Things To Do In Nashville This Weekend

Added on by Tabitha.

Need ideas for things to do this weekend? Here's a list and I recommend hitting as many of them as you can!

Friday 10/9 - Fireside Chat at Green Door Gourmet (LINK)

If you haven't been out to the farm at Green Door Gourmet, this is a great chance for you to do so  while meeting two people who are huge influences on southern food. "The rice man" Dr. David Shields and Nathalie Dupree (the Southern Grand Dame herself) are the guests at this intimate gathering and this is your chance to talk all-things southern food with them in a gorgeous setting.

Seating is very limited, there's just a few tickets left and you can purchase them HERE.

Friday 10/9 - Sunday 10/11 - Oktoberfest

Kicking off Friday night with a party at Christie Cookies, this year's Oktoberfest looks to be an even bigger party than it's been in years past with a zipline that takes you all the way through the festival and a beer slide which, honestly, sounds kind of gross. 

Know what's not gross? A PUPPY EFFING PARADE!!!! And, and, and, and? A DASCHUND DASH. That's right - a bunch of wiener dogs racing to the finish. It's already cute overload when I imagine it in my head, I can't wait to see it in person. 

The festival is free to attend and you will find more information and a schedule here.

Saturday 10/10 - Y'allsome at Whites Mercantile

Are you into shopping for Christmas or holiday gifts early? Or just shopping in general? Then this is a good day to stop by Whites Mercantile in 12th South to check out Y'allsome's pop-up shop. Plus, the Hattie B's airstream will be there so you won't go hungry! 

Click on the image to enlarge. Follow Y'allsome to stay updated! 

Sunday 10/11 - Dhaba Chophouse: VEA Supper Club at Fifty First Kitchen & Bar

Do you like good wine? Do you like good steak? Do you like a great atmosphere in which to consume said good steak and wine? 

Then this dinner is perfect for you. 


I mean, COME ON.

I mean, COME ON.

This is THE VEA Supper Club of the year. Vivek and the Galzins (who own 51st Kitchen & Bar) have been planning this for what feels like a decade (really it's been more like, 2 years or something). Am I excited? 

Unrelated: That line from Never Been Kissed is on a loop in my head. You know the one: "Nothing but water and exlax till prom." 

Buy your tickets HERE before this dinner is sold out and it will sell out.

Jackie Collins

Added on by Tabitha.

Don't know where to start, really. We all get affected by celebrity deaths, some more than others depending on how much they touch our lives. Just found out that Jackie Collins lost a battle with breast cancer and passed away today and this one's hitting a little hard.

In 2011, a friend asked if I would be interested in interviewing Jackie Collins, not at all expecting such an emphatic yes from me (thank you so much, Abs). Mind you, I'd never actually interviewed someone for a blogging gig before, let alone someone I adored and of whom I was a fan so I was nervous AF when I met her and rambled on like a lunatic for a while till I managed to calm down. 

It was the best day and I was so so so chuffed I got to meet her, chat with her and tell her how much I loved her. She was so warm, welcoming, friendly, and even more beautiful and radiant in person. I had no idea that, at that time, she had already been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and according to this People article, she'd kept that a complete secret. Class, all around.

I had downloaded her latest Santangelo book when it came out a couple of months ago and hadn't had the time to sit and read it, so tonight's as good a time as any. Hell, I may have to revisit the entire series. But, here's the interview I did with her for back in 2011 that was titled 5 Things with Jackie Collins or something like that. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did doing it. 

Before Candace Bushnell, before Sophie Kinsella, there was Jackie Collins. Correction, there IS Jackie Collins who, at the age of 73 is still writing books about strong, powerful women. Her latest, Goddess of Vengeance is the new installment in her popular Lucky Santangelo series which you can purchase here.

When I was 13, I remember sneaking a read of all my mother's Jackie Collins books when she wasn't home, being very careful to leave her bookmark exactly where it was so she wouldn't know! I became a huge fan of [the character] Lucky Santangelo, watching the miniseries when it was broadcast on the telly and falling in love with all the characters.

Ms. Collins was in town recently to promote Goddess of Vengeance and to say I was crazy excited to meet her is a serious understatement.

About doing more miniseries' on her books:

I hope so, I'm kind of in negotiations at the moment and it's called "Development hell."  You get to a certain stage with a studio and they're all set but then something happens and it falls through, so it's so frustrating I mean I have so many meetings about doing a series with Lucky so hopefully it'll come off soon. 

On Reality Shows like 16 & Pregnant/ Teen Mom

16 and Pregnant is the most ridiculous show on tv because it's encouraging girls to get pregnant so they can be on tv and that is absolutely crazy and they're on the cover of people magazine and they're in stories in the Enquirer and you're like, get a life! You don't want to tell girls that you're going to make money being pregnant! It's like telling them you're going to have a career if you're going to have a sex tape. 

Any Plans for Books On Reality Stars?

I've been thinking about it because I think it'll be really interesting to get into their psyches and why they do it and why people want to be on television when they're just normal people. And what happens to defunct reality stars - what's going to happen to the three housewives of New York that have just been kicked off? So I think it'd be an interesting book to write. 

Any Guilty Pleasures?

Milk chocolate and TiVo! Just give me 24 hours with nothing but milk chocolate and TiVo so I can watch all my favorite programs and I'm a happy camper.

Words of Wisdom For Us Girls

Girls CAN do anything. Remember in life that the pleasure you give is the pleasure you get back - tell your boyfriend that! 

I just think women need to be more confident, more positive and more sure of themselves and not sit around waiting for some guy to come long and say "I'm going to marry you" and you go "oh that's wonderful" and then 10 years later he's slaving over a hot secretary so you have to just have that confidence in yourself to step forward. 

Thank you so much Jackie, it was fantastic to meet you! Thank you also to LaForce Stevens for giving us a chance to interview Ms. Collins. 

We'll miss you, Jackie. R.I.P.

Snacking, Singapore style

Added on by Tabitha.

What I miss most about living in Singapore is the ease at which you can find snack foods if you're hungry. No having to go into a restaurant or cafe to sit down (though sometimes that's still an easy option thanks to food courts and hawker centers) but it's mostly the on-the-go type foods I miss. Packet food, if you will, where it's just in plastic bags (even drinks!) and it's easy to buy and eat while you walk and do things. 

It was comforting to see that a fruit shop in a mall I used to hang out in was still there. They have cut up fresh fruit like guava, rambutan, jackfruit (pictured), watermelon, and also the boring stuff like apples/oranges/pears, that you can buy for $3 or something ridiculously cheap. 

Then there's fishballs on a stick. Or giant pieces of fish cake. So greasy, so good. 

I'm still homesick, can you tell? I doubt that will ever go away. Click on the pictures for more details! 

Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily

Added on by Tabitha.

SO much to post about my last trip to Singapore but I thought I'd start with this recap of my dinner at Wild Rocket. The Husband and I celebrated our ninth anniversary while in Singapore and I wanted to do something special. I've wanted to dine at Wild Rocket for a while now, more so since I started following owner and chef Low Willin online and learning more about him through mutual friends. I knew I was in for a treat but I had no idea how much I would love this meal. It was one of the best dinners I've had and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Willin's cuisine is mostly plays on Singaporean and Asian cuisine. I started typing what I thought were the standout dishes but turns out, I loved them all. Though I did want to mention this:

One of the courses we had was what Willin has dubbed as "Singapore Noodles." You've probably heard me bitch make comments about how Chinese restaurants in America have a "Singapore noodles" dish on their menu that doesn't actually exist and it was a relief to know that Willin shares the same gripe. So he's come up with what he feels should actually be Singapore noodles and I think someone needs to make it official because his dish was delicious. It's inspired by a popular local dish called Hokkien Mee, and it was so good I could have eaten another giant bowl of it. Actually, there was a guy sitting at the bar nearby and I'm pretty sure he requested an extra bowl of the noodles before his dessert courses came.

Anyway, here's what we had for dinner that night:

Hokkaido scallops, shoyu kombu, chai poh, truffle oil
Cai poh = dried asian radish.

Thai inspired duck salad with red curry ice cream
Who knew curry could taste so good in ice cream form??

Har cheong gai
Instead of chicken wings like this dish traditionally is, it was pig ears in the shrimp paste batter.

Char kuay teow with no kuay teow
He used thin slivers of cuttlefish as the noodles!

Willin's Singapore noodles
That King prawn. *Drool*

Clay pot rice
Foie gras of the barramundi!! Just as rich as regular foie gras only a little fishy. Duck liver lap cheong (chinese sausage). 

Wagyu short rib with buah kuluak mash
Buah kuluak is a tree nut that, honestly, up to that night I refused to eat because it just seemed weird. It's not and it's pretty damned good.

The first dessert course was a sugarcane sorbet with a piece of sugarcane that had been soaked in rum. Final dessert course was a play on burbur hitam, a dessert of sweet, glutinous black rice that's usually served warm but this came as an ice cream with some sea coconut, jackfruit and coconut mousse on the side. Pictures below, click to view, hover to see captions, tap the white dot if you're using your phone.

Tasting menus are always a treat because the impression I get is that the chef is just having fun in the kitchen and it's so fascinating to see what they come up with. I really enjoyed listening to Willin talk about each dish  and what inspired him. A chef's love for what he/she does is infectious and somehow it makes the meal that much more enjoyable. Overall, what we loved most about that evening was the experience as a whole from the wonderful food to the service to the ambience. We were treated SO well! And the food, oh the food... every smell, every bite!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I can't wait to go back.

I've also been enjoying following Willin on Instagram. By my observations, he's someone who is constantly learning and keeping his mind open to exploring cuisines of all sorts and I think that open-mindedness is what makes him such a great (and extremely humble) chef. It'll be interesting to see what he's inspired by next and to see what he has on the menu by the next time I go home!

You can find out more about Wild Rocket by clicking here. If you're in Singapore, or if you're planning a trip there, I highly recommend making a reservation - I think you'll love it. Big thanks to Willin for the wonderful dinner and for our little treat at the end, that was so nice of you! 

My Mama

Added on by Tabitha.

“Don’t use your hands, like that the food become ba si.” 

I’m probably spelling that wrong, but I never asked her what it actually meant or how it was spelled, I just took her word for it: that if I touched food with my hands it’d go bad a lot quicker. I must have been barely a teenager when she first said it to me, and even now when I get lazy and start picking at leftovers with my bare fingers, I hear her voice loud and clear. It was one of many things I remember and learned from my grandmother. 

Mama, as we called her, raised me with the help of my grandfather who passed away when I was 17. My parents were both very young and both worked so most of my childhood memories and a lot of what I learned was from them. 

Mama cooked, that was her role. She took care of the home and made us breakfast, lunch and dinner. Egg day on Mondays, no meat on Fridays. She loved KFC and Burger King, those were always treats for us and for her. 

Every night, she’d make a whole meal for the six of us and it would always be a full-on family meal of some sort of meat, seafood, veggies and soup. On Sundays, my aunt's family came over and it was always a feast. It was impressive, and she did it mostly on her own almost every night for years and years. 

She would also remember if one of us liked a certain dish. She took a lot of joy in just watching us eat and would notice if one of us ate more of one thing, and took pride in knowing that and making that dish for us again and again just to see us enjoy it. 

Although, when she knew that we didn’t like a particular dish of hers, she’d be sure to point out the next time she made it, that one of us “Didn’t know how to eat it.” She wasn’t mad or offended, it was just a fact and something she kept track of. 

But oh, when you did know how to eat something and you loved it she would, without fail, tell you with a smile, “Here, I know this is your favorite." And I had a lot of favorites - her tofu soup, made with the softest grade of tofu with minced pork, green onions in a clean, clear broth. Her sambal prawns, her pepper pork, peanut soup, baby kai lan with oysters sauce, French beans with oyster sauce… and she would REMEMBER. That was her thing, and that was how she showed us she loved us. 

Thanks to her I know how to clean a pig’s stomach. Thanks to her I developed an appreciation for cooking and baking and the joy and comfort I find in being in the kitchen. Most of all, thanks to her I always had something good to eat; my family always ate well and we were completely spoiled. It was all because of her.

She was meticulous with prep. I still remember how she would take the time to pull the tails off a giant basket of mung bean sprouts while watching cooking shows (Wok With Yan was her favorite). There were times she’d let me help her with the sprouts which, at the time, I hated to do but I’ve now come to appreciate it because getting rid of the tails really makes the dish so much more pleasant to look at and eat. She was also a really good, consistent cook and she had a database of recipes in her head that she just knew by heart that I wish I wrote down, and that I wish I paid more attention to when she was cooking. 

Most of all, I wish I told her how much I appreciated her and how much of an influence she was on me, whether she intended for that to happen or not. 

I love you, Mama. You took really good care of me, of all of us. I just hope you knew that before you left us. At least you're not hurting anymore.