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Birthday Dinner in Nashville

Marche! It is the best!

South Beach-focused long weekend recap (LONG)

I used this board extensively last weekend while figuring out where to eat at the tail end of my honeymoon (arrived Friday, left Monday), and left fat and happy. Wanted to share the wealth--hope this is helpful to someone!
1. Arrived early at the hotel on Ocean Drive South Beach and immediately went to La Sandwicherie to get a late lunch while we ate. We both had prosciutto and fresh mozz on a baguette with everything (mine was less the mayo, though). This was an awesome and auspicious beginning. I think you could get pretty much any ingredient (including just avocado for a vegan sandwich) and it would kill, though. The veggies and dressing were the true stars. It was like "if Subway sandwiches were actually good"--in that the style of sandwich is very sub-shop-ish, but the ingredients are truly superlative.
2. Got a little drunk at the lobby bar at the Betsy (BLT Steak, I guess). We had the Paloma (tequila, grapefruit, smoked honey--tasted almost savory from the smoked honey), Apricot Pop (vodka, st. germain, cava, apricot--fruity, sweet, and mild), Lincoln Road (raspberry vodka, creme de mur, blackberry--less sweet than the Apricot Pop), and the Basil Haven (gin, cucumber, st. germain, basil--very summery. Had 2 of those).
3. Staggered to Puerto Sagua for a late dinner. We ordered the bistec empanizada special (subbed maduros and rice for fries/salad), ropa vieja (also with rice & maduros), and tres leches for dessert. All were excellent; maduros were the best we had all weekend. Tres leches was on the less-sweet side.
4. Saturday brunch at Yardbird, whose menu seemed to have been designed expressly for me. We had trouble ordering--there was horse-trading involved. We ended up with the fried green tomato BLT (I loved, h. thought maybe too much pimiento cheese, obviously wrong as there is no such thing), watermelon and heirloom tomato salad with grilled farmer's cheese, biscuits with strawberry jam and honey butter (I had no complaints with these, as they were moist, soft, and somewhat but not too crumbly--less butter flavor than some, though), and the fried chicken, which I thought was awesome.
5. I made h. walk to My Ceviche around 6:00 PM for a post-beach, pre-late-dinner snack of grilled shrimp tacos. They ruled. Corn tortilla and the aioli-ish salsa, as the counter girl recommended/decided, respectively. I wish they had had toronja jarritos, but they ruled nevertheless.
6. Late dinner at the bar at Pubbelly. We got the dates with chorizio, goat crema and bacon (probably the high point), the heirloom tomato w/ tofu and blueberry salad, the burratina with cabbage/plum/pickled onion/ham slaw (slaw was more mild than expected), pork belly & scallion dumplings (delicious--weirdly reminiscent, flavor-wise, of a hard pretzel), and a special of "gambas a la planxa" (big old shrimp. We chickened out on the heads because I am a longtime seafood frowner and even getting me to eat shrimp has been something of a triumph). H. also had some oysters, and we had a local draft wheat beer out of Tampa.
7. Stopped at Frieze for ice cream while walking back from Pubbelly to Ocean Drive. Got the Bosh Frieze special or similar--PB ice cream with fudge swirl and peanuts. Tasted like a Snickers ice cream bar, which I guess tells you that the caramel is more or less superfluous.
8. Sunday brunch at Khong River House. Killer thai iced coffee and tea. Best I've had in a LONG time (my Manhattan neighborhood is more Chinese-focused than Thai-focused, sob, so we don't get good Thai that often). Rotisserie pork buns, Dave Chang-style. I always like them, and that didn't change. Crispy egg salad with fish sauce was awesome--the egg was apparently "poached and then flash-fried." Not sure if repeatable in a home kitchen, but Lord, I hope so. Khao Soi Gai--chicken curry noodle bowl. ENORMOUS. Could not finish it. Very mellow and yummy. I think they keep the A/C so turned up so they can justify keeping this on the menu when it's 90+ degrees out.
9. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink: our sole non-SoBe outing, and totally worth it. A+ to the chips & dip, A++ to the crispy hominy, A+ to the Jungle Bird (Cruzan blackstrap rum, pineapple, lime, Campari), A+ to the egg yolks with gruyere and tomato, A to the avocado salad with frisee and chiles, A+ to the bread (stretchy and gluteny!), A to the pork belly with kimchi, A++ to the grilled leg of lamb with peaches, cucumber, yogurt, mint and cilantro, A+ to the chocolate cremoso, A++ to the passionfruit pot de creme with coconut donuts and lemon/key lime marmalade (I was FULL and I could have taken down a second one, NO PROBLEM). Truly awesome. Fast as can be, in terms of the food coming out, as well. Pain in the ass getting a cab back to SoBe, though.
10. Monday morning breakfast at the counter Playa Cafe. H. got the breakfast special (scrambled eggs, fries, ham, cuban toast, cafe con leche) but I killed it with the desayuno centroamericano with fried eggs (over easy without even asking! Perfect!), as mine came with a tortilla (yum), black beans (mm hmm), and QUESO FRITO OH YES INDEED (truly spectacular state-fair-style goodness). I also got a guanabana slurpee (smoothie with water, no milk) which was solidly excellent. Prices were insanely low, so we left a 50% tip. As you do. Only one slight snafu from the language barrier, but it didn't seem to faze them, and their English was very good otherwise.
11. Managed to stuff most of a pan dulce from Charlotte Bakery into my mouth on the way back to the hotel to pack and get out of town. Perfect texture. Sad I wasn't more hungry for empanadas at any point. Next time.
12. Miami Airport Cafe Versailles on our way out: we managed to pick up some empanadas after all! Ham and cheese (fine), meat (AWESOME, these are filled with picadillo! With olives! And egg! Why didn't anyone tell me?), guava (awesome!), and guava and cheese (also awesome!).
So, locals: how did we do? Where should we go next time?

Asparagus Frittata with Horseradish Sour Cream

This was delicious, and traveled well for lunch at work the next day.

May 21, 2012
dashrashi in Recipes

Matzo Brei with Roasted Cherries

This was seriously amazing. The cherries would also be awesome on greek yogurt or a fior di latte ice cream. We saved it for the last morning of Passover, and it was an awesome way to go out.

May 21, 2012
dashrashi in Recipes

Hey, It's Not So Bad

Spinach and broccoli for me! I still think raw broccoli is gross, but damn, super garlicky spinach or creamed spinach or spinach and artichoke dip is a far, far cry from the frozen stuff my mom used to heat up and serve as-is. Broccoli I don't think I even tried; my brothers and I had a strong, strong aversion to things that were both green and cooked, and let's be real, the smell can be challenging for a picky eater. The texture also squicked me out--it seemed...vaguely cancerous. I finally started eating (cooked) broccoli when I ordered some highly-recommended dish from a food truck in college. I was very dismayed to open my styrofoam tray and find that the primary vegetable was broccoli. I started with a stem and was incredibly pleased to find out that whatever magic alchemical mix of sriracha and other hot sauces were in the "spicy chicken" made broccoli not just tolerable but WONDERFUL. That's still pretty much the only way I eat broccoli--stir fried, with sriracha and soy sauce. (And I get to feel virtuous for eating cruciferous vegetables. Cauliflower is still too smelly.)

Nov 10, 2011
dashrashi in General Topics

Restaurant plans in Charleston and Savannah; How should I change my "eating itinerary?"

I found Hominy Grill to be overrated. However, Jestine's Kitchen is one of my top 5 restaurants ever, anywhere. There's a line but totally, totally worth it. The fried green tomatoes there are the best I've had anywhere, period.

Hominy Grill
207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403

Jestine's Kitchen
251 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29401

Apr 28, 2011
dashrashi in Southeast

Where to find the very best authentic French Croissant in Nashville?

I loved the macarons I got at Provence in Green Hills. Better than the schmancy ones I used to get at a gourmet chocolate shop in Cambridge. Who knew?

Boiled Peanuts--Nashville area?

Just wanted to update for posterity--I found bagged boiled peanuts in the fresh produce section at the Publix on Harding. They had regular and spicy--both good, but the regular really hit the spot. I just heated them up in the microwave and they were more than serviceable.

Boiled Peanuts--Nashville area?

Does anyone know of a place where I can get boiled peanuts in or around Nashville (preferably not from a can, s'il-vous plait)? This could either be at a restaurant or more, uh, take-out style. (Read: side of the road is A-Okay.) As an alternative, does anyone have any leads on where I could get raw/green (i.e. not dried or roasted) peanuts so I can bamboozle my boyfriend into cooking up a batch? I currently live in East Nashville, but I'm willing to drive a ways (45-60 minutes) when the craving hits.

Or geez, if you have a canned brand you love, by all means, tell me what it is!


Moving to Nashville--where should I live?

After spending the first 25 years of my life on the Northeast Corridor, I am moving to Nashville for one year over Memorial Day weekend. I'll be working downtown, and I'm not much of a driver, so I'm hoping to avoid having to buy a car. (My partner does have a car for big trips to the grocery store and such, but really we're urban-types who are used to walking/public-transiting it everywhere.) Are there any specific neighborhoods that I should be considering for the apartment search? Ideally, there would be a corner grocery or similar within a 5-10 minute walk, one (or more) casual dinner-y place within a 15 minute walk, and, in an ideal world, a weekend breakfast place within a 15-20 minute walk. What neighborhoods have enough of a walkable feel, good food options, and are downtown-accessible? Or am I going to have to suck it up, buy a car and get used to driving for the 9 PM ice cream run?

Best Burrito in Boston

Felipe's is probably my favorite in the area. (Have had Chipotle, Qdoba, Boca Grande, Tacos Lupita, Anna's...something else I'm forgetting.) I like the tinga de polla best.

Dec 21, 2009
dashrashi in Greater Boston Area

Philly Raves and "Whats?"

Steve is my cousin, and I STILL prefer Jim's. The key is Whiz, though. Provolone does make it tasteless. Whiz makes it taste like the world's most decadent carnival-meets-your-first-McDonald's-experience food.

Nov 30, 2009
dashrashi in Pennsylvania

Recs for a nonthreatening Christmas Eve dinner?

Courtesy posting: my aunt is taking her aged mother out to dinner on Christmas Eve. Said aunt is from New York City and has no idea where to take Aged Mother.

--Nothing too adventurous, cuisine-wise; Aged Mother is leery of things as exotic as sushi.
--Located in Center City, the closer to Rittenhouse Sq., the better. (A short cab ride is also doable.)
--Not too beef/meat centered. Fish is the preferred protein, but again, sushi is over the line.
--Nice decor--Aged Mother appreciates a sleek look. Modern is preferable to frou-frou, but no place where the lack of ambience is outweighed by the quality of the food. (I will never understand this, but yes, Virginia, decor is just as important as the food.) Aunt said: "like the lobby of a W hotel, or something."
--QUIET--we were at Parc and both Aunt and Aged Mother found the noise level bothersome and unwanted.
--Needs to be open on Christmas Eve.
--Both Aunt and Aged Mother are sort of birdlike eaters. Heartier, more rustic fare is not what they're after.

I suggested Tinto, Estia, and 10 Arts, though I haven't been to any of those, and haven't lived in Philadelphia for a few years now. Where else might fit the bill?

Thanks in advance!

Nov 30, 2009
dashrashi in Pennsylvania

going to Craigie tonight ,11/22

That's not quite correct. Although they don't advertise it, you can get nearly all of the bar menu at CH in the dining room--the exception, of course, is the Cuban. That is only available in the bar area.

Nov 30, 2009
dashrashi in Greater Boston Area

Flower Show Chinatown Recs

Ditto Banana Leaf. I really enjoyed the food there when I went last summer--I think I had something Drunken-Noodle like (called something else), and it was nicely spicy. I had to keep blowing my nose, a hereditary response to spicy food, and my own personal barometer for when something is spicy enough. (It's a cross to bear, the blowing my nose but still really liking spicy food. Very sad.)

Mar 03, 2009
dashrashi in Pennsylvania

Lechmere T Stop

Actually, the kheer at the Indian kiosk is really nice. Not too rosy, just gentle and appropriately sweet.

Feb 06, 2009
dashrashi in Greater Boston Area

Jan 1st food in Philly?

I just called Marigold Kitchen, Zahav, Bindi, Lolita, Xochitl, Tiffin, and Distrito. All are closed. Anyone have any ideas?

Jan 01, 2009
dashrashi in Pennsylvania

best cherry pie in boston?

Petsi Pies in Somerville has a great cherry crumb.

Nov 15, 2008
dashrashi in Greater Boston Area

Where are the great sit-down breakfast (not brunch) spots in Cambridge!?

Agreed, although my special plug is definitely for the Belgian waffle. I'm not a waffle person at ALL, very much an omelet person by and large, but their waffle is unreal. It's like an enormous pillow-soft-with-soft-but-crispy-edges sugar cookie.

I've also DIY'd a really lovely omelet to approximate one I had a bajillion years ago at French Roast in the Village: onions, goat cheese, and kalamata olives. Zoe's is pretty much the only place I've ever been able to fully recreate it since they're the only place I've seen with all three options on the omelet options board.

Nov 05, 2008
dashrashi in Greater Boston Area

I need to find a restaurant in Bethlehem for

Without knowing anything else about her, I'd say the Apollo Grill on Broad--slightly upscale, but friendly and culinarily accessible.

Aug 05, 2008
dashrashi in Pennsylvania

Best Thai in New Haven?

I miss Chapel Street. While the Jasmine cart on Church is pretty damn good, my number one Thai restaurant in the Have is Bangkok Gardens. Freshman year I usually switched off between that and Thai Taste (TT has better tom kha gai and fried bananas, but BG has better everything else), but I stopped going to Thai Taste after a dinner where a person across the room found the largest, grossest bug in her food. Ick.

The apps at BG are great--great satay, totally yummy spring rolls, awesome triangle tofu. The yum nua (citrusy beef salad) is awesome, the drunken chicken kicks ass, and the drunken noodle is amazing too. Other recs: rad na, pad see ew, pineapple rice. Also, the people are nice, and it's always nice to sit in their atrium. I really miss BG.

My BF liked Thai Pan Asian (esp. the lunch buffet), but I thought it was a little greasier than BG. Never tried Pad Thai or Indochine Pavilion, but heard good things about the latter.

Lunch/carts near 7th and Sansom?

I'm working in the Curtis Center this summer, and lunch has mostly been limited to sandwiches from Old Nelson's on 7th and Chestnut, or making the trek up to Capogiro when I can't go another day without it.

I'm looking for awesome, relatively cheap, and relatively quick lunch options. Reading Terminal is too far a walk for an everyday kind of thing, but I'm willing to trek a bit--say 15 minutes walk at the outside. Take-out is vastly better than sit-down.

Specifically, does anyone know of any particularly good carts in the area? Ethnic food is better than sausage carts or hot dogs, but if you know a fantastic one of the latter, I'd definitely be interested. I adore food carts, but I don't like to waste my time, money, and appetite on sub-par ones. Call me picky.


Jun 24, 2008
dashrashi in Pennsylvania

Kosher for Passover in Cambridge/Somerville?

It's my first Passover in Massachusetts, and I realized I have no idea which grocery stores I should go to to stock up for the holiday. A quick perusal of the board tells me that the Butcherie in Brookline is Pesach ground zero, but anything beyond that? I'm willing to travel a bit, but if there are any supermarkets on this side of the river with large KFP sections (I go through something like 5 containers of Temptee cream cheese during the holiday), please let me know posthaste!

Apr 13, 2008
dashrashi in Greater Boston Area