Kitchen Notes.

Recently, an old friend of mine and I decided to catch up over breakfast at Kitchen Notes, a three-meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), farm-to-table dining concept located in Downtown Nashville's Omni Hotel.

I am all about the interior of a place just as much as I am about the food!  So naturally, the thing that wowed me upon my first encounter with Kitchen Notes was its decor, which consists of "repurposed materials found at local antique stores and flea markets."

Think old Southern charm with a few contemporary adjustments: tufted benches, floral arrangements sitting in Mason jars, and an assortment of vintage plates and handwritten recipes hanging on the walls in glass frames (hence the restaurant's name). 

The main dining room is situated in an open and naturally lit space that includes this tantalizing buffet of all of the down home cuisine you can possibly think of: fresh fruit, homemade flavored biscuits (such as chocolate cherry), locally prepared jams, steel cut oatmeal with all the 'fixins, an assortment of warm pastries, cereal, applewood smoked bacon, blueberry-maple country sausage patties, country ham, breakfast potatoes, as well as made to order omelettes (my dish of choice), buttermilk pancakes, cast-iron waffles and french toast.

Y'all. During the two times I've visited this place, somehow I have managed to get a taste of everything I've listed above.  And almost nothing falls short of incredible. 

The price point is what you'd expect of a restaurant in an upscale hotel, but I guarantee you that the food and the experience are worth every penny. I'd recommend making reservations in advance regardless of your group size. 




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. 


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….



Live on the Green.


For the past five years, Nashville has been the home of Live on the Green, a free, outdoor music festival presented by local radio station WRLT Lightning 100.  Held in Public Square Park, which is located downtown near the Metropolitan Courthouse, it hosts indie and well-known musicians of many genres.  And somewhat similar to the famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California (but on a smaller scale), people from various states and countries travel to the Music City to attend. This year, the festival took place on three consecutive Thursdays in August and during the first weekend in September. I caught the final show on the evening of September 6th and I must say, it was quite an experience.

Outside of the park, a number of food trucks were lined up on nearby street, serving everything from loaded BBQ nachos to spicy curry goat, Chinese steamed buns, chicken shwarma sandwiches, and those homemade, sugar-dusted funnel cakes that seem to melt in your mouth with each bite. The food truck scene here is bananas, by the way, but I'll go into more detail about this craze in a later post.

Ice cold craft beer was on tap, including my new favorite, Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, a light beer with a splash of lemonade flavor. 

The weather was breezy and 75 degrees. Children were laughing and dancing in the water fountains without a care in the world, like free spirits. And there was a huge crowd spread out among the park's plush green lawn, waiting on the next act to grace the stage. 

An alternative rock singer-songwriter with this androgynous look and tiny stature by the name of LP stepped onto the stage while strumming her guitar and belting out notes with a voice that was larger than life.  When she performed the song "Night Like This" from her latest album entitled, Forever For Now, the crowd went crazy.  People were twirling and rocking from side-to-side where they stood, while flawlessly mouthing the lyrics. And then she began whistling the tune in a perfect pitch, it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. I expected to hear good music at this festival, but I honestly did not anticipate leaving as a new fan and immediately downloading an album on iTunes when I got home.  

Later on, I learned that she's a powerhouse in the music industry.  She's worked with legendary artists such as singer-songwriter Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes and pinned songs for Cher, Christina Aguilera, and Rihanna, just to name a few.  

I guess I've been buried under a rock somewhere. 

Check her out by pressing play below:

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….