Sunday, April 26, 2009

Catching up on Restaurants: Old Timer’s Pit BBQ, Mirror, Satay, Paradise Ridge, and Kien Giang

A blog about food is long overdue. I’ve actually been to a couple of new restaurants over the past few weeks. Here is the update:

Old Timers Pit BBQ: Barbeque is one of my favorite foods. Nashville BBQ has typically disappointed me but after reading Ulika’s coverage of Old Timer’s I decided to give it a try. Old Timers is located in Bordeaux. For the non-Nashville readers, it’s not one of those places you just happen to drive through. You actually have to make a concentrated effort to end up there. I went there for lunch on a Saturday instead of ordering a combo I decided to get two sandwiches: a BBQ sandwich and a fish sandwich. The BBQ was decent. It was moist, but not too moist. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough “bark” the dark, slightly charred meat from the outside of the pork shoulder. The fish sandwich (sandwiches tend to be a mainstay the in the Nashville African-American community) was gigantic. There were at least five fish filets on two slices of white bread with pickles and hot sauce. I’d definitely eat here again. I’m also interested in getting some cracklin’ here if they ever have any freshly cooked when I pop in.

Mirror: I met up with a friend a few weeks ago for Brunch at Mirror. It was surprisingly empty when we arrived at noon. I do not recommend the Bloody Mary, as it was one of the worst non-commerical mix bloodys I have ever had. My frittata with goat cheese and roasted vegetables was excellent. Mirror doesn’t blow me away, but it doesn’t disappoint either.

Satay: I love thai food and was pumped when Satay opened up in the old Wing Basket location near my house. I have mixed feelings about this restaurant. The menu is way too basic. If I remember correctly there were two soups, two appatizers, two salads, and two entrees offered. The food was very basic and very fresh, but very unremarkable. Even though it was pretty affordable and very convenient to my house, I doubt I will eat here often.

Paradise Ridge: I was still on my BBQ kick and had to run out to West Nashville to get a few things. While I was there I popped into Paridise Ridge Grille to try out their barbeque. I was pretty hungry so I got the rib and pulled pork combo with fried okra and white beans. The ribs were good. They were pretty meaty and served with a decent sauce. The pulled pork was excellent. I’d definitely eat here again.

Kien Giang: This Vietnamese restaurant is located in West Nashville in a part of town that has become spotted with Vietnamese, Korean, and Mexican restaurants. I’ve eaten here twice over the past few weeks. The first time I went I had an excellent bowl of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). The only problem was that while I remembered to ask for no tripe, I forgot to ask for no tendon. I think that the tendon does add some flavor to the broth, but don’t really like it’s taste or texture. The second time I went I got Bahn Xeo, or Vietnamese pancakes. Although called a pancake the dish is really more akin to an omlet. You place a piece of the pancake in a lettuce leaf and season it with fresh basil and other spices. My Bahn Xeo was stuffed with bean sprouts, vegetables and shrimp. While the atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired, it has become one of my favorite ethnic restaurants based on the low prices and great food. Expect terrible service if you go.

Well, it’s dinnertime. I’m saving the three restaurants I haven’t wrote about for after my meal.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Update: Record Store Day, Earth Day, Bre Aid, Lollapalooza

1) Record Store Day at Grimey’s was awesome. I saw a great performance by the Avett Brothers, bought “It’s Blitz” the new album by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, bought “Separation Sunday” by The Hold Steady and 10 used CD’s (at an amazing $2 a pop). Nashville is pretty lucky to have several great music stores in my opinion. It should also be noted that Grimey’s got some pub in a recent Spin article about the 15 best indie record stores in America (side note: I’ve been to five of them including Goner, Grimey’s, Ear-x-tacy, Reckless, and Amoeba)

2) Earth Day was pretty cool. This event was definitely improved over last year. Exhibits of note included some cool electric cars, a neat booth about invasive species, and the local farmers. I also got to see some great performances by Autovaughn and Charles "Wigg" Walker and the Dynamites. I picked up a copy of Local Table while I was there, reading it makes me want to join a CSA (Consumer supported agriculture). These are programs where an individual purchases “shares” of a farm from a local farmer. In return the farmer gives the shareholder a portion of the harvest, equivalent to the number of shares the individual owns. It sounds like a great way to get fresh, local produce on a consistent basis. My worries are that I may not be able to consume my share fast enough and I could possibly get tired of eating the same vegetables over and over, especially in the winter months when fewer crops are harvested. My Earth Day Pledges were to sign up for a few kilowatt hours of green power with the local electric company and to get off as many junk mail lists as possible.

3) I think Bre-Aid was a great success. This event was a fundraiser for my friend Bre Andrews. Bre, who is 28 years old was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She was 15 weeks pregnant at the time. Bre has been going to her treatments and is expecting to deliver in a few weeks. The treatments haven’t been cheap though and her friends and family have been rallying to help her out. It was cool to see her small town get behind her and put an event like this on. I’m guessing that somewhere between 300 to 400 people showed up for the event. If everyone contributed the suggested $20 then there was probably well over $6,000 raised.

4) Bought my Lollapalooza tickets today. The lineup didn’t blow me away, but it’s pretty solid. The bands that I’m most excited about seeing are mostly bands I have seen before like the Beastie Boys, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Band of Horses, TV on the Radio, The Decemberists, and The Gaslight Anthem. There are several bands that I’ve never seen I’m interested in, including Janes Addiction, Snoop Dogg, Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, Of Montreal, and Fleet Foxes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flight of the Conchords!

I'm heading down to the Ryman on Friday afternoon to see New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo accapella-rap-funk-comedy-folk dou. I'm really looking forward to the show. I'm not quite sure what to expect, but it should be a good time. Enjoy a few videos:

The Most Beautiful Girl (in the room)

If your into it

And of course Business Time

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pearls Before Swine: Danny Donkey

Danny Donkey is my favorite Pearls Before Swine character. Danny Donkey is a character in Rat's childrens book. He is minanthropic, loves to steal, has no morals, and only cares about drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.