Where are your favorite places to buy ingredients in and around Nashville?
As a relative newcomer, here's what I've found so far:
Freshest fish - Harris Teeter
Best everyday seasonal veggies - Farmer's Market
Best selection of Indian ingredients - International Market at Farmer's Market
Pleasantest little joint to shop - Produce Place
Coffee - I've just had my taste buds piqued by Drew's Brews, the house coffee at Sips (new place at Riverside & McGavock in Inglewood). I understand Drew was roaster for some years for Bongo Java. What I tasted had really interesting notes - berries, acids, not your run of the mill cup of joe.
Best whole grain bread - Great Harvest Bread Co. in Green Hills
I'd love to find a good source for Asian ingredients like mirin, rayu and rice wine vinegar and also a good source of Contintental ingredients. I just recently became a fan of champagne vinegar, banyuls vinegar, and salt-dried Tunisian capers - wow! - and would love to explore more of these kinds of ingredients.
Also, any leads on good fresh corn tortillas? In Chicago you can pick up a small pack for a quarter, often still hot from the tortilleria (sp.) and full of flavor. Here I see packs of 100 (?!) corn tortillas next to the smaller packs of flour tortillas.
Looking forward to hearing about everyone's faves-
Stopped by Fido the other evening and they had new menu items. I tried the green chile coconut tamales with espresso mole and came away happy. Three 6" "fingers" of grilled green
I look forward to trying their new fish tacos, too.
Hey, this is fantastic! Very generous of you. Got my work cut out for me. So first I think I'll try Silver Sands, and also see if I can snag one of those Fattoush's specials.
What are everyone's current favorite Nashville dives? You know, the places where the atmosphere, the quirkiness, the funk and the food all combine to make something just right?
Here's what made me think of it: had dinner at Koto on the corner of 7th and Commerce last Saturday and completely enjoyed it. 5 gallon bucket propping the front door open, a non-categorizable mix of patrons in the front and the back. I had a nice bowl of wakame salad, and some cold soba yamakake (topped with grated mountain potato and fresh wedges of tuna) which I embellished with liberal amounts of kim chee, and washed down with cold sake. It was a happy-making experience.
Is it the best Japanese I ever had? Nope. (There is a place in Chicago, Katsu's on Peterson, where the sushi is so fresh there's a flavor like drinking fresh spring water when you eat it - phenomenal. The testure is a sensual experience in its own right. The chef won't open the restaurant that night if he failed to find fish fresh enough to meet his standards that morning. But I digress...)
But best or not, I'll be glad to go back to Koto the next time because the the waitstaff is friendly without making a fuss, the food is good workman Korean/Japanese fare, and the overall experience is as comfortable as broken-in boots.
Other Nashville dive recs, anyone?
We've had lots of good vegetarian so far in Nashville, with Woodlands being near the top of the list. They offer a delightful range of dishes, and avoid the swimming-in-ghee syndrome that ruins so many Indian restaurant meals.
We've also found good, fresh vegetarian fare at Zola's, Mad Platter, Marche, Baja Burrito, Fido (Eggplant Tower!), Parco, and Sunset. We're continually disappointed by the Mexican food here.