City Paper: Do the Preds Deal

The City Paper today writes an editorial quite similar to the one I posted here a couple weeks ago. Compared to the Convention Center deal – and to a lot of the things Metro spends money on – the deal to keep the Predators in town is a no-brainer.

We’ll see if Dean feels the same way.

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?

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Devastating News…

… for those of us who travel to NYC frequently, anyway. JetBlue has announced they are pulling out of Nashville effective January 6, 2008. The company says they need to “redeploy assets.” Understandable considering the cutthroat nature of the airline industry, but I’ve never flown on a JetBlue flight to or from BNA that wasn’t at least 80% full. And I fly the route quite often.

Oh well – back to $400+ roundtrips on Delta, AA, and Continental. With no satellite TV. It was fun while it lasted.

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Blog Action Day – Nashville Style

Today is Blog Action Day, and over 15,000 bloggers will be talking about the environment. Here’s how you can take a step in the right direction here in Nashville to improve the environment.

Check out the newly launched Greener Nashville for all of your green needs.
Visit my own CoolPeopleCare for daily tips on making the world a better place.

Support organizations doing great environmental work, such as:
Cumberland River Compact
Tennessee Environmental Council
Nashville Tree Foundation
Middle Tennessee Clean Air Partnership
The TMA Group

Gather some buddies together and watch Kilowatt Ours by local filmmaker Jeff Barrie.
Check out Green Drinks once a month and meet some cool green folks in the city.

Nashville’s getting greener – leave a comment below and let us know what’s hip in Nashville when it comes to the environment.

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.

tangredi’s italian kitchen

I am not much of a restaurant reviewer. My typical reviews of restaurants or music tend to be “it was good. i liked it”. But, I had a good experience I thought I’d relay.. I always pretty much ignored Chez Jose when it was in the little corner spot on Elliston, and thus I never paid much attention to the restaurant that replaced it: Tangredi’s — a little italian place.

Last night, some friends and I were going to go to Chili’s (no, I don’t know either. it wasn’t my idea), and of course it was packed to the gills. Shocker! So, we wandered down to Tangredi’s. We approached with some trepidation, because it’s a fairly small place, and by the looks of it, the entire staff was on a smokebreak out back. But, we were seated promptly in a cozy table. The place was pretty much empty, which is also always cause for alarm. Their bar is pretty expansive, but no beer. Just liquor and wine. I started with scotch and soda and a diet coke. (We were going to a haunted house, so I wanted to make sure to mix some relaxation with a heightened sense of awareness.) I ordered the linquine and clams, the rest of my table had “penne a la vodka” — which looked like penne in some marinara sauce — and a crawfish dish that looked awesome. The clams were great, in a light white wine/garlic sauce. It was tasty.

The place started to fill up later as the Vandy game crowd decided to get food. The menu was reasonable.. $13-17 or so entrees. Nashville is not really known for its Italian food, so I was surprised to find this place. It wasn’t half bad. Good service, good food.. cute waitress, to boot. I’ll be going there again.

Do cooler temperatures get you outdoors or indoors more?

Now that the weather seems to be turning cooler — at least for a little while — thoughts turn to weekend activities that the summer heat makes difficult to enjoy. For me that means cooking and baking more often (I hate running the oven when it’s hot outside), riding my bike and gardening when it’s not too chilly, and getting out to see the leaves turn at Cheekwood and Shelby Park.

What are your favorite autumnal activities in Nashville?

TWTP Presents Defying Gravity

Last weekend, I attended the opening night show of Defying Gravity, performed by Tennessee Women’s Theater Project. Nearly all of my Nashville theater experience has been relegated to the realm of TPAC, so I knew I was in for something a little bit different than what hefty budgets and large auditoriums usually produce.

Watching Defying Gravity is a bit like watching Titanic or United 93. No matter how nice things seem, we all know how it’s going to end. Defying Gravity is the story of Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher chosen to go into space. She was on the doomed Challenger flight when it exploded 73 seconds into its flight.
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Only in Nashville

Man pleads guilty to beating girlfriend’s pig

Step it Up, Nashville

Enough posturing. Enough cat-and-mouse. It’s time for Karl Dean and the Metropolitan Government to step up to the plate and do what it takes to keep this Predators team in Nashville.

Now I know that this won’t be an altogether popular opinion. But it’s the right one. Right now, Nashville is on a distinctly upward and positive trajectory. It all started back in the 90’s, when we landed the Titans and the Predators. Crime was decreasing downtown. We landed a few corporate headquarters. Developers and locals alike discovered the magic that was happening inside the 40/65 loop. We’re growing like crazy. Nashville is hot – #1 on lists like Smartest Places to Live, Best Cities for Corporate Relocations, and Highest Quality of Life. And you know what? You don’t stay on those lists when your professional hockey team packs their bags for Canada, Kansas City, or anywhere else. Especially when your signature downtown ballpark for your AAA baseball team has already fallen through the cracks. (But don’t worry, because Memphis – yes, Memphis – pulled off a downtown ballpark for their baseball team with no problem.) And then of course there’s the high profile corporate office deals (think Verizon) that have bypassed downtown for Williamson County recently. And, oh yeah, crime actually is going up a little bit, and our schools still suck, and everything else that’s going on.

Nashville needs a win right now, not the morale-killing kick in the pants of losing 50% of our professional sports in one fell swoop. We need a win. We need the Predators here, giving it another go, with a local ownership that can reach out to the business community and get them to buy in. We need this!

Now the Preds can’t have a blank check from Metro. I understand that. But think about all the great things that are happening downtown right now. All the revitalization, and development, and everything else. That’s all diminished if we lose the hockey team, the anchor of our downtown strip. Sadly, the Music City Center is still up in the air, so we can’t count on that, either. So Metro needs to work out a deal, a five- or ten-year deal, to give the Preds another chance, with a different owner, to try to make it work. If five or ten years from now they still can’t do it? Well, then move to Kansas City or Canada or whatever. But not yet. Step it up, Metro. Give them what they need. Do it and don’t look back. In ten years, you’ll know it was the right decision.

It’s October

With the turning of the calendar page to a brand new month, the best neighborhood festival is less than two weeks away.

That’s right folks: it’s nearly time for Oktoberfest in Nashville’s very own Germantown neighborhood. If you’ve never been before, get ready for a day of beer, live music, German delicacies, arts and crafts, and lots of people roaming the North End in search of the best German experience in Nashville.

Of course, the festival always needs volunteers, so think about pouring beer, serving up bratwurst, or passing out water to those running the 5k that morning (these kind volunteers will be thanked with a ticket for a free beer since they’ll be getting up early to come lend a hand for the racers).

So, get ready for a good time on October 13. If you’re interested in volunteering, send me an email at sam /at/ coolpeoplecare /dot/ org.

For a great cut, think Clark & Co.

Clark & Co Hair & Nail Design

4004 Hillsboro Pike

Nashville, TN 37215

(615) 269-5599

The last couple of weeks haven’t given me time for much, but what time I have had to explore the city has been spent on finding a decent place to get a hair cut.

At first I looked into, and even tried some of the more popular salons in and around the West End. Ultimately though, I was unable to find a place that could match its stylists skill to the zeal in which they selected their decor. That is, until someone tipped me off about Clark & Co.

Situated in a non-descript retail strip across from Green Hills Mall, Clark & Co, sports a modern but understated interior and a staff that is both friendly and skilled. On a recommendation, I booked an appointment with Brian and I have to say it’s probably the best decision I have made in some time.

He sat me down, immediately assessed what needed to be done and confidently gave recommendations based on the look I was trying to achieve. Having my hair done by the same guy in DC for 5 years, it’s tough to articulate the exact details that I wanted. Lucky for me, Brian honestly knows how to match hairstyle to personality and beyond giving me some great insight into Nashville culture, worked his magic as if I had been going to him forever.

I have to say that it was a bit pricey ($45 for a men’s cut) but it was worth every penny. Ultimately, Clark & Co. is the kind of place that knows its good and doesn’t need half a dozen flat-panel televisions and a waterfall out front to prove it.

Brian is great but so, I am told, are the rest of the stylists there. I highly recommend giving them a call (you’ll probably talk to Fran who is great and will be more than glad to set you up with an appointment) and seeing the difference, yourself.

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Golfing in Music City

One of the things I’ve always really liked about Nashville is that it’s a great city to play golf in. Now, I don’t know if any of the other MetBloggers are golfers (I don’t think they are), but my experience has been that it’s generally really easy and really cheap to play a good round of golf in this town. I’m originally from Atlanta, where all the public golf courses are terrible and overcrowded, so the fact that I’m able to go out to McCabe Park Golf Course and play nine holes for $10 borders on the miraculous.

For the almost seven years McCabe has been my home course, since I’ve never lived more than a mile or so from the clubhouse. But yesterday, McCabe was hosting some sort of tournament, so I wasn’t able to play a late afternoon nine. I was directed instead to Ted Rhodes Golf Course, another Metro-owned and operated facility located between MetroCenter and TSU off of Ed Temple Blvd. I was surprised to learn that I could take 28th Ave. N from the West End area and be there in about seven minutes. I was even more surprised when I teed off – yet another Metro course in great shape (even after a horrendous drought this summer) that’s accessible to anyone for amazingly low greens fees.
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Buried on Page 2B

I’m addicted to newspapers. It’s true. Gotta have my fix everyday or I start getting jittery. This might be considered odd behavior for a tech-obsessed guy who also reads way too many blogs most days, but that’s how it goes.

So I found this gem in today’s Tennessean titled, “Noise complaints lead to return to former flight pattern“. If you don’t live in East Nashville or know someone who does, you may have no idea what this means.
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Is Chocolate Expressions the cafe north siders have been longing for?

Ever since I moved to Germantown (and no doubt well before that), I’ve been hearing folks talk about how much they want a coffee shop in the neighborhood. We had a tease a while back when one of the retail spaces on the street level of the Summer Street Lofts had a sign saying that a coffee shop was “coming soon” (and then, mysteriously, later said “pending“… and then disappeared entirely). And the new Starbucks at 8th and Dominican in Metrocenter is almost close enough to count, but even if it were right next door, most of the locals would prefer a locally-owned place.

So it was a pleasant surprise a few weeks ago when I noticed the “cafe” sign on a historic house at Jefferson and 7th. The rest of the signage identified the business as “Chocolate Expressions,” an African-American art gallery and bookshop… with free WiFi. Nice. My hometown in the south suburbs of Chicago had a book room and tea shop (though without the WiFi), and it looked like this might have a similar multi-purpose feel, so I was curious to check out the vibe inside. I went by once or twice hoping to catch them open, but the hours weren’t what I expected: the shop doesn’t open until 10 AM. (Which strikes me as a bit of a problem, but I’ll get to that later.)

I did stop by yesterday on the way back from the craft fair at the Farmers Market. The space is divided into two rooms, front and back, with the front room being used for selling books and art (of which the owner, Mark Miller, tells me some is locally created so that’s definitely a good thing), and the back room is where the coffee and food is served. I had a cup of coffee, which is served from vacuum pump pots. I didn’t notice espresso machines so I’m not sure specialty coffee drinks are served, but the coffee was pretty good. (The cups, however, are styrofoam. Hopefully that’s just a temporary accommodation that will be replaced with something both more eco-friendly and more palatable as resources allow. If you can, bring your own cup in the meantime.)

The posted hours show an 8 PM closing time on most days, so this isn’t exactly a night owl place, either. But from the looks of it, the focus will be on the early evenings for regular events. Here’s a sampling:

Thurs, 9/20 – Networking Night 5-8 PM
Fri, 9/21 – Wine Tasting 5-8 PM
Sat, 9/22 – Germantown BBQ 5-8 PM
Sun, 9/23 – Book Reading 2-5 PM

and so on.

Back to the late opening hours. If this business has any hope of satisfying the neighborhood cafe demand — and to be fair, I don’t know that they do have that hope — it’s almost a foregone conclusion that there will need to be earlier hours. As one of my neighbors quipped, “See, the thing about coffee is…” You don’t need the rest completed for you — it’s a morning beverage for most folks.

On the whole, this looks like a solid addition to the neighborhood business profile — not to mention a great resource for African-American books, art, gifts, and community. I strongly encourage folks in north Nashville especially to check it out, buy some coffee, meet Mark Miller and Frederica Hall, and let them know you plan to be back.

Chocolate Expressions
624 Jefferson St. Suite A
Nashville, TN 37208

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