Archive for the ‘Food & Drinks’ Category

MetroBlogger Video Scoop – Gigi’s Cupcakes

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Gigi’s CupCakes
1816 Broadway
(615) 342-0140
http://gigiscupcakesusa.com/

Up the street from Corner Pub, Broadway Brewhouse and Lime, a new shop just opened up that to bring Nashville a new way to celebrate life’s little occasions. Gigi’s Cupcakes is not only a surprising addition to the West End strip, but its also attracting a steady stream of Nashvillians, eager to see what’s cooking.

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Lot 7 Can Bring The Beat, Defies Chic Lounge Steryotypes

After reading Andrew’s pre-opening prospectus on Lot 7, I was intrigued when a friend of mine chose it for her bar-de-birthday. To continue MetBlog’s intrepid coverage of all things nightlife, here’s how they are doing now that they’re open:

Lot 7

125 12th Ave N

Nashville, TN 37203

(615) 251-9519

http://www.lot7.net

Standing outside Lot 7, your first impressions may lead you to believe that its just another chic ultra-lounge. It’s off-the-strip location and frosted exterior doors may lead you to believe that it’s desperately attempting achieve an air of exclusivity, reserved only for celebrity fly traps.

Inside, however, is a whole different ball game.

The first thing that hits you is that Lot 7 pulses with a distinctive beat, in part because of its brilliantly designed, conversation-friendly sound system, but also because of its great balance of style and intimacy. Using the space remarkably well, Lot 7 may feel a bit cramped once the party gets going (sometime around midnight) but otherwise it’s lounge-like tables and banquettes beckon both trendy as well as “trendy-lite” Nashvillians.



The Good

Heading up any list of this lounge’s features is service. From the door guys to the friendly and attentive servers and bar tenders, Lot 7 gets it right. Without pretension, without over-complicated menus the staff makes everyone feel welcome while reinforcing the style and sophistication of the venue.

The Bad

Though its a non-smoking club, avoid the “patio.” It’s a roofed space off the main dance floor that’s great for smokers (it actually features its own bar) but asphyxiating for almost anyone else.



The Bottom Line

Lot 7 definitely impresses. Crammed once it gets going, Lot 7 retains its stylish composure with affordable drinks and a great dance DJ. Check it out, bring your friends (with reservations, hopefully) and have a great time.

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Tequila!

Attention fans of tequila, margaritas, and southwestern tapas: Agave Tequila Lounge is open, and as of my most recent visit, things seem to be in full swing.

I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical when I first heard about Agave. Not because I didn’t like the concept – indeed, I’ve been eager for something other than Las Palmas-style, semi-crappy Mexican food in Nashville. But I was a little put off for that same reason, worried that however strong the idea was, there might be some issues with execution. And I’m happy to report that I was wrong.

First of all, the old Pie Wagon space has been magnificently transformed. Agave’s owners, which include a number of music industry execs and Gulch developers, basically stripped the Pie Wagon building to the core and rebuilt it from scratch. An expansive roof was added, making the place seem much bigger than it actually is, and several garage doors were put up front. In nice weather this is particularly pleasant – and in cold weather, their patio heaters still do the trick.

Then there’s the food. I was pleased with our homemade chips and salsa, and my chorizo chicken was a refreshing change from the sloppy enchiladas I usually get at Cinco de Mayo. (The crowd’s beautiful people certainly distinguish this joint from other Mexican outposts, as well). And though I didn’t have any tequilas straight up since it was a work night, my two different margaritas, both on the rocks with salt, were quite tasty. Though they don’t beat the Margarita Fresca at Rumba, they were as close as any other restaurant in Nashville has come.

I should note that the place is really more bar than restaurant. Though they clearly do focus on the food, with excellent results, the atmosphere is more geared toward facilitating interaction between Nashville’s attractive, young elites. They’re succeeding. Welcome to the Gulch, Agave.

Fall is now happening

Germantown Cafe has swapped out some seasonal ingredients on some of their standard offerings, and I must tell you: the new green plate is fantastic. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, if you occasionally feel like eating a meatless plate, this is the one to eat. A stack of crispy eggplant slices is artfully arranged to one side with roasted yellow tomatoes, braised spinach, and marinated portobello mushrooms layered in between. Meanwhile, on the rest of the plate are elegant spreads of butternut squash puree. The whole thing is simply divine.

And if you’ve never been to Germantown Cafe, do I even need to tell you that it should be a priority?

The Ice Cream Season Nears the End

After brunch this morning, the family went to Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. The weather was perfect for being outside and even for eating ice cream.

As the leaves change color, football gets exciting and hits of cooler weather are in the air, chances for outdoor ice cream enjoyment are coming to a close. Even though Bobbie’s will be open until mid-December, most of us would rather we enjoy our dipped cones when the sun’s shining and we can’t see our breath.

So, Nashville: where do you go for ice cream? Let everyone know do we can spend the next few weeks soaking up our dairy delights before Old Man Winter makes us drink cocoa and hot tea.

Desperately Seeking Bagels

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SWM seeks fresh-baked, chewy goodness for long-term relationship. Independents preferred. Must enjoy cream cheese, salmon and being halved for the sake of light toasting. I know you’re out there…I will find you.

Ok, so I might not be at that point quite yet but you get the idea. Does anyone know of a good, independent bagel bakery in Nashville?

In fact, I’ll make this interesting…submit your choice for best bagel bakery in our area, I will visit each one, pick a winner, the person that points me to the best (in my humble opinion) gets a MetroBlogging t-shirt.

Any takers?

Another Panera Bread!

Panera Bread is coming… to the former Ham and Goody’s space next to Bittner’s. Lovers of Panera needing relief from the crowds at the 21st Ave. location, rejoice! Word on the street is that the store will open in the next 30-45 days.

A Night Out At McFadden’s

Mcfaddens

Bridal parties and 20-something fans of Journey, rejoice! Your mother-ship has landed.

This past weekend, my friends and I decided to hit up McFadden’s Restaurant & Pub. Located at 134 2nd Ave North, McFadden’s is a mega-pub chain concept, operated in 10 other cities across the US. From my experiences with the versions in Boston and DC, I can tell you that Nashville’s is no different.

McFadden’s operates on a simple formula; Take a huge restaurant space, make it look like an irish pub, offer ridiculous happy hour specials and watch the lines get longer. The evening we were invited, my friend had gotten us a spot “on the list” along with a $10, all-you-can-drink happy hour from 9 pm until 11 pm. The happy hour specials lived up to everything we hoped for but I have to say that overall, I wasn’t impressed.

The Good

McFadden’s has a ton of corporate money backing it. This means for all of its lack of originality, McFadden’s has two big draws; 20 large flat-screen TV’s and happy hour specials. The staple is $10 all-you-can-drink beers and rail/well drink happy hours from 9 until 11 pm, every Thursday through Saturday.

The Bad

Though the Nashville-based GM has done an admirable job trying to make McFadden’s Nashville feel like a local bar (including hiring a crack bar staff), you can’t escape that feeling that the concept is a bit out of place. Most noticeable to me was that unlike other McFadden’s, Nashville’s only has one real bar. This means that people cram into about 1/6th of the entire space leaving a cavernous back room unfilled and erie.

Additionally, remember me saying something about being “on a list?” Yeah, apparently everyone’s on the list. It’s gimmicks like that and the Coyote Ugly-esqiue bar dancing that has undermined McFadden’s legitimacy in other cities, rendering them more like Disney World than real, local bars.

The Bottom Line

If all you are looking for is a place to take a huge party, McFadden’s Nashville is a great place to do it. If not, trust me when I say I have been here for 4 weeks and can already tell you there are better places to go.

You’d Think the Addition of Tequila Could Make Up for a Lot

After my first dining experience at Rosario’s on Villa Place, I acknowledged that I had probably jumped the gun on my review and that they deserved a little more time to get their act together and their liquor license before I issued my final judgment. So I gave them three weeks before I returned with two of my friends to see if the combination of some additional staff training and the liberal application of alcohol might make the dining experience more pleasurable.

In a word…no. (Go ahead and pronounce that like you were saying it in Spanish.)
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Music City Brewers’ Festival

So, I attended the Music City Brewers’ Festival yesterday. I had a great time, of course, since, well, there was beer. But, let me tell you, folks. This event has a long way to go. Not to be all “in CALIFORNIA…”, but .. this event pales in comparison Booneville Beer Festival I went to in California. There wasn’t a single brewer there that wasn’t top-notch, and there wasn’t a single beer I tasted that wasn’t phenomenal. Here, not so much. But first, the good: There were the token local brewers — Yazoo, Big River, Blackstone, etc. — who were good as always. They didn’t have much new debuting, though, that I saw. Just their regular stuff on tap. I tried a dutch lager from All Seasons that was pretty good. The standout beer for me was the Appalachian Pale Ale from the Smoky Mountain Brewery. It was delicious, and also ice cold, which may be influencing my opinion of it.

Here’s what needs to happen for the Music City Brewers’ Festival to become awesome:

First, the logistics need to improve. The online ticket purchasing system they are using seems as if it was designed with technology dating roughly to 1995. When I went to print my ticket, it said it had “already been printed” (how would they know?) or transferred away, so I had to spend 20 minutes on hold before contacting someone who could reset it. Then there are the lines. I had to stand in line for 45 minutes in the hot sun just to get in. Not cool. I’m not sure what would improve that — maybe a better (larger) location. There were a lot of people packed into a relatively small park. A new location might also help with the last logistical problem: no shade. This is Nashville, y’all. It gets hot here. You have that many people out drinking beer, you need more shade. When I was in Booneville, I was drinking my beer in the shade of a small grove of redwoods while a stiff, dry breeze blew. Well, we don’t have that. At least put up more tents or something. Lastly, the emergency/first-aid staff didn’t seem to have a very visible presence. At a beerfest — particular one in the middle of July in the hot sun — someone is inevitably going to overdo it. Some poor guy was sitting on the steps puking his guts out and then just sat there with his head in his hands for over two hours, and no one helped him. I even tried to find a first-aid station or something, and couldn’t find anyone. I told some security guard who pretended he was getting up to tell someone long enough to placate me and then when I looked back he had sat down.

Second, ditch the lame vendors. Smirnoff Ice had a tent. Jack Daniels had a tent with their wine cooler things. I mean, come on. Seriously. I’m sorry, I thought this was a brewers’ festival. Malt liquor doesn’t count. Eliminate the lame commercial vendors and work on recruiting more local or regional microbreweries to fill the gap. If I wanted to drink Smirnoff Ice, I’d .. uh.. I’m sorry, my brain is incapable of completing this thought exercise.

So yeah, it was a good time. It was worth the money. It could use some improvements.

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