myself, “We will revisit this.”  Then a quick aside – when have I ever considered ordering mussels???

Good conversation, appetite evaluation and consumption of another glass of Pinot finally lead to menu selection.  Everything we tasted was amazing.  The mussels put everything to shame in comparison.  They not only melted in  your mouth immediately upon contact, but the soupy tomato sauce the mussels were served in acted as a grade-a dish in it’s own.  You order extra bread to lap up goodness such as this!  The pork poppers, salads (we tried the 1410 and shaved fennel) and chicken Saltimboca were all spectacular; I knew they would be.  We kept eating – and eating – and eating.  But I digress; let me get back to the mussels. A-MAZING.

Having a Moment

Still Having a Moment

I fear that I set too high a precedent with my first mussel eating experience.  I might never recover or find anything close to its equal in a similar dish.  Maybe I simply discovered a new favorite food?  Either way, I highly recommend them!

Last taste of the night: completely stuffed and satisfied, we rolled our way back to my house to see what Dancing Bull had to offer – NOT MUCH.  I do not recommend…

Kogi Comes to Dallas as Goghee

19 Jan
Korean-Style Tacos

Korean-Style Tacos

I noticed an announcement on THRILLIST the other day.  One of California’s hottest taco trends, Kogi BBQ, has influenced one of Dallas’ newest grab-n-go’s.  Goghee-to-Go features a variety of Korean BBQ dishes, specializing in Korean-Mexican fusion and rich flavors.

Goghee’s principals are based on speedy service and quality food.  All their ingredients are fresh, and food is made to order.  Critics and bloggers are already touting the beef tacos; their beef is shaved rib-eye, seasoned and marinated overnight in soy sauce with sugar, ginger, and garlic.  Looks like the menu offers up traditional options (tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, etc) with complex and new flavors.

I really want to try out this new spot!  It’s located by the original Sonny Bryan’s off of Inwood – south of Lover’s Lane, closer to Harry Hines and the Medical District.  It’s a little out of the way for me, but it sounds like it’s definitely worth it.  Let me know what you’ve heard or if you’ve tried it for yourself!!!

Little tidbit of trivia: the Korean word “kogi,” which translates to “meat,” is often mispronounced.  When said properly, it sounds literally like go-ghee, hence the owners’ choice in name.  Gimchee (Korean slaw, formally spelled “kimchee”) is a great addition to any plate at Goghee-to-Go.