Adele's.

I live for the weekend, mainly because I love to brunch.

There are two eateries that I keep in heavy rotation, however, the other day I decided to switch things up a bit and dine at Adele's, one of the newest spots to hit Nashville's rapidly-growing restaurant scene. 

Located downtown in the Gulch, it's a concept that was brought to life by Jonathan Waxman, a former musician turned chef, as an ode to his mother's love and passion for food.  His background is beyond impressive — he attended culinary school in France, has worked in the kitchens of game-changing restaurants in Los Angeles, became the pioneer of California cuisine, opened up one of the most popular dining sensations in New York and has established himself as one of America's most prominent chefs.

Adele's is housed in what used to be an old 1950s automobile repair shop.  Tall, let up garage doors now serve as windows that illuminate the entire space with plentiful amounts of natural light.  The decor is simple — exposed brick walls, oak tables and a few splashes of aqua blue provided by stools positioned at the bar.  There's an open kitchen (which really makes this place feel like home) with a tremendous wood burning oven and an extensive counter where you can sit and engage in conversation with the staff while they prepare the food.

The menu takes an avant-garde approach to traditional brunch items and is subject to change frequently, since everything is cooked with fresh and seasonal ingredients. My goal was to deviate from my usual mimosa routine and try a bloody mary for the first time.  Made from scratch with all of the usual elements — vodka, tomato juice, cayenne pepper, it was surprisingly pleasant and wasn't too spicy or too bold.

I'm still a champagne and orange juice kind of gal, though. 

As a starter, I chose the shaved brussel sprout salad, which included a salty-sweet mixture of golden raisins, walnuts and pecorino cheese.

For the main course, I went for the eggs benedict, which is also something I've never tried before, due to my challenging relationship with egg yolk.

No really, this is a true struggle for me; I have texture issues.  I literally started eating eggs last year!

But this one was rich in flavor and prepared to my liking.  The English muffin was lightly toasted and topped with shaved country ham, hollandaise sauce and a poached egg that had a firm yolk, which made it quite delightful to eat.

Bravo, Mr. Waxman.  I've just added a third restaurant to my list of weekend brunch favorites. 

Source: www.lifeonfortywest.com/adelesnashville

Pinewood Social.

One of my favorite hangout spots in Nashville is Pinewood Social, a 13,000-square-foot former trolley barn that now serves as a day-to-night location for social gathering.  

What intrigues me the most about this place is its versatility. As a matter of fact, Pinewood Social entails so many things in one that I have to experience it in separate parts.

My first visit was with a group of friends on New Year's Eve last year. We were intimately seated in an open area with oversized, wraparound booth seating, a cozy sofa, lounge chairs and a coffee table with classic board games underneath it. We didn't eat dinner there, but we took total advantage of the bar and ordered an assortment of some of the most eclectic cocktails. Situated behind us was a full service, six-lane bowling alley, which put me in the mindset of being in an old-school, recreation center in the 1950s.  A karaoke room was also nearby. Outside, there were a couple of four-foot deep swimming pools and private cabanas overlooking the Cumberland River and the city's skyline.  The energy that night was high and all night long people were laughing and chattering among the sounds of bowling balls knocking down pins and champagne flutes toasting at midnight. 

But when I went back one Sunday morning for brunch, the atmosphere was completely different.  The vibe was much more laid-back, and the dominant sound was the tapping of people's fingertips on laptops while sipping coffee prepared by the expert baristas of Crema. The booths and the sofas in the lounge space were pretty much unoccupied, instead, the preferred gathering place was a long, dimly lit wooden table that looked like something you'd find in a library.   

The bar was open, but this time, the drink menu consisted of breakfast/brunch inspired cocktails, such as The Good Sinner (shown above), which was like a mimosa with a twist: sparkling wine mixed with St. Germain, pineapple juice, Pernod and your choice of either gin or vodka.  I also had a coffee cocktail called Southern Limerick (shown below), that was made with coffee, bourbon, sorghum and heavy cream.

The brunch menu included Southern-style dishes with some unconventional tweaks here and there.  There were so many good options that I couldn't decide; it was either order the Egg in a Basket, filled with ham, truffle hollandaise, a poached egg and toast or the fried chicken biscuits and homemade gravy.  I went with the latter and added the granola to my tab, which was blended with yogurt, fruit, mint and a drizzle of honey. 

Pinewood Social has received some pretty fascinating press. It's been raved about in Cosmopolitan magazine, USA Today, Forbes Travel Guide, InStyle magazine and New York Times, just to name a few.

Seems like one of the most inventive concepts on Earth, right?  Definitely a must-try during your next trip to the Music City….

 

Source: www.lifeonfortywest.com/pinewoodsocial

IveyCake + The Cupcake Collection.

"Boss"  by IveyCake - a custard filled vanilla cupcake with an eclair frosting, dipped in ganache and topped with a cherry. 

"Boss"  by IveyCake - a custard filled vanilla cupcake with an eclair frosting, dipped in ganache and topped with a cherry. 

Prepare yourself for some serious deliciousness in this post. 

I remember when cupcakes used to be so simple.  As a kid, my options were to either ask my mom to purchase a box of cake mix, along with a carton of eggs, milk and some tin foil cups from the supermarket or to pick up some of those Hostess-labeled packets of preservative filled cakes from the gas station or corner store.

But then a few years ago, this high-end gourmet cupcake craze began, and I must admit, when I became aware of it happening, I too, joined the bandwagon. I read an article recently that suggested the trend was on a decline nowadays but I see no evidence of this thing going away anytime soon. 

I had my go-to bake shop in Memphis and I didn't think any other place could compare to it.  But after moving to Nashville and being introduced to IveyCake and The Cupcake Collection, I may have to beg to differ. 

 

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Yes, this über glam you are seeing is really a bakery.

Have you ever received a Christmas gift that was wrapped so beautifully that you didn't want to open it to see what was inside? This feeling sums up my experience whenever I am at IveyCake in Brentwood.  

As soon as I walk through the door, I'm allured by this colorful spread of cupcakes that are always so whimsically packaged with either buttercream frosting or cream cheese icing and an assortment of toppings.  Instead of being labeled with traditional names, such as strawberry and vanilla, they're named with witty phrases and titles like "Good Kisser" and "Hot Mess" that give them so much personality and character. 

And they taste just as divine as they look.  These sweet delectables are baked from scratch daily with the finest ingredients.  

"I Do" - a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting topped with edible pearls and glitter. 

"I Do" - a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting topped with edible pearls and glitter. 

"Big Dreams" - a strawberry cupcake with cream cheese icing tinted pink (my favorite)!

"Big Dreams" - a strawberry cupcake with cream cheese icing tinted pink (my favorite)!

"Break Up" - a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and glitter (my second favorite)!

"Break Up" - a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and glitter (my second favorite)!

"Birthday Cake" - chocolate or vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, sprinkles and glitter. 

"Birthday Cake" - chocolate or vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, sprinkles and glitter. 

Ivey Cake

This place has received major local and national recognition and accolades, including The Tennessean's "Toast of The Music City" award for Best Bakery in 2012.  A couple of years prior, People magazine featured singer Carrie Underwood's wedding cupcake tier, which was created by Ivey Childers, the shop's founder. Childers also appeared on the TV show Cupcake Wars, a reality-based baking competition that airs on Food Network. 

On to The Cupcake Collection…..

"Sweet Lemonade" - a tart and sweet combination of lemon cake and lemon icing.

"Sweet Lemonade" - a tart and sweet combination of lemon cake and lemon icing.

"Strawberry" - strawberry cake topped with strawberry icing (it has real strawberries)!

"Strawberry" - strawberry cake topped with strawberry icing (it has real strawberries)!

Let me start by saying that I shot these photos at about 10:05 am on a Monday, which was five minutes after they had opened the doors for the day. Two minutes later, there were people standing behind me in a line that was almost out of the door waiting to place an order.

Oh yeah, the obsession with The Cupcake Collection here is real.

Located in Nashville's historic Germantown, it sits in the living room of a cozy, quaint house that belongs to baker Migñon François and her family.  

Their style approach to this confection is traditional.  And just like Ivey Cake, they are made from scratch daily with fresh and natural ingredients.  Each cupcake is moist, tasty and lightly topped with an icing that's just the right amount of sweet. Flavors to choose from include classic (Vanilla, Chocolate), premium (Café Au Lait, Strawberry Lemonade) and specialty (Butterfinger, Campfire S'mores).  

 

"Red Velvet" - velvety smooth southern style red velvet cake topped with cream cheese icing. 

"Red Velvet" - velvety smooth southern style red velvet cake topped with cream cheese icing. 

"Chocolate" - rich chocolate cake, chocolate icing, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate!

"Chocolate" - rich chocolate cake, chocolate icing, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate!

"Sweet Potato" - a sweet potato pie in a cake! Topped with buttercream icing and a dash of cinnamon. 

"Sweet Potato" - a sweet potato pie in a cake! Topped with buttercream icing and a dash of cinnamon. 

The Sweet Potato is their most popular cupcake (and one of my favorites as well).  It tastes just like a homemade sweet potato pie, which makes it just right for the fall. 

Winner of The Tennessean's "Toast of the Music City" award for Best Bakery 2011

Winner of The Tennessean's "Toast of the Music City" award for Best Bakery 2011

Source: www.lifeonfortywest.com/musiccitycupcakes

Champagne Toast at Watermark.

It's no secret among my friends and family that I absolutely love to sip champagne.

So there was no better way for my husband and I to celebrate my new blog than to grab a bottle from our bar cart at home and toast it up on the rooftop patio of Watermark, a stylish and contemporary restaurant in Nashville located in an area downtown known as The Gulch. 

Of course, no celebration is complete without good food. What I love the most about this restaurant is how the chef prepares these Southern dishes in such a creative, non-traditional way, without sacrificing their great taste.

To get us started, we ordered a stone ground grit soufflé that sat in a creamy mixture of goat cheese, smoked bacon butter sauce and shittake mushrooms. Then we had pan seared scallops served with a medley of corn and lima bean succotash in a warm bacon vinaigrette sauce, with a side of grilled asparagus.

And each dish was every bit of delicious. 

Cheers to new beginnings….

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/champagnetoast

The Peach Truck.

There's this '64 Jeep Gladiator that travels all over Nashville with a truck bed full of sweet, juicy, Georgia-grown peaches. And quite frankly, they are some of the best I've ever had. 

Like….ever.

These fruits of heaven are hand-picked from orchards in Georgia and then driven to Nashville to be sold by the bagful.  Even if you don't live around here, you can still purchase them online and have them shipped to your door. They're only available during peach season (mid-May to mid-August), which means that you are getting the absolute best quality.

When I grabbed one out of my first bag and took a bite, I immediately thought about making a peach-flavored cocktail for our house guests one day, since we love home entertaining.  I took an inventory of what we had on our bar cart and searched Pinterest for inspiration.  

After scrolling through about a million results, I finally found a sangria recipe that includes the perfect fusion of white wine, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, sliced peaches and mint leaves.

You can find the recipe here

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/thepeachtruck

Jeni's Ice Cream Shop.

Jeni's

It's mid-August.  And even though the day consisted of nothing but cloudy skies and rainfall, the temperature gauge on the dashboard of my car still read 90 degrees.  

A cool, sweet treat was definitely in order. 

So I headed to the artsy and eclectic side of East Nashville and ended up at what seems to be the most popular place on the planet: Jeni’s

This scoop shop takes pride in serving ice cream made with fresh ingredients shipped directly to it from local farms and around the world.

During a typical visit, I expect to see several people standing in a line long enough to wrap around the building waiting to enter, but fortunately for me (since it was damp and muggy outside), there was no line and I was able to just walk right in.

Jeni’s has so many great choices, which can be overwhelming for an indecisive person like me.  No matter how many times I’ve been, I always end up sampling the same three flavors before making my decision: Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet, Salted Caramel and the new Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam, a flavor Jeni's created with The Peach Truck.

When I tasted the new Backyard Mint flavor, which Jeni's describes as "cool, sweet, with a remarkably refreshing herb-garden finish," I was sold.  But I had to act fast.  In less than five minutes of stepping onto the patio and into the extreme heat, there was more ice cream on my fingers than in my waffle cone. 

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/jenis

12 South.

12 South is probably my favorite of Nashville's up-and-coming neighborhoods.  When I visited it for the first time, it was like taking a deep breath of fresh air — the boutiques, the coffee shops, restaurants, music stores — almost everything is local and I was amazed at how they all seemed so innovative and anti-cookie-cutter.  

What's also really cool about this place is the Nashville B-Cycle station, a bike-sharing system that allows you to rent a bicycle for up to 24-hours and ride it anywhere in the city.  I decided to stay in the area with my bike and meet my husband for lunch at The Flipside

One of 12 South's newest restaurants, the interior has a modern 1950s diner flair, with powder blue banquette seating and vintage fire engine red Big Chill refrigerators.  The walls are combination of white tiling and transparent garage doors that allow natural light to shine through, giving this place a soft and airy feel. The bar is stocked with an abundance of options and they also have quite a few local draft beers on tap. 

The menu is centered around chicken breasts coated with seasoned bread crumbs, pan sautéed in olive oil and topped with various unique combinations that you can order as a a sandwich or standalone.  I enjoyed the Popeye sandwich, which includes spinach, tomato, mozzarella cheese and a balsamic drizzle. 

There was an inevitable sweet tooth that followed soon after, so we headed to Las Paletas, a gourmet ice pop shop also located in 12 South.

They are made with fresh ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavors, which gives them a subtly sweet taste that's just right and not overwhelming.   And although the shop serves many traditional flavors, such as peach, strawberry, and vanilla chocolate chip (shown above), they also have more exotic ones, like pineapple chili, honeydew and Chai tea, which makes this experience more fun.  I just haven't built up the courage to try the fun ones yet!

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/12south

CREMA.

I’m an avid coffee drinker.  And I don’t always want to settle for just a basic cup brewed with grounds purchased from the supermarket.  Every now and then I like to indulge in something exotic that’s been prepared by an elite barista who considers the brewing process a form of art.

So naturally, when we moved to Nashville last December, one of the first things on my agenda was to tap into my inner hipster and find a coffee shop that sits in one of the city’s many burgeoning, trendy communities.

Then I found this awesomeness called Crema.

It’s a brewtique located in SoBro (South of Broadway), a neighborhood close to downtown that was once industrial but is now undergoing a modern redevelopment.

When I walked into the shop, I was beyond impressed. This sophisticated aroma of coffee beans greeted me at the door.  There were simple floral arrangements in Mason jars on wooden tabletops.  And the sounds of people chattering, mugs clinking, and laid-back R & B music playing melded together harmoniously in the background. I stood still for a few seconds and took it all in.

I ordered a vanilla latte that day, but I have since fell in love with the Cuban, a mildly sweet, smooth and balanced flavored latte made with steamed milk and a Corazón blend expresso. 

Source: http://www.lifeonfortywest.com/crema