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Friday, August 30, 2013

Nashville Food Friday: F. Scott's

F. Scotts Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee Restaurant week is one of my favorite local events, so we decided to take advantage of it and try another spot: F. Scott's. When I last came here about 4 years ago with my parents, we sat in the jazz bar and had snacks and cocktails, and I really enjoyed it. I really like a place where you can get a good meal and listen to some good music that isn't an open mic night (Should I mention how much I detest open mic nights?). So we headed on down to Green Hills on Friday at rush hour to check out our local jazz joint.
F. Scotts Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
F. Scotts Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
F. Scott's is what you'd expect from a upscale white tablecloth restaurant. They have valet parking, polite and attentive waitstaff, and very neutral non-offensive decor. This is a place where you can take your parents for a nice dinner; they will find something good to eat, they will enjoy the music, and they won't complain that it's too loud. Steve and I sat in the regular dining room, which is separate from the Jazz bar, but we could still hear the music wafting through the space.
F. Scotts Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
They started us off with some warm bread from the kitchen. It was a nice touch that the butter was already soft at room temperature. I have no idea why every restaurant doesn't serve soft butter instead of those frozen little bricks. The bread was delicious and I especially enjoyed the focaccia with cheese on top.
Cocktails at F. Scott's Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Their cocktail and wine list was rather extensive and pricey. I went with one of my favorite old standbys, a Kir Royale. I got hooked on this little number when visiting Paris during college, and sipping on it again gave me flashbacks (in the good way). They were out of Steve's first beer of choice so he opted for a Belhaven Scottish Ale that was very delicious. I think being out of the first choice beer was fortuitous for Steve, because he now has a new favorite.
Soup at F. Scott's Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Our first course on the menu was a smoked tomato soup with shrimp sausage and a sweet corn drizzle. This was a very confident first course. The potatoes in the soup were still firm and provided just the right amount of texture. The soup itself had a smokey-spice about it that made me want to lick the plate. But honestly, the shrimp sausage was the best part. The sweetness of the shrimp paired with the smoke of the soup was just perfect. This was a very well crafted dish.
Salad at F. Scott's Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the second course: the summer squash salad. This was basically raw squash shaved in very thin curly-cues with a drizzle of vinaigrette topped with crispy beets and goat cheese. The squash lacked the flavor I was expecting but the beets provided a nice crispness. The goat cheese was a wise compliment to the crispy beets, but it just didn't save the dish for me.

We waited for what seemed like an inordinately long time between the salad and the entree. I understand taking time between courses, but this was just too long of a pause considering the pace of a prix fixe meal. Also, during this time no waitstaff came over to check on us, which I thought was rather odd.
Pork Shoulder at F. Scott's Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For his entree, Steve ordered the pork shoulder in Goo Goo Cluster BBQ sauce served on top of a jalapeno corn cake. Now, Steve has a weak spot for Goo Goo Clusters (they are his favorite candy) so when I saw this on the menu it was a no-brainer what he was going to order. The pork itself was fall-apart soft and absolutely perfect. But the sauce itself was just TOO sweet for me. It was made with candy, and it tasted as such. There was no way I could finish this whole plate, but Steve felt otherwise. He loved the sweetness and cleaned his plate. Takes all kinds.
Trout at F. Scott's Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For my entree I chose the trout with peaches and green beans. I have to say the dish was served beautifully; they really hit the mark on presentation here. My favorite part was how they removed the trout skin, crisped it up like a chip and served it on top of the fillets. The peach went really well the the trout, which makes me wonder, is there anything out there that can't be enhanced by peaches? I DARE YOU TO FIND IT.
Dessert at F. Scott's Jazz Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
I have probably never said this before (and hopefully never again) but dessert was my least favorite part of the meal. We decided to do an add-on and order up something sweet, because: DATE NIGHT. We ordered the peach panna cotta with basil pound cake and when it came out, it looked beautiful. This was one of the prettiest looking desserts I've seen. But when I put it in my mouth, it was just all sorts of weird. The panna cotta itself didn't have much peach flavor and the basil cake was very dry and didn't quite go with anything else. On top, they put a mound of blackberry sorbet. The sorbet had a very overpowering flavor and when you got that on your fork you really couldn't taste much of the delicate peach. This missed the mark for me, and Steve felt that it was trying to be unnecessarily complex.

Our restaurant week trip to F. Scott's was rather inconsistent. Some dishes were spot on, others just fell flat. The service was the same. While we did have to wait a long time to get our entree with no one checking in on us, our waiter was nice enough to comp my after-dinner decaf espresso when it didn't come out in time to enjoy with dessert. To be fair, I feel like I should go back and sample offerings off the regular menu and the jazz bar menu before I pass any final judgements. I will also make sure to stick with a simple, chocolate dessert.

F. Scott's on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 26, 2013

Buddha: The 31 Pound Cat!

If you don't live in Nashville, you may have not heard of Buddha, but this chubby feline is fast becoming a local celebrity. Buddha was found at Metro Animal Control and rescued by the lovely people at the The Cat Shoppe. Buddha weighs in at a hefty 31 pounds and is on a mission to lose weight so that he can be adopted to a loving home.
The goal is for Buddha to slowly lose weight over the next year. Part of this includes a new, healthy diet (apparently his previous owners fed him people food). The other part is exercise on a water treadmill.

How can you not love this cat?! When I found out The Cat Shoppe was doing a fundraiser this past weekend where you could have your photo professionally taken with Buddha, I squealed with joy! Steve and I got all gussied up in our feline finest and posed with the star.
The little sweetie I'm holding is Ferdinand and Steve is hugging Lolita. They are both looking for good homes.
I mean, are these not the absolute best photos ever?! (Penny Adams is the lovely lady who donates her time to photographing all the sweeties at The Cat Shoppe). I'm always in for events that raise funds for needy animals.

If you are in Nashville, you can see Buddha and lots of other sweeties available for adoption at The Cat Shoppe. If you are far away and would still like to help, you can donate money to Buddha's recovery and the rescue fund here

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nashville Food Friday: Silly Goose (#2)

The Silly Goose Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Way back when I first started this blog, the first restaurant to get a review was the Silly Goose. Honestly, it was less of a review and more like an enthusiastic endorsement of the place. GO EAT HERE! Now that a fair amount of time has passed, I figured I should give the Silly Goose the respect that it's due. Since the Silly Goose is participating in Restaurant Week, it was a perfect opportunity to revisit one of my favorite places to eat in Nashville.
Cocktail at The Silly Goose Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For a cocktail, I ordered Prosecco. Prosecco seems to be my go to cocktail of choice lately. I think it's a perfect drink for a hot August day. Plus: BUBBLES.

Let me take this opportunity to talk about the service at Silly Goose. Everyone that I've dealt with, from chefs to waiters, has been incredibly pleasant and helpful. The gentleman who took care of us did everything with a smile on his face, and that type of service just makes the overall experience better for the guests.
salad at The Silly Goose Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Since it was restaurant week, we decided to go with the three course $30 option. I see this as a great opportunity for chefs to put their best foot forward, so why not taste what they are trying to showcase? Our first course was a tomato salad on garlic toast with herbs and balsamic vinegar. It was a nice take on a fresh bruschetta and an all-time summer classic. They really let the tomatoes shine through in this dish. The toast was delicious with just the right crisp-to-soft ratio. Plus, I think the Silly Goose has the market cornered on balsamic vinegar. They have the best stuff, hands down.
Chicken at The Silly Goose Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For the main course there were two options, one meat and one vegetarian. I went for the chicken dish, which is on the menu normally as The Hustler (a dish that I get quite frequently). The Hustler contains Greek yogurt-marinated chicken skewers, red lentils, kale and feta. The chicken was super tender and had a slight, almost imperceptible, tang from the yogurt. I love red lentils, and they were my favorite thing about this dish. They were well seasoned, a tad bit spicy, and well cooked so that every little bit was nice and soft.
Dessert at The Silly Goose Restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
The dessert might've been my favorite part of this particular meal! It was a plate of fresh peaches, stewed rhubarb, mascarpone and oats. So simple, but oh so good. This also might've been my first time eating rhubarb, ever. I don't think we had any opportunity to eat it up north. It was sweet, tangy and sour all at the same time. I guess I really like rhubarb! Who knew? Honestly, the mascarpone was my favorite part and it went perfectly with the sweet peaches.

I still love Silly Goose just as much as I did when I first "reviewed" it. If you haven't tried it yet, you're missing out!

Silly Goose on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 16, 2013

Nashville Food Friday: Husk

Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
There are few things in life that excite me more than a news of a new restaurant opening in Nashville, especially one associated with a James Beard Award-Winning chef. Makes me feel like Nashville won the lotto and my stomach gets to cash the check. Chef Sean Brock brought his Charleston based ode to southern cuisine Husk to Nashville for its second iteration. And what better place to open your second restaurant than in the booming food city of Nashville? (My personal, biased opinion.) Since Husk has been open for about 3 months, I figured it was high time to give it a go.
Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Located in an old house on Rutledge Hill, Husk might have one of the best looking exteriors of any restaurant in town. I can't think of a better place to eat southern food than a big old southern house that's on the historic registry. I also really like that Husk has a good amount of parking, so good that you don't even need to valet (we didn't even see one). 
Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
I have to include a note about the service at Husk. It was phenomenal, almost traditional French style service. All dishes came out at the same time, each carried by a different waiter. They replaced silverware with every course and they worked like a well oiled machine. This is exactly what you expect from a top restaurant, and Husk delivers. 
Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
The rooms inside retain their original charm, but with updated paint and fixtures. This room was Mardi Gras purple with a lightly patterned wall paper and green velvet curtains. While I kind of dislike purple rooms, there was no denying how beautiful the interior was. I especially loved the glass ball chandeliers. 
Cocktails at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For a cocktail I ordered the Suelo del Bosque which was made of tequila, St. Germain, cane syrup, lime juice, jasmine bitters and sage. This drink was very light and subtle in flavor. It had the slight herbal underpinnings I was craving. While the cocktail and bourbon list was extensive and well appointed, their wine list left a little to be desired. There was a plethora of American wine, but few Cabs and no Shiraz. 
Bread rolls at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Along with our cocktails came the rolls. THE ROLLS ARE AMAZING. They were light and fluffy and were topped with sesame seeds and sea salt. The salt gave a nice crunch when you bit into the roll. It came with pork fat butter- so I was already sold on these. 
Corn at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
We were also given a gift from the kitchen; a corn salad that they were trying out. It was roasted corn, green onions, chili powder and basil with a green mayo. This dish was light and fresh with a little kick from the chilies. And their corn was very sweet. I'm not sure if this would be a great stand alone dish or salad, but it would be a perfect side dish. 
Country Ham at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
We ordred three different appetizers to share amongst the the table. The appetizer list was so appealing, I'm pretty sure I could come back here and order a handful of them and make it a meal. This plate of 24 month-old country ham is simple, but tasty. The ham tasted almost like prosciutto which is perfectly fine with me. It was served with pickled okra, soft rolls and a horseradish mustard. This was a great plate to split and the large wood serving plate added to the country feel.
Fried Chicken Skins at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Want to know something not shocking? I ordered fried chicken skins. I cannot stay away from fatty animal products. The skins were battered and fried, and covered in hot sauce and honey. Since I'm a fan of hot chicken, I felt this could've been a tad bit spicier for the Nashville palate. 
Crispy Pig head at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
Our third appetizer was the crispy pigs head. They take all the meat and fat from the head of the pig and make a rillette out of it, cut a slice and then pan fry it for the crisp. Make no mistake folks, this dish is pretty much a perfect medallion of pig fat served with pickled cauliflower and purslane. It was incredibly decadent and worth every calorie it contained.  
Pork at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For dinner, everyone at our table ordered the same thing, the pork duo. The night we were there the offerings were pork belly and shoulder roast. It was served with buttermilk mashed potatoes and cabbage & onions in a mustard sauce. When this dish arrived, everyone was quiet and every plate was scraped clean. The shoulder was incredibly tender- it just melted in your mouth, rendering your teeth useless. The belly had a nice crispness about it and everything was enhanced by the mustard veggies. This was pure pork perfection.
Buttermilk Pie for dessert at Husk restaurant in Nashville Tennessee
For dessert, upon a recommendation from a friend, I ordered the buttermilk pie. Buttermilk pie is basically like a sweet custard pie, full of sugar. This version was served with sweet peaches and fresh whipped cream. It was decadent and I was blown away by how good something so simple can be. I've never made a buttermilk pie, but I now feel very inclined to try one in the future. 

Husk is a great restaurant, hands down. But with all the positive press and awards, you probably already knew that. Their menu changes daily, so you can go back as often as you want (or as reservations and your wallet allow) and never have the same thing twice. I can guarantee that I'll be back soon.

Husk on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hot Tomato!

Happy Monday everyone! This past weekend was my favorite day in East Nashville- the Tomato Art Festival! Every year streets are closed off around five points for a day full of festivities celebrating our August love, the tomato. I think I heard that about 40,000 people visited our little part of the city this year. I love showing my East Nashville pride.
Steve and I got up super early on Saturday to do the tomato 5k. Although I didn't get my best time ever, for being under-trained and it being the hilliest course known to man, I'm quite pleased with my result. The best part was Steve and I did it together and crossed the finish line holding hands. (AWWW!)
After taking a nice shower and having breakfast, we headed back down to the festival. There were tons of local artists selling their wares, the tomato art show at Art and Invention gallery (where I wanted to buy everything), and a bunch of great bands. Steve's band Scale Model even got to play! It was great to see people walking by and stopping to listen to them. 
There were tons of local food trucks and the opportunity to see a lot of my friends out and about. This event just makes me fall more in love with the city every year. Who cares if it's a million degrees outside? Grab a fan and have some fun!
This is what I wore to the tomato fest. While it isn't the most tomato-y outfit, it was the most appropriate because it was REALLY HOT OUT. It was one those days where the less clothes you wear, the better. I'm amazed you can't see lines of sweat all over me, it was that gross.
This outfit consists of a bunch of really old things. The tank top is probably from high school and the necklace was a college graduation present from a dorm mate. The romper, which is clearly the standout of this outfit, was from the sale rack of Urban Outfitters three or four years ago. Also, I'm pretty sure you are all sick of seeing these boots, but sometimes the old things are the best things, right?
 Tank Top: Really Old
Romper: Urban Outfitters Sale rack ages ago
Necklace: Gift
Shoes: Old Brown Boots

Friday, August 9, 2013

Food Friday Boston Edition: Taqueria Mexico

Mexican Food at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham Massachusetts
While we were in Boston reliving my college days, we made a stop to our go-to Mexican joint, Taqueria Mexico. This was the best place to go before a night out- grabbing tacos and beer, getting full, and not spending a lot of money. As a college kid, my budget didn't allow for that at all! While I do love this place, I don't love it nearly as much as my friend Matt, shown above, posing with his one true burrito-making love.
Mexican Food at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham Massachusetts
Located on a side street in the suburb of Waltham, Taqueria Mexico doesn't look like much. The inside hasn't changed one bit since I was last there 7 years ago, and I'm quite comforted by that fact. We went for a really late lunch and the place was sparsely populated, but there was a good trickle of people in and out.
Chips and Salsa  at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham Massachusetts
The first thing to arrive on the table was fresh chips and salsa. The chips were still warm and you can tell they were just made. The salsas were pretty hot, but I used them sparingly and enjoyed them quite a bit. Also, I can't get over the crazy-busy table cloth!
Horchata  at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham Massachusetts
Oh horchata, why must you be so delicious?! Taqueria Mexico makes a solid one, but if I was hungrier I would have ordered their fruit milkshakes which are delicious, sweet and very filling.
Tacos at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham Massachusetts
I went for two simple tacos, tongue and barbacoa. Both were pretty tasty! I do like their tongue, but as is the case with most tongue I've tried, it could use a tad bit more spice. In my college days I was a vegetarian, so my go-to dish here was the potato quesadilla. It was a cheesy gooey mess of carbohydrates, but damn if it wasn't delicious and filling. I feel like Taqueria Mexico has a good amount of vegetarian friendly fare, including mushroom and squash burritos.
Tacos at Taqueria Mexico in Waltham Massachusetts
Steve had a tongue taco and a torta. I know that I took a bite of the torta, and remembered the bread being spongy and delicious, but I don't remember much about the filling.

Overall, Taqueria Mexico is still as good as the day I graduated college. And if you are ever in the area and are craving Mexican, this is the only place worth going to.

Taqueria Mexico on Urbanspoon
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