Sunday, July 19, 2009

Here's to the Hops!

Need a good reason to have a beer? Neither do we! But just in case you do check out the Music City Brewer's Festival in Nashville, TN. The festival supports the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee which does awesome work. We'll be there showing our support by serving up some Q and we all know that nothing compliments some tender smoky meat like a frothy head on a tall, cold beer.
Check it out,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spread the Love

It seems that there is a kind of renaissance happening with pimento cheese. For whatever reason the mainstay of church picnics and ladies luncheons has gained popularity amongst chefs and foodies and it seems that everyone now wants to cast their vote as to what the best recipe is. People are debating over sharp or mild cheese, pimentos from a jar or fresh roasted peppers, spicy or not and on into the most appropriate method of consumption. For what it's worth in this little meditation, I don't care to debate over who's better and who's best.

The pimento cheese dialog going on right now has me thinking about something James Beard said. He observes, "Food is our common ground, a universal experience". I think that pimento cheese, from all walks, deserves a spot on the table of the common ground of our universal experience. The greatness of pimento cheese lies in it's diversity. It's not unique to one racial or ethnic group. The flavors are as unique as the people who craft their individual recipes. When someone offers up a bowl of pimento cheese at a social gathering or an intimate meal then the occasion immediately becomes comfortably special. Just thinking about pimento cheese sort of conjurs up the images of easy afternoons with some saltines, sweet tea and conversations that can drift off in any direction. Those are the times we find our common ground.

Inside the walls of our restaurant we certainly have our recipe and reasons for making pimento cheese the way we do but once it leaves the kitchen we hope the tables it occupies are places where folks can have those easy experiences that make life a little richer. We also hope that wherever people are in the pimento cheese conversation they will help spread the love to just a few more folks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Great Debate

In the aftermath of the 4th of July the great debate of what barbecue is best has been on my mind. My simple answer is all of it. I love pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, sausage and all the rest of the meaty morsels that time, patience and smoke turn into magical gems. But I also like to look around and see what folks eat when barbecue is in the spotlight of a major pork holiday or when the occasion may call for something more than the humble sandwich. The obvious cut that comes to my mind is the spare rib. Taken from the same part of the animal that the king of cured Southern meats comes from you get a case study in rich, tender, full flavored pork. By the way, I'm referencing bacon there although some folks would make an argument for country ham. The first bite of a spare rib that is perfectly caramelized by fire and smoke on the surface is like meeting the love of your life again for the very first time. The perfect mahogany crust that yields to the rich, tender meat between the bones is to me the pitmasters culinary opus that calls me back time and again despite the conventional wisdom of my doctor telling me to trade porcine pleasure for a salad and a membership at the YMCA.
The debate will rage on and opinions are as numerous as the barbecue pits painted across the landscape of the South. As a good pilgrim on the barbecue trail I'll keep my prejudices at bay as I eat my way forward but I'll make sure to request a side of spare ribs where ever the noble bones are offered. Next time you stop by one of our little spaces in the world feel free to weigh in.