Friday, July 27, 2012

Let's Do Lunch: Merchant's, Nashville

At lunch, ask to sit in the downstairs.

I had lunch today with my boss and a client in downtown Nashville.  Merchant's restaurant is one of those old Nashville institutions that you have to try.  I've snagged a few pics below for flavor (the one above is mine).  All of them are from the website. The menu is worth a try.  I had a special pulled pork BBQ with 'Bama WHite Sauce.  And LORD, it was good.

Here's some history from the website and a few photos. Do yourself a favor and give it a try when you are in Nashville.  401 Broadway.

I sat in the booth all the way at the front. It's an awesome view.

Merchant’s Restaurant opened in 1988 in the old Merchant’s Hotel, which was constructed in 1892. The original structure was a three-story building built circa 1870 which housed a pharmacy on the 1st floor, a hardware manufacturing company on the 2nd floor, and a wholesale drug company on the 3rd floor that was famous for producing the alcohol and opium based “Blood Medicine” which can still be seen advertised on the brick walls today. The Merchant’s Hotel in 1892 offered the European Plan which was 25 cents a day for lodging and another 25 cents for a meal. Each room had a bed and a fireplace, and privacy was not guaranteed.

Many notable Nashville legends stayed at the old Merchant’s Hotel, including Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Porter Waggoner, Little Jimmy Dickens, and Roy Acuff to name a few. When you walk through the building you can see the vestiges of the original hotel rooms with fireplaces. Downstairs original marble counters and tile are still maintained and every effort has been made to hold on to the unique history and architecture of this renowned Nashville establishment.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Great Eats: Mexican Street Corn

I found this wonderful recipe courtesy of Style Blueprint Nashville.  Images and text courtesy of the site.  Check this out. I am headed to the Mexican grocery to get supplies!

Mexican Street Corn

Posted by on Aug 10, 2011 in Food & Entertaining

I experienced Mexican street corn for the first time at Mas Tacos, a little slice of Mexican food heaven in East Nashville. Wow. I was obsessed then and I remain obsessed, still. Be prepared when you go: they only take cash, it takes a while to get your food and there are not many seats.  But, if you have an adventurous spirit, you will be blessed — yes, blessed — with some seriously tasty food.  All the items I sampled from the menu stood out, but the winner, hands down, was the Mexican Street Corn.

Mexican Corn at Mas Tacos

So, what’s a girl with a can-do attitude and a fearless culinary spirit to do?  Recreate the dish, of course.

My first two attempts did not go well.  This is when I realized that I needed to scrap the American substitutes and go authentic for ingredients.

The Supermercado at 6321 Charlotte Pike provided exactly what I needed: crema (Mexican crème fraîche) and Cojita cheese (which is similar to the flavor of mild feta mixed with Parmesan, with the consistency of pizza Parmesan.) There are many types of crema to choose from, but I prefer the crema from Guatemala.  And as an aside, while shopping, we picked up the best corn tortillas I have ever tasted: La Providencia brand – 36 for just $.99!

Mexican Street Corn

Ingredients (for six servings):
  • 6 ears of corn
  • Crema
  • Cojita cheese
  • Mexican chili powder
  • Salt
  • Limes

Grill the corn, either directly on the grate or wrapped in foil, for about 10 minutes. (Grilling makes a difference, trust me.)
Use a BBQ sauce brush to coat the corn with crema.  Next, roll it in the Cojita cheese and sprinkle with Mexican chili powder and a little salt.  Then, squeeze the juice from half a lime over the corn and wrap it in foil.  Eat.
Start with hot cooked corn, preferably grilled, but boil if you must.

Paint on some crema

Roll corn in cojita cheese

Sprinkle with some Mexican chili powder and salt. Squeeze fresh lime juice over each ear. For authenticity, wrap each ear in foil to serve.

If you want to cut off, that is fine. I'm thinking some chopped cilantro and fresh jalapenos might make a great addition when served this way. And butter. When does butter not make everything better?!

This corn makes an excellent pairing with Tortilla Soup. Or, for simplicity, cut up some heirloom tomatoes, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy a perfect vegetarian meal.

Mas Tacos is located at 732 B Mcferrin Avenue in East Nashville. Open Tue-Fri 11am-4pm; Sat 11am-3pm.  Call (615) 543-6271 for more info.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick Eats: Spicy Chicken and Broccoli

Refrigerator surprise turned out to be Spicy Chicken and Broccoli served over steamed rice.  Chicken thighs, broccoli, green onions and a sweet & spicy sauce tinted with garlic chili paste.  Peanut garnish gave it some extra crunch.  Delicious.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Technology: MacBook Air

I've had many, many computers in my life.  I love my iPad dearly, but there are some things I just cannot do with it.  So I broke down and bought an ultra portable MacBook AIR.  I got it refurbished from Apple. Comes with a year long warranty and I opted for the extended three year.  Had one when I worked for LibLime and got hooked.  Happy to have it again. Loving it so far.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Favorite Places: The Blue Hour, Portland, OR

I found some images on I saved from a visit to the Blue Hour in Portland, OR.  Wonderful place. Fresh crowd. Amazing food. Nice cocktails. Energetic.  Apparently it gets kudos from locals and the national press alike....

The Most Sophisticated & Contemporary Food in Town. - Gourmet Magazine

Bluehour means different things to different people.
In French literature it describes any time of day of heightened emotion.
In Portland it has come to mean a great place to dine.

Listen: Rdio

I got a link to a playlist provided by for a cocktail hour playlist on Rdio.  Pretty cool service.  Streaming music.  access to a lot of content.  Check it out!

Blue Note's Cocktail Kings Playlist on Rdio Nice background music for the cocktail hour(s).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ties: Accessory After The Fact

Yes, I know, ties are considered formal these days.  Yes, we have dressed down for success lately. Yes, we are more comfortable in a suit and an open collar some days.  Yes, it's Summer and it's hotter than blazes.  But I still love ties.  They are part of my "uniform" and I hope they are always an acceptable accessory.  Here are just a few I picked up recently.

Always a staple: dots.

Houndstooth, silk and linen Brioni.

Grey and bronze plaid, silk and linen Brioni.

More dots!  Silk Paul Stuart.

Never had a purple tie before.  Satiny smooth silk Stefano Ricci.

Silk Zegna looks great with a light grey Lutwyche suit.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Style Share: The Parisian Gentleman

I love the style, content and visual images I get from The Parisian Gentleman's FaceBook pages.  Moreover, I love the look and feel of the main website as well, found here.  These were images from the FB pages and I wanted to share them with you....  enjoy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Smokin!: Ribs For The 4th of July

When I moved to Texas, I bought a smoker. I believe it was part of the ritual.  For a year, it sat there, staring at me when I went in the backyard.  So last season I tried a few times. Good results, but not spectacular.  Until today.  I dialed it in.  I smoked some St. Louis style ribs and they were the best thing I've ever done in that smoker!

I started with two slabs of St. Louis style ribs, seasoned only with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

I seasoned them and slipped them into a vertical rib rack.  Holds 5 half slabs.  You have to have one of these bad boys.

The ribs went on the bottom rack (I also smoked a brisket on the upper rack, but that's a totally different story).  The water pan was filled with Budweiser Platinum Light beer.  I know. I know. But it was. As it evaporated it was replaced by water.  About once an hour as needed.

The smoking pellets I used were made from Jack Daniels barrels.  I also added some, but not a lot, of well soaked Mesquite chips.  Mesquite is better used in grilling I  think.  It has a very strong flavor and if you aren't careful, it can be overpowering.  I like applewood and cherry. Light woods. Light flavors.  You have to really be careful that the chips do not actually burn.  It can make the food taste like it was in a fire and not "smoked".

After 5 1/2 hours at 225 degrees, I removed them from the rack, brushed them with a vinegar and water based sauce we get from a tiny place called "The Pig" in Jacksonville, Florida.  I let them go another 45 minutes and then removed them to rest before I was overcome and had to attack them.

These ribs have that beautiful pink smoke ring about 1/8" deep.  They have a nice "bark" on the outside and when you twist the bone, they give it up and let go.  Delicious.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Photo Harvest: Weekend Favorites from Restoration Hardware

Love these looks and could be comfortable in each of these rooms.  See Restoration Hardware for more.



The Desk

That Chair!



The Chairs


The Lack of Color

The Color