Charleston: McCrady's & Gin Joint

Added on by Tabitha.

There are several cities on my travel bucket list, one of which is Charleston, SC. I was fortunate enough to have a reason to go a few months ago for a summit, and I ended up rooming with my friend Beth who is a fantastic travel companion and food buddy.

I'd never been to Charleston before so I left 98% of the restaurant planning to her and she didn't let me down. But I got to pick the restaurant we went to our first evening there - McCrady's.

Being the professional eaters we are, we each ordered different dishes for our 4-course tasting that we both would enjoy so we could share and taste it all. The buddy system works, yall. Try it.

We loved the beef tartare - it had a very earthy flavor to it, most likely from the hay-roasted beets. By the way, it's super red in the picture not because of my editing but because of the beet. The ribeye I ordered for my entree had a pistachio and lime puree that I wish I could replicate - it was like a sexy, buttery umami that went so well with the beef. I think it's safe to say that McCrady's Chef de Cuisine, Daniel Heinze is a genius.

Best part of the meal was Beth's dessert - the Frozen Parfait of Grits, Geranium and Preserved Dewberry that, when it arrived, had an odd and vinegary scent to it but once she cracked into the crisp layer over the grit ice cream, something happened and suddenly it was like we were rolling around in a fragrant, floral garden. It was SO good! If "pretty" had a flavor, that dessert would be it.

After dinner, we headed over to the Gin Join for one more round of dessert and drinks (water for me) with the lovely ladies from Hester & Cook. Beth ordered the peanut butter chocolate bar for us to share. Don't let the innocent name fool you, that chocolate bar was decadent and fun to eat because it had sea salt, dulce de leche, pretzels and pop rocks!

All-in-all, a great start to Charleston.

Pardon the grainy pictures - McCrady's is a pretty swanky place so we had to be really quick/stealthy with pictures and there was no time for composition and I refuse to use the flash. For the rest of our meals and the trip to Charleston, visit Beth's recap here.

Potato Head Folk: Singapore

Added on by Tabitha.

There are so many things I want to tell you all about my trip back to Singapore! My sister got married and that day itself warrants two blog posts so I'll tackle that later. For now, I'll start with the easy highlights which, naturally, are about food.

I spent most of my time tagging along with my sister to her appointments and we met up with her colleague at Potato Head Folk for some burgers. The local food in Singapore can't be beat, but sometimes you just want a good burger and good western food.

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A little history: Potato Head first opened in Jarkarta (Potato Head Garage) then expanded in to Bali where they have a boutique hotel and three bars on their property. If you're in Seminyak in Bali, I cannot recommend it enough for a meal or just drinks but most of all, for a killer view of the sunset.

Their third location is Potato Head Folk in Singapore. It's a restaurant and bar set-up and they'd JUST opened the weekend before so I'm glad we managed to get a table!

We split 2 burgers, slaw and something called Naughty Fries (Spiced béarnaise, beef chilli, crisp shallots, parmesan & sesame seeds). We weren't quite sure how big the burgers were so we figured sharing was a good bet. Given all the food we got, we were full but I can vouch that the burgers are the perfect size for one person, just get some sides to share.

The slaw was delicious - really crisp, fresh veggies, not overly creamy and refreshing enough that it balanced out those decadent fries.

For our burgers, we got the Honky Tonk (I kinda had to!!) which is a soya milk fried chicken, coleslaw, lettuce, hot sauce & den miso mayo, and the Burning Man, a burger with a 150g beef patty, cheese, roasted jalapeño relish, hot ketchup & dashi mayo. The Honky Tonk was the favorite.

Three Buns makes their own sodas and they apparently have really good cocktails but, as you know, I don't drink so I'll have to take my friends' words for it.

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Potato Head takes up the entire corner unit shophouse with Three Buns' kitchen on the ground floor and tall tables for dining or drinks if you don't mind the heat. The next floor up is set up like a living room and this is the restaurant/dining area. I loved mid-century looking furniture against the colorful walls and accents. The next floor up is the bar that's by reservation only but they do have a rooftop bar (these are growing in popularity in Singapore) that I think doesn't require reservations.

It's a neat little spot in the Keong Saik area that already has lots of new, trendy restaurants and bars. Burnt Ends is nearby, then there's The Library, one of those password only, speakeasy type places that's been there for years and is still thriving.

Next time we're back in Singapore, I'll be taking The Husband to Three Buns. And who knows, maybe I'll try a cocktail!

Potato Head Folk/Three Buns | 36 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089143

Goodbye Sam's Sushi, thanks for the memories

Added on by Tabitha.

My first job in Nashville was with Lightning 100 and we were downtown at the L&C Tower. At the time, The Husband (then The Boyfriend) also worked downtown and we'd go have lunch together at Sam's Sushi. We ate there a lot, either together or solo or with friends. I even brought my parents there when they visited and they were very tickled by it and impressed at how generous he was with his food.

Sam was always friendly with us, in spite of his nickname being the Sushi Nazi due to his strict ordering rules and how he'd sometimes tell people they were ordering too much. Everybody has a Sam's Sushi Bar story, and here are mine.

This one time I was dining there, a rather heavy woman (heavier than Sam) walked in and proceeded to order not one but 2 of his lunch sets which, honestly, were already of an ample portion size.

He looked at her order slip, looked at her, look at the order slip again and said "I give you one first, then if you're still hungry I give you another. This is too much food." He saw me watching and winked. It was really hard for me to contain the giggles.

He'd tell us he was a socialist, that's why he never closed even on holidays. When it was just us, he'd say stuff about Americans and it made me wonder if he talked about the rest of us to Americans. I always ordered the same thing and It got to a point where he would decide for me so I'd just write on the slip "Lunch Special, you pick" and he'd just give me a combination of two of the three things I always ordered - either a combo of crunchy shrimp and spicy tuna or eel.

My favorite and fondest memory of all my interactions with Sam was on this one day I'd gone in at my usual 11:30am lunch time, and it was fairly packed but not crazy so against better judgement, I started to write my order down. He called out to me and bellowed "If you're my friend you'll come back later. Come back at 1."

The only thought going through my head was "aww, I'm your friend??" I obediently left went back at 1.

Anyway, Lightning 100 moved to Marathon Village in 2005 and that was the end of my lunches at Sam's. The Husband and I decided to go back for lunch on a Saturday a few months later and when we walked in, he looked up from behind the bar and stared at us for a second before going, "YOU'RE STILL TOGETHER????"

That was more than 8 years ago and, regretfully, The Husband and I kept talking about going back to visit, to see if he'd still remember us but just never did. Well, I just found out that he's officially closed down Sam's Sushi Bar for good so we'll never find out if he still remembers us.

Photo courtesy of The Tennessean & Jen Todd

Photo courtesy of The Tennessean & Jen Todd

Or maybe he won't. But we'll always remember him and fondly so. Thanks for the sushi, Sam. Nashville wishes you well.

This week's eats! Iron Fork & Bao Down Happy Hour

Added on by Tabitha.
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It's time to see some of the city's best chefs duke it out in the local arena we fondly know as Iron Fork. Iron Fork starts at 6pm this Wednesday, April 16th at Vanderbilt's Commodore Ballroom. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased in advance (though they may cut it off) and at the door (credit card only).

This is the seventh year for this event, and each year it just gets better and better so I'm really excited to go. This year's competition is hosted by Arnold Myint.

Competing chefs are:

  • Kristen Gregory - Firefly Grille
  • Matt Bolus - The 404 Kitchen
  • James Peisker & Chris Carter - Porter Road Butchers
  • Hal Holden-Bache - Lockeland Table

Participating restaurants include some of my personal favorites like Lucky Bamboo (this is their first year participating), Olive & Sinclair and (a recent addition to a list of likes here in town) Antica who I hope will serve their pork belly appetizer.

Other restaurants:

  • Boca Loca
  • Amerigo
  • Two Bits
  • Drake's
  • Qdoba
  • Nashville Jam Company
  • Salsa
  • Jim 'N Nicks
  • Bar Louie
  • Music City Tippler
  • Nashville Farmers' Market
  • The District Bar & Kitchen
  • Gaylord Opryland
  • Cafe Fundamental
  • Ben & Jerry's
  • Mere Bulles
  • Monell's
  • The Art Institute of Tennesse-Nashville
  • Ginger Thai

See you there!!


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I was so excited to see that someone was starting a bao truck here in Nashville. People are embracing Chinese food and it's awesome that someone is introducing them to more. Baos are snacks where I'm from. Some of you might be more familiar with the type of bao that folds and traditionally has braised pork belly in it. Ramen houses like to serve those, these baos are more like dumplings in that they're filled with.. um, a filling (usually meat or veggie or a sweet bean paste) and wrapped with the fluffy dough then steamed.

When I went to Bao Down's happy hour last week (they'll be at Kohana in Green Hills every Tuesday this month) I tried all three - char siu (barbeque pork), chicken and a mushroom bao. All three were delicious, but what stood out were the flavors. Everything they make is from scratch, they source their meat from a farm in Tennessee and because they use premium ingredients, each bao is about $3 - 3.50. What I loved the most was the dough - it was perfect. Good chew, fluffy, you can peel the skin off it, something good baos should have, and it wasn't dry or too ... doughy.

Anyway, give it a try, go see them at Kohana. Happy hour starts at 5pm.