Friday, January 20, 2012

My Secret Sushi Place

Okay, I really don't want to tell anyone about this place, because I go here when I want to get away and have a nice, quiet, delicious meal.  But it really isn't fair to not talk about it.
The atmosphere is calm.
The sushi is fresh.
mine.  mine.  mine!
Okay, here goes:  Zumi sushi Japanese kitchen.  It's on Belcourt Ave in Hillsboro Village.

Some of my favorite appetizers are the sauteed edamame and the avocado tempura.  If you like spicy (REAL spicy) the thai fighter soup is fantastic!
All the sushi is fresh and delicious.  I love the black and gold which is topped with spicy krab and the red dragon which has a sweetness to it that's addictive.

Zumi is great for kids too.  They have a kids menu, but my boys usually only order crunchy shrimp and cali crunch rolls.

My daughter always orders plain noodles which drives me crazy since I'm a flavor hog.  She loves the chocolate chip cookie that comes with the kid's meal.

When it's gray and cold outside and I don't feel like cooking, I pick my kids up from school and say, "Suprise!  We are going to zumi!"  That brightens everyone's dreary day.  Especially mine.

Get on a local roll.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


What can I say about this place?  SAN ANTONIO TACO COMPANY is legendary.  If you are or were a college student in Nashville then it's almost a requirement to hang out here.  Maybe because it's the best hang-over food in town.  Don't expect anything fancy.  This place is a dive in the best possible sense of the word.    Somehow I will never tire of or outgrow this place.  I started going here when I was in college and I still frequent it once a week.

Some favorite tacos are the bean and cheese, the crispy, and the chicken fajita.  The enchiladas are comforting to the tummy and the cheese dip is a necessity.

My friend and I claim that we are the reason they finally put bowls of wing sauce and ranch on the menu.
I went through a seven year phase that started in college where I wasn't eating meat.  I had been thoroughly grossed-out and swore it off (a story for another blog).  I loved the taste of chicken wings but didn't want the chicken.  My friend and I would ask for wing sauce and ranch on the side of our tacos and we would  proceed to dip our tortilla chips in them.  Don't knock it...  At first, the employees would look at us like we had jalapenos growing out of our heads, but since we were in that place once a week (AT LEAST), they began to get used to our strange request and even started expecting it.  But there was one problem:  they were giving us small ramekins of sauce and ranch which are hard to dip in.  We asked for larger bowls.  A few years later it showed up as an option on the menu.  Of course, my friend Beauchamp mocks me for thinking it's all because of me, but I stand by my claim.  I still order my two old friends:  sauce and ranch, but now I drizzle them on my tacos.  yum!
And I ate there today for lunch.

Disclaimer:  My meat-free phase was not a health-based decision, obviously.  I was eating wing sauce and ranch!

Eat some local sauce.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Perfect Christmas

When my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas I said, "Take me to THE PERFECT PAIR".  Old Gringo, Vera Wang Lavender, Dolce Vita, Frye, and many other hip boots.  Jewelry from featured artists.  It's so unique that when you wear it you feel like an artist.  The store is really like Heaven for cool girls.
Every time you see owners Whitney Dunn and Casey Stribling they look good.  Not like they took all day to get ready, but how you would want to look every day if you could just get up and throw something on and be fabulous.
The shoes are not your typical, boring, everybody-has-them-already shoes.  If you buy something here you will ALWAYS get compliments on it every time you wear it.  Whether it's shoes, boots, jewelry or one of the soft leathery bags, you will look and feel as fabulous as owners Whitney and Casey when you have one of these on your being.

Luxury Rebel boots.  They are like boot origami.  You can fold the layers down in many ways to take on different looks or just leave them up.  loooooove.   Also love these cool gray beaded bracelets.  I like the St. Christopher medals on them.

Vera Wang Lavender wedge boots.  so comfortable.  Check out the cool zipper detail on the back.

Leather and pearl necklaces: tough yet sweet.   Wear them with t-shirts.

I love this store because they are always changing brands and mixing things up.  They literally just buy what they love & trust me, it's all cool.

Shop local,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Warmth of Mexico

It was freezing on Sunday night.  I was meeting my friend Stacey for dinner to exchange Christmas gifts.  I wanted to go somewhere cozy and comforting.  
CHAGO'S CANTINA on Belmont Blvd.   The atmosphere is snug and I ordered a coffee with Bailey's to add to the warmth.  
This is not your typical numbered-meal Mexican place.  It's casual, cool vibe allows you to come here both for lunch or before a rocking night on the town.  It holds its own among the other hip places in small houses along the street.  
  Along with the chips and salsa they serve you, we ordered guacamole and we were going to order the queso dip, but then we saw the bean and queso dip.  
Okay, so I was going to take pictures of it, but I was so caught up in how good it was that we ate it all before I could get a pic.  That's embarrassing.  
The fresh guacamole is handmade to order and along with the salsa I was satisfied before we even ordered our entrees.  
We ordered enchiladas.  I got the vegetarian ones:  spinach, mushrooms and beans.  At a lot of Mexican restaurants when it says there is spinach in something, it usually comes with a tiny amount of canned spinach in it.  These enchiladas were stuffed full of fresh spinach and they were delicious.  You have a choice of salsa verde or salsa rojo and I chose the green.  Our very accommodating server suggested it.  He was right.  
There are many other specialties and a large list of tacos on the menu.  There's even a kids' menu.  It's authentic Mexican and there are a lot of interesting dishes, but if you just want a bean burrito, you can get that too.  

So, Here are the enchiladas.  They were so good that the next day I couldn't stop talking about them.  
My kids were annoyed at me.  
Because of the fact that my son Jack's favorite food is Mexican, I promised to take them here soon.
And I will keep that promise!
You must go.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A little East in the West

My friend from New York came in town today.  Hmmmm... where to take him for dinner?  He comes to Nashville once every few months so he's been to a lot of places.  What's new?  What's tasty?  
What's cool? I mean, he is a native Manhattanite after all... THE WILD HARE.  
The first time I went here I was thinking, "seriously?", it's not much to look at from the outside and you may fly right by it if you're going the speed limit.  I'm not knocking the west side of Nashville, but White Bridge Rd is not the first street that comes to mind when I think "culinary".  
Every time I've been to The Wild Hare, I've been greeted before I can get all the way in the door.  It's like they were expecting me.  They are so friendly that it makes me feel like I'm one of them (trust me, totally cool).  The employees have a hip vibe that I usually associate with East Nashville.  It's funny that they work in this little wooden house on White Bridge Rd.  
At night, the bar has a hang-out vibe that's very welcoming.  There's a long wooden table running through the middle of the restaurant where singles can sit or groups can share a table together.  Lunchtime is just as delicious, and it's such a casual vibe that I can bring my kids.  Killer mac 'n cheese!
Which brings me to the good part... the food.  First of all, I never eat deviled eggs except when someone is making them and forces me to try them to see if they need something.  I'm not a big fan of mayo.  The first time my husband and I went to The Wild Hare we ordered them.  I've gotten them every time since.  They are perfectly mild and topped with melted gouda.  Oh my gosh.  The eggs are even plated with some homemade pickled okra (one of my favs) and roasted red bell peppers.  MUST EAT.
The gourmet pizzas are topped with deliciously unique ingredients (or make your own).  The fat burgers are extremely satisfying and served with addictive french fries.
This was the special that night.  Panko crusted salmon over parmesan risotto and sauteed spinach.  Always a perfect combination.  I think I licked my plate.  
 Local produce is used in this tasty grilled vegetable salad with green goddess dressing.
Roasted chicken with a cranberry glaze.  Even the white meat was moist (I don't love that word but it has to be used in this instance).

Okay, I love brussel sprouts but even someone with an aversion to them would gobble these up!
That's mashed potatoes in the picture also.  Uh huh.  

Check out this joint and support another local business.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love your Locals

Okay, so I decided to start this blog because I was invited to a restaurant with my brother's family for my niece's birthday.  It was a large "chain" restaurant that has the reputation of having better food than most.  It was a nightmare.  The servers were rude.  The food was horrible and it was extremely expensive!!  My husband and I left the place baffled.  Why would we pay that much for food when the low-quality ingredients were probably shot up with chemicals, shipped from far away, and pre-prepared in a factory!

Now, I have two reasons for this blog:

1.  I've always found that I prefer "mom and pop" restaurants, boutiques and other establishments because the larger places make me feel like I'm in a herd of cattle or sheep, just doing what everyone else does.  I also don't like big crowds, big parking lots, and big lines.  I know I sound a little like Howard Stern right now, but he's right.  Sometimes the thought of going to a chain restaurant or a chain store makes me want to never leave home!
2.  I have a soft spot in my heart for small business owners.  They start with a dream.  They usually risk most or all of their money, sacrifice a lot or all of their time, and lose much or all of their sleep.  We all know that the percentage of how many small businesses fail is high.  Don't you want to support a business that actually cares about their product and wants you to be happy as a customer?

Don'tcha think we should slow down and enjoy our lives a little?  Live in the moment!

I will be making recommendations and reviews of local places that I visit.  Maybe you've already been there, maybe you've never heard of it.  Either way, it's a good way to connect to your city.

Get to know Nashville,