Category Archives: Best of Music City

Alton Brown brings his ‘Edible Inevitable’ tour to Nashville

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Television culinary celebrity Alton Brown is coming to Nashville on Thursday November 7 to bring his “Edible Inevitable” tour to TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall at 8 p.m. The combination variety show/cooking demonstration event has been a hit as Brown has made his way across the country, leaving a swath of planned destruction in his path, thanks to a particularly messy cooking demo that necessitates a “Poncho Zone” for the front three rows of the auditorium.

In advance of the show, Brown spoke with us about his relationship with Nashville and answered a few other silly questions.Alton4

“I love coming to Nashville. I used to perform regularly at Gaylord Opryland. Your food scene has really changed so much over the past few years; it’s really grown! I’m definitely going to set aside some time for visiting restaurants while I’m in town. But I’m not interested in finding what’s new and trendy. I just want to find some excellent food and a good glass of whiskey.”

“I made a visit to Nashville recently to tape a future episode of my podcast. I spent time with Scott Witherow and his crew at Olive and Sinclair. I’ve been focusing on Southern food producers, and I really love what they’re doing at Olive and Sinclair. They are inherently Southern in both zip code and mindset.”

Then it was time for the silly questions. We asked how come the first pancake is never any good.Alton1

“I’ve actually studied this. It’s not that the first one isn’t any good; it’s just that the subsequent ones are better. It has to do with getting the excess heat off the griddle so that the pancake can cook more evenly. Also, people don’t let their batter sit long enough before cooking. You have to allow the leavening in the batter to thicken, so batter is better after 3 to 4 minutes. Ideally, you should make it the night before and keep it in the refrigerator.”

Recently at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, MS, Kat Kinsman of CNN’s Eatocracy and Kim Severson, Atlanta bureau chief for the New York Times staged a Lincoln/Douglas-style debate on the merits of pie vs. cake. We questioned where Brown comes down on this particular controversy.

“Oh, I’m definitely on the pie side. Pies take more advantage of the great agricultural resources of the South. Pies show off the amazing nuts and fruits that are grown around here. Cakes just don’t show off as much.”

Tickets for Alton Brown’s “Edible Inevitable” tour are still on sale now at tpac.org.

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Exclusive: Behind the Scenes of CMT Crossroads with The Band Perry & Fall Out Boy!

Nashville Lifestyles was at the exclusive filming of a CMT Crossroads episode that united country megastars The Band Perry with emo rockers Fall Out Boy.

The Band Perry
Our initial reaction: “Huh?” But the instant the unlikely friends hit the stage at Rocketown on Oct. 2—riffing, bantering, and dressed in matching black ensembles—we thought, “Oooh.” Kimberly Perry’s feisty, forceful vocals were the show’s highlight, although FOB frontman Patrick Stump held his own wailing on Perry tracks like “Better Dig Two” and the beautifully somber “If I Die Young.” (After the latter, Stump quipped that he’d considered swiping Kimberly’s “…and I’ll wear my pearls” line.)

Sprinkled throughout the genre-bending set were chipper versions of Fall Out Boy hits like “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and the newer, anthem-y “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Alone Together).” The two bands—which we have anointed The Boy Perry—also were allowed to tackle one agreed-upon cover; we don’t want to spoil the fun, so let’s just say that FOB bassist Pete Wentz’s familiar eyeliner wasn’t the show’s only homage to Freddie Mercury.

CMT Crossroads: The Band Perry & Fall Out Boy premieres Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. CST.

Preview: The Tippler and Pisco Portón

The next big thing in the Nashville cocktail scene may just be The Tippler, a massive three-level lounge/restaurant opening in August in the ground level of The Adelicia building in Midtown. Most recently the penultimate home of Fish and Co., the space has been closely watched by local foodistas anxiously awaiting the new tenant.

The Tippler is a spin-off of a very successful Manhattan establishment located in Chelsea Market. Known for artfully-prepared innovative cocktails and classic architecture, The Tippler aims to replicate that formula with their second location. On July 23, a gathering of Nashville mixologists and spirits purveyors got a sneak peek of the bar at a special event presented by Best Brands and Pisco Portón, the best-selling Peruvian liquor made in the oldest distillery in the Americas.

Music City Tippler
Pisco is a distilled spirit made from eight different varietals of grapes, the only fruit-based white liquor as opposed to grain products like vodka and gin. Best known as the base for a tart Pisco Sour, this spirit can be used to create all sorts of interesting cocktails. The guests of honor at the event were Johnny Schuler, the head distiller at Pisco Portón and Dale DeGroff, noted mixologist and cocktail historian. Schuler and DeGroff regaled the assembled audience with tales of the history of the distillery, which dates back to 1684, and DeGroff mixed up a bowl of Button Punch from a recipe that was popularized in San Francisco in the 1870’s. The cocktail is mentioned in the writings of Mark Twain and Jack London, and the revelers at the launch party agreed that it has aged quite nicely.

Music City Tippler
Other Pisco Portón cocktails were served as accompaniments to a four-course dinner prepared by the kitchen staff at The Tippler, a meal which promises good things for Nashville diners once the saloon doors swing open to the public. Best Brands Business Solutions Leader created several of the cocktail recipes and was kind enough to share one with Nashville Lifestyles readers.

Peruvian BBQ
1.75 oz Porton
¾ oz Lime Juice
½ oz maple syrup
1 dash of Bitter End BBQ Bitters

Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to chill. Serve up in a champagne coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a basil leaf.

More about the Tippler in Nashville Lifestyles HOT LIST issue!

—Chris Chamberlain, NL contributor

Coming Up: The Nashville Wine Auction’s L’Ete du Vin

Now in its 34th year, the Nashville Wine Auction‘s major fundraiser, l’Ete du Vin takes place this month. But leading up to that is a series of wine-focused events, which NWA is calling Pour de France, that gives wine lovers a number of opportunities (and price points) to help raise much-needed funds for seven local organizations dedicated to cancer treatment.

Sylvia Roberts
To kick off the series, NWA hosted Grand Cru, a preview event that took place in mid-June at the home of Sylvia Roberts—aside from boasting a gorgeously appointed wine cellar, the home also happens to play the part of Rayna James‘ house on the ABC television show, Nashville. The night featured various tributes to the show including a showcase of photos of the set that is modeled after the home (so carefully, in fact, that it features working appliances in the kitchen) and hand-held paper masks of the stars.

Rayna James
But, of course, the emphasis of the night was on the wine and driving up excitement for the auction items that will be up for bid at l’Ete du Vin. A note to the wine lovers out there: You do not want to miss this auction. Why? Because you might be walking home with a trip for two to California’s Central Coast, including lunch and a barrel tasting with Au Bon Climat winemaker Jim Clendenen. Or a wine tour for six to the best chateaux of Bordeaux, that includes stops at Chateau Marguax, Chateau Lynch-Bages, and a private tour and tasting at Taittinger. Or an elegant diamond pendant from Luca Carati (for that one, all you have to do is purchase a glass of Tiattigner Comtes du Champagne Blanc de Blanc for a chance to win). Tickets to the Saturday, July 20 event are still available and you can preview the whole auction catalog here.

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But if your tastes run closer to the $30-and-under range, there’s still an opportunity to join in the fun, including an evening at The Franklin Theatre. On Wednesday, July 17, NWA will host a screening of A Year In Burgundy, which guides viewers through a year in the winemaking process alongside French importer Martine Saunier who will be on hand for a pre-event reception—and yes, there will be wine! ($30 per person, $100 for VIP.) The Vintner’s Tasting takes place on Thursday, July 18 and includes a tasting of a selection of French wines ($135).

Regardless of your level of taste or ability to bid high, the events are sure to bring your appreciation and love of wine to a whole new level—and support a host of important cancer initiatives, too.

Wine Tasting

Pour de France Schedule:

Wednesday, July 17
A Year In Burgundy at The Franklin Theater

Thursday, July 18
Vintner’s Tasting at Hillwood Country Club

Friday, July 19
Patron’s Dinner at The Hermitage Hotel

Saturday, July 20
l’Ete du Vin at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

For tickets and more information, go to nashvillewineauction.com.

Also check out our Wine + Spirits page for recipes, events and more!

Staff Salvation: Soulshine Pizza

We’ve heard plenty of reports about the new Midtown hotspot, Soulshine Pizza Factory, which is why we decided to send the team over to investigate. Longtime readers of Nashville Lifestyles know that we like to treat ourselves to a little post-production outing. Last month, Soulshine truly hit the spot.

Pizza
Music and pizza are at the heart of this massive space. Dozens of original live show posters line the walls and there are a few areas set up for live music including outside on the spacious, covered, second-story roof deck. Inside, pops of color warm up the otherwise industrial room, including the stained glass window panes that take up much of the front wall of the restaurant.

Stained Glass Windows
We were in search of a few lighter, mid-day snacks, so we started with the hummus plate and a heaping Greek salad, layered with iceberg lettuce, artichoke hearts, peppers, onions, olives, and feta. To go along with it, a few of us ordered that day’s cocktail special, called the Tart-y Pants: sweet-tart vodka mixed with sugar-free Red Bull. They also boast a pretty lengthy beer list, with a dozen beers on tap and an even longer bottle list, including a strong showing of Nashville-brewed beers. They also have a signature Soulshine Beer brewed locally by Blackstone Brewery.

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Of course, what we really wanted to try were the pizzas. Fair warning: These are huge pies with a soft, doughy crust but a well-balanced ratio of toppings. The CCR was a hit with our group—it’s grilled chicken, bacon, mozzarella, cheddar tomatoes, and ham—as was the Mediterranean, which we ordered with a whole-wheat crust, and came loaded with shrimp, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. Johnny’s Garden satiated our veggie needs since it was layered with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, broccoli, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives.

Three Pizzas
After filling up on pizza, we took a peek downstairs inside Soulshine’s brand new sister restaurant, the Slider House. More of a burger-and-beer joint, this first-floor neighbor has a number of fun, retro touches like communal bar tables made from old bowling alley floors from the beloved Melrose Lanes. The beer list at Slider House is still getting beefed up but look for an all-can selection of about 50 or more plus a few boxed wines (the good ones). Also on hand? A frozen drinks machine that will pump out Painkillers, a heady concoction of spiced rum, coconut, pineapple, and orange juice.

Between the patios, the tasty offerings, and the constant supply of good music, these two new additions are becoming a one-stop-shop for fun. If you haven’t checked out them out yet, now’s the time.

Soulshine PizzaPhotos by Katie Jacobs

Light: Bruce Munro exhibit at Cheekwood

Katie Jacobs Last night we got the opportunity to step onto the Cheekwood property for the lighting of their new exhibit, Light: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood.

This is the British artist’s second-ever North American exhibition of Light and he was on hand to give us a personal guided tour through his stunning outdoor and indoor art installations.

Bruce Munro
We were floored by just how down-to-earth Munro is—incredibly humble, chit chatting with everyone in attendance, cracking jokes about himself, and encouraging everyone not to over-complicate his work but instead just enjoy its beauty.

Bell Chandelier This was one of my favorites! It is a stunning chandelier of cascading optical fibers in the center of the mansion's rotunda staircase which makes it accessible from all angles.

Bell Chandelier
One of my favorites! It is a stunning chandelier of cascading optical fibers in the center of the mansion’s rotunda staircase which makes it accessible from all angles.

Light installation

Light Shower
A site specific installation of 1,400 teardrop-shaped diffusers in the Mansion Loggia.

Reflecting Pond

Fagin’s Urchins
Created especially for Cheekwood’s reflecting pool, this one is beautiful at twilight.

Cheekwood Lawn

Field of Light
The star of the show—comprised of 20,000 lighted glass spheres and gracing the grounds in front of Cheekwood’s mansion—this installation must be seen in person.

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Water-Towers
Comprised of 40 structures built out of one-liter recyclable plastic bottles filled with water and optical fibers connected to an LED projector and audio system.

While the images here are beautiful, you really MUST go and see it for yourself. It is indescribable in person and something I can guarantee you’ve never seen.

— Katie Jacobs, Creative Director

Find out what else is happening in our What to Do This Weekend review — and enter our contest for a 2014 commemorate Light calendar with some of the featured light sculptures.

Light: Bruce Munro at Cheekwood
May 24 – November 10
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s until 11 p.m.
Adults: $15

A sneak peek at the awe-inspiring new Music City Center

MCC
There are plenty of reasons to get excited about Nashville’s new Music City Center (MCC), which opens to the public this Sunday, May 19. There is the intricate architecture and design (spearheaded by Nashville-based firms Tuck Hinton Architects, Moody-Nolan Architects and Atlanta-based TVS Design), the four-acre green roof, the massive eight-acre exhibition hall floor, and 57,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom which mimics the interior of a guitar. The chef is sourcing from a number of Tennessee farms and can produce up to 20,000 meals per day; the building’s entire energy consumption is offset by 845 solar panels; and there are 32 loading docks hidden away off Korean Veterans Boulevard.

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What we were most inspired by, though, was the generous display of local art used throughout the entire building. Senior Art Consultant Rich Boyd, who previously worked with the Tennessee Arts Commission, helped secure the 101 pieces that now hang in the MCC and explained that 50 of the 59 artists on display are from Tennessee. The Center’s $2 million budget paid for 8 site-specific art installations, including “Composition” (below) by Aaron Stephan, which takes inspiration from small model-making kits and “Euphony,” an arrangement of 25 miles of stainless steel chain cascading down from a 1,400-pound ring, which was created by L.A.-based Ball-Nogues Studio.

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“Composition” by Aaron Stephan

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“Euphony” by Ball-Nogues Studio

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Photographs by local designer Bob Delevante

The Center’s Public Art Committee also sifted through 2,500 submissions, eventually acquiring artwork for 62 different spaces throughout the building. Local artists represented include Fisk University professor Alicia Henry,  photographer and Watkins faculty Caroline Allison (below), Brentwood-native Jamaal Sheats, and mixed media artist Carrie McGee. Next to each piece of art, you’ll find plaques describing the art, along with a QR code that will eventually lead you to more information about the artist (those details are still being put into place, says Boyd.)

Art tours will be available starting June 1, allowing the public to access this massive collection, as well as the interior of the stunning structure itself.

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“Ivy Green. Tuscumbia, Alabama” by Caroline Allison

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“Intimacy and Peace” by Alicia Henry

Find out what else is happening this weekend (May 17-19) in Nashville!

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The Grand Opening of Music City Center kicks off this Sunday, May 19 at 1:30 p.m. with a Community Open House and live entertainment lasting through Monday night. For details, go to nashvillemusiccitycenter.com.

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MCC By The Numbers:

7,300+ people worked on the construction of the building
1.2 million square feet of public space
11,000 tons of steel; 12,000 tons of rebar
150 feet high at its tallest point
18,000 stackable chairs
20,000 meals-per-day kitchen capability
35,000 pieces of china
$130 million spent with minority, small, and women-owned businesses