I have been eagerly anticipating this year's Music City Food and Wine festival since it ended last year. The first year of the festival was phenomenal, and really set the stage for what was an even more incredible sophomore outing. If you missed this event, please don't miss it next year. Trust me.
The first table we approached was City House, one of my favorite restaurants in town. Chef Tandy Wilson offered up a simple salad of homemade mozzarella and marinated vegetables. For a restaurant that hosts pork nights every Sunday, I was surprised by the lack of meat in this dish. It was a simple dish that was deceptive in its complexity. A light bite to start out the day that paved the way for an inhumane amount of food.
Next up was a plate of cured meat from the mobile kitchen of the Biscuit Love Truck. I found nothing wrong with this trio of salted meat. I especially liked what they called a "southern communion wafer" that was a bit like a dense, heavy biscuit.
Otaku South, the owners of Pop Nashville, were serving up some of their famous noodles. Up today was Tantan Mazeman, a thick noodle with a sesame chili sauce, chili oil and a cured egg yolk. This was a really flavorful, borderline spicy dish. The fresh scallions on top made the peanut butter-like taste of the sesame chili sauce really stand out. This was one of my favorites of Saturday.
Dale Levitski, the head chef of Sinema, was serving up something he called duck duck dumpling.
It was cooked duck on a bistro salad with fresh apples and curried dumplings. This dish was really complicated- there were many ingredients on the plate. But it reminded me of fall and I liked the juxtaposition of the game meat with the light salad. Plus, the fig on top was a nice bonus.
Moto is another one of my favorite places. Chef Andy Hayes is incredibly talented and also super nice. He offered up a plate of his homemade burrata with tomatoes, croutons and balsamic vinegar. Burrata is a beautiful thing, especially the way Chef Andy makes it. You can never go wrong with giving people soft cheese.
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the sweet offerings on Saturday. My favorite dish of the day was actually a dessert! (surpassing, because if you watch Top Chef, the contestants are screwed if they make a dessert and aren't actually trained in pastry). Anyway, incredible Chef Trevor Moran of The Catbird Seat offered us potatoes in dirt. In realty, this was a giant cream puff covered in marzipan and dusted with cocoa powder, which was itself nested in cocoa nibs and cake crumbs. This "potato" had me screaming expletives and I may have had more than one (NO SHAME).
From the East Side folks at the Treehouse, we had a tuna ceviche on a yucca chip. Everything about this dish was so light, that I couldn't really taste much. The tuna was lightly seasoned and the yucca seemed to lack a soul. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't a memorable follow up to a potato in dirt.
Porter Road Butcher does a lot of things right. Every cut of meat I have gotten from them has been amazing and I love how they cut my marrow bone the long way when I make it at home. I believe this was a pork curry pate. It had a really gentle curry flavor and I loved how the seeds (mustard?) popped in my mouth.
And the other amazing dessert of the day came from Pastry Chef Lisa Donovan of Buttermilk Road and Husk Nashville. It was a butterscotch bourbon pudding with cream on top. Sweet Jesus, this was smooth, rich and just like heaven! There is a reason why I love the desserts at Husk!
The folks from Lockeland Table served up bear creek farms skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and a pickled tomato. I was disappointed that this was seved as a finger food because it was pretty oily and got all over my hands. Besides the lack of a utensils I really liked the flavor. Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts of meat and serving it with a chimmichurri is pretty classic. It's classic for a reason- it tastes really freakin' good.
Urban Grub provided a trio of meats, also without a fork. Next year- I'm brining my own fork. I couldn't quite tell what meat was in the sandwich or in the sausage- but both were tasty. What I really enjoyed was the salami-type meat with the Brussel sprout and grape salad served on top.
Merchant's said they were serving shrimp and grits- but I'm not quite sure what I got. It was a crispy something with a wet something on top. There was so much of that shrimp/spice powdered on top that I started sneezing immediately and by the time I got the thing to my mouth it was way too salty for me.
Festival character and all around party dude Tim Love gave a demonstration on how to burn food. He basically put a bunch of vegetables in a hot pan and let them cook until the sugar turned brown on one side. He did all of this while imbibing ungodly amounts of tequila. I don't know how the man was even standing, but he was able to produce a pretty tasty assortment of food. I think I'll follow his recipe for burning boiled beets and then mixing that with goat cheese.
The folks over at Silo gave us their version of hot chicken- which wasn't terribly hot, but after a day in the hot sun drinking, it definitely burned going down. It really wouldn't be a food festival in Nashville if someone didn't make my intestines cry with hot chicken.
Mason's served up smoked waygu short rib with a shaved brussel salad- at least that is what it said on the sign. While I don't believe I got any brussles, the short rib was very fatty and tender. It was cooked just the right amount with little fuss- really showing off the superiority of the cut of meat.
Arnold's Country Kitchen was the one that did me in. They served a whole lunch portion- not a taste. I was given a giant plate of roast beef on a corn cake with turnip greens. This was so good that I forced myself to eat most of it- which was a good or terrible idea, depending on how you look at it.
Since I couldn't leave without grabbing something from the amazing Peg Leg Porker- I picked up their pulled pork and pork rinds. I wish I had more room because the fat on this was great. I always love Nashville chefs because you can guarantee that you will get more fat than your arteries can take- and when you think you have enough- they throw fried pork skin down your throat.
My final act of the day was seeing Iron Chef Morimoto teach us how to make and eat sushi. Watching this man gut a fish is a thing of beauty. He effortlessly sliced into the fish and with three quick motions had the best piece all sliced up and ready for plating. Morimoto was incredibly charming and even serenaded the crowd!
Oh and this happened. Hello Chef Waxman! Pardon my silly face while I'm clearly so happy to get a photo with you! Stay tuned for more MCFWF- I ate a lot more than this!