Tag Archives: Tennessee

A First-Timer’s Look at the Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium

ErinAbout a week ago, I sat in on the 16th Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, which is organized and attended by (in my opinion) some of the most fascinating people in the South. It was my first time attending the Oxford, Mississippi-event and I was hooked from the get go: As a first-timer, I was invited for bloody Marys and biscuits at director John T. Edge’s home to kick off the weekend.

I was introduced to a dozen new faces, all of whom were as excited and anxious to start the weekend as I was. The high-octane beverage helped, especially since it was packed with spices, pickled okra, and a hefty pour of Cathead vodka. There were biscuits and souvenir Tabasco go-cups, to boot. That sense of hospitality was carried through the entire weekend. One evening, we were handed a flask filled with a potent bourbon cocktail (to be consumed on a school bus as we rode to fried catfish dinner); the next afternoon, we received illustrated tea towels.

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Hospitality and event organization aside (the entire weekend of lectures, meals, and entertainment were executed flawlessly and to the minute), the weekend was packed with informative conversations, both formal and casual. The theme of this year’s conference was “Women At Work” so everything revolved around women and food. It started with the car ride down; I was joined by food writer Jennifer Justus and author Alice Randall (Jennifer summed it up nicely in a recent wrap-up post) and continued once we arrived, just in time to watch the Thacker Mountain Radio program. There was an interview with fashion designer Natalie Chanin followed by a performance from The Gee’s Bend Singers, who are both fine quilters and choral singers. Friday, Alice and her daughter Caroline Randall Williams, presented their newest project, a cookbook, due out next fall. We were entertained with stories about Caroline’s grandmother, Alberta Johnson Bontemps, who left Caroline her massive cookbook collection, which includes a full range of Junior League cookbooks that were once housed in her grandmother’s guest toilet. The speech made me laugh out loud and also crave a cookbook collection like hers.

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Alice Randall presents a talk with her daughter, Caroline Randall Williams

There was a clever lecture on Eugenia Duke, creator of Duke’s Mayonnaise and a moving documentary by filmmaker Joe York about Alzina Toups, of Alzina’s Restaurant, who also won the SFA’s Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame award this year. Her restaurant will surely be my next food pilgrimage

Between all of this, there were funny and fascinating conversations with people from all over the South as well as other members of the Nashville food world like Karl and Sarah Worley of the Biscuit Love food truck, Kahlil Arnold of Arnold’s Restaurant, and Lisa Donovan, pastry chef at Husk. It was a big Nashville contingent, I was told. I imagine it will only keep growing.

The meals were spectacular, made even more delicious by the conversations happening over them. One lunch by chef Asha Gomez of Cardamom Hill in Atlanta, was the prettiest plate I’ve seen all year.

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As a first-timer, going into it, I didn’t know what to expect—and like many I’ve spoken with, still feel overwhelmed by everything I experienced. But driving home on Sunday, I was struck by how fulfilling and satisfying the weekend turned out to be. The food, drink, friendships, takeaways, and knowledge have all sunken into my bones, held firmly in place by the fact that I now have 375+ reasons to return again next year.

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—Erin Byers Murray, managing editor

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.

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.

SS7 Brews
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

Celebrating our Cover Dog

Nashville Lifestyles May 2013
This isn’t the first time our May 2013 Cover Dog, Bella, has seen the spotlight.
Every week, she is the star of a different show when she visits the community of seniors at the Homewood Residence at Brookmont Terrace in Belle Meade. Showering them with puppy love and with free slobbers, Bella’s a regular.

The folks at Brookmont hosted a celebration party in her honor and we had the pleasure of being party guests. It was such a sweet afternoon out on the patio enjoying the cutest dog bone cake (made of cupcakes), the dog of honor, and singing along to fun pup-themed songs.



It was a perfect way to wrap up our People & their Pets issue! For our online pet guide check out NashvilleLifestyles.com — everything from How to Pick a Perfect Pet Sitter to the Top Pet Friendly Hotels in Nashville.

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.


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

Tasting A Finer Tequila

While many consider Mexico’s independence an excuse to sling back cheap margaritas, we think a better use of your time (and liver) is to discover a higher-end brand of tequila. A recent tasting of Herradura’s line of blanco, silver, reposado and añejo had us reconsidering what we’re putting on the rocks with a rim of salt. ¡Salud!


El Jimador – Spanish for “agave farmer,” this everyday drinking tequila is 100 percent blue agave that goes down easy but still has that rich, tequila bite. If margaritas are on the menu, reach for this Mexican best seller.


 Herradura Silver – Tequila classifications say “silver” designations don’t need to be aged but Herradura lets theirs rest for about 45 days in American white oak barrels, giving it a hint of smoothness. Try this in a Paloma, mixed with a grapefruit soda like Fresca.

— Herradura Reposado – Sitting in oak barrels for 11 months gives this tequila (the first Reposado that appeared in the U.S.) its lovely amber hue but also imparts a soft, round finish.

— Herradura Añejo – This velvety juice is aged for more than two years (twice as long as the industry standard) giving it notes of smoke and caramel. Serve this chilled at the end of the meal to savor until it warms up in the glass.


— Herradura Selección Suprema – With a pour from this elegantly cut glass bottle, you’ve moved beyond tequila and into the realm of rare, special occasion liquor—especially since bottles of this extra añejo can fetch upwards of $350 (Cantina Laredo has it for a steal at $48 a glass). Aged for four years, it rolls around the mouth like caramel and should only be enjoyed at room temperature.


We’ve already got a recipe ready for you to try out your tequila new-found knowledge. Mix up a Herradura Brisa on NashvilleLifestyles.com!

Available at most liquor retailers and Cantina Laredo, 592 12th Ave. S. (615) 259-9282; cantinalaredo.com

On The Runway with Prophetik designer Jeff Garner

As longtime fans of designer Jeff Garner, we stopped by the swanky cocktail reception and fashion show, Prophetik Presents “A Dress to Change the World” last Thursday night and were awed by his use of color, texture, and classic Hollywood glamour.

The 42 looks presented that night were over-the-top in all the right ways. Originally launched as the “Princess Grace Tribute Collection,” the items first appeared in Monaco at the Hotel De Paris on September 14. The collection takes the iconic simple style of Grace Kelly and transforms it into a modern ready-to-wear set with sustainable fabrics and plant- and earth-based dyes, all made in Tennessee.

Hosted by the Standard Smith House, this show sparkled with a palette of ivory, indigo, pale yellow, sea foam, Kelly green, and coral. Rodney Mitchell Salon provided hair and makeup for the models who wore jewelry from the “Adorn” line by Somouce for Jeff Garner. There were also musical appearances by Eric Heatherly, The Vespers, and Andrew Thorp (DJ Coco).

Congratulations to Garner who was just named of one of 40 top artists in the US and whose works were placed into the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery for a “40 under 40” Exhibition. A romantic visual artist, pioneer, and unconventional designer, he is clearly on a path of transformation, leading the evolution of fashion and changing perceptions of luxury.

His line, Prophetik, is an eco-label clothing line, and you can find it at Posh Boutique and The Label.

See the fashionable faces from the show on our Party Pics page!