Friday, August 12, 2011

Loveless Cafe | Nashville, Tennessee

The Nashville area certainly has its fair share of popular restaurants. Loveless Cafe's famous "Biscuit Lady," Carol Fay Ellison, has been featured on several nationally broadcast TV shows, including The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres show, and Throw Down with Bobby Flay. Sadly, Carol Fay has passed, but her legacy lives on in the delicious, down-home Southern cooking and warm hospitality that defines Loveless.

I've heard that it can get über crowded in there (with wait times of over an hour) so I went early on a weekday. Even at 4:45 pm on a Tuesday, the place was still half-full... and filling up quickly by the time I left.

Loveless Cafe
8400 Tennessee 100
Nashville, TN 37221
(615) 646-9700
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I love how the cafe has made a real attempt to stay true to its roots. Even the signage out front gives you a sense that you're being taken back to the days long before iPhones, iPads, and anything digital.

The cafe actually started as a motel and much of the original architecture has been retained and repurposed.

Here's a shot of the cafe's renowned biscuits and jam. The preserves are all homemade and I picked some up at their "Hams & Jams" store before I left.

I figured the Southern Sampler was the best way to experience lots of different flavors without getting too crazy. I must confess: I ate the WHOLE THING! So much for not getting too crazy...

BBQ is to Tennessee what plate lunch is to Hawaii. Hey, when in Rome...

I love collard greens. That is all.

The fried chicken was supposed to be one of their signature dishes, but I found the meat dry and tough to chew. The ham, on the other hand, was out of this world. I guess the hog is king in this part of the country.

Rounding out the plate is fried okra, another classic Southern side dish.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint | Nolensville, Tennessee

Featured on Guy Fieri's (@guyfieri) Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I had to check this place out and try the highly acclaimed "Redneck Taco." It truly lived up to the hype.

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
7238 Nolensville Road
Nolensville, TN
(615) 776-1856
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Martin's has made a name for itself with its "whole hog" approach to barbeque. The meat is cooked over low heat for hours, resulting in tender, smoky awesomeness.

If you live in the area, you can cater from them too. This is one serious mobile operation. How cool would it be if this thing showed up at Eat the Street Kakaako?!

Here's the famed Redneck Taco. It's a cornbread pancake topped with smoked pork shoulder, slaw, and their special Sweet Dixie sauce. Yum!

Wanting to sample as much as I could, I also ordered the Brisket Taco. It was good, but if I ever go back, I'd probably just order two Redneck Tacos instead.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bombasha Brazilian Steakhouse | Nashville, Tennessee

I am a huge fan of Brazilian food, but it's so hard to find in Honolulu. We either have to make it ourselves (Julie has a killer recipe for vegetarian Feijoada) or drive out to the Crouching Lion Inn on Brazilian Day to get it. Imagine my joy when I discovered a Churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) in Nashville, just a few miles from my hotel.

The meat was so tender that it cut easily with a butter knife and the selection at the salad bar was a notch or two above the typical greens, cucumber, cherry tomato, and dressing. In addition to the delectable food, the service was impeccable. The Passadores and other wait help were quick and efficient. Because the experience was so amazing, I might have to go back again before flying home ;)

Bombasha Brazilian Steakhouse
2000 Belcourt Avenue
Nashville, TN
(615) 463-0021
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The restaurant is located near the heart of trendy Hillsboro Village, not far from Vanderbilt University.

I sampled the asparagus, Caprese salad, roasted pepper, artichoke heart and some cheese. I know this salad plate looks sparse, but I was there for the meat!

The pão de queijo (cheese bread) is traditionally made with tapioca flour, which gives it a chewy texture. Think of it as a Brazilian mochi-cheese biscuit.

I believe this is a flank steak. It was darn near the best piece of meat I have ever eaten and I would certainly go back just for this.

Here's my plate a few minutes after I started. On the far left is a piece of bacon-wrapped filet. I thought it was going to be awesome, but it was overdone. I firmly believe steak is meant to be eaten rare or medium rare, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed the flank and sirloin, pictured in the middle. On the right is a piece of sausage.

This Parmesan pork was another morsel of awesome. It was rich, but the meat was moist and very tasty.

Here are some of the sides served with the meal. From the top are banana fritters, rice, and beans.

I was also given fried cassava or yuca and mashed potatoes. While these were all good, a little Couve à Mineira (sauteed greens) would have taken things to a whole new level.